We pulled in around 5:30 tonight. Although we're glad for the warmer temperature and its nice to be 'home' I want to move!!! We've unpacked everything and when I went upstairs to shower what did I see but a nasty roach. Great. Where are the other ones hiding??? In our other house we'd be gone for weeks at a time and never came home to bugs. Why do we have them here? Guess there goes another night of not sleeping well... Then when I took a shower the water reeked. I thought it strange since I've been washing laundry since I've been home and didn't find that water to stink. Even Little Man commented on it when he walked into the bathroom for his bath. And Zach has declared it smells like 'Sh%*'. And this is from a man who watches his tongue! So while we're home we're really hoping that its only home for about 6-7 more months. I can't take it anymore!!!
Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
We're on our way home. We left yesterday afternoon and drove to Milwaukee. Tonight we're staying in Arkansas. We aren't really pushing ourselves to get back as much as we pushed ourselves to get to the U.P. Its more relaxing this way though. I'm thankful that the hotel we're at tonight is nice. Last night our non-smoking room smelled like a smoking room. Right after we got in there Zach started hacking (he's allergic to cigarette smoke). I had to ask if we could move to another room. That place wasn't as great as where we're at tonight. The bed is super soft and much bigger. It's cleaner. I think I'll get a good nights rest tonight. No worries of mice or bed bugs. Then on to the deep south once again. It is nice that the weather is warmer. It was crazy how right after we got out of Chicago there was like no snow. Our van needs to see a car wash- talk about nasty from the salt and sand on the roads. That will be the first thing we do in the morning. Sorry I'm rambling, I'm exhausted. I have much to post about from our trip and took almost 300 pictures. Hopefully I'll get to it soon. I'm not sure I'll have time to post tomorrow, so if not I pray you all have a safe and happy New Year.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Home is cozy. Home is warm. It is full of loving hugs from a mother's tender embrace that has warmed the heart for 30 years. It is full of laughter at children's antics as they play and romp around. It is the smell of the woodstove as it creates a cozy atmosphere, a haven of warmth from the cold outdoors. It is peeking out the window to see the tall pines laden with beautiful white snow. And to catch a glimpse of the deer munching on apples in the yard. It is the sound of snowmobiles dashing through the white fields. It is the taste of foods you can only find at home: mom's spaghetti, pasties, mashed potatoes to name a few. And it is the sound of mice scratching and climbing the wall of your room in the wee hours of the morning, making you believe they're nibbling on your items in the room. This is home.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Here we are back in Michigan. Most of the trip was spent driving through fog. We arrived here last night after 9. All day yesterday we drove through fog. After Green Bay the fog was so bad that we drove about 50 mph almost the whole way, which is 4 hours! When we hit the Baraga County line it wasn't foggy anymore. Zach went and spent the night at his dad's last night. He had fun hanging out with him, playing chess and eating venison jerky. This morning after breakfast the kids got bundled up and played in the snow. They saw quickly how hard it is to walk in snow! At least it wasn't too cold out! We're supposed to get snow tonight. Hopefully we make it up to church tomorrow! Then we meet up with Zach's family at his dad's house! I can't wait! All 12 cousins will get to play together, including Amie's kiddos! We'll only be missing Zach's brother, Adam. It is so nice to be out of the car! I was exhausted last night, and not the most pleasant person to be around. That's what happens when you are sleep deprived and drive for so long in such a short period of time, staring through the thickest fog!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
In a couple of hours we will be heading from the wet south where we're experiencing thunderstorms to the cold and white north. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel. I'm sure I'll have time to blog at some point. I have been wanting to blog about our Christmas we celebrated here at home but I just haven't had time. I have pictures to share also.
I must say I haven't gotten many Christmas cards this year. Its really weird. I guess we're all trying to save money and send them through email like I did but I do miss the cards coming in my mailbox too. And I am so frustrated. We were supposed to get Zach's last Christmas gift today through UPS. I tracked it and it said there's an exception? I sure hope by some chance they deliver it before we leave. Last it was detected in Jackson, MS. Too bad we couldn't just pick it up on our way through there!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I cannot believe another year has passed. How time flies the older we get! Sometimes it seems the days will never end, but then the year has flown! We pray this year has found you all well and closer to the Lord. We have had quite an eventful year here in Mississippi.
