Thursday, August 31, 2006

Camp "Wearthekidsout" Continued.....

Let me offer a few lines of defense here. As before mentioned, this week was destined to be busy and activity-filled- with Michele being down and it being the "last hurrah" week before school begins. Throw in some unused and soon-to-be expired gift certificates and the notion of babysitting 3 additional kids (thus more of a reason to keep kids active) and we find ourselves even busier. Today's post features the activities of yesterday and today - a return to Pump It Up, up north and a visit to an old skating jaunt in town. This place brings Michele and I back to our childhood days - not a thing has changed, including the gaudy orange lobby carpet. (JustMe - I hope it brings back good memories!) Upon leaving the parking lot, Traig exclaimed, "I give it 42 thumbs up!" He's already asked to return a half a dozen times. Something about that strobelight, Redlight-Greenlight game (which Michele participated in but didn't win....[loser!]), and the Hokey Pokey song has him hooked.....

Tomorrow takes us to the Wild Game Park in Bandon - a place made famous for the "elk eating Michele's arm" incident - and the "goat's bottom" incident - (one of my "skeleton in the closet" stories......) We went there with Mom and Dad at least 3 times growing up, tomorrow will be a first for our kiddos. Knowing the trouble we got into - can't wait to record the stories of what the "Trouble-mint Twins" (Brayden and Nati) or the other 3 create..... Tune in tomorrow night!!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXII

Today's a "down day" - lots of messes from 7 kids running around the house, but it's worth it for Lisa to finish up VM Season 2. Here's the questions-

1. Name three "situations/scenarios" that are sure to make you irritable.

2. What is a food that you never liked growing up but you like now?

Monday, August 28, 2006


First of all, as a point of reference - this week is like "Camp Schilling/Riley" - it's the last week before school, Michele is down and we are loading it full of fun. Therefore, expect a lot of pictures and kid stories and feel free to skip the blog until the middle of next week!

That being said, today was "horsie day". We went out to Mom and Dad's and introduced the kids to Jubilee. Jubilee is a femaile Belgian Arab cross who is seven and VERY SWEET. All of the kids took turns brushing Jubilee and then took turns riding. They all did amazing. It was a very special and rewarding experience for all of us - and I think, especially, Mom. Not to be biased, but Brayden seems to be most "at ease" on the horse - it will be fun to explore this hobby as the years progress-

Thanks so much Mom - and Jubilee!

Brayden's Baptism

About a month ago, Brayden randomly brought up his desire to be baptized. It was a tender moment for him, full of deep thoughts and pondering - which isn't exactly what comes first to mind when you think about Brayden's personality. We felt the time was right - and what do you know, the very next day at church there was a sign-up opportunity for those interested in being baptized. John attended the two mandatory classes with Brayden and it verified that yes, indeed, Brayden was ready to make a public commitment in his belief of Jesus Christ and desire to follow Him through his life. John was thrilled that the pastors allowed him to be the one to immerse Brayden. This Sunday was the day, it was our church's annual outdoor service and baptism ceremony following at the Camp Harlow pool. It was a gorgeous, albeit very hot day - in fact I think there would have been many willing to trade places with John just to have the opportunity to be in the pool. This is huge step in Brayden's life, we are so very proud of him.

Next up, Miss Mikayla.....a few years down the line. However, the first lesson she might need to learn is simply the pronunciation of the word baptism. When trying to explain what Brayden had done to Cousin Ellie, she referred to the experience as "Bath-tism". I kind of get the confusion..... too funny.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

929 Minutes

929 Minutes - that's what the back cover of VERONICA MARS SEASON 2 declares its total running time is. That translates to about 15 and a half hours of television time. Which, upon doing the math, means Michele and I have spent 50% of our time from Friday night beginning at 6pm until midnight Saturday watching this addictive tv show. Oh, could I be judged for this one.... those that despise the "boob tube" would shake their head in shame toward us. But, oh how fun it was!!!! Lisa and Stephie joined us for the first 12 episode marathon (actually we joined Stephie as it was at her house) - throw KFC (my favorite food), fountain pops, lots of candy and popcorn into the mix- and yes, it was everything I had hoped it would be. The rest of the viewing was just with Michele - cuddled on Mikayla's bed watching it from the laptop while the kids happily played yesterday. The final episodes were viewed after going on the lake last night. When the finale was over, we hit the gag reel, and the "A Day in the Life" reel - it was hard to accept reality that our journey was over.

