Sunday, September 30, 2007

$10.00.......How Far Can it Go?

September is always our hardest month as far as money goes. We have found ourselves, once again, at the bottom of the barrel. You see...we get money in big clumps, being students and all. We get big checks twice a year; one in February and one in October, which is right around the corner. So right now, we have almost no money.
But I wanted to post about divine intervention and how the Lord uses us as instruments to help his other children. I will share with you how we have been both the giver and the recipients of such help this past week.
It was a crazy week last week. I have yet to post about it, but I was at the ER twice last week and Mike was nowhere near available, as usual. Thursday Liam cut his head open and needed stitches. Mike was at the hospital working, so I was on my own. Friday evening we both got a prompting to go check on Laurette in Old Orchard Beach, which is two hours away. We didn't have much money for gas but it didn't matter, the Lord called us to go. So we put our last $8.00 in the gas tank and off we went. She is 94 years old and we worry about her being alone all the time. Turns out, she was doing great but feeling lonely and really appreciated the visit. The kids light up her life. She adores them. She gave Mike some money which we knew was the means for him to get to the Temple on Saturday. Divine intervention.
Saturday Mike went to Boston to go to the Temple, it was Stake Temple Day. I didn't go because we didn't have a babysitter, which is why we usually take turns; it was his turn. Anyway, the kids caught a snake out in the yard. Caleb and Lundi were taking turns holding it. Finally, it got very agitated. So then they put it in a box so they could keep it contained for observation. Well, Caleb took it out of the box and it bit him on the back of his hand. I was a little concerned, called my friend (a native to Maine) and she told me there were no poisonous snakes in Maine. So I watched for the normal signs of infection (I learn these from being a nurses wife). Then Caleb decided to "charm" the snake. He was showing me how to talk as a snake charmer, putting his fingers right in front of his eyes to "hypnotize" him and then....STRIKE!!! It bit him again (I tried so hard not tolaugh, he was crying), on his finger and it started bleeding. I was a little more concerned this time, so i called David (our bishop, also a doctor). He wasn't available. So then I called the hospital, explained the situation, they said "Bring him right in!" Trisha took the kids (L,H and L) and I took Caleb (and the baby) to the ER....again! It turned out to be nothing, he didn't need shots or anything. I took my camera to the ER, showed them a picture of the snake and they confirmed that it was a garter snake. (WAIT.....This was supposed to be another post. I got carried away but don't want to delete this long story, so I'll leave it here and go back to the $10.00 topic).
Anyway, while Mike was in Boston Merle Embleton (the Stake clerk) brought over three computers from a ward in the stake that needed to be fixed. Mike is the Stake Technology Specialist and fixing the computers (and all related equipment) in the Stake is his calling. They (the Skowhegan Ward) needed them back by this afternoon so they could transmit the tithing to Salt Lake. So Saturday he gets home from Boston in just enough time for me to get to the ward building for the General Relief Society Broadcast. He had tons of homework, three computers to fix, and all the kids to bath for Sunday. I didn't get the bathing done because I spent most of my afternoon at the ER (you know...the hurry up and wait game...hate it). Right after he got home, the Bishop calls and I answer the phone. He asks me..."Can Mike go to the church and set up the satellite for the broadcast?" I'm thinking....crazy day, have to get ready for Sunday, there is not enough gas in the van for two trips into town, (he had some gas in his car but we don't all fit and we couldn't leave the kids home alone) Mike has tons of homework, so many things on his plate, I didn't want to say yes for him. So I pass the phone to Mike. He told the Bishop that he would be there to set up the satellite. We get to the Church and Mike mentions to a sister that we didn't have much gas and could she please give me a ride home. (He is always looking out for me, the man of my life). She said that she could, leaves the room and comes back a few minutes later. She then secretly tucked a $10 bill into his hand and said "Put this in your tank." Did it occur to her that she was an answer to my silent prayer...."Sure Lord, we will do it, just provide the way." We knew we had to go to OOB to see Laurette, we knew that he needed to go to the temple, we knew that Mike needed to go to the church and we also knew that he needed to take a trip to Skowhegan (which is a 45 minute trip-one way) to deliver those computers today. What we didn't know was how far that $10.00 would go. He put it in the tank on the way home from the church last night. On that $10.00, we drove to church this morning, he went to Skowhegan and came back to the church to get us and we came home. Then we had a fireside tonight (back to the church) that we went to. And you know what? There is more than a quarter tank of gas in that van. Now I don't know how much gas you can get for $10.00 in your town, but usually it doesn't buy much in Farmington (unless the Lord gets involved so that his purposes might be fulfilled). Once again, divine intervention. Miracles do happen. The Lord loves us and has greatly blessed me and my family. I see his hand in our life.