Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life at the lake

We are up in Michigan at Doug's parents house.  They live right on the lake, so our days are spent in pajamas and swimsuits.  Down the stairs to the beach, hot dogs over the fire for lunch, lots of swimming and sand, jumping off the dock.  The something else cooked over the fire for dinner, and we all zone out with books and tv or play games until bed time.

The kids are looking brown with touches of pink (need to step up the sunscreen application, I guess).  There's tons of fresh fruit available at the local fruit stands and I made blueberry crumb cake last night (oh my, yum).  Life is slow.  No pressure to get dressed and get going.  Lots of sitting.  A welcome break.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Many hands make light work...sort of

Last night, I got all the girls to help me do a thorough cleaning of the van before our trip.  Hannah and I took out the seats (I can't believe she is big enough to help with things like that), and we proceeded to vacuum, then spray and wipe all surfaces of our van.  Since we have a twelve-passenger van and it has a completely vinyl interior, that was quite a big job.  The spraying was definitely more popular than the wiping.  Since I had only two spray bottles of cleaner, there was much fighting and whining about who would get to do the spraying, but in the end, we got it done.  It was in the mid-eighties with insanely high humidity, so we were all disgustingly soaked with sweat when we were done, but popsicles all around cheered up the kids.

Today the older girls (grudgingly and with many piteous looks at my behavior) helped clean up the main rooms in our house so they won't be totally trashed when we get home from our vacation.  They also packed their clothes and neatened up their rooms.

They didn't do it cheerfully, but it's done and I am much more relaxed sitting in a clean(ish) house.  As the girls get older, I am sometimes impressed by the amount we get done when we all work together.  In fact, I almost enjoy the work more despite the bickering and eye-rolling because we're doing it as a family.  I'm looking forward to the kids being able to do even more with less supervision, when it might actually be easier to have them help than to do things myself.

It also makes me think about how big an impact our family could have on this world.  We have six kids.   Who knows what they will grow up to do?  I assume that they will have families, and I look forward to meeting their children, and watching our family grow and impact even more people.  I may never do anything significant by worldly standards, but raising these children to know God and to follow Him will have an impact that will grow exponentially because of the sheer numbers!

So as I work to shower everyone again, tuck them in again, clean up the dishes again, and know I have all those same things to look forward to tomorrow, I choose to believe that these things are not worthless and insignificant.  They are exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now.  They are my part of changing the world.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Self-healing Microwave!

Our microwave has healed itself!

About a week after we moved in, our vent fan on our over-the-range microwave turned on automatically while I was cooking and never turned off!  We tried pushing all the buttons, unplugging and plugging it back in, read the repair manual and even called the assistance line (who offered to send someone out to look at it, they don't do technical support over the phone).

Finally, we just decided to deal with it and unplugged the microwave when we weren't using it.  The problem with this was that the kids can't reach the plug, so every time they needed to use the microwave, they needed Doug or I to come plug it in.  Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but annoying.

Today, when one of the girls finished microwaving her hot dog for lunch, I suddenly noticed that the microwave was still plugged in, but the fan was off!  I have left it plugged in and so far, so good.  So there you have it, a self-healing microwave!  I'm afraid I can't release the make and model or there may be a rush to the stores that could potentially cause damage.

I think we will call her Rosita.

Blueberry scones

I made fresh blueberry scones yesterday -- so yummy!  Not as good as the strawberry ones I made a couple months ago using this recipe, but still very good.  If you've never made scones, you should try!  They are quick and easy, and if you're a sweet bready food junky like me, you'll be in heaven.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Watching my daughters succeed

This week, I am leading a volleyball camp for 5th and 6th graders, and my two oldest girls are participating.  It's been fun to step out of the Mom role with them and get to be Coach.

Hannah, my oldest, has done camp twice before and is very confident this year.  Her skills are good, and she is excited about how well she's doing.  Since she tends to be less active, it's awesome to see her work hard and push herself to continue to be one of the best.

Emily is actually a year younger than the girls at the camp, but loves team sports and being part of a group, so I pushed her to come this year.  She isn't great yet, but she's improving every day and is willing to try to do the skills right.  Today, she was doing a drill and I pointed out something she was doing correctly (probably for the first time).  Her face lit up and she repeated her success over and over.  I was so proud both as coach and mom.

It makes me think about how I parent.  Unless we intentionally look for and point out things our kids are doing well, they tend to hear mostly criticism and correction from us.  My husband complimented Hannah on keeping her temper when one of her sisters was testing her, and her smile was beautiful (she's more in the eye rolling and shrugging stage, so we love seeing the emotion on her).  I'll have to watch today to see if she makes a bigger effort to repeat her success since she knows we are watching.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rhea's friends

Rhea will be five tomorrow.  She is intelligent, creative, emotional, loving, and exhausting.

Today three of her friends met us at the park for a little party.  She also called Grandma (my mom) this morning to invite her.  When she showed up, Rhea's introduction was, "And this is my friend, Grandma."

Those two have an amazing connection, BFFs for sure.  Having a big family can mean that sometimes kids feel lost in the mix, so I'm thankful that Rhea has her dear friend Grandma for those days.

You make everything glorious

I love the song that sings to God "You make everything glorious, and I am yours, so what does that make me?"  We are created to be beautiful, glorious, enchanting creatures, but we're stuck in this sinful, crazy world that makes it easy to forget that truth.

I want to look for those beautiful things in my every crazy day.  I want to share the things that make me smile or laugh out loud or well up with tears of joy.  You'll hear about my kids -- five amazing daughters and one sweet baby boy.  After 12 years of marriage, I'm crazy about my husband, even when we're driving each other crazy.

We've recently moved into the house I think we'll be in forever, and I'm slowly working to make it beautiful and perfect for us.  I'm enjoying exercising my creativity to make the most of what we have, and I'll enjoy showing it off a little.  One great thing is that our house is across the back yards from my parents, and my husband is even happy about that (most days).

It's going to be a journey of choosing each day to focus on those things that are glorious and beautiful.  That choice will shape my attitude toward my husband, my children, my (sometimes crazy) schedule, and my house.  I will choose to rejoice and be glad in this day.