To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Time for Christmas Cards Gone By...

Our 2014 Family Christmas Picture
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Can you believe it's already the middle of December?! I seriously feel like yesterday I was on the soccer field and today I'm getting ready for Christmas. Today actually feels like Christmas is around the corner now that our trees are blanketed in white snow. I know rain means no shoveling (or plowing our road!) but rain also means ugly, bare trees that don't give you that "christmasy" feel.

Since this snow is getting me into the Christmas spirit and as I am receiving all the lovely Christmas cards from our friends and loved ones it has had me looking back to our old Christmas pictures. I love looking at the Christmas cards and seeing our family grow through the years! I thought I'd share those photos with you...some of you didn't even know our family way back then! I don't have the actual card but I have all the pictures we used for our photo card. It's all started in 2003...our first Christmas as a married couple. We had been married for almost a year and I was 8 months pregnant with Noah! That seems forever ago...enjoy the look back!

2004-Noah is almost 1
2005-Owen is 2 months old

2006-In this card we announced
baby #3 was on the way!
2007-Gabe is 4 months!

2008-Will is 1 month!!

2010-Finally a splash of pink! Jena is 5 months

2012-This is by far my favorite picture because of all the smiles!!!
Tess is 1 month!

"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Time to Cry Out

In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me. ~Psalm 120:1

I've been quiet the past few weeks as far as the blog goes. Not because I don't have anything to say...a million thoughts a day go through my mind and I'm always up for a good conversation. Things have been busy and we've traveled more this month than we have in 2 years so I just haven't had any time to sit down and actually get anything written. Plus there is that issue of feeling so overwhelmed that any thoughts I have I can't articulate in a way that makes sense. Been there? I'm sure you have. Those times when your heart has so much to say, is bearing so much, but the words don't seem adequate to
express it. That's been life lately.

I've said it before and I will say it again, raising kids does not get easier as they get older. We have so much on our plates right now in regards to the kids that some days it's hard to breath. I want so badly to be the best mom. I want so badly to find the solution and see victory in some of the areas that are a struggle but it seems God has chosen to allow these things to continue. I know I have a lot to be thankful for and I don't mean to come across as complaining. It's just when each of your 7 children is struggling with one or more things, all of it combined is so overwhelming. It's hard to wait on God for some of these things. Most of what is going on is individual. It’s the heart of that child and I can point them to Gods word, I can give reminders, I can correct behaviors but at the end of the day the real change will only happen as the child submits their will to the Father and allows Him to change their heart. 

Man that's hard! It's hard to wait on God to do that. For someone with my personality, who wants to find solutions to problems, it is easy to do it all in my own strength and get impatient waiting on God. I'll be honest; there have been a couple break downs over the past few months where I had to cry out to God. It seemed like he wasn't hearing me and didn’t care. And then as I was reading in Psalms I came across this verse: "In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me". So simple yet just the reminder I needed. God does care and he does hear me. What a blessing that verse was and how many times I have come back to it the past few weeks. 

The vacation I have been so busy this week preparing for has been planned since last year. We've wanted to take a family vacation because it's been 6 years since our last one. With the arrivals of Tess and Emma it made traveling really challenging plus finding something that wouldn't break the bank was tough too. Thankfully the Lord made it possible for us to find a timeshare that was not only affordable but available during the kids Thanksgiving vacation so they will only miss one day of school. It's also driving distance (closer than our drives to Madawaska!) and it can sleep all of us and has a full kitchen so we don't have to eat out! I've been busy making all our meals for next week so once we are there I won't have to cook at all and we can just chill and hang out at the indoor pool. I believe the Lord knew what we would be struggling with now last year and that is why he prompted us to look into a family vacation when we did. It really couldn't come at a better time for us and I think some quiet family time is exactly what our soul’s need. God is so good to provide us with exactly what we need...even before we realize we need it. 
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my amazing family. God has richly blessed Ben and me and despite the demanding needs of our family I am still able to see God's goodness in all of it and thank him for it. In our weakness we are made perfect and I have certainly been seeing how weak I am and how desperately I need God. I am thankful He is there to cry out to when I can no longer bear the task at hand. And I am thankful He is there waiting to pick me up and give me what I need to continue on. 

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and I pray God blesses your time with each other. If you are feeling overwhelmed and can relate to what I have shared then my encouragement to you is to look to the only one who can offer you what you need. He is there and He is ready to help you and give you exactly what you need. God does hear us when we cry out to Him! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Time to Trust the Beautiful Journey


Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~Prob. 3:5-6

There are not too many months that go by in this house where we are not celebrating someone’s birthday. This month we have two birthdays, Tess is one of them. It's with her birthday coming up in a couple days that I have been thinking so much about the journey God brought me on in waiting for
her. The name Tess means, "beautiful" and the journey God took me on was certainly beautiful.

Kristina O'Brien
After Jena was born and we finally had our girl our family seemed complete. We had 5 young children and we were feeling like our plate was pretty full. Like it is for most, welcoming a new baby into the family comes with some overwhelming times as you adjust, and even though Jena was an easy baby we still had our share of overwhelming moments. Thinking about having another baby seemed crazy. Yet as crazy as it seemed it only took about a year for me to get that longing again for another baby. The difference this time was that Ben and I were not on the same page. He was very firm that he did not want another baby. He was not saying no forever, but no for now.

This was the first time that we had not been on the same page when it came to having a baby. It was new territory for me and I wanted to make sure that how I handled our opposing opinions not only pleased God, but also respected my husband. Having a baby is a big deal and the decision to have one shouldn't be taken lightly. As much as I wanted another baby I also did not want my husband to feel as though his feelings on the subject didn't matter. One thing that I remember as I think back is that we had a mutual respect and understanding for each other's feelings. I understood that he felt it was unwise of us to have another baby because we were already so busy and so overwhelmed with the ones we had. On some level I totally felt the same way. It did seem unwise to think about bringing in another baby. I did understand that we were just two people and we had a lot of responsibility...and yet as much as I understood and prayed that God would show us His will the more I longed for a baby. I just couldn't explain it.

So what do you do when you find yourselves on opposite sides of the fence? Well the first step is respecting and hearing each other's side, which we did. After that though where do you go from there? We decided the best thing to do was come up with a compromise. We decided that we would wait until Jena was two before making any big decision. When she turned two we would re-visit the subject and see how we felt at that time. Of course that year was filled with lots of prayers...mine of course were asking God to please just put us on the same page somehow. I begged him to make it clear and that if it was not His will for us to have another baby that He would take away my desire to have one. Well the desire for another baby never went away. And Ben's feelings of not wanting another baby didn't go away either.