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I HATE that word and all that it entails!!!! It is back, for the third time. Nodules in her lungs. She has less than a five percent chance of beating it this time. She is only seven, the oldest of three children. The daughter of Brian and Melissa, wonderful people. It seems so unfair. I can not even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. I felt guilty talking about my woes....stitches and snake bites. They were given three options, all of them will lead to the same outcome. One is to treat with a different kind of chemo, which has a very high mortality rate. This particular drug has only been tried on 25 children and of those only two percent survived. The second option is to not do chemo, but give her an experimental drug that might prolong her life (the quality of which is unknown). The third option is to just do nothing and let her live until she dies, with no medical intervention. Brian and Melissa are struggling to make a decision, as would any parent. They told Savannah that her cancer was back and her attitude was "bring on the chemo. I got better two times, I will get better a third time. What she doesn't understand is that the cancer never really went away, it was only stunted. When they told her that she will probably die, she cried. She was very sad. She was worried that she wouldn't be with Mommy and Daddy any more....for a while. She is afraid that she will be alone. They are trying to be prayerful so that the Lords will may be done. But how does one remain objective in a situation like this? It would be so difficult for me to let my will be swallowed up in the Lords will. For the last two years we have prayed for Savannah, hoping that she would live. We will now pray that we might all be able to accept the Lords will, as the outcome is inevitable. It sounds so grim and sad, and it is. It seems so unfair. As mortals we hate the thought of losing a loved one. We wonder how our lives will ever be "normal" without a particular person in our life. Life on earth seems so long for the ones left behind. We often only think of the here and now, instead of looking at things from an eternal perspective. It's only natural, we can't see beyond the veil. It is only by faith that we know that there is life after death and that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us. I want to demonstrate to you, dear reader, the strength of the parents of children with a terminal illness, as I have witnessed it many times through visits to Savannah during her many hospital stays. More particularly, I want to talk about Melissa. Two years ago when Savannah was first diagnosed, I was visiting with Melissa right after Savannah's surgery when they took out her kidney (which is where the original tumor was first found). We were talking about her prognosis, and even then the odds were not in her favor. So after we cried together for a few minutes, she said to me...."No matter what happens, I know that my family is forever and we will be with Savannah again." In my mind I thought..."Wow, she has alot of faith. I want to emulate her. I don't know if I could say that and mean it." But I knew she did. And you know what? On Tuesday night we had a meeting at the Church. She was there. That day they had been to the hospital and Savannah had a CT scan, which was a second step that became necessary after a routine ultrasound when they saw something suspicious (six month check-up). Anyway, Melissa, being the strong and faithful one repeated those words! She said, "I know that she is ours forever and the Lord will see to it that we are reunited." HUH??? I thought. It was one thing to say it two years ago when her chance of survival was more likely. But Now? Oh my my my my. The Lord is good, my friends. The Lord is blessing these sweet parents with the sure knowledge of eternal families. His tender mercies are resting upon their hearts. He is preparing them for greater things beyond the veil. He is increasing their faith, building their testimonies and strengthening their family bond. YES, cancer is ugly, brutal, vicious, relentless, painful, deadly and stubborn. But you know what? The Lord is merciful. He is going to take Savannah. That is clear. But with every trial comes a blessing. And often times the bigger the trial, the bigger the blessing. I have seen the Lords hand in all of this and I am grateful for the way He is blessing the Hurley family and their ability to recognize it. Melissa has been a great example to many. This whole trial has touched countless lives. Savannah is a precious spirit and the Lord is using her as his instrument to bring many into the fold. It comes at a very high price, nobody wants to lose a child. But the Lord has a Divine purpose to fulfill. Our finite understanding can be overcome through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Atonement is real. It has become more real to me lately. He knows the pain of a grieving Mothers heart. He knows the pain of chemo. He understands Savannah's fear of death. He understands Brian's pain that he was not able to heal his daughter through the Priesthood. It was not the Lords will. The Savior understands how difficult it is to accept the Lords will. He even understands my feelings of helplessness as I watch Melissa cry when President Monson mentioned the word CANCER in his talk tonight. He understands (and experienced) physical, emotional, psychological pain. He even understands the pain of sin, though he was perfect. We often speak of the Saviors suffering in the Garden in generalities. But each pain was personal. The Atonement is personal, it is for each individual child of our Father in Heaven. He would have done it all for ME, even if I was the only one who needed the price to be paid. That makes it personal. He became what we are so that we may become what He is. I love my Savior. I thank my Father for the health of my family. But I still hate cancer.
P.S. The above picture was taken in between fight one and fight two. Melissa took it, she is a photographer.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Week in Pictures----Part 2

I've given up on trying to fix the previous post, so I'm movin' on.

