"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Overnight with Daddy!! (and other Big boy news)

Guess who chose to have a sleepover with Daddy and 2 sisters in the camper last night? 
 Joshua Gebeyehu Chad!
Because so much of our state is flooded, it is hard to find a camp site this summer.  So in order to camp this weekend, we needed to bring out our camper last night.  We need to sleep in it each night or we will be ticketed.  So we will be traipsing back and forth from the lake to work/summer school/swimming lessons this week. Yep! It is a whole lot of extra work - but it is also fun!

Krissy did not want to stay in the camper last night.  She has summer school that begins at 7:30 AM daily. Understandably, she did not want to have to get up even earlier than usual in order to be to school on time.  So, Chad stayed at the camper with the youngest three and the teenagers and I went home for the night.

Joshua has never been without me overnight.  Chad and I were so excited when Joshua chose to stay with Daddy instead of coming home with me!  And he did GREAT!  He arrived home at 8:15 this morning full of pride, smiles, and hugs!  He was beyond thrilled because Chad had stopped at the gas station on the way home and bought the kids breakfast.  Do you know what the "gassie station" has for breakfast?  PIZZA!!!! Oh boy, was our pizza loving Joshua happy!  Pizza and blue Gatorade for breakfast was like the best start Joshua could imagine for his day!

In other "BIG boy news"  Joshua loved, loved swimming in the lake with his sisters yesterday afternoon.

Last year he would not even attempt to walk in the water.  Joshua would never move more than a few inches in the water without a hand to hold. While it appeared that he was "chicken" in truth his balance was just not good enough to walk in the uneven surface of the lake. 

No such problems this year! 
The final "BIG boy" headline of the week was the purchase of a BIG boy bike!  I had shown Joshua bikes at the store several times, but they were deemed "too wiggly!"  Until this week!

This week he asked to try again and took off across the store!  He turned around when he reached the end of the aisle, zoomed back to me, and announced that he was ready for a big bike!  

And ready he was!  He has ridden all around the block, uphill and down.  He can pedal uphill really well and is getting breaking under control.  It is amazing!
We are so proud of our BIG boy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Reading List

So far this summer has been crazy!

I feel like all I have done is try to keep up, never quite succeeding.  I ALWAYS have somewhere I am supposed to be.  There is ALWAYS housework to do.  Meal planning has been tossed out the window.  Dinner gets tossed together "creatively" minutes before we eat.  My kids are begging me to buy groceries, and if you saw my pantry you would know why!  (We now have oatmeal, flour, chili beans and rice to "snack" on.)  Workouts happen at 5AM or not at all. 

I am tired!  I do not feel relaxed and "summery" in the least!

That MUST change! 

Luckily, the kids' activity schedule is much lighter in July and August than it has been in June.  I knew going into June that it was overbooked for mom, but because so many of the activities that the kids were interested in happened to be scheduled in June, I decided to suffer through it.  While it has been a great month for the older kids, Joshua and I have not enjoyed it nearly as much. 

But, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!  Soon, very soon, there will be some time for momma to read a book while lazing in the sun (for a few minutes anyway). 

That is where I need your help!  Do you have any fabulous summer reads to recommend?  I am looking for books that are easy to read... light, carefree, and inspiring!  Help me, help me please! 

***I do have a sweet summer book suggestion for you!  Last month I read "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo.  It was a quick easy read that gives a glimpse of one little boy's trip to heaven.  It was beautiful, innocent, and made my imagination soar!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Healing Power of SILENCE

I am reading the book of Job, as I continue my quest to read through the Bible this year.  It is a book about a man's suffering... terrible suffering.  It is an inspiring recount of how Job lost his wealth, health, and much of his family, yet never blamed God.

In all honesty, it was a part of the Bible I never really wanted to read.  Who wants to read chapters and chapters about suffering?  Not me!  It was almost as if by avoiding reading Job, I could avoid hardship.  (silly... but honest!)  Well, this year I made a vow to read the WHOLE Bible.  So I can not avoid the areas that freak me out challenge me.