Four months before Jena was to turn two Ben had to go away on a business trip and I was really not feeling myself. I knew it wasn't a cold or anything like that but I just couldn't put my finger on it. Then it dawned on me that maybe I was pregnant. It seemed highly unlikely since we were being careful not to get pregnant but that had not worked out too well for us in the past so maybe I was. I went out to buy a pregnancy test (always fun to do with 5 kids in tow...) and took the test late one night after I had put the kids to bed. It was positive. That night I cried tears of joy for two hours and just spent it in praise and thanksgiving to God. In that moment I had received confirmation that God had heard my prayers, He did know the desire of my heart and he had answered yes. I know that all of my babies have been a gift from God but this one just felt like an extra special gift. One that was meant just for me and I will never, ever forget that moment and those hours with God. It was and is so special to me.

There's a movie called Facing the Giants and in it there is a woman who is unable to have a baby. Part of the movie is taking you through her journey of not being able to conceive and at the end when she receives yet again another negative pregnancy test we see her crying in the parking lot. Through her sobs she looks up to God and says, "I will still love you." I can't get through that part without sobbing myself, not because I understand what it is like to not be able to have a baby but because I understand where her heart is in that moment. Whatever it is that we desire, when God says no, it's hard. Will we still love God when He says, "no"? I understand that God could have said no to us having another baby and I hope that I would have been okay with that answer. I had 5 healthy, beautiful children. I had no business desiring another baby and at the time it made no sense to me why I couldn't let go of that feeling. God had a plan for us. He not only gave us Tess but he also took me on a beautiful journey. 

It was a journey of trust. I left my heart, its desires and all, at God's feet and made a choice to trust him with the outcome. Once I got pregnant I had no idea what Tess' delivery and the weeks following would bring. I couldn't have known how much I was going to have to trust God, how much Ben and I were going to have to trust God. As I look back and remember and look forward to Tess turning two I am reminded of how good God is to me and all he has
brought me through. He said yes to the desire of my heart even when I was so undeserving and He allowed me to take this beautiful journey and for that I am so grateful. Tess is a blessing, as all our children are, and we are just so thankful to have her in our family. So Happy Birthday sweet girl and may you grow to experience your own beautiful journey with God someday!

***I feel as though I need to make a note here. When Ben found out I was pregnant, even though the desire of his heart had not been to have another baby, he was very happy and did see it as part of God's plan for us. ***

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Time to Find the Balance

When school starts life can, and often does, get crazy. Before I had any children who were school 
aged I used to think the hardest years of my life would be the ones where I was raising babies. Man was I wrong! If only I knew then, what I know now I would have enjoyed the baby stage with my older ones so much more. Once kids start school there is way more potential for schedules to be filled with activities. It can happen when they are little too, it just didn't for us. Once they start school they talk to the other kids and realize what the world has to offer them! 

Early on Ben and I made a decision for our family that we would not over-schedule ourselves That was so much easier to do when they were little. One thing that a family with several children has to consider is how many different directions can two people possible go in and do we want to be going in opposite directions all the time? When you have seven children there is the potential for us to be going in seven different directions and if you do the math, that's just not possible for two people. We have been doing the "school thing" for 6 years now. That doesn't make us pros but it has given us some experience in setting limits for our schedule. I thought I would share some things we've learned along the way to help you in this very busy season of life. These are just things that have worked for us, they are not hard and fast rules. Every family has to do what works for them. This is what works for us. 

1.Pray!  And then pray some more. Never stop praying for wisdom to know what to say yes to and what to say no to. God will give you guidance and peace about the decisions you make and you need to listen! Just because something is good doesn't mean it is good for your family. Before we take on anything whether its sports, a club or something at church, we pray and make sure that it is Gods will for us to set time aside for that activity.

2.Be willing to say no!  There will come a day when you will have to say no to your children and the sooner you start practicing, the easier it will be! There are so many activities out there that kids can

do. They all require your time and most cost money. We made a decision early on that we would be a one sport family until the kids are in Jr. High & High School. All of our school aged kids are in elementary school and we still have 3 little ones at home. It makes life hectic enough as it is with our family only being involved in one sport, I can't imagine how we'd manage if half our family was going to one field and the other half going to another...every night of the week. Each family has to do what is best for them, but for us what is best is limiting the activities our kids are involved in for a season.

3.Set your priorities! This is something we did even before we had children. Be purposeful in your parenting! Decide what the priorities are in your family and stick to it. For our family God is the number one priority. So what does that look like? Well that means that any sport or activity that practices, has a game, or meets on a Sunday is not an option for us. We go to church on Sunday and we set that day aside to worship God and rest. This has meant that we have had to tell the kids no to some things they have been interested in. Because this is the standard we have set from the beginning and have never wavered on, the kids understand. Having time for a date with each other is also a priority so Ben and I make it a point to set that time aside early on in the month, before the calendar fills up! Whatever the priorities are in your family, it is important to remember them and make sure you keep those things your priorities. Don't compromise because you will regret it!

4. Don't over-fill your calendar! If you are finding yourself in a situation where you don't have any free days, nights, weekends then it might be time to reevaluate your schedule and see if you should be doing all of those things that are filling up your calendar. I had a friend tell me one time that when she did her calendar for that month she had one child who didn't have a free day the whole month. The child was committed to something every. single. day. And that was only one child, that didn't include the rest of the family members. I give her a lot of credit for keeping up with that kind of hectic schedule because I think I would lose my mind. Ben and I have found that for our family, what works best is to not over fill our calendar. That means that we leave days open and say no to things that come up if doing it means that we don't get one day that week to breathe. I encourage the idea of husbands and wives sitting down and talking about what is reasonable for your family to take on. It's important to both be on the same page and then once you are, sit down and explain to your kids what your family can reasonably take on and go from there. It might mean eliminating an activity or two but if it means more family time and saving your sanity then it is worth it!

