Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just in case you wanted to know....

I thought I'd join the masses and share with you my 25 random things:

1. My summer job in high school was traveling with the fair making elephant ears, shake-ups and corn dogs.

2. I love to learn- that's probably why I enjoy homeschooling so much. This week I learned all about rocks and desert animals. Fascinating! I'm really brushing up on my Algebra skills, too.

3. It is difficult for me to read non-fiction.

4. In elementary school I read every single book in the library about women and history. Just ask me anything about Amelia Earhart, Clara Barton or Florence Nightingale (to name a few).

5. I've had the same best friend since first grade. We even roomed together four years in college despite the nay sayers.

6. Sean and I "dated", were engaged and married within 11 months.

7. I love to be present in people's lives at those milestones- I guess that's why I've been both a hospice and OB nurse.

8. Studying the book of Romans changed my life.

9. If I'm going to cry (which isn't often) it's going to be in the shower.

10. I began playing the piano at age four and continued taking lessons in college. I rarely play now.

11. Most of the time I have a blank expression. This is very confusing to Sean.

12. I love my husband more than I thought humanly possible- how could a person be so fun, intriguing, attractive, laid back and intelligent at the same time?

13. I believe that God can do ANYTHING and that His Word is enough.

14. I really enjoyed being pregnant seven times and it makes me sad that my childbearing days are over.

15. We had seven kids in 9 1/2 years. I'd say that's time well spent:)

16. I can park our 15 passenger van with precision.

17. I have three sisters and we all sound alike on the phone.

18. I work with one of my sisters, Barbara, on the same floor at the hospital. We even share a locker.

19. I have superpowers. Seriously. According to Sean, I have powers which allow me to find anything. (I think it's more like I'm the one who puts everything away:)

20. I'm not a very touchy feely person, but I love cuddling with my kids.

21. When I grow up I want to be like Elisabeth Elliot.

22. My daily prayer is that God will use me where I am in the ways that most glorifies Him.

23. I'm totally enjoying my girls coming into the teenage years- I enjoy the late night talks and deep questions. They remind me a lot of myself.

24. I'm not incredibly organized like many people assume, though I would like to be.

25. My favorite verse is found in Psalm 136. I memorized it at a retreat in 7th grade and it daily comes to my mind. "Search me, Oh God, and know my heart. Test me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Exercise Buddies

Recently I've taken up exercising to the ole DVD. Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that I hated exercising with the TV. I don't know what I was thinking, because I'm really enjoying it. Needless to say this has become a spectacle of great interest to the kids seeing their mother sweat and contort herself. These are just a few of the comments that have made me chuckle:

Joseph: (building a Lego spaceship as I lift weights) Mom what is flab? (silence) Why do you need to get rid of the flab? (silence) How do you get flab?

Rebekah: Mom, you doing a good job. Your teacher says you doing a good job. Good job, Mommy.

Betsy: Mommy, you look like a ballerina.
Joseph: She's not a ballerina, she's practicing her karate.

Need to smile today? Go over to Mary's and enjoy Tiny Talk Tuesday.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Infirmary

“Children are meant to understand compassion and comfort because they have received compassion and comfort - and this should be in the family setting. A family should be a place where comfort is experienced and understood, so that the people are prepared to give comfort to others.” - Edith Schaefer

I have been reminded these past few night while caring for the children of Schaefer's book, "What is a Family". She devotes a chapter to caring for our families during sickness and how this in not time wasted, but rather a time for blessing. I think I'll reread that chapter when the epidemic passes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I'm tired.

Tuesday night involved holding a puking John who didn't quite know what to make of the gagging, wrenching, painful episode that would come upon him every half hour. I always knew it was coming because the little boy would sit straight up and begin shaking his head proclaiming, "No! No! No!" He began to turn the corner by afternoon. He's fine now- just a little clingy.

Early this morning Sean and I woke to Joseph standing by our bed gasping for air. The croup. I'll take vomit over restricted airways any day! Thankfully, we were able to settle him down with some singing, prayer and a breathing treatment. Knowing my boy, we have two more nights like this before it will conclude with a bad cold or respiratory infection.

To top it off the pipes to my washer remain frozen. I'm having visions here of a burst pipe spilling water away from the house without our knowledge and a $500 water bill next month. That wouldn't really happen, right?

Monday, January 19, 2009


Betsy found these on her pillow, a gift from her little brother and sister. Needless to say that she was very, very sad.

We said goodbye to two fish this past week. They will be remembered forever:

Jan 1- Jan 16
ornge with white speks
She loved the shels

Jan 1-Jan 15
All ornge with brown speks
Loved bubls

Thursday, January 15, 2009

When Mom Can't Fix It

I had one of those moments tonight, one of those moments when I'm humbled as a mom. I was sitting in the doctor's office at 7pm and watching my daughter's face turn red with tears streaming down the minute the doctor shut the door.

"Why does this always have to happen? I just want to feel well," she sobbed.

"I don't know, sweetie," was all I could reply choking back the tears. I just don't know.

For the past few winters she's suffered with recurring ear infections. These infections often require more than one round of antibiotics which is brutal on the digestive tract. Once the infection is cleared up then the other ear will begin it's course. It starts with the popping and then a day when everything is quiet and then very loud. Next comes the pain and then the diagnosis. And here we go again.

I honestly can't say how long this has been going on since she only began expressing this problem three years ago. Looking back at some behavior patterns and frustrations at home I figure it's been going on for many years. It's been a set back.