Liam really enjoyed the goats. He squealed in delight at these real live stuffed animals. They liked him, too. He let them lick him, smell his hair and chew on his stroller...YUM.

I enjoyed watching the children feed the animals as much as they enjoyed doing it. It was precious to witness these gentle animals eating out of their hands.

Here is Liam making a new friend. They head-butted several times and were bonded for life! It was the funniest thing!

Here is Caleb....(handsome boy) enjoying the animals, too.

Sometimes I can't explain why I love certain photos of my beautiful this one.

This was a sign-up sheet for the volunteers who were maning this particular exhibit. Lauren (the precious girl) thought she would give them her beautiful 4-year old autograph and the Mama was mighty proud so I took a picture. (big grin).

We FINALLY let him loose out of the stroller and he was OFF!!!! (To nowhere in particular.)

Does it put us in the "Hicks" class if we LOVE the Demolition Derby? 'Cuz we waited all day for this and it was THE highlight of our day at the fair. Shhhh....don't tell anybody, it will ruin my prim and proper image. (edited to say that I deleted this on accident and will add this image again later).

On Tuesday we had our good friends. the McCabe family over for a fantastic science day. We built a volcano out of plaster of Paris, then painted it it, then made it errupt. We added a solution made of vinegar, dish soap, glitter and food coloring to baking soda and got a dramatic result! It was messy and fun!

Here is another one of those "unexplainables."
Lauren is my favorite four-year-old in the whole world!

The leaves are-a-fallin'.....pretty soon there will be a carpet of them on the ground. I hope they wait for the House's to get here before they all fall off the trees.

The kids cleaned up the yard today. This is the designated bike parking spot. It was very messy....every outside toy we own was out in front. We needed to get it picked up so we can mow one more time before the leaves fall...the snow will come shortly after that.

And last but not least, we had this happen today. Our little Liam fell and hit his head on....I'm not sure what......(a kitchen chair, I think). The kids all panicked (there was lots of blood) and I tried my best to think clearly and keep my cool. I do not do well with blood, this is usually Mike's department, but he was at the hospital working. So I got all the kids in the van, had Lundi hold the towel on his head. Then I dropped the four off at a friends house that was on the way to the hospital. We made it to the ER, they stitched him up and now he is on the mend. I feel very accomplished to have handled all of this on my own. I really don't like this sort of thing. The only time I got queezy was when I was watching them sew him up and watching was optional, so I sat down and turned my head. He got six stitches.

The house is peacefully sleeping, I think I will join them. Goodnight.


The Week in Pictures

Last week we went to an exhibit at the Maine State Museum called Bug Maine-Ia. It happens once a year and this is the first year we have gone but definitely not the last. It was great fun for us all!
This is a tarantula we met at Bug Maine-Ia. We just left him alone in his aquarium...nobody wanted to hold him. I don't think he felt left out, though.

(I am still trying to figure out this picture posting business and I can't get the text where I want it---so please excuse the aesthetics). Here is a picture of Lundi holding a Woolly Bear. I think she is considering trying it on as a moustache. I said...I am still learning. I just accidently deleted this picture then when I trid to put it back on I got an error. I'll try again tomorrow when I have more patients and renewed energy.

Caleb collected some rock pieces at the museum that were scraps from a Native American tool making demonstration. He came home and made several arrow heads and a few arrows.

We went to the Farmington Fair on Saturday with Nana and Grandpa Dan. They had the Little Red School House open and ready for visitors (it was closed for a long time for rolocation and renovation). Lauren sat at the desk and wrote her name on a slate with Nana proudly watching and encouraging her.

Liam loved the tractors, ofcourse. He is following in his brothers' footsteps in that he LOVES vehicles of all kinds. He picked this one to "drive" then said (in Liam jibberish) "I want to go THAT (pointing) way!" Check out that huge steering wheel!
I wanted to include this picture just for Trevelyn. "Hopefully Harrison will be able to come visit you soon, Bud. We love you and think of you often!" Harrison longs to play with you, too. XOXOXO from your cousins in Maine.
Here is Lundi using the slate (I'm thinkin I should get some of these for school, the kids really liked the novelty of it). She is practicing her name, cursive!

This kid would make a great farm hand. Doesn't he just look like he is surveying the fields...anticipating the task ahead of him? I really like this picture.

The kids also got to enjoy the midway (at Nana's expense...Thanks Nana) and this was a favorite of both Lauren......

and Harrison. They got to POP some WHEELIES!

