Thursday, September 27, 2007

Deep in the Hundred Acre Woods....

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. i'll always be with you.” -Christopher Robin to Pooh Bear

Here to celebrate... Piglet, Birthday girl
, Tigger, Roo,

Pooh Bear, Rabbit, Kanga, Christopher Robin and his clone.

Today is the third birthday of our precious Rebekah and what fun was had by all! Being the biggest Pooh fan of all time we took the theme and ran with it. It was so much fun to see her face light up when she realized that all her favorite Pooh characters had come for cake and ice cream.

Being that she is the baby girl one might think that she would be a princess and spoiled. But she is not that. Rebekah is independent, fearless, energetic and full of ideas of her own. It's been a rewarding year as we've seen her respond to training and discipline as well as develop more personality and role in our family.

Her phrase of this past year had been, "Me, too!" No matter what someone else says this is her response loud and clear.

"Mom, can I go outside and play?" "Me, too?"

"My favorite color is purple." "Me, too!"

"I'm eleven." "Me, too."

"My stomach hurts." "Me, too."

Sweet Rebekah, Happy Birthday!!

Cupcake Towers with our favorite toys are fun and easy to make!

We played "Put the honey pot in Pooh's hands"

Rebekah Elynne Bird and Mom

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Croup

Wow, what a day today has been. It began this morning at 2 am with Elizabeth crying at the top on of the stairs with Joseph because she thought he was going to get sick. She was sure that he was about to hurl.

I stumbled out of bed trying to gather my mind and locate the nearest trash can. However, he was not in fact sick to his stomach, but rather gasping for breath. I recognized it right away. Croup.

We've been through a lot of nights of the barking baby seal, but this was different. He was gasping, having difficulty speaking and starting to panic. "Joseph," I said, "you have got to slow down." "I. Don't. Know. How." was his reply. His body was forcing him to suck down as much air as quickly as possible. He had no symptoms of any illness prior to this. I knew I was way out of my league.

It's amazing how quickly mommy adrenaline can kick in and within moments he was off to the hospital in his father's arms. Had the hospital not been 3 minutes from our home, I would have called 911.

I was left home waiting for my mother-in-law to relieve me. Thankfully she is a night owl often going to bed at 7 and rising in the middle of the night to do housework and the like. So she was awake when I called.

Those fifteen minutes waiting for her arrival were long, but much needed. Being a nurse, my mind had been playing "worse case scenario" which had already led me to places that no mom wants to go. What if he passes out and stops breathing on the way to the hospital? What if the doctors can't decrease the swelling in time? What if I'll never talk to him, or hold him, or read him a book, or watch him play again?

I prayed and pleaded to the only One who can heal. I knew that the Comforter was with Joseph whatever his state. I knew that God had woken Betsy. I knew that I could stand on the Rock that won't be shaken (though I may be, literally). Of course, I was still fervently asking for the best outcome.

And that is what God saw fit to give us in the early hours of this morning. Some steroids relaxed the constriction and Joseph was chatty, full of energy, playing tic-tac-toe and drawing pictures until he finally fell asleep around 5 am. I loved every minute of it.

And though the rest of this very long day has been tiring and frustrating, I'm praising God for His many blessings and this very real reminder that each and every breath comes from His hand.

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!" Psalm 150:6

Monday, September 24, 2007

Appointed meetings

My job is truly a pleasure. It affords me time to practice my nursing skills, make money for the family, serve my co-workers and patients. But what I love most about my work is getting to be present in people's lives at one of the most pivotal moments they will ever have- the birth of their child.

Of course there are frustrating and sad stories. The work can be exhausting. It is not always a moment of joyous celebration, but for the most part families are very teachable and influenced at this moment.

So last Saturday, like most, I rose at 5am and marched myself into the hospital. But what I did not know was the God has something in store for me this particular day.

I had a light assignment and got into a casual conversation with one of my patients which ended up in a 2 hour time of sharing what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. What a joy and encouragement to speak openly of our God and bless His name.