Something I had to learn was that no activity or sport will ever be better for MY kids then time spent at home with their family. I tend to feel guilty sometimes, wishing I had it in me to do more for my kids in the way of offering them all the activities they want to do. That guilt doesn't last long
once I get the right perspective and remember that all the sports and activities in the world mean nothing if my kids are never home with Ben and I. If we are always so busy running here and running there then what we are missing out on as a family is quality bonding time. Something that is super important to me is eating supper together. This is a time when I get to ask my kids about their day and just talk or listen to them talk to each other. I'm not trying to give the impression that our meal times are calm and peaceful...there's 7 kids after all! There's plenty of milk being spilled, kids 
arguing, babies crying for their food, someone needing to be told for the 100th time to SIT IN THEIR get the picture. The point is we are all together and in those rare moments when I can get a word in I can use that opportunity to connect with my kids. If every night of the week and every weekend is filled up with some activity that I am rushing my kid to then I'm not really spending time with them and I have very little opportunity to influence them in these very formative years. I read a quote on Focus on the Family that read:

"Parental influence is strongest during the early stages of their children’s lives, up to the age of 13, during which time children are facing relentless
 cultural influences and competing worldviews."

My children are still in the "early stages" of their childhood and I don't want to miss the opportunities to help them understand these "cultural influences and competing worldviews" that they face because I am too busy running from one activity to the next. I'm also not a very good mom when I am so overbooked that I don't have time to breathe and since I am the only mom these kids have I think it's important that I give them the best of myself ...with Gods grace and strength of course!

I don't say any of this to criticize how another family is doing things. I am simply sharing my heart on the subject because for a while I really found myself struggling with finding the right balance. I'm very thankful that with Gods help we were able to find what works for our family and I hope that you are equally as happy with the way your schedule is! If you're not maybe my journey will help you get to a place where you can be happy! And as always, I love learning from you so if you have found ways that have helped you in this particular season of life please share!

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Time for the Nap Time Battle

The other day Jena was pretending she was a princess and came up to me and asked me to read her the pretend letter that I apparently had written her. I played along and made up some things that could have been in the letter. I ended the letter by saying I hoped she would have a good nap that afternoon because it's important for princesses to get their rest. She stopped me and asked me to change the ending because she was not a little girl princess, she was a grown-up princess. I changed my ending to instead say that I hoped she would take a good nap that afternoon because grown-up princesses need to get their rest too. She was not at all amused by this and proceeded to rip up the pieces of paper, which contained the pretend letter, and throw it in the trash. I laughed so hard.

Jena does not like nap time. None of my kids have liked nap time after the age of 3. Before that age, most of my babies have been very good sleepers and done well at nap time. For some reason though there comes a point where they no longer feel they need sleep to function. Ben and I are night owls so it makes sense all our kids are. I'm also someone who does not need a lot of sleep and a few of our kids definitely take after me for that. Regardless of genetics though kids need sleep whether they think they do or not. If not sleep, then definitely some quiet, down time....this I am a firm believer in.

We can't force kids to least I haven't figured out how yet. What I can do is try as best I can to keep them on a healthy sleep schedule and hope that in time their bodies will adjust and that they will learn to relax and enjoy the time of rest. Sleep training babies is so different than toddlers. If you are at all interested in learning about the method I have used for all my babies then I recommend reading the book Baby Wise. For now I just want to share with you how I have dealt with the tireless toddler who fights nap time.

First, nap time isn't really nap time anymore. I call it rest time. Even if the child tells me they are not tired they have to go down for rest time. I require this of all my kids until they start school. It is at the same time every day, typically. I allow the child to listen to a CD and look at books quietly. They are not allowed to get out of their bed and they are not allowed to make noise. The noise part isn't so much an issue with the girls but it really was with my boys....there is always noise coming out of a boy! Then set a time limit. Our rest time is 2 hours.  If they don't obey those rules there is a consequence. This is something you have to decide for your child. Whatever your consequence is for disobeying in other areas, should be the consequence for disobeying at rest time.

Some of my kids did this very well and others (ahem, Gabe & Jena) not so much. The key is to remain firm in your expectations and be consistent. There will be some days (or weeks) that you spend the entire rest time going up there and reminding them to obey and getting them back in their bed and you will be exhausted! I promise if you remain firm and don't waiver on what you expect from the child they will get it and when that moment happens you will be so happy you made the commitment to train them to have rest time. It is amusing to me that it is usually the child who fights it the most who ends up falling asleep!

Now if I could only train myself to take naps, we'd be golden!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Time to Freeze Rice

I feel like all I've been focusing on the past few weeks is how to simplify things, how to make things easier and how to do things as efficiently as I can. I need more time saving tips and tricks....freezing sandwiches for school lunches....AMAZING! I'm still in awe that I never did this before!

A year or so ago, when I had just had Tess and found out I was pregnant for Emma I was a bit overwhelmed....just a bit. A friend of mine was so thoughtful and brought me a meal to put in my freezer to help me! In that meal was a bag of pre-cooked rice that had been frozen in a freezer bag. All I had to do was thaw it in the microwave. It tasted amazing and what a great time saving tip to freeze rice! I always meant to do this myself and just never got around to it. Till now!

I don't know about you but we eat rice a lot here. At least twice a week. It goes with everything...stir fry, stroganoff, fish, and this crock pot dish I'm making for dinner tonight: Crockpot Shrimp Creole. Rice is not at all hard to make but on a busy night, when you don't have a minute to spare, it can seem like it's a torturous task. I'm thinking that I am going to love being able to go to the freezer and just grab a bag of already cooked rice and pop it in the microwave!

Here is how my friend did it...its so simple you'll be wondering why you didn't think to do this yourself!

Step 1: Cook your favorite rice as you normally would. I use Basmati and I made 20 cups of rice, which will give me about 5 meals worth of rice, not counting leftovers.

Step 2: Let it cool.

Step 3: Place in freezer bags in the portion size you need. I did 4 cup portions.

Step 4: Put the bags in the freezer.

When you are ready to use the rice all you have to do is take it out of the freezer, vent the bag a little and put it in the microwave for 3 or so minutes.

That's it! So easy and it tastes great too. I am savoring every tip and trick to save time these days and this one is by far one of my favorites! From the reading I have done, it seems rice will keep in the freezer for up to a month. Making rice once a month compared to twice a week sounds much better to me!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Time for School Lunch Madness!

School has begun and with that comes school lunches. I have always sent the kids to school with a lunch from home with the exception of last year...two babies meant I just couldn't handle the extra work of making lunches so the kids got hot lunch. Paying for school lunch adds up though and it is cheaper for me to make them a lunch. I haven't done the math of what I spend but I know I don't spend $200 a month, which is what paying for school lunch for 4 kids would cost me. Plus my kids prefer cold lunch to hot lunch and with cold lunch I know there is way less waste because I'm sending them with food they like.