Two things offer hope now that our fun is exhausted - one, Steph and Lisa still need to view the last half, and we can re-watch with them. Two, Season 3 beings on October 3rd. After catching up with two seasons of this series within the last month - it will be a little torturous to have to go back to the "old fashioned way" of watching one episode per week. Oh well, I'll be there.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXI

Last week I presented a silly post about tv trivia, and between that and watching an "E" tv show presenting the top 50 child actors of the 80's, I thought about these:

1. What actor did you have the biggest crush on, or if you weren't that kind of kid, most respected and liked to watch when you were growing up?

2. What is a "comfort show" that you don't mind watching reruns from your growing up days?

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I think I'm going to make it a point to share the most impactful of my week's devotionals once a week on the blog. I'm really loving these 3 minute applications, from another person's point of view, of God's Word. I appreciated today's entry because I find myself encountering this from time to time within friendship groups and especially with our kids. If one of our kiddos apologizes, we mandate the other says, "you're foregiven" so that they both hold responsibility in "taking action" to solve the problem. In fact, just two days ago, when somebody said "thank you" to Mikayla and I asked her "What do you say?" - she replied, "you're forgiven". Funny..... obviously she has been coached a lot more in apology issues than thank you issues! I hope these words touch your heart as they did mine.....

August 24, 2006
The Difficulty of Forgiving
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

My husband and I were living abroad and sharing a guest house with three others during a business project. The guest house had a guard and a live-in house overseer, which is common in the country where we were located. One morning, I realized we had been robbed. No lock was broken, nothing was amiss to the eye, but our travel money had been stolen and, based on the circumstances, it had to be connected with someone we knew. I was devastated. Not so much by the loss of the money as by the fact that a housemate had figured out how to break into our room, went through our things and took what was not his.

I became consumed as a detective trying to figure out what motive had pushed this person to steal and who it could be. In a place I had felt safe, I suddenly felt exposed, scared and homesick. He took more than money. This person robbed the joy and comfort of our travels. It would have been easier to forgive a stranger, but it was hard to forgive someone we knew.

Forgive as you were forgiven. Never before have these words meant as much as they did after this event. It wasn’t for strangers that God sent His Son; it was for His own creation, His children. Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, the sins of His people, so they could stand white as snow and cleansed of sin. He died for those He loved. He died for those who betrayed Him and those who spit on Him. He died for His beloved and forgave us all, in spite of the fact that we continue to sin and fail Him daily.

Our money is gone, the locks are changed, and I must admit sometimes I still feel hurt and confused by what happened. I try not to think back to that group living there and wonder who the culprit was. What I do know is that I must not harbor bitterness nor resentment that can only cause a heart to callous. If the Lord can forgive me for my sins, then I can forgive, I must forgive, others for theirs.

1. Is there someone in your life towards whom you harbor bitterness or resentment? Why?
2. Take a moment to pray to the Lord and ask Him to give you God-sized love to forgive others as He forgave you.
Psalm 99:8; Luke 6:37-42; 1 John 1:9

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lincoln City

Sorry I've been behind in posting on the blog. As the summer draws to a close, we've been trying to get as many trips with families as we can on the boat in the evenings, which takes away much of my blogging time. I'm not complaining, though, it's been a lot of fun. What follows are pictures of the kids at the beach - Michele makes it an annual end-of-summer tradition to take her kids to Lincoln City, this year, we tagged along.

The kids are all laughing because just a second prior Brayden bit Traig's bottom.... I'm so proud of that boy.....

Mommy and daughter - too cute.

It was NOT a warm day at the coast, but that didn't stop them-

Oh, look at that poor homeless person sleeping on the beach, - oh, wait, that's me!

Here's the kiddos (sans Traig) at Costco, prior to wreaking havoc on the store (and an effective escape from adult supervision and follow-up capture by the Costco management by Ellie)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Extreme Duck Makeover

I laid in bed Friday morning and decided it was time. Brayden's bedroom had been the trash bin of the house for far too long - he had no desire to sleep in there, play in there, and the decor was far too juvenile for our big old boy. This weekend we would redo it. And, boy did we ever. Fortunately, we had no need to buy furniture, so the money allocated was just used to "Duck it out". However, he will be loving the Ducks until the day he leaves home, this is it - no more makeovers. GO DUCKS!!!!

Incidentally, because I was preoccupied with other plans, John did 100% of the decorating - I helped pick the stuff out, but he put it all together. Well Done Honey!