Either this post is too big or it's time for bed. I can't upload any more pictures..I keep getting an error code.

Friday, September 21, 2007

It Must Be the Weather!

I have been dragging my derriere all day. I even took a nap with Liam. I haven't done that in weeks. It is really warm outside and I think it is making me tired. Fall weather is so invigorating to me but today feels like summer.
Today the kids have just been playing. There has been a little bit of fighting, little bit of resolving conflicts, a whole lot of imaginary play and a little bit of watching Rescue Heroes. Harrison has officially declared that he loves them now. Good timing, as Caleb lost interest in them about a year ago and is finally ready to relinquish possession of all said toys to his younger brother. We got them out a few months ago and Caleb was still claiming "Those are mine!!" Today, not the case. You see, they do grow up.
Mike and I will be attending a birthday party this evening. A good friend of ours (also our bishop) is turning 40. SHHHH! It's a surprise!
Tamara, the kids favorite baby sitter will come over to watch the kids. She has really long, beautiful hair which is perfect for her role as "The Queen" in their imaginary play. They always play "Medieval Times" when she comes over.
Mike has a twelve hour rotation at the hospital today so he won't be home until 7:30 so I might go to the party by myself, or wait and be late with him. In the mean time, I need to get dinner for the Littles and get myself beautiful for this evenings celebration.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Should I take it personally?

This little incident is fresh on my mind, though not indicative of the entire day. So I guess I'll go backwards tonight.
We were late getting the kids in bed tonight. I decided to start cutting the girls' hair at about 7:00 and Mike was working on some big paper that he has due tomorrow. Anyway, one thing lead to another and we didn't even start family prayer and scripture study (a nightly ritual for us) until 9:30. I should have known better. Lauren was crazy....WAY over tired, not cooperating and certainly not capable of sitting still. So, to minimize the disruptions during prayer I had her sitting on my lap. Suddenly, I felt something warm on my leg. Next thing I knew, I was soaked. That's right, the child peed on me! So in the middle of prayer (sorry Caleb, as he was offering the FP tonight) I jumped up off the couch and headed for the bathroom with her on tow. She made a nice little trickling trail from the couch to the bathroom.....giggling all the way. I kept my cool, though. All I said (calmly) is "Take off your wet jammies and then get on the potty. I will be right back with clean jammies." And I went to get them. When I came back I felt like swatting that bare little butt, but I didn't! Thank you Lord, for teaching me patience.
I talked to Tricia (our neighbor) tonight about their kittens, as they are ready to leave their Mama. Lundi has been begging me for a kitten. We told the kids about a year ago that we would start small and work our way up to a dog if they proved they could handle the responsibility. So we bought fish, and they are all still alive...except one which died right after we brought it home, couldn't handle the trauma I guess. Then we bought a parakeet and they have done well with that, too. Anyway, I just am not that fond of cats. I did find out though, that their (pure bred) lab is perhaps pregnant. I would much rather have a dog and I just love labs. They are due at the end of October and will be ready to go around Christmas time.....I'll be in touch with Santa. Tricia said she would sell us one for $200 as opposed to $4oo just because we are neighbors. So we will be having an addition to our family come Christmas.
We did not make it to the fair today. The kids just weren't that exited to go and I wasn't about to push them. I had three dishwasher loads of dishes to catch up on. Plus, every hamper in the house was full of dirty laundry. I've been letting the house work go, we have been on outings every day this week. It was great to stay home. I think the kids needed it, too.
I did dig out the muslin material. We couldn't even locate the one hammer that I thought we had. It turns out that the last time they saw it was when they built the tree house over at Zack and Abram's. It never made it home. (Grrrr). I do get aggravated when they take mine or Mike's stuff outside and don't bring it back. So, back on topic.....I found the material, had the kids go out and get leaves (Lauren brought in a bunch of brown ones, bless her heart) and I got the blackberries out of the freezer. We had to get creative with our pounders. First we tried rocks, well they just put holes in the material and our hands got tired of holding them. Then we tried rolling pins. It didn't work to roll them, but they made great pounders. So rolling pins it was! Not everybody participated. Caleb opted to make arrow heads out on the front porch. He found some really neat rock (scraps from demonstrations of Native Americans at the museum yesterday) and brought it home to see if he could copy what he had learned. He did some awesome arrow heads, then turned them into arrows complete with feathers. Boy, that kid can make ANYTHING!! He is amazing. He did it by chipping the rock he brought home against some harder rocks he found around the yard, until they were just the right shape. Pretty cool! I thought it would be good to study geology tomorrow, as he was asking me some really neat questions about what kind of rocks they were. It is so neat to learn things right along with my kids. I love homeschooling!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cars in the Toilet

