For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Let's Dance

Our little ballerina...she was in her "element"... loving to perform
Their dance was to the song "Zip a dee doo dah", and the girls even had to march onto stage on cue... Mia was just having fun
Daddy gave the girls roses after their performance...

Our "Prima" ballerina... just lovely... Her ballet was to the song "Castle on the Clouds" from Les Miserable

Tap class presented Mandy with the most challenges. She has been worried for the last week that she would forget or mess up on the steps... it was a bit difficult for all the girls on rehearsal night; however, Mandy put in a near perfect performance on recital night.

The big day(days) arrived for the girls. It was their Dance Recital, the culmination of an entire year of practice and hard work. The girls and I went to their Dress Rehersal on Thursday. Dress Rehersal can sometimes be aggravating and a bit boring as it drags on and on for almost 5 hours during the evening prior to Recital. We actually enjoyed the evening, and we were able to turn it into a girls night out. Mia danced first in the "pre-show" and then we had a couple of hours before Mandy had to be back for her dance, so the girls and I went out to dinner. It was a special time that we could talk and share stories, and Momma even got a special glimpse of what was on the girls hearts and what their special dreams are for the future.
On Friday, we had fun visiting with my mom(Nana) and my Aunt (who made a special trip up to see the girls dance) before getting the girls "dressed up" for the show. We were in for a treat as the whole recital turned out beautifully. The director (Mandy's teacher) and the co-director(Mia's teacher) worked hard to produce a wonderful show. You could tell that many hours had been devoted to the performances and many more hours to teaching a love of dance to many young people in our community. Our girls danced their hearts out, and we were amazed to see all the progress they have made over the past year. We look forward to next years dance classes. Mandy has been invited to dance in the junior dance competition team. It is quite an honor, and we are praying about accepting the invitation. It requires some travel, a bit more expense, and a lot more time. Mandy's teacher says that she has "dancing in her bones", and after seeing her ballet performance, I so believe it! Mandy asked me which routine I liked better...I couldn't choose... her ballet "rehersal" performance was so beautiful that it made me cry, and her tap performance on recital night made me cry. ...I'm such a softie
Enjoy the pics....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Whole Bunch of Nothing

Levi's Trains...using his gift card,he selected another piece to add to his set. Sporting his new haircut...Doesn't he look adorable?
Mandy used her gift card to add a baby carrier to her doll collection...Garrett's new handsome as ever! Can you see his "pesky" little sister in the background?... She can be very "ornery" at times.
Nate's new haircut... He looks so cute with his haircut short,but he doesn't like to have his picture taken.
Nolan doesn't like being in pictures that much either...but he was actually sitting still when we snapped this pic.
Our Memorial Day weekend was filled with a whole bunch of nothing...or maybe something?. We had a great Friday evening at the ball park. Nate's team was playing, and the kiddos did so well. Everyone was paying attention, playing hard and doing their very best. Nate was so excited because he actually hit the ball and made it around the bases. They won the game and wow,what a happy bunch of boys! We are so thrilled to see the progress they are making as a team. Saturday was devoted to some yard work,baseball practice for the big boys, and then a trip into town. Three of the four boys got haircuts, and we had a fun time shopping at the toy store. Mandy and Levi both had gift cards to spend and found just the right toy. The kids wanted to have some chicken wings, and daddy treated them to dinner at the wing place in town. It was yummy, and there was a toss up as to who ate the most. Sunday was church day and we spent the day just hanging out as a family. It was promotion Sunday for the younger kids, and Mandy was so excited to be moving with lots of her friends to the Pre teen room(3rd-6th grade). After lunch and naps, we took the kids to a local park where they played and played. We came home for an indoor picnic and watermelon, a favorite at our house. Monday was devoted to more yard work(for daddy and the boys). Mom spent the day sorting through closets,organizing Spring clothes, and straightening the house a bit. We had the privilege of attending a birthday party for one of the players on N&G's baseball team. His mom and dad are so sweet. We enjoyed hamburgers,hot dogs and even some Philippino food...and of course birthday cake...boy oh boy, was there ever a ton of yummy food! We were treated like royalty and the kiddos were beyond spoiled before we left. We returned home in the evening to finish up as many of the yard task and household task that we could before time for bed. Wow,maybe it wasn't a whole lot of nothing after all!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Party All the Time...?

