Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Trip to the Mountains

Over Memorial Day weekend, we all went up to Arrowbear Lake for vacation.  Since Adam is now 18, graduating, and heading to work and college I thought it would be nice to get in this family time while I still had the chance.  As the kids continue to grow up and get jobs it is getting harder to work around everyone's schedule so that they all have the same days off.  I am so thankful that we got this time together.

The home that we rented is in a beautiful area in the mountains right next to a small lake.  With lots of wilderness to explore in the backyard, the kids had an amazing time climbing rocks and swinging on a rope swing that John made. 

Julia wanted to sleep with Oliver since I didn't bring the playpen  The first night he woke up three times.  The second night he woke up one time and by the third night he slept straight through.  Dennis didn't like sharing a top bunk with his younger brothers so he got to sleep in Adam and Caleb's room.  It made John and I smile to hear Dennis ask his older brothers a gazillion questions and have them try to answer them.  :)

A few of the neighbors were having a yard sale so I bought a bag of balls and a few movies.  At the end of the day, one woman gave the younger boys a few board games.  They loved playing them!

The older kids were allowed to explore as long as they had a few buddies with them.  They spent much of the time rock climbing and looking at an old car that had been pushed down the mountain by rushing water.  On the last day John went on a hike up to the top of some rocks.  There he found a few water bottles that sure looked like the ones we had brought.  This is the opposite of what we are teaching our kids so they had to go out and bring back three pieces of trash each so that they left the area cleaner than when they first got there.

A special treat was watching cable tv since we don't have it here at home.  The kids watched a few Disney channel shows and we all watched River Monsters! 

A few friends from church joined us for a night or two.  On the last night we barbecued tri-tip and had smores that the kids made in the oven since there were no open fires allowed in the area.

All in all, everyone enjoyed themselves.  We are already talking about next time.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Quick Update

Much is going on.  Just so much to do at the end of the year.  The homeschooled high schoolers are done for the year now that they took their finals earlier in the week.  I'm excited to report that we are ahead of the game and have most of their schedule planned out for next year.  Adam is getting ready to graduate and we bought a 4th used car for John that gets great gas mileage so Adam will have the old Nissan Max to go to and from work and college.  Many dentist appointments-- half of the kids have cavitites-- half don't.  Alex got new AFOs a few days ago-- he loves them! 

Nolan is enrolled in mainstream transitional kindergarten and will have an Ipad with Proloquo2Go to help him communicate.  Nolan has a hard time communicating because his mouth does not have the structure to produce intelligible words.  My hope is that this program will finally give him a voice!  He is so smart and has so much to say.  I just wish the school would have agreed to let him bring it home so he could use it with us too.  The Ipad and program combo is so expensive that I was hoping they would at the very least upload the program for us if we bought an Ipad-- but no.

Our little garden is growing great in some areas-- not so great in others.  Still, it brings great satisfaction watching something grow after nurturing it.  I wish I could say the same with my flowers.  One of my sons mistook all of the new growth for weeds and pulled every single one-- and left the weeds.  It might not have been such a big deal if he hadn't disobeyed me by pulling the bucket of weeds in the opposite place I had asked him to do it-- a consequence after refusing to listen to me.  :(  Between that and baseball, I'm almost convinced that we won't have flowers this summer. 

After shedding a few tears because of the situation with my teenage son and seeing the dead flowers in the bucket, I am now thinking about other ground covers.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

First Double Date

Baseball and softball are officially over. John took the kids to their last game today and to the awards ceremony at the end.   There was a waterslide that the kids went on.
They all had a great time!

Three of our kids got awards for Most Improved Player.

And Anastasia
Way to go kids!
Tonight something big happened.
Rachel with Brett, and Caleb with Taylar went on their first official double date to see Iron Man 3.
How exciting!
And scary too.  My kids are growing up so fast!  I am very thankful for the path they are on, and I trust them completely, but still, it is all new territory for me.  I didn't anticipate the mix of emotions I am having.  I feel blessed by how responsible and mature our oldest children are, yet to let them go out in the world makes our family so vulnerable to all the evils.  I am gently reminded that they are not in the world's hands, but in God's hands.  He's got this.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!   After breakfast in bed made by Galina, the kids came in to wish me a special day.  The girls had actually started wishing me a happy mother's day the night before with two of them talking me into opening their presents early, but I saved the rest for the morning.
Annalyn wrote me a beautiful poem and framed it. 

The kids made me pictures and cards too.
I got boxes of candy that I opened and we all sampled right away.

I also got a few wonderful laughs and a few foot burns from the "As seen on tv" products that a few of the girls thought I could really use. 
Later in the day my Mom and Aunt Tanya came over and John barbecued.  Overall it was a wonderful day!
My four youngest boys hang out together all the time.
It is so amazing to watch how Oliver learns from his older brothers.  They all do such a great job of playing with him.
Nolan  is such a trooper.  Last Friday he had a CT Scan.  This morning we had a follow up appointment with the ENT who specializes in the ear and she gave us some bad news.  Nolan doesn't have one Cholesteatoma, but two. :(  And they are both pretty large and will require two surgeries each spaced out over two years.  The first one is scheduled in June so that Nolan won't miss anymore school.  A few months later he will have his other ear operated on and then nine months later he will have the second surgeries on both.  Thankfully each procedure will be outpatient, but they will take about 3 hours each.   And through it all, he remains happy and full of spunk!
Speaking of spunk-- you should check out Oliver.  He is one busy little man.  He crawls and climbs everywhere!  With just a month and a half until his second birthday we all wonder if he will be walking by then.  He is so close!
And what is up with Dennis?  He is learning up a storm!  He is doing so well in school.  I brought him home this work book that our charter school discarded and he thought it was the coolest.  He worked on three pages right before bed.