This is the first year I have 4 lunches to make and I know it shouldn't seem like that much more work but for some reason it is. I have felt the need to be way more prepared then I have in years past and I have found I need to give myself more time to prepare the lunches. I was reading a blog post I found on Pinterest, (which I didn't save and can't find now otherwise I would reference it), and her tip was to make sandwiches ahead and freeze them. She does this with her kids and they said the sandwiches taste just as good. I thought this was genius and so I have started doing this. It doesn't require a whole lot of time. In an hour I was able to make 24 sandwiches. I made sunbutter & cinnamon, PB & J, and PB & Honey with Cinnamon. I wrap them in freezer plastic wrap and then label them. I also made some Ham & Cheese sandwiches to freeze. I have given the kids these frozen sandwiches for a week now and they don't even know they've been frozen! Not one complaint that they taste weird or the bread is soggy or anything so I'd say this is working for us! Thankfully we have two chest freezers in the basement so I am able to devote a good amount of space in my refrigerator freezer to keep the sandwiches. In the morning I pull it from the freezer and throw it in the lunch box. By lunch time it's thawed and ready to eat.

Then there is everything else to think of. They need a snack and other items to round off the lunch. In order to save my sanity in the mornings I pre-package all the snacks, chips & crackers for about a 2-week period so all I have to do is grab the bags in the morning and throw it into the lunch box. I have three separate baskets (I got them at the dollar store) that I use for school lunches (these are separate from my home snack basket, which you can read about HERE). One is for snack time items, one for chips, crackers or pretzels to go with the sandwiches, and one is for dessert. The snack basket has items like almonds & peanuts, cheese & crackers, applesauce, granola bars, rice cakes and graham crackers. My chip basket has bags of chips, cheez-its, pretzels, wheat thins, etc. Then the dessert basket has animal crackers, fruit snacks and any homemade cookies or brownies we have at the time. This system has been such a life saver. My kids also know to save all their baggies so we use them again and again. When it comes to the fresh fruits and veggies I don't pre-package those because I don't really have the room to devote in my fridge right now but also because at the start of school I bought these divided lunch box containers that I can just put the fruits and veggies into without pre-bagging them. These came in a pack of 4 and are great quality. Another thing I like to do is buy the bulk size blocks of cheese and cut up slices ahead of time. This makes putting together a cheese & cracker snack much easier.

Do you have any tips and tricks that help you get through the busy morning rush when it comes to making school lunches? What are some of your kids favorite school lunches? I know Pinterest is loaded with ideas but I like hearing from you!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Time for Essential Oils

And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick,
and healed them. ~Mark 6:13

I have recently entered the world of Essential Oils. I will admit that I tend to be on the skeptical side when it comes to things like this. I am by no means a natural, make-it-all-myself kind of mom. You will not hear me talking down doctors or hospitals because I do not believe they are bad and I don't believe that all medicine is bad. We are so fortunate to live in a time when there is so much available to us. So many lives are saved because of what God has allowed men and women to achieve in the world of medicine. When my 3-year-old needed open-heart surgery you better believe I was thankful for the skilled & compassionate surgeon we had to repair his heart and for the advancements that have been made, making this surgery possible.

My interest in EO's started about a year ago when I became very sick with high blood pressure during the end of my pregnancy with Tess, which continued for months after she was born. The medicines they had me on to bring my pressure down, while necessary and life saving, came with some pretty severe side effects, including depression. It was a really difficult & scary time for Ben and I. Once I found out I was pregnant with Emma I had to be taken off the medicines and God was extremely good to me and allowed my blood pressure to come down to a safe number throughout my pregnancy with Emma. I did, however, start reading up on some natural ways to help high blood pressure in case I would develop the same issues once I neared the end of my pregnancy because I did not ever want to go through what I did before while being on those medications. I was still very skeptical though and never pursued EO's any further until I found out my friend was not only using them with her family but also selling the oils. She came to my house, taught me about them, answered my questions and helped me purchase some.

After a little over a month of using only EO's to treat our family, I am a believer. I can't say Ben is as convinced as I am but he is getting more so every day. Just today he asked me if I had anything for a sore throat (we have a nasty cold going through our house). I wasn't sure what he meant so I said, "well...I have an oil for that". I made him a gargle and when I asked him to tell me honestly how it worked he said it made the sore throat go away. (You have to know that it was very hard for him to admit that to me!) I've had him gargling a few times today and it's helping him a lot. Here are a few other ways we have had the opportunity to use Essential Oils in our home over the past couple months:

1. Bee Stings: it just so happened that shortly after receiving the oils two of my kids got stung. On both of the stings I immediately put a couple of drops of melaluca and a drop of lavender on the sting and both the kids said the pain went away almost instantly and a few hours later you couldn't even tell where they had been stung.

2. Snoring: Someone in our house snores and it keeps me awake. I will not say the oils have cured the snoring but it definitely helps. The snoring is not as loud or as prolonged. He will snore for a minute or two then stop. I can now tell which nights he uses the oil and which nights he doesn't. What I did was filled a roller bottle with 20 drops of Thyme and filled the rest with Fractionated Coconut Oil (a carrier oil). He rolls this on the bottoms of his feet at night (targeting specifically the big toe) and it truly helps! I also make a rub of doTerra's Breathe oil blend with some coconut oil and massage that into his chest.

3. Headaches: This is what sold me completely on the oils. I suffer from headaches. Really bad headaches and almost every day. I had been taking a lot of Ibuprophen and suffered a lot with headaches during pregnancies when I couldn't really take anything except Tylenol, which doesn't work for me. When I feel a headache coming on I put a drop or two of Peppermint oil on the back of my neck and rub it in. Then I use what is left on my hands and massage it into my temples. In 20 minutes my headache is gone. I haven't taken any over the counter medicine for a headache in a month and I am someone who took something on an almost daily basis!

4.Earache: Last week one of the boys got sick with a bad head cold and was complaining of an earache. I put a couple of drops of melaluca and lavender on a cotton ball and had him place it on his ear for 10 minutes. I also put a few drops of lemon around the outside of his ear and throat. I repeated this 3 times that day and by the next day he no longer was complaining of any pain and even his cold had improved significantly.Oregano is also supposed to be really good for this but his earache never got worse so I didn't need to use it.

