Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The makings of a deck

We are putting a deck, on the back of the house (half will be screened...woohoo). And I thought I'd share a few pics of the older children walking on the's only a few feet from the ground....that's what the kids say.
Gus-Gus goes down

Gus-Gus is I in the lead

Elsie's's those long legs

Chuck being highly animated

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Soul Survivor and loss

While on vacation last month, I read Soul Survivor, by Shawn Doyle, a true story about Joe Townsend. The book is about a horrific plane crash were Joe is the pilot and his wife and children are the passengers. Joe is the "soul survivor" and you travel through his life, to find out what helped him draw near to God and overcome such loss.

Of course, I cried the whole time reading it, but it was a real eye opener for me. Nothing seems to matter, as long as your following the Lord and your family is safe. I would rather have no worldly possessions , than to have lost any part of my family. Anytime someone around has had a loss, we always count our blessings. But, still wonder why them and not us. We have suffered loss on a smaller scale. The book reminded me of that time in our life.....

In 2003, we suffered two miscarriages. In 2004, we lost GusGus's twin. In 2005, we lost another baby. And in 2006, we lost Mary's twin. During the miscarriages in 2003, I hit a very low point. I couldn't figure out what was going on. What I had done wrong. Who was to blame. I was very thankful for my children, I had at the time, and delighted in them. But, Buck and I longed for another baby. Buck helped me cope, but he was grieving, too. After the second loss that year, I remember my mother coming over and taking me to get a haircut. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but that was all I needed to snap back into reality. Just her coming and doing something selfless for me. (My mother has always been a generous and thoughtful person) And it got me out of the house, which I had burrowed into. From then on, I trusted that God would heal my womb (if need be). I'm not saying I have never waived in that faith, but if I do, I get back on track and into the word. I have shared my losses with many women and it has encouraged them. At the time, I had no idea God would use my losses to comfort someone else. God is so good. My mother has had victory, over a tragedy in her life and to see how strong and positive she gave me hope.

In 1980, my grandparents and uncle were traveling north from Texas to South Dakota, when an 18 wheeler crossed the median, leaving my mother's parents and brother dead. I thank the Lord often, that my mother didn't fall into an unrecoverable depression. I also think about my close relationship to my mother and just tremble thinking about losing her. I don't know how any of the family went on after this tragedy (my mother has 2 living sisters). The only explanation is God was with them and gave them a supernatural comfort.  They say "time heals all wounds"......but the scar varies in sizes.

God is so good, even with all the loss, in this fallen world. If we could talk to our lost loved ones, they would say,  "don't cry for us, we are living in paradise!" They are without sarrow and loss. I picture my little ones in heaven being cared for by their heavenly father. They have belonged to him all along.....We all do.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meet Gus-Gus

Gus-gus' birthday is in November and he will be 9.
I remember when I was pregnant with Gus-Gus, I just knew it was a boy. I so badly wanted a girl, because Chuck has been such a difficult baby. But, I sure am glad God knows better than me. Gus-Gus has been such a joy to us. I truly can't imagine life with a single one of our children.
Gus-Gus is always  willing to help, even if he is a bit of a day dreamer. We'll be working on
something together and he'll ask a deep question like "How can heaven be the perfect place, if everyone we love isn't there?" He always surprises me with his questions. His main     interests right now are shooting his bb gun, knife throwing, hunting, fishing, war, Star Wars and Angry birds.
Our family has recently discovered Star Wars and he is absorbed! He was helping me with laundry this morning, and was totally drilling me on the characters on Star Wars and how to spell their names! That boy knows how to spell those names, but has trouble on his spelling!
Gus-Gus goes hunting with Buck, but is mostly watching and learning before he can handle a gun. He is getting very good target practicing with his bow, though.
When it comes to fishing he will confess, "I go fishing for all the yummy snacks!" But somehow he still manages to do well fishing.
His all time favorite hobby is.......eating. This guy can put it away. He always says, "I'm not full until my belly hurts." I have to remind him, that's what over eating feels His favorite food is Perogies and Sausage, he always request it for his birthday meal.
He raises white call ducks.
Gus-Gus either wants to be a carpenter or farmer.....or both!
Gus-Gus put his faith in Jesus this summer and it was such a precious time. While weeding
the garden, he said, "Mom, last night I couldn't sleep and I felt like God was talking to me." Then he said, "I always though I would get saved when I was older, but I felt like God wanted me to do it now, so I did!" I was so excited and congratulated him. Over the next week, he would ask me if he was really saved and if he had said the right things. The poor guy was worried. He finally came to grips that he was saved and said that God was living in him. And helping him not to do wrong. He is a people pleaser and just wanted to make sure it was just right.....he melts my heart.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Above the Rubies Part 2