The rest of this week is so full.  Tomorrow two of the kids have dentist appointments.  Then Oliver has his teacher come out on Thursday and Friday after I attend two IEP meetings.  I think next week is even worse with high school finals for my homeschoolers and four more dentist appointments.  It's my fault cramming in all of these appointments before school is out, but I would just really like to enjoy our summer without tons of appointments to go to.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rachel Rachel Rachel

Oh where has the time went? It seems like just yesterday that she was a little girl.  The last six years have been such a pleasure watching Rachel grow into the beautiful young woman that she is.
After some serious talks, we decided that Rachel was ready to start applying for jobs.  She only wanted to apply to one place-- a movie theater!  The second application that she sent off scored her an interview and she got the job!
Woo-hoo!  She got her "dream" job for now while she finishes up high school.
Another big deal in her life, is a boy named Brett.  He loves the Lord, treats her like a princess, and tried my brussel sprouts.  I'll leave it to Rachel to share more if and when she wants. :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This Fits Her!

Here is another Annalyn sandwich.   It takes the saying "Made with love" to a whole new level.
Check out her new do!  Finally a haircut that really fits her personality!

This girl sure adds to our lives!  She manages to continually make us smile and laugh.  :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Adam is 18!

Happy birthday Adam!
My first baby is all grown!  18!  Wow!  I remember when Dad and I first saw you and held you through the night.  We stared at your angelic little face in awe of all that you would grow up to be.
We are so very proud of you!
In true Reed birthday fashion, we spread out his celebration over a few days with more celebrating to come.  It started with a family dinner out with grandparents-- no small feat.  Our usual restaurant let me down saying that they could not take a reservation this particular night, so I called around till I found one that did.  A literal hole in the wall, enticed by a 20% off coupon, we were all pleasantly surprised with how great the food was.  It helped that the restaurant encourages reservations (notice our reserved sign).

Just as we were being served our food, the place started filling up.  By the time we left  there were people waiting outside for a table.  Though we planned to open presents there, we thought it would be nicer to free up the tables and open them at home. 
Yes it was Adam's birthday, but I am pretty sure that Nolan enjoyed the singing and blowing out the candles best!

Happy birthday Adam! 
Sunday we celebrated with our small group and this coming weekend Adam will have a few friends over.  Thankfully I don't have to plan pin the tail on the donkey, or a water balloon fight. ;)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lots of Pictures

Oliver just took a bath.   He splashed and cooed and squealed and laughed.    He was in a great mood after his bath too. 
And so so handsome.  Just look at that wild hair and those gorgeous blue eyes!
With a large family comes lots of labeling.   I'm wondering what he thought we might use his toothbrush for if not for brushing. :)
Dennis, Alex, and Nolan are lego fanatics.  They begin in the morning and end at night.

William is obsessed with tying balls and toys to ropes.  He does it outside with the tether ball pole and inside he came up with this game. 
Speaking of William, let me tell you what happened to him tonight.  He was at the skateboard park which is gated, lighted, and right next to a baseball park where John, his parents, and a bunch of the kids were watching Paul and Andrew's game.  He was skating on the ramps and at one point he fell and his penny board shot out from under him.  Some guy grabbed it and started running.  William chased after him into a neighborhood he did not know.  He was hurt from falling and tired from running and gave up.  He was mad and frustrated, of course.  The police were called and they took a report. 
In the end his chances of getting his board back are of course slim, but I am just glad that it didn't turn out worse.  What if William had caught him?  Then what?  What if the guy's friends jumped William in a dark alley?  It is scary to think about.
And so sad to think how this guy was probably just waiting for an opportunity like this one.
Big sigh.

Here are more of the kids' drawings.  I smile when I look at them.  How can you not?

Oliver is using his new mesh fresh food feeder.  I bet you can't say that three times fast.
He can now enjoy fresh strawberries, tangerines, and tomatoes without choking.  And he is chewing more which is the goal.
Paul is so funny.  As you can tell he didn't want his picture taken, but I wanted this particular picture because it shows Paul personality.  He is slowly developing his own style, his own way of doing things and I think he is loving it.  Gosh, I love this boy.
Here is my beautiful daughter Annalyn holding Oliver.  She just gave him a bath.  She is sporting her new haircut.  It fits her perfectly-- you should see it when I straighten and flip it out for her.   I'll try and remember to take a picture next time I do her hair.
Who knew that a few ropes would provide endless hours of entertainment for these boys?
Please pray.  There are wildfires burning all around us because it is so darn dry.   Over four hundred firefighter are fighting the blazes.  The wind is incessant.  John tied down one of our nicest trees and it still snapped this afternoon-- our second one to snap in the last month.  Adam and I tied down these trees in hopes of saving them from the same fate.
On a good note, our garden is growing.  I think it is pretty.