Much to my surprise, I am enjoying Job.

The very first words in Job that made me pause were these:
"Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"
Job 2:10

Do I do that?  Am I faithful and full of praise for God when things are to my liking?  How about when they are not?  Hmmmm... 

A few verses later I came to the words that have been simmering in my soul for the last few days.  (Funny how that works sometimes, I read something and it has to simmer for days.  The same words, flipping over and over in my mind at the oddest times, until their lesson is (HOPEFULLY) lodged in my heart.)

Anyway, these are the verses that God has been tossing around in my head:"

Job 2:11-13

I love that picture.

I have been on both sides of suffering.  I have been in deep anguish and needed a friend.  I have also had friends in great pain.  In those moments, it is so easy to become the "encourager" or the "fixer."  It is so easy to start TALKING!  Many of us immediately start giving all kinds of advice, filling the air with words.  These words may be spiritual, or encouraging, or advising.  They are certainly well meaning.  They are certainly spoken in love.  

But have you ever just needed someone to SIT near you.  To cry with you.  AND NOT SPEAK?  NOT fix?  NOT encourage?  

I have.

To me there is healing in silence.  To have a friend by my side, there physically, yet SILENT... allowing me to process my own thoughts and sort things out on my own time is a beautiful gift.

However, many times when I have a friend in distress, I begin talking!  Using words of "wisdom" that are not yet wanted or needed.  Words that may be healing...  SPOKEN too soon.  I think there is a time for words (and later in the book of Job there is plenty of dialog between the friends) - but often, silence needs to come first.

I love this Biblical example of friendship.  I plan copy it.  The next time I am driving to visit a friend in distress, I will simply pray instead of planning what I MIGHT say.  (Ever done that?  Be honest now!)  Because, sometimes just being there is ALL that is needed and/or wanted.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Crazy Tubers

We spent hours today having fun in the sun at a local lake.  The kids tubed, and tubed, and tubed!

 Joshua is an absolute water bug!
 Sierra was THRILLED to be in the water!
Her foot is doing much better!
 She and Simon had a wonderful time together!
 This picture cracks me up!
Jamison looks like he is crying like a baby!
(He wasn't)
He was screaming like a girl as he held on tight!
Chad is an awesome driver - "hard core" when asked, but always checking to make sure the kids are safe and smiling!
 Brenna and her Godmother, Sharlene, watching the craziness!
 The new boat pulled 2 tubes easily.
It was so fun to watch the kids bounce, laugh, scream, and smile!
 This is some serious "tube rash" in the making!
Simon left a little before we did.
He sent my phone a text as he and his Aunt Sharlene drove home.  It read, "I rocked that tube!"

Yes, Simon!
You did!
All the fun in the sun makes for some sleepy little people.  Lucky Sharlene had some sweet cuddle partners.  They DID NOT, however, fall asleep!

I am thankful tonight for sunshine and laughter.  It was a superb day!

Grandma Donna's Birthday

Last night we celebrated Grandma Donna's Birthday.

 Joshua insisted we bring her flowers.
He picked them.
He held them while we drove there.
He delivered them along with with a BIG birthday hug.
 Jamison never misses a chance to play basketball.
 This is Joshua riding "Lexi's horse."
He is telling it to gallop (with a kissing noise, just like Grandpa!)
 This year Joshua can climb the bale pile.
Brenna and Adrianna now have one less place to hide!
Lexi taught Joshua about collecting rocks.
They found "like a million."
Luckily Joshua did not ask to bring them home!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Our summer schedule has been a big adjustment for Joshua and I. We both enjoy quiet and a lot of time at home. During the school year we would often return from dropping the girls at school to a quiet house and play all morning. We would rarely turn on the TV, filling the silence with conversation, "concerts", and imagination.

It was peaceful!

It was fun!

It was sweet!

There were days when we ran errands, had play dates, and/or went to my office - but always we would return to our quiet routine for a few moments of play and a snugly nap.