We were complete strangers. We had walked different roads and gone down different paths. Yet I walked away knowing that God had appointed our meeting for our edification and for His Glory. I was reminded again that God's Kingdom is at hand and He is working mightily in His church and through His people. We are here to strengthen and bless one another.

" in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:5

"There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4-6

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Precious thoughts

My favorite four-year old boy quotes of late:

"Mommy, what is going to happen to Dad when I get big?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well when I get big there won't be any room for Daddy to sleep in your bed. You said I could only sleep in a big bed when I'm married."

"Oh honey, when you grow up you'll have your own wife. You'll have your own big bed."

"I don't know. I think you're going to need a huge bed."

"Why is that?"

"Because you have a lot of kids that are going to be getting big soon."

"Do you know God's phone number? Do you think we could give him a call later?"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Large Family Laundry Room

Okay, those of you who know me or have been in my house are going to laugh at this entry because you've seen my laundry room and usually you can't walk through it without climbing a pile of laundry.

But there is a system in place that I've been tweaking for years and it works well when I'm working consistently.

If only there was an invention that would wash, dry, press and fold clothes all by itself, but there is not (sigh). So this is how I handle clothes for 9 people.

Having to change my three youngest children often twice a day, I've purchased 3 drawer plastic bins for their clothes which are under the folding counter. I undress/dress them in the laundry room. That way I can get their clothes (often stained or wet) right into the washer. Likewise I can take their clothes right from the dryer and put them away without taking a step. No more going up and down the stairs or "folding"but never putting their clothes away. No more finding the drawers emptied by little hands all over their bedroom. On top of their dressers I place their little shoes and a basket of socks to be matched.

The other children keep their dirty laundry upstairs in small individual baskets (Okay, they are supposed to do this). They are responsible to bring their basket down first thing in the morning if they need clothes washed. I return the basket to them with clean clothes for them to fold and put away. This ideally happens on a weekly basis.

We've slowly been doing away with dressers. I think they take up space and end up being a big mess anyway full of clothes that don't get worn. So we have hanging dividers in the closet (we affectionately call these "holes" for some reason) in which we place a "match". A complete outfit or sometimes two is placed here. It makes dressing easy and thoughtless. So when they cry, "I don't have anything to wear", they're not kidding. Time to do laundry.

Of course this does limit the number of outfits that they have, but that's not such a bad idea either. What do they say? "People where 10% of their clothes 90% of the time" I believe it. I stash away clothes in totes in my closet and will replace what is worn out or outgrown. They think they get new clothes all the time:)

I purchased some shoe storage (we also refer to these as "holes") at a garage sale. Each child has their own row in which to keep their shoes. This is helping to keep the front door clear of 18 shoes.

We use inexpensive wooden peg hangers purchased Menard's for their jacket and swimsuit in the summer and coat in the winter as well as purses, book bags and the like.

Gloves, hats, and scarves are on the back of the laundry room door in a hanging shoe organizer.

There is no area for ironing because I believe ironing should be reserved for special occasions only.

My laundry room is also serves as our pantry and craft/game storage. I'm still working on that.

Friday, September 14, 2007


It's a quiet evening. The kids are asleep. Tomorrow is Saturday. Sean's out with his Dad.

I know what I should be doing, but I'm in denial. Okay, it's more like I'm avoiding it like the plague.

In my laundry room at this moment (and at any given moment) are four baskets of unmatched socks. Summer and sandals have afforded me the luxury of making my little collection. But even I know it is out of control. The weather has gotten a little cooler this week and there are 18 naked feet now crying out for cover.

I first realized I had a serious problem when we were moving from our first home. The realtor came over to make our house "show" worthy and as we began to move furniture the socks came crawling out of the woodwork. It was amazing. Had she not been a good friend with four small children of her own I would have been embarrassed.

I've tried just about everything. A special sock basket for the laundry (the baby kept taking them all over the house) Pinning the socks (pins cause injury) Rolling dirty socks up in balls (they neither wash or dry well this way).