Broken and Beautiful

Michele has been telling me about this song and how I need to download it. It's not available yet, as it's a new album, so I have yet to even hear the song. But, I did access the lyrics and they seemed profound enough to share. It's been a bit of a rough week with emotional stuff so this song serves as a very fitting reminder to me that we are all BROKEN and we are all BEAUTIFUL. Sometimes, I truly believe it is necessary for us to allow ourselves to crumble into pieces before the Lord, and when we do, the beauty He will create from those broken pieces will far surpass anything we could ever create on our own.

Mark Schultz - Broken & Beautiful
From the album Broken & Beautiful

There’s a businessman, there’s a widowed wife
A smiling face with a shattered life
A teenage girl with a choice to make
It’s crowded here in church today

And the preacher says as the sermon ends
“Please close your eyes, bow your heads
Is there anyone in need of prayer,
Oh Jesus wants to meet you here”
Cause we all fall short, and we all have sinned
But when you let, God’s grace break in

It’s Beautiful, Beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful

Well he’d never been to church before
But he came today as a last resort
His world was crashing in
And he was suffocating in his sin

But tears rolled down as hope rushed in
He closed his eyes, raised his hands
Worshipping the God who can
Bring him back to life again

And it’s beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful

Cause there’s nothing more beautiful at all
Than when His sons and daughters call, broken

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Come as you are
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Come as you are

Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful
Come as you are
Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart

Broken and beautiful
Broken and beautiful
Broken and beautiful

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Little TV Trivia

This was in our paper's TV Guide today - thought I'd put it on the blog just for fun. Answers will be in the Comments.

1. On "Happy Days" what was the original name of the sign at the drive-in before it was changed to Arnold's?
A. Ralph's Diner
B. Arnie's
C. Arthur's

2. What was the name of "Facts of Life's" Mrs. Garret's gourmet food shop?
A. Edna's Edibles
B. Garret's Gourmet
C. Edna's

3. On "Magnum P.I." what kind of car did Higgins drive?
A. Rolls Royce
B. Mercedes
C. Audi

4. What was the name of the older brother on "Happy Days"?
A. Chuck Cunningham
B. Joey Cunningham
C. Junior

5. What was the name of the principal on "Saved By the Bell"?
A. Mr. Thompson
B. Mr. Belding
C. Mr. Smith

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXX

We reached thirty! Cool. Here we go:

1. Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

2. What activity did you hope to accomplish this summer that has yet to be done, or might need to be postponed for another time?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Enchanted Forest

It's been over 16 years since I've been to the Enchanted Forest. I haven't felt a need to re-visit, but Brayden has been pressing Daddy on it - and Daddy promised it would happen before the end of summer. (What was he thinking?) Obviously, John did not know the cost involved - whew, this place is NOT Disneyland, but they charge like it. John and I had to comfort ourselves with the justification that the price was for family bonding and memories and a dollar sign can't be assigned to that. Fortunately, the family did have a great time, and perhaps I'll return again when I'm a grandma.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

An Abundant Day

They say that the difference between an extrovert and an introvert is whether being around groups of people derives energy or depletes energy. It's very safe to say that my husband is a true extrovert. I am not.

There are a handful of people in my life whose presence absolutely gives me comfort. They make me happy simply by being around me - it takes no energy on my behalf because I know that I can completely ignore them and they will take no offense. They love me no matter what and so I do not worry what I do or say with them - I can simply be me. Beyond that, however, I prefer my groups of people to be small - under five. Though it takes energy to have conversations, it usually is well worth it in the positive feelings I come away with from their uniquely discovered personalities. Take it beyond a group of five, and well, I guess the best I can do is look to find those smaller groups to mingle with. I'm not much of a surface conversationalist - I am a commonality (is that a word?) person. To connect, it's important for me to quickly discover those things that another person has in common with myself and from there - begin to explore. I think that's why it was very difficult for me emotionally in Kenya and Mexico doing missionary work. I was never able to make that common connection and I felt EXTREMELY isolated, worthless, and depressed as a result. (Having an ex-fiance use that as a basis for calling off the wedding didn't help either!).

All this brings me back to my wonderful day today. Who'd have thunk it? But, one of the happiest days I've had in weeks is a day in which I'm alone and cleaning the "filthy" areas of my house. I won't go into details about where those are at for fear you'd look for them in the future, and that's not the point. The point is, I'm alone and my soul is delighted. I've been blaring a favorites CD I've put together - mostly contemporary Christian praise songs - and then a few oldies. Amy Grant's "Lead Me On" has me continuously hitting "repeat" - and Carly Simon's "Let the River Run' makes me so happy. I'm singing, praising the Lord, and being very productive - all things that my emotional spirit has desperately been crying for.

