Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Boys will be Boys

Happy Birthday to Gavin. He turned 4 on October 8th. His two requests were that he wanted a sword and a yax. So we decided boys no matter what will turn whatever is around them into swords, guns etc... Sticks have been our boys preferred way of waging war on each other with stick fights etc... We have piles of sticks sitting outside each door of our house.
How we celebrate birthdays....We don't have parties with friends until the age of seven when we feel they can really appreciate and anticipate the fun. Then from the age of seven on we will have a birthday party with friends once every three years.
So how do we celebrate...
1. A couple nights before the birthday party we let the birthday child stay up late with us and talk about what would make for a special day.
Gavin requested...a star wars cake with star wars decorations, a sword, a yax, a movie, and pizza.
2. So we decorate the dining room of our house with streamers, balloons and of course the theme of the party Star Wars!
3. We make a birthday chair that is decorated much more than the others.
4. We eat off of the themed plates and drink out of the cups for at least a couple days (a good wipe down with a paper towel makes paper plates last quite a while).
5. We can't forget the oh so important birthday cereal. We don't each much cereal around here and if we do it is definitely not the fun sugary kind. So each birthday they get to pick out a big giant box of sugar cereal the night before their birthday. This is their birthday breakfast along with a breakfast favorite like homemade cinnamon rolls, pancakes, waffles or french toast. Normally every one chooses the cinnamon rolls...they are amazingly yummy, but take more time and effort than the other choices which means we have them at birthdays and Christmas and that is all.
6. The birthday kid gets to make the decisions for the day. All day what they want to do and eat.
7. We sing happy birthday in all different voices each person yells out a different theme and then we sing it example...the spooky way, the hillbilly way, the soft way, the squeaky way, the loud way. We come up with all kinds of crazy ways and we end up somewhere around twelve different ways that we have sung happy birthday to the birthday kid.
8. The birthday kid gets to pick out their own present within a budgeted amount of money. We take them to Toys R Us, Target, Walmart and sometimes the Dollar Store and wonder the stores looking at everything. This is their favorite thing to do.
9. Date Night: We will do it every birthday for each kid because we find this part to be the most important of all. We take the birthday kid on a date. Mom and dad and only the birthday kid. This could range from going to the park and packing a picnic when money is tight or what we like being able to do because we rarely do it is taking them somewhere special like the bowling alley, ice skating, jump zone etc... Gavin wants to go bowling and eat pizza. Branden will probably take him bowling to cut down on costs and then I will get a sitter so I can meet them for dinner and dessert. At dinner we always make a list of the things we hope to see them accomplish in the next year and they tell us the things they would like to accomplish. (teaching them goal setting skills) We review their previous years goals. Branden tracks all of it on his phone and/or ipad.

I think that is it minus the fact our kids with their theme like to dress up on the day of the birthday with the theme of their decorations. Birthdays are fun and birthdays are simple ways of giving thanks for the little person God has given us.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moving...An Amazing Story

So we moved two weeks before Emmaline was born to an amazing house that we love! This house is truly a blessing. The story is so moving to me so I am going to share it. It starts out something like this...God is faithful...he is faithful in all things. He provides for us in so many ways every day. He provides for us more and more the more children we have. One month before Emmaline was born mothers day was celebrated and my mom came in town to be with us for the weekend. To say I love garage sales is an understatement. Nearly everything we own is from a garage sale! My motto "a coat of paint makes all things new". My mom watched the kids while Branden and I had an hour before a soccer game. We went to a few yard sales in neighborhoods we had been to and then we went to a garage sale I found on craigslist. We followed the directions to a neighborhood we had never been to before and turned in and loved it immediately. Older homes on big lots. We both commented on the lots and mature trees. Then we saw a house on the right with an amazing yard and a front porch and we both said wow that is an awesome house. We continued down the road to the yard sale. After the yard sale I said babe lets go dream. So we stopped at the house again (note: we were not house hunting nor did we need to we were in a lease that lasted for another 15 months and we never pick up fliers because it leaves my heart wanting)and there was a for sale sign and some fliers. We picked up a flier and it was definitely not in our league, but I said Lord I would love to live in a house like this some day. We took the flier home and put it on the fridge. Branden said it would give us something to work towards.
Two weeks go by and Branden begins working on the kitchen floor. He would exchange his work on projects in the house for compensation on our rent. So his latest project was ripping up the laminate kitchen floor and putting tile down. As he was ripping up the floor he found quite a bit of mold. I said YIKES and freaked out and we called a mold specialist. I knew we had obviously been living there with it, but I did not want to bring a new baby home to a bunch of mold spores. The mold man came and told us it was a certain type of mold that needed to be removed in a certain way and that we probably shouldn't stay there. So we house hopped to our wonderful friends homes while we waited for the mold to be removed. Much to our dismay our landlord lied to us and went behind our backs and removed the mold improperly etc...(there is a history here of a list of many things he had previously done to us to take advantage of us). So this was the icing on the cake and Branden said we will not bring a new baby into this house. Our landlord said I understand (him saying this in and of it itself is a miracle) and poof we were without a place to live. We did get our deposit back because our landlord broke the lease with his actions. So two weeks from baby and no place to call home. Branden was working on the floor on Sunday. Tuesday we broke the lease. Friday a friend from church called Branden and said he had someone he thought we should contact. Our friend had lunch with this man a month prior and when they were speaking the man mentioned he had a house for sale, but he was really considering taking it off the market because he wanted to help a young, big, Catholic family. He said he learned too late in life what was important and it was he and his wife job to help young families that are open to life. So Branden called this man John at lunch time on Friday. John said come on over I will meet you at the house in thirty minutes. Hey gave Branden the address and Branden came to pick me up. As we pulled into the neighborhood Branden and I were super excited because we recognized it from two weeks prior and we both said again wow we love this neighborhood. We continue down the street looking at the mailboxes for the address and we came upon THE HOUSE. The same exact house we had a flier for on our fridge. Okay if you don't know Franklin it is not a tiny city and I bet there are thousands of houses for sale in Franklin alone. So I started crying and Branden as well. We could not believe this was the house we were coming to look at. Both of us in the back of our minds thought we cannot afford this house be it a rental or purchase. We meet John in tears and explain the story and look at the house and fall more in love the more we see. He explained we are going to make it work and that is exactly what we did. John and his wife are being extremely generous to our family. We are so grateful to them and we love our new house. There are still boxes that have not been unpacked, but we are getting there. One thing I did do upon moving in and the month that followed was started coming up with systems and a better way to organize our stuff. I will post later some of the things I have done that are working for us with five kids and homeschooling two of them now. So in summary we Love our house it is more than we need and we are so grateful to God for his detailed love to our family.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sweet Emmaline....

So lots of life and lots of fun since my last post. We moved and had sweet Emmaline!
We are in love! Totally Smitten over her! All of us! It is amazing how a new little person comes into your life and you can't imagine life without them. She is talking and smiling all of the time. This girly loves her thumb. She loves to be around the action and is constantly being held or talked to by someone. I know some people think children may be deprived of attention when you have a handful of children, but I beg to differ I think Emmaline gets more attention than her previous siblings because there are more people to love her. Lately she loves to sit in the bumbo chair and hang out in the kitchen where I spend a good portion of my day and there is an insane amount of traffic coming in and out doing school work and playing. She is always entertained.