In March of this year we lost our baby at 14 weeks gestation. Jamie delivered him and we were able to bury him at the National Cemetery. We named him Malachi Robert. Malachi means ‘My Messenger’ and we believe that in his short life he sent quite the message. It took about 23 days for Jamie’s body to release the baby and it was quite an experience. While we were on an emotional roller coaster and our faith was tested we constantly felt the Lord’s presence and peace upon us. It was amazing. I know many of you were praying for us and we could feel every one of those prayers. God is awesome. While we miss our little boy, especially at Christmastime, we look forward to the day we will reunite with him in heaven. And we thank God for the time we did have with him and that we were able to hold him. The children talk about him almost every day and we try to visit his grave often.
In May we took a trip to North Carolina to visit old (and new) friends. It was a blessed time seeing our old friends from there. We stopped in South Carolina and Georgia along the way to do some sightseeing and visit other friends. It was a much needed and welcomed vacation. In October Jamie flew home (ALONE) for about a week to spend some time with her family. It was her first time being away from Zach and the kids for such a lengthy amount of time. She enjoyed it but also missed them like crazy! We've also decided to travel home for Christmas. This is a last minute decision and will be a quick trip. Princess is the only one who remembers snow from North Carolina and the kids are SO excited about playing in snow. Not to mention getting to see grandparents for Christmas! It will be our first Christmas 'home' since we've been married. We're looking forward to it (besides the long drive).
As some of you know the Lord opened the doors for us to adopt. It had been on our hearts for some time and the door opened for us to take action. We faithfully obeyed the Lord and we have been on such a ride! For those of you who have adopted you know what we're talking about! We are adopting from Liberia, Africa and hoping for a little girl between the ages of 3 and 7 years old. We were hoping to receive our referral (name and info of child) before Christmas but it is getting down to the wire now. We cannot wait to learn who our little girl is and bring her home to us! She is already a part of our family as we often talk about her and daily pray for her. We're excited at how the Lord is working!
We also sold our house and moved into military housing! It was such a God thing and we were able to pay off debt that we’d incurred as well as have money set aside for our adoption. Houses aren’t selling down here very well, but the Lord sold ours in 5 days! This was a HUGE testimony to us of God moving mountains!
Now, on to how we’re doing. Princess is now 7 ½ and in second grade. She has learned to ride her bike this year. She is a big help around the house and enjoys reading and playing Barbies. She was baptized the day after her birthday and she has such a heart for Jesus and desires to tell others about Him.
Little Man is 5 now and began kindergarten this year. He excels in math and is slowly plugging away at reading. He really enjoys doing school and is always making me laugh as I teach him. He loves his Transformers, riding his bike and watching movies. He asked Jesus to come into his heart a couple of months ago.
Cuddly Boy is 3 and still the baby of the family. If he's not climbing on washing machines or digging in the refrigerator chances are he's breaking something! As much of a handful that he can be he is such a delight and is still as cuddly as ever. He's always making us laugh, just like his brother, by his antics or funny faces. He is in Cubbies this year at church and really enjoys memorizing his Bible verses. He likes to sit at the table and do 'school' with us.
Zach has been busy at work. He began teaching a new course this fall and is still learning the ropes of his new job. He's still cheering on his Packers, who are having a winning season and he keeps busy helping and playing with the children. We're hoping the Air Force will transfer us this coming summer to somewhere where we can enjoy the seasons! Both Zach and Jamie teach the Cubbies at church and we really enjoy working with the children.
Besides homeschooling the children Jamie still finds time to read, blog and maintain the home. She is doing a Bible study on Motherhood right now and is being stretched and encouraged by it. She enjoys Park Days with the homeschool group where not only the children 'socialize' but so does she! She also enjoys Mom's Nights where she gets a break from it all and is uplifted by other homeschooling Moms.
It has been a year of trials, but the Lord has worked mightily through each one. He is such a faithful God and we are trying to be His faithful children. We think and pray for you all often and we hope that your 2007 was blessed and that your 2008 will be prosperous for the Kingdom of God.
Many CHRISTmas blessings to you,
Zach, Jamie, Princess, Little Man & Cuddly Boy
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
After how many years of cooking I think I finally did it! I made up my own little recipe. Normally I pretty much follow the book when cooking- I hate messing things up. Yesterday I knew I wanted some sort of Mexican dish but I didn't have either this or that so I took some of my favorite Mexican recipes off the top of my head and here's what I came up with:
1-2 lbs ground beef
salt, pepper, basil leaves
1 can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 can black beans
1 can shoepeg corn
flour tortillas broken into bite size pieces
shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
Brown beef and drain. Stir it with rest of ingredients. Bake 30-40 minutes until cooked through. Garnish with more cheese, sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes.