Did I mention that we have a toddler in the house? Did I mention that this toddler can sometimes be a menace? Today Harrison went potty but forgot to flush and close the bathroom door after making a big brown deposit in the toilet. Well, Liam considers the toilet a great place to play. You's at the just the right level, it has water in it, it is often vacant, nobody will take it away from him. PERFECT for a baby who loves water. And today, he wanted to add a new dimension to his favorite thing to do....he added cars!! And the poop, well that was just an added bonus. So Mike found him in there zooming the cars, splashing in the water and just having a grand ole time. Needless to say, he went straight into the tub for a good scrub. Oh....and we flushed the toilet, too.
We went to the Maine State Museum in Augusta today. It was Bug Maine-ia. The kids got to hold and learn all about many bugs native to Maine, as well as a giant walking stick (which they considered too sticky to hold) from Peru. They had touch tanks, many dead bugs on display, ant larvae under a microscope, woolly bears, worms, honey bees and lots more. What I liked best was the butterfly that had just come out of its cocoon. It was just so beautiful to watch it shed the cocoon and then so carefully and slowly dry it's wings. It reminded me of a new born baby for some reason. God has truly created some beautiful things and I thank him for this earth.
Tomorrow we will go back to the fair again to see all of the things (a black smith, glass blower, showing of the horses and other animals, the tractor pull, and the best part....the art on display) that are there that often have to live in the shadow of the midway. They get to do that part with Nana on Saturday.
I must retire now. We want to get an early start.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sisters Speak (stolen title)

I read this post this evening and had such a long response that I thought I should put it on my blog. It ties in perfectly with what I wanted to type about tonight. Here is what my sister had to say.......
We had just gotten done with our terrarium, and filling it with various bugs - I'll write later on it on olm (be warned, Secret Agent, five spiders!), and then came in the house and the children wanted to play with the tangrams, so we did that, Maddie starts um... asking for Pooh in a way that sort of set my teeth on edge, can't find it, Trev finishes his robot and wants its picture taken, and wants me to finish my tangram design that looks like a robot (not what I was going for, but that's fine), Maddie wants food NOW! all of a sudden, "When are we going to the store to get the plaster of paris and the skittles and the baking soda and vinegar for volcanoes?" "Uh, food first, Maddie is hungry." "Come on little batrachotomus, Mom, look, the batrachotomus is climbing up the wall again. Can we get skittles for the batrachotomus?" "No, there were not skittles in the times of the dinosaurs of course, it would make him sick." "But, I told you that I saw them when I went back in time. Hey, where are Shaggy and Scooby, anyway, I haven't seen them in a long time." "Well, a time traveler must have left them there. Maybe they're sleeping, after a big lunch." What's super-quick?.. "Bagel, Maddie?" "No."Eyes darting everywhere, starting to feel closed in.... "Peanut butter sandwich?" "Yeah." Phew. "Chicken noodle soup, Trev?" "So can we get some skittles for batrachotomus, too?" I'n hungry!" "I'm fixing it, Maddie. Trev, really, Bub, I can't play pretend right now. After lunch, okay? I'm starting to freak a little. Let me feed all of us.... I really need to regroup for a few minutes..." He asked me something, I dunno, bzz, bzz, bzz-zap, bzz.... "Here you go, Maddie, can't have grilled cheese with it bub, we need to get some butter at the store..." Okay, I'm going outside for a sec while the soup heats up....Sigh.I start (practically running) for the backdoor"Mom, can we play again in a little while?" following me."Yeah Bub, but no more questions right now, okay? I'm feeling sort of stressed out, and my brain is zzzipping and zzzzapping, and I'm sort of freakin' on the inside.""You mean like bees?" (Which is an interesting question - I took a quiz that Melissia posted about "What does your name mean?" and my answer was "full of bees". Ha! (though evidently it changes every time did it it today to get it exactly right, and was two completely different answers.)"Actually, more like I'm electrocuting...."Now we've had lunch and the tot is sleeping out here on the patio sofa, Trev is playing in the sandbox, and I am type-type-typing away.(deep sigh.)
This sort of thing happens often around here.Eric asked the other night when we were throat deep in the same "What do people with a lot of kids do? How many does your sister have? Six? Four?""Five.""Do all of them go at once? What do they do? Do people just get used to it?"A few minutes later (like now) the chaos had subsided, and all was quiet and still."I think that when it's just two, eventually you get quiet, like now, and get a chance to regroup. But I don't think you get that if you have loads of them."(shudder.) The poor souls.