We had two birthday celebrations this weekend. Our house was full of lots of laughter and fun.

Friday night brought Mandy's long awaited sleepover. She was so exctied and thrilled that her friends could come to the party. The evening started with not 1 but 3 baseball games. The girls graciously tagged along. We left after Levi's t-ball game and watching the other boys play a little of each of their games. The boys had quite a crowd of spectators(in addition to the girls, some other friends came to watch the games) and were so excited to have friends cheering them on. Mom,Levi and Nate brought the "party" girls home a little early to enjoy their time together.Funny Faces...Present Time... Saturday brought Levi's Birthday party... He counted down the days from his birthday(Wednesday)until his party...and he must have asked me a dozen times each day if it was his "party day" yet. The theme of the party was ...A CIRCUS!!We had a sno-cone and popcorn booth...manned by the "big" boys. The boys had a blast making the sno-cones, but I think they got carried away with the "sugar syrup". I know that G-man went into "sugar" overload that evening...The Duck Pond game....
Scooter Races....

Face Painting ... Mia,the clown... Nolan dressed up as a clown and made balloon animals for the kiddos...A Sad Clown?... Mia was pouting because momma told her that it was Levi's party...not hers...and,oh sweet, sweet,sweet...T couldn't stand that Mia was sad, so he went out to cheer her up...Parachute fun,Fun, FUN...

Present Time...
Serious business...sticking the tongue out,makes it easier to open presents...Look, Max...I got some cool stuff to take camping with us the next time we go!! Thanks Tyler!!
Momma and Daddy's gift... A Geo track...Levi loves trains... Grandma and Grandpa sent him some birthday money, and we added some pieces to the train. Levi is excited to add this set to his wooden set that he plays with constantly(some of which belong to his brothers). Did I mention, that Levi loves trains?!!!
Daddy set up the train set on Sunday, and Levi waited so patiently for it to be set up. He spent the rest of the afternoon playing with "his twains". We had to tear him away to eat dinner... This morning,as I type this, Levi and Nate are having a blast playing with his trains.
We had such a great time...Thanks to all the friends and family for making the kiddos birthdays so special.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Levi!

Levi is a totally, terrific dude! We have been so amazed at the progress that Levi has made since joining our family. In the last six months, we have seen Levi grow 2 sizes, and we have seen him make so many changes both physically and socially. He fits so well with all of our kiddos. Levi is "all boy" and keeps us on our toes as he is into everything,is scared of nothing, and loves adventure. He is very athletic and a sports enthusiast. He is thrilled to be playing "my tball" as he refers to it. One of his favorite times of the day is when Nolan(bubba) will wrestle with him. He loves to play any sport that he can get his brothers to join in the fun. He loves being outdoors, and if the weather is good will spend hours riding his scooter and bike. We have discovered that Levi has a love for music,and the amazing thing is that God knew that Levi belonged with our family. Music is so much a part of us... we have all kinds of music playing all day,the boys play instruments, Brad sings(even if he won't), and the girls love dance. We find joy in hearing Levi sing...he sings all the time(sometimes we have no idea what he is singing, but he sings).Mia and he put on many performances for the family. Who knows...maybe someday he and his brothers will form a band, and he will be the lead singer.
Then there is his laugh...well it is hard to describe...he has a "belly" laugh that is most contagious. Whenever he starts laughing, everyone around cannot avoid joining in the merriment and soon everyone is laughing. Oh,...and HIS SMILE... It is a smile that just lights up a room almost as if a thousand light bulbs were set off. One thing is for certain, his smile can turn this momma's heart to butter.
Levi is my sweet,cuddly teddy bear. I love the wonderful hugs he gives and enjoy snuggling with him before he goes to bed. He often ask for Brad or I to rock him and sing to him before he goes to sleep. God has blessed us with this precious gift, and we love him so very much!
Happy Birthday, my sweet baby boy!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our Science Experiment...