5. Immune Building: I have been having the kids rub doTerra's oil blend, On Guard, to help keep them healthy this school year. I can't say for certain yet how much this will help or work since we are only a week into school but I have confidence we will see results. My friend uses this regularly on her children and has seen results.

These are just a few of the ways we have seen results with EO's so far...and we are only a couple months into it. I'm still learning as there is so much to learn. Finding which oil works best for you for a specific ailment also requires a lot of research since there is usually more than one oil or combination of oils you can use to treat something. One website I have found extremely helpful to me is the Everything Essential website. Click the link and learn about how you can treat some of the ailments you are experiencing with EO's. While I am a believer in the oils I also believe that there will be some things that oils cannot treat. I just wanted a way that I could treat my kids naturally, without running to the Dr. for everything. If you are at all interested and want to learn more I would be very happy to put you in contact with my friend who sells doTerra oils, or you can do some reading and shopping on your own! I just purchased the book, Modern Essentials, which my friend
recommended I do because of all the valuable information it has in
regard to EO's. I can't wait for it to come in!

***One note I will make is that not all essential oils are created equal. Do your research before purchasing. I was curious for myself if I could get the oils for a cheaper price and ordered one oil made by a different company. The quality was not comparable. Compared to the lower priced oil I bought, doTerra was a superior oil. In most cases, you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Time to Share a Big Struggle!

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. ~I Sam.16:7

I try, I've tried, I'm trying to get back into shape & eat healthy but it has been a real tough road for me. I know I'm not alone. The fact that I have had 7 babies has nothing to do with the fact that I have not lost all my baby weight. I refuse to use that as an excuse because I am the only reason I'm not back in shape. I am the one who makes the food choices I do and I am the one who chooses how to spend my free time. I and I alone am responsible for shedding these extra pounds I have. One of my biggest pet-peeves is people who make excuses for their circumstances and behaviors...just ask my kids! The pressure I feel is the time frame in which I perceive others think I should be in shape by. A few weeks ago I overheard a couple of ladies talking. They didn't know I could hear and I was not meant to hear this but one said to the other, "Is Melissa pregnant again or is that just left over from the last one?". Wow. Yeah that hurt. For the record, I am not pregnant. I do however understand why she asked her friend. If you know my history, the time frame would be just about right for another baby to be on the way and I have really struggled after having Emma to lose that baby belly that keeps me looking about 4 months pregnant.

I do want to lose the weight. I do want to make better food choices. I do want to exercise more. What I can't do is everything .There are a lot of things I want to do but I just can't right now. The fact that I have 7 kids, 2 of them under 2, is not irrelevant. I'm busy and I'm tired...exhausted actually. The last thing I have the energy for is exercise. I know that I will get the extra weight off because I want to. What I have to allow myself though is time to breath. I am in a very busy season of life that doesn't allow me much free time at all. What I know for sure is there will come a day, a season in life when I will have more time on my hands, I will be more rested. My kids will grow up and I will be able to do a lot more of the things I want to. This is not to say that I have given up trying in this season...Jillian Michaels and I have become good friends. It just means that it's going to take me longer than other's think it should for me to get back to where I was before I had babies....or at least some semblance of that. And that has to be okay. It just does because there is only so much of me and so many hours in the day and way too many little ones needing me for it to be any other way.

If you struggle like I do then I want to encourage you and I want you to know I understand! I know how hard it is to try and raise little ones AND take care of yourself. It's hard to find a balance. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom to know where you can fit in some time for yourself. Ask your husband to pray with you and share with him how you are feeling. I'm one of the fortunate ones who has a husband who understands my need to have time to exercise so he is willing to watch the kids for an hour so I can fit in an exercise class or do a video at home. I also have to pray a lot and ask God to give me the will power to make healthy food I love my sweets!!! Ask a friend to be your cheerleader or accountability partner...this helps so much! Most importantly though you need to understand that these things don't happen over night. It takes time to get back into a routine of exercise and finally seeing those extra pounds come off...especially when you've just welcomed a new life into your family! That's okay. Give yourself a break. Just keep trying...."little by little, inch by inch!".

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Time for Boys, Camp and Funny Stories

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" ~Matt.7:24

We are back from a really great week at Camp Good News! If you can believe it I was so busy I didn't have time to take even one picture! I need to thank all of you who prayed for our family last week...your prayers were felt. Emma did amazing! I was so shocked, considering how she would not go to anyone the week we were up at the lake with family. She took right to everyone and slept great and I know it's all because of the power of prayer. Thank you!

The three boys were all in different cabins this year. For Noah and Owen going to camp was old hat as this was their 3rd year, but for Gabe it was his first. He was in the "Mighty Mohawk" tribe, the youngest boy cabin at camp and Ben was his counselor. I really need to give props to my husband. It's not just any man who could be a counselor to that age group of boys but he does it so well and is such a trooper about it! I was given the job of "Dining Room Hostess" and I loved it! We worked hard but it was fun work and I got to make several new friends which, thanks to Facebook, I will now get to keep in touch with.

A couple of funny stories. I am probably the meanest mom ever for doing this but....I forced Noah and Owen to put down "swim lessons" as their #1 choice. You see at camp every camper gets to choose a skill to do for the week. You write down your top 3 choices, #1 being the one you want to do the most. They try hard to give the campers their #1 choice but there can only be so many in certain classes so not everyone gets their #1 choice. My reason for forcing them into swim lessons is because, if I can be frank, swim lessons are expensive AND time consuming. I feel it's wise to take advantage of FREE swim lessons since we are at camp anyway! Plus I want my kids to be more comfortable in the water. So they both went to camp with the understanding that they would be putting down swim lessons first. So after all the campers had been assigned their skills I found Noah and Owen on my break and asked them which skill they got.

Noah says to me, "I got swim lessons but not WILLINGLY!" Haha. That made me laugh. Not only did he get it "not willingly" he ended up the only boy in the class! This momma felt really guilty! He will tell you though that even though he started off not wanting to be there he is glad he did it because he learned to do the back stroke! He has asked to be allowed to choose whichever skill he wants next year and I said yes!

Owen says to me, "I got swim lessons but I really wanted wood working because they are making a candy dish. I put woodworking as my second choice and on my sheet of paper I wrote, "please choose wood working!". I laughed so hard! I can imagine what the staff member who was in charge of placing the kids in skills was thinking. Probably something like, "if he wanted woodworking, why didn't he put it as his first choice?". Little did she know his mom was forcing him to take swim lessons. Little did mom know he would try to get out of swim lessons like this! It didn't work though because he got swim lessons. He too, is glad he did it because he does feel more confident in the water now. He was the only boy in his class too...seriously! He has decided already he is putting woodworking as his first choice next year!