I'm home from the retreat and I couldn't be happier. I missed my family so much, it was almost unbearable. What really helped me cope, with my longing, was the three babies that came with us on the trip. When I got a chance to hold one of the babies, I would hug them close and sniff their sweet smell. I almost felt like I was cuddling Little Young. I had a great time, but the lack of sleep and sitting for such long periods was exhausting.

I had no idea that we would be sitting so long.....and I am not use to sitting! On Saturday, we sat for about 8 hours. That does not include Friday or Sunday. I enjoyed hearing Nancy Campbell speak, she had a lot of good information. But, I was really looking
Nancy Campbell
forward to the fellowship with other "like minded" mothers and there was barely any time. All of the sessions were going over the time allowance, so most of the fellowship time was cut out. If I were to go to another retreat, it would have to be a short, one day retreat.

Buck did great with the children......he even cleaned the fridge.....go hubby! Everyone was so excited  to see me when I got home and of course I was on cloud 9. I couldn't stop hugging everyone. When I went to bed, I was so exhausted that I was falling asleep while Buck was talking. And I didn' t get up until 7am.

Elsie's favorite part was kayaking (im sure this is spelled wrong) with her new friends. And mine was hearing a testimony from a lady with 12 children. She looked like she was 25 (she was 46), so it was a huge surprise to everyone. She had great advice and had the joy of the Lord and trusted His will, even after two Downs Syndrome babies....she was a real inspiration.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Above the Rubies retreat

Here Elsie and I are at an "Above the Rubies" retreat and of course, sleep is not coming. This is the very first time I have ever spent the night away from my family and especially, my husband. Things are going well and we are keeping busy.

 There are 11 of us that traveled here, to Tennessee, for the retreat. The speaker is Nancy Campbell, of course, and God has gifted her with the ability to encourage women, in their roles as wives and mothers. I love the Above the Rubies magazine and with ever issue I feel so blessed and encouraged. I'm sure this retreat is going to be the same way!

I miss my husband terribly. And rocking Little Young to sleep, talking with the little girls before bed, braiding Mary's hair before bed, and listening to the boys ramble on about Star Wars. When I get home I'm just going to soak in my family!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

pictures of vacation

Buck couldn't resist the ice cream

Elsie had a Key Lime Pie, shaved ice

Posie's hermit crab collection

Chuck 's favorite shell

Little Young

Buck building castles with Little Young, Snail, and our neice

Little Young and Elsie

Me....I don't wear the hat for fashion, my so pale, I'll roast without it :)

The Bros crabbing

Mary's crab

Mary and her crab

Chuck and his hermit crab


"Mommy why? Why does the water keep attacking me?"



We had a great time on vacation! We went to Laguna Beach, Fl, it's right outside Panama City. Buck's brother and his family, bringing our group totally to 4 adults and 11 children.

We left on a Sunday and stopped at the halfway mark to eat at Steak n Shake. We had a blast, especially since children eat free on the weekend! They did great serving our large group and were wonderful when Chuck broke a milkshake glass with his head. He was fine and was only worried about his spilled milkshake....obviously that's the most important thing, right?

Back on the road, we got to the condo just before Little Young hada melt down. Oh, I forgot to mention that I forgot all the toys and books for the kids! We were really lucky it didn't get But, I have any excuse.....David worked the night before we left, so I packed by myself (with help of the children). We're lucky that's all we (I) forgot!

We stayed at Laguna Beach Christian Resort. Talk about a deal!  The condo slept 22 people, so we fit just fine. The condo could use some updating, but no complaints here. We paid less than $600 for 4 nights and we split that,so it was less than $300....can't beat it!

