Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Blessings 2015

Each year I am humbled by the blessings that others bestow on our family.  This year was no exception.  As is too often the case, our year end budget looked bleak and certainly didn't indicate the Christmas that was to be.

However, fruit arrived from several sources, and we feasted on pears, apples, grapefruits, mandarin oranges and oranges.  Chocolate goodies plates, a food basket with two hams, eggs and a huge load of gifted canned goods made our cupboards, refrigerator and counters overflow with abundance.

Then a surprise from a high school friend brought amazingly generous gifts for each of our kids and Aldi's gift certificates for Ed and I to fill-in the grocery gaps....we have had fun making a shopping list for the things that cause a crisis if we run out...pancake syrup, ketchup, garlic salt, SUGAR, cooking oil, etc...will soon be restocked and ready for 2016!

When we opened the mailbox we found surprises in the form of gift cards too.  Each was a blessing.  One came without a name, and we turned it into a FULL tank of diesel for the bus (and will be able to top off the tank again after our holiday travels).  For those of you without a bus, let me explain that a 55 gallon tank is a BIG investment which usually lasts us 8 to 10 weeks.  We typically cannot afford to fill it up so we feed the bus $10 and $20 bills with the goal of keeping the gauge above a quarter. Having a full tank of diesel before coldest weather of winter is a big stress reliever.

At the end of October, when we had not picked up many walnuts to fund Christmas because of flu/cold/ear infection bugs and a general lack of walnuts because the trees just hadn't done their part in SW Missouri this year, I never could have predicted the abundance that Christmas would bring from so many generous and caring people.

Thank you, blessings and peace to you all on this wonderful Christmas day!

And my God will meet all your needs 
according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 4:19

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Family Project: Sleep Deprived EEG

I hope you can see and enjoy the humor in how even the medically mundane can become an adventure in our family.  

When planning for Matt to have a sleep deprived medical test, it is a family project.  For the test Matt would need to sleep less than 4 hours.  I knew he would fall asleep in the car on the way to the test so I had to allow for an hour of sleep in transport. Therefore, we made a plan to keep him awake until at least 4:30am.

It went something like this...No bath because we will likely need a bath during the night to stay awake.  We rented 3 movies and 2 "active" Wii games.  I had snacks and activities ready.

8:30-9pm             Twins are in charge because they thought they needed a shift.  (The usual bedtime is 8:30pm)

9pm-10pm            David was in charge of keeping Matt awake. (AKA Project Movies)

10pm - Midnight   Corrine was in charge and rolled out snacks, hot chocolate and a bit of noise.  (They woke me up a couple times.)

Midnight-2am       Grace was in charge and I have no idea what she did, but he was awake when I started my shift.

2am-8am              Mom (me) on duty....

Here are my shift's highlights:

2:18am   Matt falls asleep while using the potty.  (I catch him before he falls.)

2:20am   We do homework.  He wants Corrine to get up and sit with him again.  I say no.

2:40am   Movie and snack in kitchen so the chair would be uncomfortable and keep him awake.

3:15am   I literally "catch" Matt as he "falls" asleep at the kitchen table.

3:20am   Matt goes through all the kitchen cabinets.  I don't know what he is looking for, but he is awake so I don't care!  He can look all he wants!

3:30am   I break out the glow sticks so Matt wants to turn off all the lights...BAD idea!!!

3:45am   Another snack....back to the Wii games

4:11am   Matt brings me his piggy bank and wants to go the Wal-Mart.  It is starting to storm so I say no (and I honestly cannot imagine a fate worse than taking an extremely tired child to Wal-Mart at 4am.  I am pretty sure this is the "stuff" that causes concerned citizens to call Child Protective Services.  Otherwise, it might not be a bad idea since I do need a few grocery items.)

4:30am   Well timed LOUD thunderstorm.  Thank you Lord!  (I have a new prospective on why we have loud storms at night.  It is just the Lord helping out a mom!)...still playing Wii.

4:45am   Matt drifts off to sleep.  Time for a walk and ice cream.

5:15am   Daddy gets up for work.  Twins and Nate wake up.  Chaos ensues as the boys start arguing over the Wii, movies, getting clean and dressed.

7:00am   Everyone on the bus.  Matt and I head to the clinic.  He falls asleep.

8:00am  Arrive at clinic and he is awake and ready to check this all out.  He doesn't like the cold gel.   Luckily, once he is "wired", it only takes about 8 minutes for him to settle down and sleep.

10:00am Matt falls asleep on the way home and gets carried in still asleep.  Mom is drinking coffee ready to start paperwork and housework while Matt sleeps in my bed.  Never mind, Grace just took my coffee.....

Another family project is completed except getting Matt the Happy Meal that he has been promised.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Surviving Snow Days

As I have mentioned before, snow days are tough for my kids to handle due to the unexpected change of routine.  However, these recent "late in winter" snow days even caught me off guard, and I did not have my "secret" stash of activities fully stocked.  I usually have a movie or two that they have not seen or a game save back for tough days or I have a small new toy or some old toys that has been hidden away for a while.  I also usually have some "pinterest" type activity supplies to try and a kid-helper-friendly recipe or two, and I only had one of these on hand and it did not go well. (See photo below of snow coloring.)

So with the usual stash depleted, this is what we did....
LOTS of snow ice cream...

Igloo building

Bigger igloo building 

David "wired" the igloo with Christmas lights and a power strip
for his electronics.
Snow "iced" lattes.

Soda slushies

A "pintrest" idea that wasn't very good.  It was too tiring for the
little guys to keep squeezing the triggers. 

The teens and tweens liked the squeeze bottle painting better, but
even they complained about their hands cramping.

Dances in the dining room

Lots of coloring

Not to say that they got bored, but even
Hannah asked to color!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Birthday

For birthdays at our house, we let the birthday person pick the dinner menu.  However, when it is my birthday, my kids have interpreted it to mean that they pick their favorite of what they think are mom's favorite foods.  I think it is cute so I let them all order up their LONG lists of foods.  Then I pick from what is in the freezer or what "shows up".  (Everything marked with an asterisk below was donated to us today or recently.  Sometimes I use donations to "pretend" that I am on a show like "Iron Chef", but today's blessings went together fairly easily.  Needless to say, I am very thankful for the opportunity and blessing of being challenged to make meals out of free food!)

Tonight's dinner ended up being meatloaf, salmon (which I have had hidden in the freezer for months), mushroom* brown rice, squash*, steamed artichokes* with balsamic dip, baked potatoes* (baked in the crock pot), french bread* and Cowboys "clearance" cupcakes*!  Salmon is one of the kids' favorites, but since it is pricey we only have it every several months so they were especially thrilled!

The kids (except Corrine) were home from school today on a cold weather school closing day.  Some of my children do not deal well with unplanned changes of routine so it was a long day of being asked millions of times if we can go to school. The fact that Corrine got to go to school while they stayed home made the day even harder for them.  My husband got me roses for my birthday, which is a rare treat (like 4th time in 16 years), and it was very nice to have them for comfort as I SLUGGED my way through the meltdowns, demands, snacks, lunch, snacks, demands, meltdowns, dinner prep....of the day.  Snow days are harder than the weekend for us since these snow days "sneak up" on us.  Also there was no snow/ice today, and this made it even harder for them to understand why they weren't doing what they usually do on Thursday.  Plus I think having this school week start on Tuesday (since Monday was teacher's meetings) had already confused their schedules.  

So when everyone was pleased with my birthday dinner and cupcakes, then that made me very happy with my day! (And now baths are done and everyone is snug in their beds...the day seems like it wasn't that bad.)