I love, love, love this post! Especially the "out of time out" comment. So cute.

Why don't you tell Eric that he is invited to stay a week or so at our house, then when he goes home he will feel like he has it easy breezy. I remember a couple years ago when Robyn came (she only had Megan and Nat then, and I only had four) after she left I said "I will never again think that four kids is alot." And HOLY MOLY....this time when she comes there will be eight kids under one roof for a whole two weeks. Imagine the chaos!! I won't blame Robyn if she decides to escape to a hotel for a break. Just to let you know, us Moms with five look at others with seven and think..."How do they do it?" But I've learned something over the years, which is why I would be willing to have more if I could....and that is the more you have, the better you get at...... (searching for an all encompassing word) ....juggling. Your heart, your talents, your wisdom, your patience, your know-how, your keen sense of hearing just increases with every kid. I always say it is one of the tender mercies that the Lord grants us for being willing to take on the challenge of Motherhood. I know that you are better about letting your kids be "free" than I am. Lundi came home and reported that she liked it at Aunt Stephanie's house because there are no rules. The only rules are "be safe and have fun." And she said this in response to my request that she pick up her clothes and put them in the hamper. For a split second I thought about canceling all of our rules and just adopting those two. But you know, the only way that this house can run is with organization and contribution from every single one of us. Maybe we have too much structure....but I feel like I am "freaking out on the inside" if I have it any other way. I hate that feeling. So I traded my kids "freedom" for inner peace and a happy Mama. So, at our house everyone gets the same lunch (I take votes, this is a democracy) , same dinner, clothes washed on the same day, same bed time (except for Caleb who stays down in his room until he goes to sleep...he loves the alone time), same routine for pretty much every one most of the time. In my experience, a big family demands routine and structure. For us, it works. I have needs, too. A big one is time to myself. The only way I can get that is to have everyone on the same schedule. (I am not among those "poor souls" you mentioned). Am I robbing them of something? Is it unfair? Maybe, but I pray the Lord will compensate for my shortcomings and in the meantime I will work hard to overcome them. We are a happy family. I am a happy, joyful Mother and I honestly enjoy my children.
The other thing is....I don't even like to call them "rules" because that makes it sound like they are being "good" for me. I call them principles. "Rules" to me says...."Someone else controls my behavior. I am externally controlled by rules." "Principles" to me says: "I understand the value in making good choices and I want to please God, above all." So when we institute a new principle in our house, we try really hard to keep this in mind. I've heard it said like this..."The key to freedom is obedience" and I love that. I want my children to embrace this truth.
No for the tie in.........I told you that I wanted to post about this Motherhood thing, so here we go (finally)....
In this area, five (six when Mattea is with us) children is considered a huge family. EVERYWHERE we go people want to know...(who we are, so we tell them...we are the Angels, the mighty, mighty Angels....a song for Steph)....... "Are they all yours? (And with Mattea I can say "No, I only have five...hehehehe). How close together are they? Boy, you have your hands full. Better you than me. I can't even handle the (insert small number) that I have. I bet you are happy when they go back to school. Are you going to have any more?' On and on and on. And in response to the "you have your hands full" I always say, "And my heart." and I mean that. Today we went to another homeschooling family's house to try to get a group started. It was great fun. Anyway, the comments about my many children were not spared. They weren't rude, just the "I admire you" variety. I am not trying to brag, just thinking this through....bear with me. It got me thinking...why am I so different than the Moms with one or two? Am I really crazy? Is the sacrifice too great? What makes me more equipped and capable of raising so many kids? Do I have something different? Am I depriving myself too much? I don't think that I am deprived at all...I feel so blessed, but their comments make me think that they think that I have lost myself in Motherhood and shame on me. Like why have I settled for something so.....demanding, unimportant and thankless? I almost feel like I should feel sorry for myself because they feel sorry for me. Am I missing out on something really great in life because I have so many children? Is it just going to hit me one day and I am going to look at my life and say..."What was I thinking? What have I done?" You see, these comments wear on me after a while.
Granted, I am not a perfect Mother. I do not claim to have it all figured out. I am still learning and I make plenty of mistakes, just ask my kids. But you know, I really like my BIG family. I believe there is nobility in Motherhood and I want to be a better one. It is my quest, my ambition and my focus. (Looked down upon as it may be). I pray every day to be a better Mother. I know that the reason that I can "handle it" is because Heavenly Father helps me so much. I could not do it without Him. A favorite scripture comes to mind..."For I will not boast of myself. I will boast of my God. In His strength I can do all things. Many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise His name forever." So you see, after all, it is not me. I am not due the credit. The Lord is always there for me. It is only when I try to do it on my own that I start to believe that maybe I really am crazy for having all of these kids. No need to shudder about me. I love you Steph. Thanks for the inspiration to think all of this out. I am reminded once again how very blessed we are to be Mothers....whether it be of one or ten!
Now I'm off to bed so that I don't wake up to be a grumpy Mama.