The first morning, our children got up about 6:30 or earlier. My brother and sister in-law's children sleep better than mine, so I'm sure it was a little shock to the system, but their children hung in there and got up early, too. To get to the beach, we only had to cross the street.... I know what your thinking, with 11 kids I'm sure the traffic just came to a screeching halt. Well, not quite. There wasn't much traffic, so we rarely had to wait on any vehicles.

Puddle Jumper
We went to the beach every morning and had a blast. The first day the waves were higher and the older children and I body surfed. We were right by a rip tide, which frightened us at first, but that current brought in a good bit of shells.  Buck, Elsie, Chuck, and I (we went at separate times) had a great a time snorkeling for shells and crabs. Of course, I wasn't fond of the little fish picking on my legs, mostly because while snorkeling you can see them! And I knew a bigger fish was going to come eat shark!  We built a sand castles and
caught blue crabs, which we ate....mmmmm. My favorite thing we brought with was..........Puddle Jumpers. If you have a child or children that aren't strong swimmers, then these are for you......totally sounds like a commercial. They look like they would be hard to swim in, but they aren't and are a total life saver when there are 11 children and only 4 pairs of eyes watching them.

Every evening, the guys went fishing on the beach, with some of the children, and the ladies watched sappy movies and stayed up way too late talking. You know your going to feel exhausted in the morning, when your still awake when they guys come back in from fishing. But, when do we get to stay up late.....and I am not taking about nursing and teething babies! We had just as much fun staying up as the guys and we smelled a lot better, when we went to bed. I think the kids were swimming in the bait....blah. In total, they caught a flounder (Elsie), blue crabs (I think everyone played a role in catching these), a few  other small fish, and Buck caught a shark. He wanted to catch one the whole time and he did, the last night.

The last day, we all went out for shaved ice and ice cream and ate our seafood that had been caught on the trip. We all felt like we could stay a couple more days, but we needed to

get back to the farm. I'm sure my in laws felt the same way, since they were using care of the farm.

When we got home, we all went to bed early and caught up on sleep. We had a great time and hope to do it again.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Picalily and Betty are mommies.....again

Both Picalily and Betty both had one chick each. Pically hatched a Salmon Faverolle chick and Betty hatched a Polish. Poor Winky was due to have her chicks while we were on vacation. When we got back there were empty egg shells, but no chicks. We also were missing a few older chicks and there were a lot of feathers in various piles, I had a sinking feeling that a predator had been visiting while we were gone. Sure enough, Buck put a fox trap out and caught a opposum. Poor Winky is still wandering around clucking for her chicks that are gone. That's just part of living out in the country. I have a feeling we'll be seeing Winky go broody again. I have to get a pic of Betty, but here's one of Picalily.
Picalily and her chick

Science project...making a cell

Can you tell we love Science? This project is made out of candy! Much better than the apple experiment...the pigs got to eat that project. This project we used different kinds of candy for each part of a cell. And all the candy goes on the jello.

This project you'll need:
-yellow jello
-unflavored gelatin
- a bowl for each child
- plastic wrap
CANDY ( these are the kinds we used)
-jelly beans.....mitochondria
- skittles..........lysosomes
- pull and peel licorice (cut into small strings)........Golgi bodies
-fruit roll up (cut into stripes)........endoplasmic reticulum
- nerds...............ribosomes
- pull and peel licorice (cut into smaller pieces).......centrioles
- peach ring.................nucleus

We couldn't find the yellow gelatin, so we got green. Get the yellow, the shapes are hard to see in the green. Line your bowl(s) with plastic wrap. Make the jello using the box directions and add the unflavored gelatin to dilute the color. Pour into bowl(s).Let the gelatin set in the bowl. Pop jello domes out onto a plate,then cut slits in the back and push your different candy parts into the slits. Now, we didn't do this part, because our green gelatin was so dark that you could see through it, so we just added them to the top.

You could be really creative with this and even label the different parts of the cell with little "toothpick flags". We did this 2 days before we left for vacation, so I wasn't thinking