Oh, it was so delicious!
Monday, December 17, 2007
I am in a real big fat ugly funk. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of myself. I'm sick of my kids. I just feel like I'm doing the worst job of mothering ever. I know its a lie from the devil himself but its how I feel nonetheless. I feel like I can never get a word in edgewise with my husband because my rude children never let us talk. I feel like I have emotional needs that aren't being met. I feel like I can't talk about the babies I lost, like I have to keep it buried. I feel like my body is a failure to not be working properly and I wonder when and if it will. I have so much to do to get ready to go 'home' that I don't even know where to begin. I am overwhelmed. I am annoyed. I am crabby. I really feel like I'm on my last thread. My kids are running around the house like wild and just can't settle down. It's been like this for weeks. I know they're kids but it drives me nuts. I can't do something simple with them without a catastrophe happening. Why can't I just do it and enjoy it? Why am I simply surviving in this role and not fulfilling it the way I need to? When will I get it right?????
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Last night we went to Zach's Christmas party for work. Made an appearance, ate some alright food, won a gift card to Pizza Hut and a Rubbermaid bowl. That's all I'll say about that. Just not my cup of tea and way out of my comfort zone, those kind of things. But, we did show our faces. That's a big thing to do in the military for those who don't know.
Today we went to the 'mouse' as Jodie refers to it. Thanks Mom for the gift card. We all had a good time. We also went to see the baby's grave as it will be the last time to see it this year. At times I'm having a real hard time (when I think about it) with knowing we should have a baby here with us celebrating Christ's birth. You really feel the voids on holidays. And especially now that we're going 'home' for Christmas for some reason I'm feeling the void even more. OK, enough about that before I cry!
Oh yeah, I got a message this morning from the doctor (on a Saturday). I had left one for him yesterday wondering my test results. He said everything is fine. I'm supposed to go in next week but I'll have to reschedule it. I'm glad its all fine but then I sit and wonder WHAT is wrong with my body! Although so far this month it seems to be better.
Well, my Cuddly boy is being WIGGLY boy right now and will NOT fall asleep. My patience is gone with him. I just want some peace and quiet!
We are.............................................GOING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So next time I need to check my links before I post. Here my mom made the recipe for Peppermint Bark only it wasn't the one I made! I guess I posted the wrong one. The one I linked sure sounds delicious but the one I had was delicious too. Here is the recipe I used. And I will double check to make sure its right this time! Risa, I was wondering why you said you use white chocolate when that was what I used!
Friday, December 14, 2007
2 cans of pop + one cold freezer = one unhappy woman
Last night Zach thought he'd do my a favor by putting 2 cans of pop in the freezer so they'd get cold faster. Only he didn't tell me. And he forgot about them. I opened the freezer to a mess that also seeped into the fridge a bit and all over the floor. Of course this all happened when he was at work so guess who had to clean it up? You got it- me. I was so irritated. Not really at him as much as just the whole thing. I JUST mopped the floors a couple of days ago. Since the little incident I've remopped them twice. I just can't stand sticky floors and they still felt sticky. Let's hope the second mopping did the trick.
11 days of leave + Christmas = a possible trip HOME
Zach thinks we should drive all the way home for Christmas. It's about a 24 hour drive. Only we've never done it in winter so I have no idea how long it would take. While I really want to go home since we've never spent a Christmas at home since we've been married I'm also thinking practically: a) with what money b) in the middle of winter c) the kids have no winter clothes as far as boots, snowpants, mittens, etc d) hauling gifts to and fro e) which family would we see and not see on such a short trip (many of them moved further away) f) where would we stay g) I'd freeze!
But on the other hand it would be awesome to see our families on Christmas! And I know they would love it too. Princess and Little Man have seen snow but vaguely remember it- they would LOVE to play in the snow! So I sit here debating what to do. While I want to go part of me thinks its not the wisest decision. Then again what if we get orders somewhere even further away that would prevent us from going home for Christmas for the next 3-4 years? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I have not baked much yet this Christmas season. A few weeks ago I baked 6 dozen cookies for a cookie swap. I took home all sorts of goodies so had no reason to bake. Zach kept asking when I was making his favorite cookies, peanut blossoms. I found the easiest recipe that uses only 4 or 5 ingredients! I also decided to try my hand at something different, for me. Boy, it is so easy and its awesome! I found all sorts of other recipes I'd like to make in the coming weeks. One are some cute little Santa cookies made with Nutter Butter cookies. I think the kiddos will enjoy messing the kitchen to make those!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Lately I have been thinking about gifts. Not the type you can buy from a store or the type that somebody gives you but the kind you are born with. You see, ever since I can remember I've wondered what my 'gift' in life is. Or my 'talent'. I've always wanted to be musically inclined, either with a beautiful singing voice or playing the piano or something. I've even wondered why I can't even draw a stick person better than my 3 year old! Or why I don't have the gift of discernment or something eloquent! Lately God has pointed out to me the gift He's given me. It's taken me 30 years to discover that this is a gift and that this is not something that comes easily to all people.