Then one day summer vacation began. Our house is no longer quiet... ever! There is always a TV on, many times 3! Quite play and imagination are interrupted with squabbling siblings. And there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS somewhere to go!

Yesterday my momma mobile stopped at 21 different locations to drop off or pick up one child or another! I am NOT joking! It is intense!

This morning Joshua and I were both a bit grumpy! We are both longing for less crazy and more quiet! We also both needed a nap! Luckily, I figured out a way to shuffle our errands and appointments to enable some time at home for Gubs and I. He played a bit. I cleaned. We had lunch... early instead of late. Then we snuggled up for a book and a nap.

As we cuddled in my bed nose to nose, chest to chest, sharing both a pillow and a blanket - it hit me! WE, JOSHUA GEBEYEHU AND MOMMY, WERE IN 21 DIFFERENT LOCATIONS YESTERDAY! Yes, we were tired this morning. We were a bit grumpy. But we were also FINE!!!!! Joshua slept all night. He remained emotionally connected through it all, even when disciplined! Yep, he complained. Yep, he was a bit whiny. He was even a little naughty a couple times. But those reactions are perfectly, totally NORMAL!

It really is something to celebrate! Last summer he was in overload after one stop, this year he made it through 21! I have NO desire to attempt to break that record. 21 stops in one day is craziness! More time at home playing at "Joshua's park" is on the schedule for next week. However, there are just some days that are CRAZY! when you have 5 kids! I am so thankful that Joshua can handle our crazy these days!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


If you have ever considered making your blog into a book, I highly recommed it!

Over the winter I had the first half of my blog "published." (really just printed, but published sounds cooler) I am really glad I did. It was easy, and the book turned out beautifully!

I tell you about it now because blog2print has a promotion running through July for 15% off blog books. 15% is not huge, but it is the first discount offer I have seen from this site. The promo code is saveb2p76

My only complaint about blog2print is that the maximum number of pages that can be printed in a hard cover book is 500. It took some playing to figure out how to break my blog into two parts as I have blogged more than 500 pages. Other than that it was super simple! You have many choices as to cover color and design, table of contents (or not), dedication page (or not), comments included (or not), and which posts you want printed. It took me an hour or two to design my first book, but only a fraction of the time for the second one.

I hope you enjoy your book as much as I have!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jay Babysits!

When Joshua first came home, he and I were attached at the hip by my design. Where I went, he went. I often joked that I gained 36 lbs on my trip to Ethiopia.

Eventually Joshua and I were attached at the hip by mutual design! Now that we have a deep emotional attachment, the physical one is not as important. So more and more often I will leave Joshua with Chad or Krissy.

I had never left him with Jamison... until last week! Prior to last week neither of them had ever suggested that Jamison babysit. One afternoon last week Joshua had grown VERY tired of playing taxi with mommy! It was time to pick up Krissy from summer school and Joshua had no interest in riding along. He desperately wanted to stay home and play.

Since Krissy was at school, the only "babysitter" at home was Jay. Jay is the world's BEST big brother, but he prefers to play with rather than be responsible for Joshua. He really has no interest in babysitting, so I have never asked him.

However, Joshua did the asking for me. When it was time to get back in the car to get Krissy, Joshua RAN to Jay! He squirmed up on his lap and said, "Jamison, my brother, pleasie babysit me! Joshua no I like it getting Krissy! Joshua I want play withie Jay."

How could Jay say no?

So I left the boys home alone!

I knew it would only be about 15 minutes. What could go wrong in 15 minutes?

When I returned 15 minutes later, Jamison said, "Mom!" in a voice that told me there had been trouble.

"Hey Jay! How did it go?" I asked.

Then Joshua came running around the corner, bubbling over with excitement. He told the story before Jamison had the chance.

"Mommy! Joshua havie go kaka (poop). Joshua on the toilet. Joshua yelling Jamison wipie my butt! Jay say no! Jay tell me to wipie my own butt. I yell Jamison! Jamison! Mommy Daddy wipie Joshua butt! Mommy Daddy bye-bye, so Jamison have to wipe my butt!"