Our babies are growing... this was one week ago.... ...this is what they look like today....they are so big that momma bird stays with them rarely now. She comes back every little while to feed them.(apparently our yard is quite plentiful with worms and bugs)..she is never far away, and she comes back at night.
Our "Bird Sanctuary" ... we have 4 feeders and a bird bath set up in a sheltered area of our yard. Golden finches come to our feeders regularly, but on Saturday we had a large number of them visiting. If you look closely, you can see a bird visitor flying into the feeder...he isn't a golden finch...he is a "brilliant" blue.
Can you see the "blue" visitor on the bag feeder?...
After the major storm on Friday, Saturday dawned as a glorious,warm and calm day. We had so much fun being outside and were able to witness God's amazing beauty. The birds were plentiful in the yard, and we had the rare treat of seeing many different visitors as well as our regular feeders. We tried several times to catch pictures of a few of them;however, we just couldn't get the pics without them flying away.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Our Crazy Weekend...

Our Yard after the Storm...really the picture doesn't show all the limbs, but this is a huge river oak in our front yard...the limbs were as big as a post.
More limbs in the backyard...we know have enough to build a bondfire...

Working in the Garden...(Mia was "plum tuckered out") Mia fell asleep almost instantly after she sat down for a rest... Mandy worked extremely hard on pulling weeds from the garden...she helped me all day. The boys helped too,but they had to leave for baseball practice half way through the job.
We call them the"ladies"... we now have six chicks and Brad is building a chicken coop onto our barn. I hope they lay lots of recoop the cost.
Our Dream Car!!haha... we saw this bus at the hotel and thought it would work out perfectly for the six chili peppers.

The craziness began Friday morning. We were awakened by the blaring of tornado sirens. We grabbed the girls and ran downstairs to the basement(the boys all sleep down there). We were already without power, so Brad grabbed flashlights and we sat downstairs being entertained by our Labrador"puppy". He is still trying to learn to be good inside. After the storm had passed, we made our way upstairs...still no power. Brad had everyone get dressed, and we were going to head to breakfast. What we didn't realize was how widespread the damage was...all over our general area, there were trees toppled,trees in houses,roofs blown off, and debris everywhere. In one area we passed, there was a whole street row of electric lines that were toppled in half.
The few restaurants that could open(many were without power) were packed to overflowing. It would have been impossible to get seats for all eight of us, and the kids were already hungry. We returned back to our "smaller" town and found the diner open and beginning to serve lunch. So everyone enjoyed a favorite from this rendition of a fifties diner. Following lunch,we drove by the baseball fields and saw the damage there. It was a huge mess,so we helped cleanup and hang banners back. Unfortunately the fields were drenched, and we had to cancel games for that night. We returned home and still had no power,so we worked outside cleaning up tree limbs...some so huge that daddy had to cut them into sections with the chainsaw. We also had several broken and hanging limbs that Brad removed from the trees. Our damage was minimal compared to others around the area. Several homes had trees that fell on them splitting them almost in two. The weather service still isn't claiming that it was a tornado,only high winds in excess of 80 mile an hour and torrential rain and hail. We still had no power by Friday evening,which means no water because our well requires electricity.Brad placed a call into the electric company and found that they had 70,000 customers without service, and he was told that they hoped to restore it by Monday. We checked into a hotel(the last room available) and let the kids swim in the indoor pool. They seemed not in the least disturbed by it all. We booked the room for a second night, and then to our surprise our power was restored late Saturday afternoon. (We really expected to be without power at least until Monday if not longer).We had already paid for the room,so the kids enjoyed another night at the swimming pool; however, we went home to sleep in our own beds. We had spent Saturday afternoon working on our yard, and Brad helped me till a garden. All the kids helped clear as much grass and weeds out as we could. We had all worked so hard that day and were exhausted. It was a nice gift to be able to take a nice swim and then to come home to sleep in our own bed. In my opinion, there is no place like home.
Brad and Garrett made me breakfast in bed for Mother's Day. Unfortunately,I woke with a slight headache and didn't feel up to eating much. With medicine, I felt like going to church, and the kids took me to lunch at our favorite Mexican food place. However, my headache was progressing into a full fledged migraine, and I couldn't eat much at all. The kids were so dispappointed because mommy had to go to bed and have no lights/no sound for the remainder of the afternoon. It was a yucky way to spend Mother's Day,but the kids were so sweet trying to take care of me. I am truly a blessed momma! It is all I ever dreamed about as a little girl...a teacher,a wife and a mommy.
This week promises to be as busy as ever... baseball games, birthday parties and sleepovers, planting the garden,cleaning house, and building a chicken coop are all on our list of things to do over the next week. Stayed tuned for the exciting life and times of the five chili peppers+one.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I can hardly believe it is Thursday again...where does the time go?
I am thankful for so many things, but these are the things most on my heart today...
1)That Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior...while so many are struggling in these crazy times, he keeps me grounded, at peace, and even joyful. He is my strength and refuge!!
2) My husband's job... I never want to take for granted that God has indeed blessed our family with his job. It is directly sent by God (I'll have to share that story later),and through the grace of God he has been blessed to keep it even when times were looking rough a few months ago. Thank You, Jesus!
3) My children's health... there are so many children in this world that are suffering (many right in our own towns). I am so thankful that I have healthy children that can run and play.
4) For children's brings joy to my soul!
5) For food to eat... many times it might not be what I like,but I have food to fill my tummy and my children are always fed. There are many children in this world who go hungry.
6)That I live in a country where I am FREE to worship God and Jesus as my savior. We should never take that for granted. There may come a day when we no longer have that right. As Christians, we should not let that happen. We should stand up, band together, speak out and above all PRAY for our nation and its leaders!
7) For God's provisions... He always provides everything I need and even some things I want. I love that God answers prayers...even if it is not always the answer we are seeking. God knows our life story and He provides!!