What is your gift? Are you using it for the Lord?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
These pictures on their bikes are from this weekend. Princess can ride her bike finally! They love riding up and down the street and the weather was quite warm to do it!
Monday, December 10, 2007
The past couple of days its been about 75-80 degrees. It is unreal and it doesn't feel like December! Even though its warm I've still come down with a bit of a bug I think. Cuddly Boy has been coughing for a few days and now it seems something has gotten a hold on me. I couldn't sleep last night and I was so hot. I guess I must have had a fever. Even when Zach got up and turned the AC off and put on the heat I was asking him to turn it off- I was too hot! That is so unusual for me- I'm normally always cold. My throat began to hurt and when Zach was still home and I lie in bed my body just felt a bit achy. Thankfully when I awoke for the day from my fitful sleep I didn't feel as bad as I had previously, but I still don't feel 100%. I'm tired and my throat still hurts. I'm trying to pump myself up with Vitamin C and I even took some silver as I'm determined to not get too sick. I don't have time with three children!
Tomorrow I'm supposed to go to Mobile to meet a lady I've 'known' through the Above Rubies egroup for 5-6 years. She is down in Florida currently and I've never met her before so I'm really looking forward to it. Friday we have Zach's work Christmas party and I really don't want to feel miserable for that. So, I'm bound and determined to feel well! We did a smidgen of school and otherwise sat in front of the TV. It gives me an opportunity to read also. Zach got me these books for Christmas last year and I'm ashamed to admit its taken me almost a year to begin reading them! At the same time I can see how God almost ordained for me to read them now. If you've read them you'll know what I mean.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The neatest thing happened to us this morning after church. As we were heading out a man came up to us. I think I'd seen him before but I don't know him. He told how he and his wife have been watching us for awhile, as we bring our children into church. Pretty much every other family utilizes the nursery and children's church, but we believe in the family sitting together in worship. He also shared how it brings back memories of he and his family 30 years ago. In saying this he asked if they could give our children a gift and handed me a card. When I opened it in the car I was shocked to see money inside- $60! It was such a huge blessing! It was an opportunity to share with the children about obedience. When Mommy & Daddy obey God by sitting together as a family in church and when they obey by sitting quietly in the service God sees. And blesses. We were so floored and I sat astonished at such a gift, with tears silently streaming down my face. Thank you Lord Jesus for showing me that my labor is not in vain!
Saturday, December 08, 2007
So we went to the base the other day for the tree lighting. I had never gone before. We met with our homeschool group and had a great time! They had a train, bottle painting and a pony carriage ride, not to mention they were giving away prizes and had music. We didn't stay for the tree lighting or Santa as I had to get back for a Christmas party. Plus I was really hungry and for some reason they weren't serving food yet! Here they are doing his bottle painting! They certainly had fun with that!
When I put them on a lady came up to me. She said something like, "This is going to sound really weird, but I read your blog". I was really surprised! Turns out we were in a Yahoo group together for a time. We chatted for a bit and she has the two most beautiful little girls! It was nice meeting you Erica!
Not sure who this little boy is, but it was the only picture I had with them all looking!
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
So, when I was typing my last post my little one was crying for me at my feet and saying, "Sorry mama". I just ignored him as I really needed to vent! When I finished he followed me around wanting me to hold him. So I scooped him in my arms and laid with him on the couch. Oh, it was so precious. Before I knew it my other two little ones were curled up near me. It really brightened my day! Just thought I'd post an update!
Oh and we did go to the base this afternoon, I'll have pictures soon. Now I'm off to a Christmas party for the moms in my homeschool group! A sock swap! What fun!