PS....I got my new (and improved) Sony CyberShot. We got a really good price from Dell.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Planes in the Rain

Even though it rained, we still attended the annual air show at Brunswick on Saturday. It was great, we all loved it, especially The Blue Angels. Afterward we went out to eat Indian food (my favorite). I tend to think that a diverse pallet is required in order to appreciate fine Indian cuisine, and my children proved that to me on Saturday. Caleb, however tried many new things and liked most of it. The others left the restaurant still hungry.
There is something to be said for the US Navy. First of all, my Daddy served in the Navy, so I have always been extra proud of this branch of the military. And those Blue Angels....they were impressive, to say the least. I found them fascinating to watch. I love the way they move with such precision when they march. I love the way everything thing they do is perfect and exact. Sometimes it looks as though they share a brain, is how Caleb described it. I respect them so much because I know that takes so much practice, dedication and self discipline.
I have often put the military (as a whole) in the "bully...want to beat everybody up" category. But on Saturday I gained a new appreciation for the men and women who serve and protect our country. The leaders of our country have made some very poor choices as far as putting our nose where it doesn't belong. But....these individuals who serve in the military make me proud to be an American. In some small way they represent me. I want to be better at supporting them, even if it just means including them in my prayers. Our country as a whole is represented by them. They seem to value and cherish freedom more than the average Joe. They are reminded on a regular bases what it takes to keep this country free. As a conservative, Mormon, homeschooling, free thinking, voting civilian, I often forget what They do for me so that I may enjoy these (often taken for granted) privileges. In my mind I learned to separate the war in Iraq (and my angst for it) from these individual men and women who shook our hands, took several minutes to talk to us, autographed Caleb's hat, and became our friends. They became real (like in the Velveteen Rabbit) to me in a way that I have not thought about in a long time. I sincerely thanked them for serving our country.
I don't watch TV...ever, so I stay pretty out of touch with the goings on of the world. I don't avoid the news, I just don't have access, so I forget about it. I want to remember that freedom comes with a very heavy price. I don't want something like September 11th to happen again in order for me to "Wake Up!!!" I will remember to pray for these people and their loved ones tonight. I will also pray for President Bush and those in Iraq who are struggling to make sense of all of this. I know that some day justice will be served. We can go through life doing what we will, but EVERYONE will someday have to meet their maker. Accountability does not disappear with death. I am glad I am not the judge.
Anyway.....I'll get off my soapbox now.
Today was a great day. We had a great school day. On Saturday the jets broke the sound barrier (soooo cool) which brought many intelligent questions from Caleb. So, guess what we did for science today. That's right, we learned about the speed of sound and why there is the cloud around the jet. Very fascinating, I might add.
Our local fair is going on right now. I know we may have turned into hicks, but we love the Demolition Derby. We went last year for the first time, and tonight we went just to see that. It was so entertaining. The kids loved it, guessed it, Mr Car Man Harrison. Nana is coming this weekend to take the kids to the fair, so she will do the Midway thing with them. So tonight they got a glimpse of the fun they will have on Saturday. I will be going to Bangor for a stake service project. Mike, Nana and Grandpa Dan get to take the kids to the fair.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