Because it was Gabe's first year at camp he was allowed to choose whichever skill he wanted. He chose archery and really loved it. By the last day he was hitting the target like no ones business! He asked me if I will force him to do swim lessons next year and I said yes. He's in the process of convincing himself this is what he wants anyway!

On the last day of camp there is a banquet dinner and an awards ceremony. The campers are awarded different things by the recommendation of the counselors. Noah was given the "Leadership" award, which is the second highest award you can receive. We were really proud of him and he was thrilled to have received it. I'm so thankful for what all three boys learned at camp last week. They got to hear from the camp Pastor each night and the missionary that week also spoke to the kids each day. There was a lot of valuable Bible teaching given to the kids and I pray that what they heard and learned will sink in and stay with them. I'm thankful for how much they enjoy camp and how they are already planning for next year! I'm thankful for the teaching the staff received each day in devotions from Matthew 7 and what a challenge and blessing it was to me. I'm thankful for the full-time staff at camp who give so much of themselves and are so willing to allow God to use them however he asks. They are certainly an example and encouragement to us.

Now we are home and I have started tackling the boys laundry. It's not for the faint of heart!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Time for Camp Good News

It's been a busy couple of weeks. We have just returned home from a wonderful vacation at the lake visiting family. There was lots of unpacking and laundry to do when we got home! Now all that freshly washed clothing is getting packed up again as we head off to Camp Good News. If you are not familiar with CGN please click the link below:

Camp Good News/CEF of Maine

Ben grew up going to Camp Good News every summer. He even went through the CYIA (Christian Youth in Action) program. He loved camp and it was always something he wanted to share with his kids some day. The first time I ever went to camp was as an adult and I was there for a cousins wedding. It was only a few years ago that I got to attend camp and see it in action. It really is a great place for kids and the staff there truly love God and want the kids to know God. The first thing you are told when you arrive is, "camp is about the camper", and it really is! 

Some of the things I love about camp...

One, it's affordable! I realize $175 is still a lot of money for many families, especially if you are sending multiple kids but compared to other camps out there and what they offer, CGN is a bargain. Not only do the kids get fed well, they also get to choose a skill to learn while they are there. In the past our kids have done archery & riflery as well as swim lessons. This is what my kids talk about all year long...what skill they will choose! The day is jam packed with fun, Bible teaching, swimming, making new friends, eating, singing & playing games! They sleep well at night, lets just put it that way. 

CGN also offers scholarships to children who want to attend but whose parents cannot afford to send them. People donate money throughout the year to sponsor a camper...I LOVE THIS! Kids who would otherwise not have an opportunity to go to camp are given the chance. 

The other thing I love about camp is that you can volunteer to be staff. Because Ben and I are volunteering, we get to send one child each to camp for free. Of course there is a process to being a volunteer...background checks, references, etc. They carefully screen the volunteers so you can be assured your children are in safe hands. Of course they have regular staff too, but the volunteers help to fill in the holes and that allows CGN to keep their costs down so that they can offer a week at camp for an affordable price.

I'm putting this plug in because our hearts are with CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship). CEF is a ministry Ben grew up with and over the years we have both come to love it. We have such a burden to see children know God and we are thankful for ministries like CEF. We share their vision and want you to experience it for yourself! If you've considered sending your kids to camp but haven't been sure which one, I would recommend you look into Camp Good News. If you currently do send your kids to Camp Good News but have never volunteered for the week then I would encourage you to pray about doing so. Yes, it's an exhausting week. Yes, you have to give up vacation time to do it. I promise you though, you will be blessed and you will not be sorry you did it! I realize that I should have done this at the beginning of camp season. We are now at the last week of camp for the summer but that doesn't mean you can't consider camp. There's always next year. You have lots of time to pray and see how you can help this ministry. If you want to send your child, you have a year to save. You have a year to pray and see if God is calling you to volunteer for a week and save up some of that vacation time! Maybe he will ask you to send money to support a camper or just send money to the camp for any repairs or updates they need to make. There are so many ways you can be involved with camp! See for yourself by clicking this link: Opportunities

One thing everyone reading this blog post can do is PRAY! It's free and it's so powerful. Pray for the staff at Camp that God would strengthen them and continue to use them to reach children for Christ. Pray that God would continue to provide for the needs of the staff and the camp itself. Pray for us this coming week as we go and volunteer. We need prayers for strength and wisdom as we interact with the campers. We will need clarity of mind and the ability to leave our own struggles and stresses behind so that we can focus on the campers and focus on how God wants to use us that week. Pray for our 3 oldest children who will be campers that they would have a great week and that God would speak to their hearts. Pray that they would make new friends and stay safe. Pray for 3 of my younger ones who will be staying with my in-laws for the MIL will need your prayers! And lastly pray for Emma. She will be coming to camp and staying with me and is going through a phase where she is very attached to mom and will not go to new people. This could make it stressful for me to do the job I've been assigned so pray she would warm up quickly to the babysitting staff! Pray she would sleep well too...if baby doesn't sleep, mommy doesn't sleep. 

I'm always so thankful to anyone who reads any blog post I write but I'm especially thankful to you for taking the time to read this one! Please share and get the word out about Camp Good News!

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Time to Date

What therefore God hath joined together, let not 
man put asunder. ~Mark 10:9

Fifteen years ago, on August 3rd, a really great guy asked me to be his girlfriend. He showed up at my apartment unannounced and asked me to take a drive with him. I had been taking a nap and my hair was a mess, my clothes were frumpy but he gave me no time to change. I was confused to say the least but welcomed any opportunity to spend time with this "really great guy" so I didn't argue and got in the car.

The car was a gray, very old, VW Jetta. That part isn't so important except to say some great memories were made with that car and it still lives, in a field, at Ben's parents house. His dad always teases me that he's saving it for me. Anyway, with no explanation he drove us to a park in town. It had just started raining and he asked me to get out and come around back and open the trunk. I am not going to lie. I thought this was really strange. Here we were in the pouring rain for reasons unknown to me and I was being told to open a trunk. I've watched a few movies...scenarios like this don't usually end well.