Now, this is not to say, that the last couple of days watching over a dozen episodes of Veronica Mars with my best friends, or shopping without children, or watching Will Ferrell on the big screen haven't been fun..... but, today is "abundant".

Friday, August 11, 2006

Travie, Stephie and the Kiddos

In light of Stephietoo's adorable comments and missing her quite a bit this week- here's a couple of cute pics of her and the kiddos....(and one of Travis trying to steal poor Nati's candy on Halloween) Can't wait for Talladega Nights tonight with you and Travis - readers, you can anticipate a movie review on this upcoming Oscar nominated movie soon......

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

When Negative Is Positive......

I have never taken a pregnancy test when I didn't want to see two lines come up.... even when it was a little earlier than we wanted to start [having a family] and we took a test, there was a part of me that was disappointed to not see it come out positive. All of that changed, today, however - today I only wanted to see ONE line - and, I'm thankful to report that was the case.

It's been a funny month of birth control. Not to give out too much information, but between migraines that have sent me to bed early, and forgetting when I was at Michele's house, I've been probably the least consistent in taking my pills each night than ever before. And, on the flip side, John's been a pretty happy man this month. Add the two together, and being two days late when I'm never late..... well, I was starting to get a little worried. Throw in irritability and a couple of other symptoms, and panic started to set in. And, you know what that tells me - I can officially say, we're ready to be done- we're good to go as a family of four.

This is a big statement for me. Throughout my whole pregnancy with Mikayla, I was pretty certain I'd be doing it again. But, after we had her, this contentment settled over us, and we thought, "All is Well". Still, there's always that doubt, should we, shouldn't we, hmmmm. As time has gone on, we've become more certain, but still there's been moments that have had me wondering. Even the kids are happy the way it is, which is a bit surprising, but I am very thankful for it. So, when days have gone by and this question has come over me, "Could I be pregnant?" - and overwhelmingly, I wanted the answer to be NO (but have told myself that if that were to happen, that's God will and we would be thankful....) I think, once and for all, I'm ready for us to make this permanent. I love our family of four......

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I find myself a little introspective tonite-

I had a busy day shopping for school supplies and going to the mall with my friends where there was a little back to school shopping done as well. Then, thank you Lord, I was able to see my mom and have her provide some intensely needed massage therapy.

The great thing about my mom is not only is she amazing at "fixing my broken body" - and boy, did I need fixed - the last couple of days haven't been pretty - but, my mom is also an amazing listener. She doesn't judge, she knows me and my life very well, and unlike my body, she doesn't try to fix my emotional problems - she just listens.....and provides just what I want to hear in response. (And, just as a follow-up, my mom's ear looks amazing - in a few more weeks you'd never know that it was cut in half....)

I've been exposed to some situations lately and talked to friends who are dealing with it - of "unlove". It may or may not be intentional, it may appear like blatant rejection or subtle apathy or disapproval - but, to me, it's just ugly.

A couple of years ago I found myself in the middle of a conflict between two people I cared about. One day, the grief of the situation literally brought me to my knees. I stood in the middle of Michele's property sobbing - I felt overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit who commanded me again and again to show love. I had no right to withold it from anyone, as directed by God's word - that's not a choice I could make. Loathing, total apathy, bitterness - we don't get to keep these emotions if we are abiding by God's Word. It was quite a day - I was so impassioned, and spent a tremendous amount of time with Michele researching and discussing Scriptures that instruct us to love.

I've thought a lot about that day as I've encountered these latest situations. I guess, the best I can do, is try and live by those instructions myself - I sure can't change the hearts of others, but I CAN work on my own........

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXIX

These questions came to me while looking at the ads for Old Navy this weekend. That, and thinking about my own high school portraits and just how much they indicate what decade I went to high school......

1. What fashion styles were most difficult for you to let go of (another words, you liked them so much, you continued the trend when it was no longer in style)?

2. What fashion styles do you hope to avoid the most?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Absorbing the Moment

I've been thinking some more about that devotional I posted a couple of days ago. I've been thinking about how often I set myself up for those perfect moments, only to have them come and find myself disappointed. Sometimes the best moments in life aren't those that you anticipate, but rather those that just happen.