So many things have been left unwritten about the last couple weeks. Mike has started school, we're into the thick of it now. And that means less spare (blogging) time for me. Also, I have an additional little person in the house Monday through Thursday. I babysit (and homeschool) my friends little girl so she can go to school herself. I am not overwhelmed, it's just that my priorities have shifted a little bit.
We have officially started our "homeschool year." I hate that term, but there are certain laws of the state of Maine concerning home education that we must obey. I think we might move to South Carolina some day.....I hear they are the friendliest home educating state in the country, with a huge percentage of the state currently taking advantage of their very lenient laws. The numbers are increasing in my state, too. Just in the five years that we've lived here I have seen a dramatic change in peoples perceptions and opinions about home education. That means more voices to get the laws changed here. I will do my part.
Lauren was in the bath tub this afternoon while I was doing other things (the kids and I were putting together our annual time capsule so we can bury it tomorrow). So I went into the bathroom to get her out after she had been in there for about an hour and she looked at her hands and said..."Look Mom! My hands are all rusty." I chuckled, it was so cute.
Liam has officially turned into a.......toddler, in every sense of the word. His understanding and (non verbal) communication has increased ten fold in the last month. He actually has opinions and he wants toothpaste on his tooth brush now (what? did he learn that?) He use to be perfectly content brushing with just water. But oh no, not any more. He also wants to follow the other kids where ever they go. I don't think he knows he is little...I won't tell him. It's like as soon as he could walk, he became "BIG" in his mind. I don't remember such a drastic change with the other kids. Maybe I just forgot and maybe he is growing up faster than everybody else. He is the Fifth child, after all.
Today when we were doing the time capsule, one of the questions I asked the kids is "What do you enjoy most about homeschool?" Caleb's answer was "Math!" Wow, I was shocked. Isn't it amazing (while I shouldn't be amazed, as I have seen this sort of thing time and time again with my kids) how when you let them initiate what they learn, they instantly, automatically "GET IT"? Caleb is doing algebra this year, and will often do it for an hour or more just because it excites him. "Inspire not require" still rings true. I get alot of satisfaction when I discover how wrong they are about education. Is that so evil of me? Or maybe it's the other way around....Maybe I enjoy the feeling of validation when one of my untraditional (adopted) philosophies about homeschooling becomes evident. That's it.
I have started an exercise regimen. I decided that there were too many obstacles to going to the gym every day. So I bought a DVD called "Walk Away the Pounds." It is perfect for me because it doesn't require a big amount of space (I am usually sharing the living room with six other people who want to exercise with me) and it is relatively low impact. Also, if you follow the whole thing (45 minutes) you will walk three miles. So far, it has been a success. Five pregnancies worth of fat is soon to start melting away. Do I sound like a commercial?
OK....remember a while back when I wrote that we were going to the Air Show? Well, as it turned out, i had the date wrong. I was a month off. So that weekend we ended up going to a train museum instead. So this Saturday is the actual airshow and we are definitely going. We love Airshows. Mike is even working extra hard to get his homework done so he can go, too. Luckily, this week is orientation at the hospital so he didn't get any patients this week. YAY!!!!
Slumber awaits me.....again.

"Why do I always have to sleep? I have to do it EVERY day!" Harrison, Age 5

Sunday, September 2, 2007

82 Miles Inland.....

....Is the distance we live from Camden, a beautiful coastal town. We spent the day there yesterday. We went for the annual Wind Jammer Festival. I really love the culture of the coastal towns. There is something unique about it that I can't describe. I'll try to show you.....

This is a picture I took from land looking out at the harbor.....

We saw a sculpture sculpting a mermaid out of clay.....

And this famous artist (I think he was using pastels), but I don't know who he is, so he must not be too famous, after all! But I did love this picture I just didn't have the $2000. that they were asking....maybe next year.

Yesterday we saw for the first time, a lobster crate race. What is that?....You might wonder. Well, it is when they tie 20 (or more, but they had 20) lobster crates together (upside down) then tie the ends to a dock and the participants have to run across them as many times as they can without falling into the water (back and forth, from one dock to the other). The slower you run, the faster you sink.

Needless to say, this sport is best suited for the young and agile. One little boy, named Henry held onto the title by running across 516 crates. He beat his last years record of 423. He was so fast, and made it look so easy. Caleb and Harrison already decided they want to enter the contest next year.

We were also able to tour (and do lots of dreamin') some beautiful schooners. Our favorite was the Mary Day. She is a schooner with a 90 foot deck. She even has an organ on board for singing and entertainment. The cabins were beautiful, the kitchen had a wood coking stove, which I thought was really neat. I have never been down inside of the belly of a huge boat like that. It was amazing. Someday when we have $1500 to spare I think we will take a 6 day cruise on the Mary Day. I hope I don't get sea sick.

I thought this huge mast was so beautiful against the blue ski. It was a gorgeous day.

This was an A Capella group who just happen to be pirates. Caleb shared with them some of his gold coins that he had found in a treasure dig. It was cute....he even went back to where he found them to put more sand on them so they would look like a "real pirate treasure."

Lauren loves to climb....she got up here and said..."Look at me, Mommy!!" This time, I had the camera ready.

There were a few gentle rolling hills for Liam to practice his new skill.....walking! Go Liam!

....And after the twenty seventh tumble......
"I'll conquer these hills yet..." he says.

We had a wonderful time in Camden and I'm sure we will go back for next years festival. I would like to make it a is great to live in such a beautiful state; and activities like this give us good reasons to go and explore it.


PS--Mike transfered these pictures to my computer and I put this page together all by myself...can you tell I am proud? WAHOOOO!!!!