For all of my fellow homeschoolers, do you ever have those days where the idea of sending your children to public school sounds so tempting? Admit it, I know you do. I know I'm not the only one. Oh, imagine the quietness, the peace, the order! No more having to deal with fighting kids. No more listening to their whining. No more dealing with their fits when you show them a mistake in their work. Today is one of those days where I have had it. I am SO frustrated. If they aren't fighting then they're making a huge mess. Or breaking something. Or crying because I tell them password is one word and not too. Or fussing over their math work saying its hard. Or forgetting the word that they JUST read. We're supposed to head to the base today to the tree lighting ceremony but I'm tempted to stick them all in their beds, lock the doors and hide in my room with the door locked. But on the other hand I really desire the fellowship and encouragement from my friends. At least they're finally listening and they quickly picked up downstairs- only because I finally threw a fit! And then I feel guilty because I read my 'The Power of Motherhood' book and I wonder when I'll get to the point of having JOY in my mothering and of being patient and kind. I've got a long way to go.
***This is a venting post. I will never send my kids to the public schools so I wish no condemnation from people! I really just need to vent!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Isn't it amazing the faith that little children have? No wonder Jesus tells us to have faith like a child. Last week when Princess asked why we don't go to stores and people's houses to tell them about Jesus. I think we were talking about missionaries or something and I was telling them how we can be missionaries too. Why can't I have the faith to walk up to people or knock on their door and share with them a Savior who died for their sins?
Tonight we had one of Zach's co-workers over for dinner. After we got done eating they began asking him questions~ Do you know God? Do you have a Bible? Do you read it? I just laughed at their boldness. Of course he knows we're Christians and Zach is bold in standing up for his faith at work~ everybody knows he's a 'religious freak' as I'm sure they refer to him. But to see my children so passionate about others going to heaven...it is a feeling like no other. Now if only their mommy can acquire some of their boldness and not be such a chicken at times!
I praise God for the children He's given me, for not only do I teach them but I also learn from them.
My friend Lynn had this on her blog and I thought I'd join in the fun. If you do too then let me know!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? It's much more fun to unwrap a gift than to pull it out of the bag!
2. Real tree or artificial? We've had artificial since we've been married, but I really like the real ones. We had real ones growing up and there's something about the real pine smell.
3. When do you put up the tree? Earlier than we did when I was a kid...we don't really have a set time...if not Thanksgiving weekend then the following weekend
4. When do you take the tree down? Again, no set day on this...I guess when I get tired of it being up and in the way and when I feel like cleaning the house;)
5. Do you like eggnog? Yuck
6. Favorite gift received? Hmm....well I've always been spoiled when it comes to Christmas gifts, but I think my favorite was my Mother's Ring last year
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yep, but it doesn't have a story behind it like some people's, its just a cheapo one from Wally World
8. Hardest person to buy for? Zach
9. Easiest person to buy for? Hannah
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I really can't think of anything that were terrible, but nobody cares about getting socks for Christmas;) But you need to be thankful for all you're given
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I like to get Christmas cards and we've always mailed them or letters, but this year you are all getting ecards or letters...I can't justify spending tons of money to mail 100 stamps when I know it is much needed elsewhere (and I don't mean in my household for gifts)
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Elf is funny, but I like the classic It's a Wonderful Life too
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? sometime in December, normally the last minute but this year I'm pretty much done as its not what's important
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I can think of
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Hmmm....I like all the goodies (besides pies)
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? We normally have color but this year I put white up as I wanted something different...I like white
17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night and What Child is This, although my favorite non-CHRISTian Christmas song is Sleigh Ride (ever since we played it for a band concert in high school its been a favorite)
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home, although it would be nice to travel 'home' one year
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I sure can
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel, but as a kid we had a star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning of Christmas? Usually one on Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning, although Zach and the kids always beg to open all on the Eve
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? There's more than one...all the Santa hype, the commercialism, how its so about getting and going into debt and not giving...its gotten so far away from Jesus
23. What I love most about Christmas? The fact that God sent JESUS to be born in a lowly manger~ the same JESUS who died on a cross for you and I
I do have to add that living in the south it is hard for it to feel like it is that time of the year, Christmas. When its in the 60s, 70s and 80s and there is no snow it is difficult to fathom that its the middle of December (probably because I grew up with all of the snow).
Monday, December 03, 2007
I don't have a menu yet this week. I know we have NO meat in our freezer although Zach did pick some up today for me! I haven't had time to figure out what I want to make, what I need to buy and all that. I guess instead of being online I could be doing that, but what fun is that? I don't foresee when I can even make it to a store with the way my week looks. So hopefully I will get my menu done soon (for my own sake). I think we'll be eating breakfast for dinner...that is if I have pancake mix!