(At this point I am hunched over laughing! Jamison has a very weak stomach! The only thing worse for him than wiping a butt would be changing a poopy diaper. To him, Joshua's request would have been torture!)

Joshua continues, "Jay come into bathroom. Jay say ooohhh! it stinks!"

(I am in tears at this point!)

I finally get up the nerve to look at Jamison. He has an amazing sense of humor and my uncontrolled laughter helped to break the ice. Yet, he was still not laughing! He was just staring at me blankly.

He finally said, "Yeah! I won't be babysitting again!"

To which Joshua replied, "Thank you Jamison! Thank you wiping my butt!"

The hug and thank you helped, but it will still be a loooong time before Jay agrees to babysit his brother again!

***This story was posted with Jamison's permission.

Monday, June 20, 2011

We (finally!) Go Camping!!!

(Jay said I should start with the coolest picture of the weekend!)
There is NOTHING that I love more than camping with my family. To me it is THE definition of RELAXATION! I was so very thrilled to finally spend the weekend at the lake!

I love getting the first glimpse of water, that is just waiting to be explored!

I love setting up camp!

The first thing we did this trip was to help Sierra soak her foot!
We arrived at the lake late Friday evening, so bedtime came quickly.

To everyone's surprise, Joshua was the latest sleeper Saturday morning!

How many of my monkeys do you see in this tree?
Look close, Brenna is in brown, trying hard to keep up with her bro.

Jay loves a challenge... any challenge!

Joshua wanted us to take his picture "climbing" too.

Poor Sierra! There was NO way she could crutch up and down the hills at the campground, so we pushed her in the jogging stroller.
She was totally humiliated, but it was better than being left in the camper!

This lake had a nice play area.
"Joshua I love it backhoe best!"

Guess who ran with me Saturday morning?

By noon the sun was shining and the water was calling our names!

Joshua is CRAZY about the tube!
He loves to go fast and bumpy!
He also loves to just float while his siblings swim all around him.

He loves to splash and giggle!

Sierra was totally miserable watching everyone in the water!
She loves to swim.
It was SO hard for her to stay out - but lake water and a puncture wound should not mix!

One of my favorite parts of camping is Chad's grilling!

I took Brenna and Joshua for an evening swim.
The water and sky were so beautiful!

I love this picture!

I pulled the littles out of the lake just in time for a campfire!

This IS the child that used to be terrified of dogs!
Now Joshua will not leave Molly alone!
I think Molly sometimes wishes he still was scared of her!

There is something so peaceful about gazing into a campfire.

Sunday, (Father's Day) Joshua was THE FIRST one up!
He let daddy sleep a little bit... but not so long.
After all, he was so excited to give his daddy the card he picked!

We were back on the water in record time.
We seriously think Joshua traveled 10 miles on the tube this weekend!
Sometimes the kids were going fastish, other times they were just trolling along - but they hung out in the tube as long as we would allow. At one point Joshua's teeth were chattering and his lips were blue, so we made him come in and warm up on mommy's lap. He just could NOT understand why we would do that! He said, "Joshua having fun! I love it tube! How you know Joshua cold? Joshua is ok!"

Brenna is not a tuber!
She still loves the boat though.
Especially when she can hang close by Auntie Teresa!
They are BFFs!

Jamison can hardly wait to get back on the water! He had such a great time wakeboarding this weekend!

Does this not make you giggle?
Think Joshua adores his Auntie?

Uncle Jeremy let Joshua drive a bit. Sneaky Joshua decided to go fast and made us all jump when he revved up the motor... A LOT! Tonight in his bed time prayers he said, "Thank you camping! Thank you lot of tubing! Thank you wakeboarding! Thank you Uncle Jeremy let you Joshua drivie boat! Thank you Joshua ROOOMMM really fast Uncle Jeremy boat! REALLY REALLY FUN!"

I think Joshua summed up the weekend perfectly! Oh, I love camping!