I opened the trunk and inside was one single red rose. I was a little stunned. I didn't know what to think. You see we had been friends for a few years and we got along great. We had expressed interest in each other a year prior but one of us (it wasn't me) felt that the timing wasn't right and as far as I knew nothing had changed. Then Ben asked me if I would be his girlfriend. My answer was yes without hesitation. After, I splashed him with water from a puddle we were standing near...I can't remember why.

On our 1-year dating anniversary we celebrated with a lobster dinner in my very small, basement apartment. Every year since that time we have celebrated our dating anniversary with lobster. Ben picks it up from a fresh fish place he drives by on his way home from work. We wait till the kids are in bed...well, we used to do that. Now we wait till the babies are in bed and put a movie on for the older kids. Then we eat a quiet meal together and just talk and sometimes reminisce. We will both tell you the best decision we ever made was choosing each other. We also thank God often for bringing us to each other.

It's fun to remember back to when we first started dating. It's also fun to remember how different we were, how different our relationship was and see how much we have grown over the years. God is so gracious and I'm thankful for how He has worked in each of our lives. Having a good relationship doesn't come for free. It requires hard work and maintenance. Part of our "maintenance" is continuing to date each other. We haven't always had the extra money to go out and pay a babysitter. Some years we didn't even have a babysitter we could call. In those seasons we had to get creative but we did whatever we were able to do in order to invest in our relationship. Purposefully finding time on your calendar to have a date night is so important.

It doesn't at all feel like we have been together for 15 years and even though we've had some small ups and downs along the way I wouldn't trade these past years for anything. I pray God allows us many, many more of these anniversaries to celebrate but if his plan is otherwise and our years are shorter than we hope then at least we know we are making the most of the years he is giving us. I welcome any advice my "seasoned" readers have to help us keep our marriage alive, fresh and healthy!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Time to tell the Whole Story

You know the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words"? That's true sometimes. Sometimes it isn't though. How many times do we see a picture that someone posts on social media and make decisions and assumptions based on that one photo? Sometimes our assertions are correct but there is also a big part of the story that a picture doesn't give you. A picture is a glimpse, a moment, a second into someone's life. It's not the whole story.
I was talking with a friend the other day and what she told me had me laughing and thinking, "oh man, does everyone think that?"

 I posted this picture a few months ago:

This is us at Olive Garden. We look happy don't we? Some might even think it's pretty amazing that we have this many little ones in a restaurant and we're all happy. Some even think that this picture is a good summation of our trip out to eat. It's not. What you don't see in this picture is me and Emma. Emma is in my arms as I take the photo one-handed. I am wrestling her little arm down to keep her from knocking the phone out of my hand so I can get one picture of my family at a restaurant. Emma never left my arms for this meal. What this picture doesn't tell you is that she screamed for 15 mins because she did not want to be in her car seat but she was still too little at the time this picture was taken to be in a high chair. So I held her. The whole time. I didn't even eat my meal. We boxed it up and I ate at 9 pm after all the kids were in bed. I stood for this whole meal, while holding Emma walking around the table cutting up food, helping the waitresses get the food to the right kid and refill waters. Ben was also just as busy with another baby needing his attention and answering endless questions from the older kids. Now, knowing all this you are probably wondering why I even posted a picture. I posted this picture because I was so proud of us for actually being out in a restaurant with all the kids and the only issue we were having was Emma being fussy (no big news there...she has been fussy from the start!). This was the first time we had eaten out in a restaurant since Emma was born. It was a huge undertaking for us and I was really amazed it was going as well as it was...and to some it likely appeared it wasn't going that great at all. I was exhausted and my arms ached and Ben was tired but the kids had a great time. None of them had ever been to Olive Garden before and it's now their favorite restaurant.

Don't get me wrong. We have children who generally do very well in restaurants, which is the only reason we attempted it in the first place. My point is that not every trip out can be predicted when you have kids, and especially so when babies are involved. There are times things go flawlessly and then there are times nothing seems to go right and everyone is acting up. That is what you call life with kids. We do have certain expectations of our kids and we correct consistently behaviors we do not want to see them exhibiting but we do that at home...not at the restaurant. Even kids who are taught well misbehave though so if you see a family out in a restaurant and the kids are acting up don't be quick to judge them. We can never know the big picture. Even parents who are teaching their kids well have kids who act up sometimes. In those times the parents need our love and compassion not our judgment and criticism. Just like a picture doesn't give you the whole story, a 1/2 hr in a restaurant watching another family also doesn't give you the whole story.

Then again...some pictures need no explanation:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Time to be Reminded

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches
 in glory by Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:19

The kids and I have been reading a great book together over the summer. I like to have a book or two I read aloud with the kids every summer and this year we are reading, Ten Boys Who Changed the World by Irene Howat. It contains stories of 10 different Christian men and gives a brief synopsis of their life, starting from when they were children. The kids have really loved this book and learning about these different Christian men. At the end of each chapter there is a section that makes you think about how you can apply the testimony of these men to your own life and how we can learn from them. Today we did George Mueller. His autobiography is one of my favorite books and his life story is one that has profoundly impacted Ben and I. His testimony of trusting and relying on God is so powerful. There is a quote by George Mueller that says, "No captain, my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life". I love this quote and try to apply it to my own life and the situations I face.

George Mueller never saw any obstacle as too big for God. He never relied on man to provide for his needs. He always took every request directly to God and trusted fully that God would provide. God provided in miraculous ways for George Mueller and the thousands of orphans he housed and cared for. Never was he indebted to any man and never did he ask for or solicit funds for the work God was asking him to do. He only let God know of his need and waited on Him to provide. It's such an incredible testimony of the kind of dependence we are supposed to have on God. In the chapter we read today one paragraph reads (GM is speaking to a friend),

"What we do is this. We get down on our knees and we tell the Lord all about it, and he has never, ever failed to answer our prayers. We receive gifts of food, and material for clothes. Some people arrive at the door and give us pennies, others come with hundreds of pounds. Over the years we've run the homes we've been given in money or kind over a million pounds. And remember, we've never asked for a penny."

What an amazing testimony! They cared for thousands of orphans and never did any of them go hungry or need anything. After I finished reading I couldn't help but think of how God has worked the same way in our family. We are asked so often how we afford the children we have. It sounds too simple to some when we tell them it's because God provides but truly that is it. God has provided for every single need. I realize the cost of living today is very different than the cost of living was in George Mueller's time but when you are going to the God who "owns the cattle on a thousand hills" for your needs, you can be sure there is no need too great or a price too high.