Currently, I have confiscated all socks and placed them under lock and key in our bedroom. One must come and ask Mom for socks. This has eliminated the digging through the drawer and pulling apart the pairs in hopes of finding the favorites. But they always end up in the same place- in baskets in the laundry room. Ahh!

If you do the math there are 63 pairs of socks that need to be worn, washed, matched and put away on a weekly basis. And the amazing thing is I can't remember the last pair of socks that I purchased. People so graciously give us socks all the time. My cup (in the shape of a basket) runneth over!

So, here I go for my end of the summer fling.

How do you handle socks at your house? What works for you?

Happy Birthday

When God created man he said that it was "very good". I'd like to second that!!

I've been asking Sean quite often these days, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I think it's beginning to bug him. I'm in no way implying that he isn't mature or not doing what he should be. It is only that when I look at him I see an amazing, gifted, intelligent leader and a man who continues to run toward the Lord year after year. He takes God's Word and seeks to apply it in specific and real ways to our relationships at home, in his classroom at school, and with his colleagues across the country. It's been amazing to watch God be glorified in this. I am excited to see what lies ahead in the years to come!

Sean was 23 when we got married and today he turns 35. In my mind I think he will be a perpetual 27ish (though I realize that it would be impossible for us to have seven children at that age). Believe it or not, he is still full of that much energy and vision.

Happy Birthday, Sean!! I love you, best friend.

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

Graham crackers
Evaporated milk
Chocolate chips
Strawberry Ice Cream
Whipped cream

Melt 1/2 stick of butter and combine with crushed graham crackers. Press in 9x13 and bake 10 minutes to set.

In sauce pan heat 1 can evaporated milk and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 2 T butter. Pour over crust and freeze for 10 minutes.

Place a layer of sliced bananas. Then a layer of softened ice cream. Top with the whipped cream and sprinkle on the pecans.

Cover and freeze. Can last up to 3 months in freezer. Ours won't last more than 2 days. YUM!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Summer is over. (sigh) It always goes too fast. We are trying to find our routine again and settle into the fact that Dad is back at work. No more late night movies or reading , sleeping in until 8am, trips to anticipate, afternoon swimming.... Oh, it was so good.

We're starting our third week of school and I really feel that this is going to be a good one. It has been hard to homeschool at times being pregnant or caring for a newborn (which has been every year thus far). Homeshooling moms don't get maternity leave. It is nice to be able to give the kids my full attention (okay, maybe not "full") in this area. We have the first 8 weeks organized, which for me is a major feat in itself, and we are moving right along.

I read a book last year about how children learn and gave some of the girls the test that was included. I also took the test and we compared our answers. Sadly, I was very off in several areas and realized that some of their frustration had to do with the method in which the material was given. It was an eye opener. I have a strong desire to understand how each of my children learn and to really appreciate their God given differences and abilities.

Last week while I was lamenting the end of summer, my second daughter, Lydia (butterfly girl above) continually brought joy to our house with her imagination and creativity. This is a child who is never lacking for something to do. If she needs something and doesn't have it, she'll make it. She is ultra resourceful, visionary and thinks outside the box on just about everything. She has the energy and the work ethic to see her ideas take form and be completed. She is artistic and enjoys bringing others into her imaginary worlds so that they can have fun too. She has patience in directing the younger children and gives them responsibility and praise.

Lydia reminded me that with the change of season comes a time where we can be together in different, but equally rewarding, ways. Learning and boundaries do waken in children the desire to explore and express. I am blessed to be a witness to all these things.

Here are some of her most recent productions and costumes. Enjoy.

Mr. Incredible and SuperGirl to the rescue!!

Robin Hood and Little
John walking through the forest....

Maiden Marian looks on in admiration.

An original Pooh Bear production where we saw what Tiggers do best as he bounced Piglet.

The wild creatures (bat, spider, chipmunk, beaver) at the Children's Museum strike a pose!!