One of those moments happened yesterday and will probably be one of my favorite memories of Summer 2006. We had the opportunity to go boating with our friends, the Quigleys and the day was very nice. However, everything kicked up a notch when we blew up the brand new intertube and gave it a test run. After a bit of a mishap with Brayden (my prescription sunglasses are at the bottom of Fall Creek Lake and Brayden flew into my lap), I coaxed Lisa to sit by me and encouraged John to kick it up just a bit.

This is what our ride sounded like, courtesy of the narration of Lisa:


It was HILLARIOUS!!! Unlike LIsa, who used words to describe the experience, all I could do was uncontrollably laugh - her antics only added to the festivity of it all. What a blast. Thank you, Quigleys, for joining us in such a fun day, and Thank you, Lisa for creating one of my favorite happy moments of the year!

Waterslides, Ziplines, and Treasure Hunts

On Thursday, a group of us headed north to the Osborne Acquatic Center. Most of us had never been there before, but Michele had great things to say about the place. Sure enough, it was a huge hit. However, if you have smaller kids, I definitely recommend going on a weekday before 1, during that time, it's a swimtime for children 8 and under. Given that all our kids fit that description, I think we were wishing we'd done that, as the "Lazy River" was anything but lazy with all of the rowdy teenagers playing tag in it. (We'd probably have been doing the same thing if given the chance at that age, so I can't blame them). It was a very busy day - and since I spent the night - busy the next day too. By Saturday morning, when I woke up prior to 6, I actually chose to go on my own to Walmart nearby to pick up a few things, just to savor the slow pace and peace of being alone. I'm going to try to use captions to describe the other highlights of those two days.

Here's the place - you can see why little kids would love it....

Floating on the Lazy River

Here's Traig going on the newly upgraded zipline - what a rush!

This is Mark and Christina - I thought the picture did a great job of showing the view Michele has to deal with every day

Here are the kids at the firepit (next to the zipline) anticipating a Treasure (Scavenger) Hunt that Michele put together

Here are the kids, traipsing all over the property looking for clues
Thanks Schillings - you were great hosts!!!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Story Worth Sharing

This was from a devotional website I visit, and since it captured one of my favorite verses, I found today's especially cool. I think there's a lot to gain from the website - all of the trying to obtain the "if onlys" of life, keeping up with the Jones, etc.

Letting Go of the Myth
This devotional was written by Mike DeVries

The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:16

From my spot as first base coach, the situation looked pretty dire. The Orioles, my son’s team, was in the first game of a three-game series for the league championship. It was the top of the fourth inning and we were losing 7-2.

The bases were loaded with one out, and into the batter’s box steps #17, my son. A week earlier, he had missed a home run by a few feet. I don’t know what he was thinking, but I was thinking, “Now would be a pretty good time.”

Strike one. Ball one. Strike Two. Ball Two.

As the pitcher released the next pitch, I could see that it was going to be a strike. At that moment, everything came together. The swing of the bat. The crack of the ball. It was a deep fly ball to right field, which had definite possibilities. I remember thinking, “That ball could be out of here.”

The right fielder went back the fence and looked up – a Grand Slam.

When my son reached home plate, he was mobbed by his teammates. One of the younger players watching the game ran out into the parking lot to retrieve the ball. I’ll never forget the look in my son’s eyes…it was like a dream come true.

In fact it was. All season he had talked about what it would feel like to hit a home run. I even found him after practice one day, swinging the bat and “watching” the ball as it went out over the right field fence. “Someday,” the look on his face told me.

As I tucked him in bed the night, he clutched the ball. I lay down next to him to relive the moment. “What was it like to hit a ball that far? How does it finally feel to hit a home run?” I asked.

“Good. But you know what, I still feel like me.”

I think we live with a myth that we’ll finally be somebody when we accomplish whatever it is we think we want to accomplish in life. “If only I could…” becomes the defining thought of our lives – hoping and awaiting to arrive – “… then, I’ll be somebody.”

But the fact of the matter is this: If you are not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.

As you look in the mirror, deeply searching the image you see, what are you living for? Are you living the myth of someday – seeing your identity and worth wrapped up in the attainment of that elusive dream?

Perhaps it’s time to remember that God sees you as enough without it, so attaining that dream isn’t going to change a thing. Perhaps it’s time to let go of the myth, and be embraced by the One who sees you as one who as already arrived

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXVIII

I'm writing these questions while I'm craving yummy food - as will become quickly apparent-

1. What is your favorite pie recipe? I'd love for the actual recipe, but if you can tell me where you found it or what makes it unique, that's good enough for me.

2. What is your favorite kind of cookie?

August is here - enjoy the remaining days of childrens' freedom!