She's been to two doctors and a specialist all who claim that she tests normal and there seems to be no underlying cause for these infections. Last winter we were to the point where there were no more medications to try. I really don't know what next step we were going to take. Thankfully that last medication did the job.

I want to fix this yet I know that not I nor medications ever truly can. God is her Creator and her Healer. He is her Sustainer and her Friend. I pray that she will have relief from these infections once and for all. But more than that, I pray that she will know more of the Lord and His ever present Help in the midst of her suffering.

I'm thinking tonight of all of those mothers who are tucking in a child whose life is wrecked with cancer, hunger, disease or disability. What we "suffer" does not even compare. Yet in the midst of all of this, we moms have a perfect Shepherd. May God be glorified through it all.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
- Isaiah 40:11

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Amazing museums for free

A few times a year we travel with Sean to his various conferences. Sometimes we are in a big city and other times in out of the way places. Regardless, a night in a hotel with a pool and free breakfast is a big occasion. I'm always looking for ways to make our little trips affordable and educational as we make ourselves busy during the day, so we often hit the nearest Science museum.

Several years ago I realized that many of these museums are connected through the Association or Science and Technology Centers. Their Passport Program allows a family membership at one museum to be equivalent to a family membership (or at least a deep discount) at all the others! That's about 500 science museums.

We purchased our membership this year in Ft. Wayne's Science Center for $55 and will use it to enter museums with memberships much higher in cost. With this program we've been able to visit the Toronto Science Center, Science Central (Ft. Wayne, IN), Nashville's Adventure Science Center and U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. Without this reciprocal membership we never would have been able to pay for nine admissions each time. This summer we plan to stop by several of the museums that Michigan has to offer while Sean is busy with his conference.

There's nothing like a day in a museum with seven kids. Trust me.

This Works for Me and I hope it will work for you, too. Find other great ideas at WFMW.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Frugal Bedroom Makeover Part 3- It's all in the details

Collecting frugal finds to tie the room all together has been my favorite part!

The curtains were a Walmart Clearance at $4 for each panel. The sheer was $2.50 from Goodwill and the curtain rod was $20 from a going out of business sale.

We covered the girls' chair with some clearance fleece for $7.50. The wall shelves were $2 each from Goodwill and a great place to keep their CDs that they don't want the little ones to reach.

The throw pillows came from the going out of business sale ($15) and some fabric to recover pillows that we already had ($4). Hannah crafted the small blue pillow from a Goodwill skirt. She makes her mama proud:).

I had been looking around for some sort of small fountain or relaxing water element. Didn't find one, but we brought out the neglected fish tank and set it up. The kid's love it!

Perhaps our favorite detail is this painting found under the bed while moving it. My sister, Vanessa, used to live in this room and is a talented artist. Isn't it the best?!

This unwanted cabinet door came from Goodwill for $2 and we repainted it into this plaque. Likewise the mirror was a thrift store find repainted. The light blue twin coverlet is complements of Martha Stewart and Kmart clearance rack for $10.00.

I think we've achieved what the girls intended from the beginning. A room that is relaxing, mature and easier to keep clean. We'll see about that last part:).

See the entire makeover here and here.

And just for the record the entire makeover cost just at $200. This is much more than I had anticipated. The paint really added up. I never found a neutral "seconds" paint in all my searches. Maybe next time. But really spreading it over several months made the cost seem minimal.

Sheets for Duvets $18
Wall Paint $ 40
Other Paint $28
Knobs $14
Curtains $10
Curtain Rod $20
Lamps $30
Material $26
Pillows $15
Misc. Sewing Supplies $5
Wall decorations $6
Fish set up $10

Thursday, January 8, 2009

While we have school...

the unsupervised find plenty to do.

The Polly Pocket hot tub.

Who needs the newest toy? We just make our own.

The children make their own preschool crafts and teach each other phonics. They are much more creative than I.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Frugal Bedroom Makeover Part 2- Duvet Covers

While Sean helped the girls change their room from spring green to creme, I set my sights on changing our well loved comforters into beautiful new bedspreads. (Note: Though my mom and sister sew wonderfully, I never took the time to learn. I just recently learned how to thread a machine.)

I did some research online and kind of combined some of the methods I read. We used Hannah's small sewing machine which did the job.

First, we selected two sheets for each comforter. The blue sheets were purchased for $2 each off the Walmart Clearance shelf. The larger brown sheet cost $10 at Marshall's. Next, we measured the sheets and cut them down as needed so that they were 1 inch larger than the comforters to allow for 1/2 inch seam allowance. We pinned the sheets together with the right sides facing in and sewed the bottom and sides together.

Bye, bye old red comforter with a hole:)

With the sheets now sewn we added ties to the corners and sides of both the cover and the comforters. Tying the two together keeps the comforter from shifting around. Then we turned it all right side out and there you have it!! I love it that they won't need a flat sheet for their beds and that these will be easy to wash.

Miriam quickly became an expert at sewing tabs.

This is how the family eats when there's a project going on.

I'm still contemplating how to close up the top. I tried to hot glue Velcro tabs, but that didn't work. Button holes would be nice, but I don't know how to do that. I'm thinking that I'll sew on snaps. Hopefully this will get done before 2010.

I'm thinking that with making my own duvet covers we may never have to buy bedding again. This so works for me. There are other great ideas over at Rocks in my Dryer so check it out!

See part one of the makeover here.