The LORD is my rock,* my fortress* and my deliverer;*
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.*
He is my shield* and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our Science Experiement

Remember these...??? Those eggs are now these baby birds...all three eggs have hatched.

Momma bird is doing a good job of looking out for her babies... as soon as Brad went out to take the pictures, she climbed on the planter wall and was scolding him in a very "motherly" tone.
We have been watching her through a window(she won't let us close) and have seen her feeding her "chicks" lots of worms. She sits the nest and only leaves if we come out, or to get food. Curiously, she stays in the nest at night even when we are near. We can't wait to see the babies continue to grow and to learn to fly.It still amazes me... God's bountiful blessing for our school!

A Day at the Museum...

...continued from our weekend trip. We spent the night in Hot springs and enjoyed a day together of exploring the mountains and a very coooool museum. The pictures tell the rest of the story.

Enjoying cupcakes ...Mandy's birthday celebration included dinner at a Mexican food place and these cupcakes at the hotel.

The kiddos...exploring the mountain scenery in Hot Springs.

A Day at the Museum... Nolan constructing a it earthquake proof?

Workers hauling bricks...

Most of the group decided to build this....

While Nate was determined to fix earthquake safe building.

He worked......and worked

...and worked...when he pushed the button,the machine simulated an earthquake... Guess What? ...his building didn't crumble!

Back to the Arch builders...

Here comes all the helpers....

Almost there...

Just a little more adjustment...

Hooray ... Look what we built!!

Nolan...Oh so STRONG!!

Can Garrett really hold up this wall???

Miners Forty-Niners... their favorite exhibit...The big boys found this exciting too...the Faraday cage and Tesla's conical lightning machine...
Making mountains... Mandy was so excited about the museum and all the fun things that she was almost "giddy".

Mia and Levi's favorite exhibit...the boat races

Nate created a windmill...

The nature peaceful...(even in the rain)

Mia and her Nolie...