If God could provide for the thousands of children in George Mueller's orphanages, he can certainly provide for our family regardless of it's size. He doesn't need the state or government to do it for him either. He just needs us to have faith and believe he will, "supply all our needs" in His time. Reading that chapter today really spoke to my heart and reminded me to stop trying to rely on myself and to humble myself before God. I am ashamed at how often I need this reminder. It was a time to also talk with the kids think about how God has provided for our family and to thank Him for all he does. It is a wonderful testimony to our kids when they see Ben and I trusting God to provide for our needs. When they hear us praying that God would provide something and then observe us waiting on Him to do just that. Its important to us that our kids see us trusting God with everything. I just pray that we would remain faithful and never forget to give thanks and glory to God for all that we have. I am also challenged once again to live by faith...the way George Mueller lived.

If you've never read his life story you should consider it! If you are looking for a book to read with your kids I recommend the one I mentioned above. Every chapter, every life we've read about has left us with a challenge and something to think about!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Time to NOT Have a Bucket List

Summer vacation is finally here! I think it is just me but this year did NOT fly by. It was a tough year for our family, adjusting to two new babies so maybe that is why I found I struggled to get through this school year and felt it dragged on. Whatever the reason, summer vacation could not get here fast enough.

 You hear talk a lot about "bucket lists". I'm not really sure where the idea or term comes from but everyone seems to be making one. I like the idea of a bucket list for your life, things you'd like to do before you die. It's a nice way to motivate you to accomplish some of those things before time slips by and it's too late. What is very new to me and something I certainly never experienced as a child are the "Summer Vacation" bucket lists. I guess you ask your kids what they want to do over the summer and then proceed to try and cross them all of in the short 2 months you have off. I don't know if there are boundaries to this? If a kid says, "a trip to Florida" does that get written down? Is there a budget? Is there a limit as to how many things can be written on the list? If we only have 60 days of summer vacation but there are 120 things on the list (easily done if you have several kids writing things down) is it a mad dash to fit in two things a day till the end of vacation?

I'm not judging you if you do it. Every family has to do what works for their family but for mine...this is not going to happen. My idea of summer vacation is to not be as busy or busier as I was during the school year. I look forward to summer vacation because I want to relax and move at a snails pace if the day allows. I want to be able to wake up and not be rushed in the morning. I have to imagine that it can get pretty stressful to fulfill all the items on those bucket lists. I also don't want to deal with the disappointment that might come. I'm sure some kids are very reasonable and understand if some things don't get crossed off but there are also some that must get pretty disappointed if time runs out before they are all completed. I don't want that kind of stress hanging over me. I don't want my summer vacation to be a race against time trying to cross everything off a list...a list filled with a child's fleeting desires. My experience with kids has been that they can desperately want to do something one minute and then two seconds later they have moved on to something else. I don't want to spend my summer trying to fulfill fleeting desires all while depleting my bank account!

I also do not want my kids to look forward to summer vacation because we have something planned every day. I want my kids to look forward to summer vacation for the reasons I be home! I looked forward to being able to play outside with my friends everyday, riding my bike, spending time with family at the camp and seeing cousins I didn't get to see the rest of the year. My summers were so simple. We woke up and we didn't always know what the day would bring but by the end of it we had some new adventures to talk about, a new secret hiding place, a new tree we found that was perfect for climbing and maybe even a new neighborhood friend we had made that day. As we got older there were several beach days and usually a trip to go visit family for a week or so but still the rest of my summer was simple. It was waking up and not really knowing what the day would hold. I want my kids to wake up and find new adventures on their own, without me "entertaining" them. I want them to get creative with each other and do things like explore our woods, find animal tracks, create their own secret clubhouse, ride their bikes and just play a game of soccer in the yard. I want them to have enough down time that they can get lost in a book or two or three. I want to have enough time with them at home so I can teach them some things that I don't have time to during the school year like cooking or doing their own laundry or how to use pruning shears and show them that work can be fun if we are working together. I want my kids to get excited about the little things and not find them boring. I want my kids to understand that real life is not always getting to do everything we want and then teaching them that that is okay because there is so much fun and joy to be found in the simple things.

That being said ,we do have a few fun things planned for the kids but when I say a few I really mean a few! We have 3 young kids who have never been to Storyland but our older two have. We will be taking the three younger ones in a couple weeks while the older two and the babies stay home (with our super fun babysitters!). This is a birthday gift for our July birthday boy. This might sound mean to some of you parents but trying to keep a watchful eye on 7 kids (At a theme park where rides are involved!) and having two in diapers is not the way I want to do Storyland. So we take them in stages. Everyone gets to go at some point and mom & dad are way less stressed...we're pretty outnumbered! We will also get to stay at my families camp on the lake for a week. I am so excited about this. I grew up spending most of my days at the camp and this is where the majority of my summer memories were made. They are to this day, my favorite memories. I am so excited to share this with my kids and am so thankful I have been given the opportunity to do so. Then we end our summer with Camp Good News (click on the link if you are not familiar with's a blast for kids and so affordable!) Ben and I will be staff workers that week and the three older boys will get to be campers. As a family we love camp so it's a great way to end our summer fun! What will do to fill in all that other time? I don't know! That is the beauty of summer vacation...not knowing what memories lie ahead and the stories we will have to tell at the end of it. I am looking forward to a great couple of months and I hope you are too!

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Time for another Persuasive Letter

Remember last year when Noah had to write us a persuasive letter in school? He was trying to convince us we should get him a dog. If you didn't read Noah's persuasive letter, click the link. It's great! This letter was my favorite thing any of the kids have ever done at school.

This year Owen has the same teacher Noah did last year. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what his persuasive letter would be about. His letter made me laugh too...not about what he's trying to persuade us on but because of what he says to persuade us. Owen's  reads:

Dear Mom and Dad,
One of the reasons I would like a new bike is the bike I have always has a flat tire. I think the reason it always has a flat tire is because I'm too heavy. Or a different reason, I don't know. 

I would like a new bike because the one I have is too small and Pepere even put it up higher. So I've totally grown out of it. If I have a new bike, it will be the right size. My brother Will, will be able to ride my old bike. 

I would like a new bike because the one I have now, Will is always riding. If I have a new bike I could ride that one. You wouldn't have to put air in the flat tires all the time.

I would like a new bike because I would ride it more often. It would also be the right size. If I get a new bike I will mow the lawn, wash the dishes, and I will put the bike near the shed more.


Fortunately for Owen we do not have the same aversion to bikes as we do to dogs!