It's Begining to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

We finally got the tree up and decorated and the house looking a little more festive. The kids did most of the heavy lifting while I took pictures and picked out background music. Which was nice, because while I love looking at the decorated tree, the actual decorating...not so much.

Tree selection took all of 3 minutes. We all loved the first tree and we promptly brought it home. I love it when that happens.

Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. Every year I'm surprised at how fast it got here. Chance is coming home. He'll be here for far too short a time, as always, but we can't wait to see him. It just doesn't seem right to be the people in his life that see the least of him. I hate that.

We get Kirstyn and her family on Christmas Eve. Yay! So the delimma is whether to do the full blown Christmas thing on the Eve, or just do presents with Kirstyn and Zac and wait another day for the rest. Hailey votes for Eve, but just because she can't wait. I'm leaning toward Christmas Day. I'm a purist :-)

A Little Bit of This

Yes, I know I'm writing strictly to myself at this point. People can only be expected to stick around for so long with nothing to read. I just haven't felt very inspired. Perhaps I have too high a view of myself, feeling like I need to have something interesting to say. Most of what I say is probably only interesting to me anyway... And lately I barely seem to have time to put together one coherent sentence, much less a whole blog post. The thought of adding another tiny baby into the mix a frankly a bit overwhelming. Of course, I felt that way when I was pregnant with Annaleise too. Sure that I was going to sink under the weight of all that would be on my plate. And, I was right. But God knows. And when I can keep my priorities straight and my knees bent, I can feel Him standing in the gap.

Having a large family has definitely been an act of faith. There is a big difference between the mindset of, "We are ready for another one. Let's try now." and "God has chosen to bless us with another child. I will trust him to provide for the finances, the patience, the needs of the other children..." It has been a humbling journey.

I am half-way through my pregnancy now. And I am so looking forward to meeting this little person. I am so grateful that God given me this privilege, this gift that I would not have chosen on my own. The pregnancy has been amazingly easy thus far. A true gift from the Lord that reminds me of his mercy toward me, reminds me not to be afraid. He is good, all the time.

We tried another new church yesterday, one I've resisted for a long time. I don't know that we will end up there, but the sermon was a blessing. Have a conviction, know where you stand and be fully convinced that you stand with God. But diversity in the gray areas. Know that your convictions on the things the Bible does not explicitly speak to will not necessarily be the convictions of others. God calls us all to different paths. Walk your path, don't worry about theirs. But know what the Bible says, because we must agree on the black and whites. A good reminder.

So, I'm walking my path. Trying to keep my eyes on Him, that I may one day cast glorious crowns at His feet.


Summer Time Recap

Ah, so summer has come and gone and it doesn't seem I have shared any of it here. The kids had campouts on the trampoline

The upper 4 competed in the Bible Bee, with the girls tying for third in our local competition We celebrated the birthdays of Ezra and Titus by renting the Tehachapi pool for a joint party.

I spent a lovely birthday with Ezra, breakfasting together, seeing a movie and playing in the river. In which I utterly forgot the presence of my camera.
Ty and I spent an equally lovely day doing many of the same things, minus the movie.

We watched Foyles War and the European Faith and Freedom Tour.

We finally finished our school year, swam as much as we could, spent time with friends and family, looked for a church, and got Ty potty trained.

We were blessed with another child in the womb.

There, I think you're all caught up. See, it's like I was never gone at all.


June lake

We all had a lot of fun boating out in June lake. By Sierra


This Is The Saddest Story

This family is sharing the short life of their precious son, who was killed by an adverse vaccine reaction. It is heartbreaking what this baby endured.


Summer Vacation

We finally dusted off the motor home and took a trip to June Lake to spend a week camping with friends. Sort of a private family camp since we are churchless :)

The trip started with a few bad omens. Hailey had been having pain in her side for a few days before we left, but I sort of ignored it... Within a few days she couldn't sleep and woke writhing in pain and crying. Sooo, a trip to the ER for a pleursy diagnosis. Basically, a virus had settled in the outer lining of her lung and it was inflamed, causing pain. Here are some pain killers, it will run its course and get better in a few more days. And it did. $300 peace of mind.

Isn't it beautiful?!?

It was probably the same virus that settled in the digestive tracks of the two bigger boys, causing...distress. And Pain. But no ER visit :)

We still managed to have a really nice time though. Mostly sitting by the water watching the kids play and getting sunburned. Plus, without that trip we wouldn't know all the things we need to fix on the motorhome :) That's a plus, right??

On the way home we stopped at a cool little park in some small town. It might have been
Lone Pine. Or Big Pine. Or Independence...

But it was a nice park, with a stream running through it. It was a refreshing break, but the two littles had just fallen asleep when we stopped and when we got back in the RV they screamed most of the way home :-(


Allergy Free Cookies

The Common Room always has lots of frugal recipes (and great commentary), but this cookie recipe is really a home run for us.

Cookies that contain no eggs, wheat, or corn are expensive and I have to go to the "big city" to get them. This recipe is quick, cheap, easy, and uses things I most always have on hand. AND, he really likes them. They're also healthy enough that I can just hand him a few for a quick breakfast or snack on the run. I think we'll be making lots of these.

Super-Simple Banana Cookies

3 mashed bananas
2 cups oats
1 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix ingredients well, and drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

This made 18 cookies for us, and I tend to make cookies a little on the large side. Your mileage may vary.

Make sure you click through to the link to see what other things she has tried. Besides, it's rude to steal a recipe and not click through :-) Here is the home page, the link above will take you straight to the recipe.


Field Trip!

We took the kids to the CA Science Center for a "field trip" this week. There were two Imax movies I was really hoping to see, but the undersea one sold out before we got there. I was pretty bummed, but we did see one about surfing the big waves in Tahiti. It was in 3D and the kids thought it was amazing. The littles kept trying to reach out and touch everything :)

As soon as we arrived Ethan ran over and climbed this rope right to the top. He couldn't duplicate it, but it was pretty impressive.

Blue Boys. I'm still trying to figure out how to make my camera do everything I want it to :)

Game of telephone anyone?Sierra, traveling through Egypt on a camel.

In the desert ecosystem there was a flash flood exhibit that the kids really wanted to see. They stood in the "splash zone" and waited for the flood to come. It thundered, and lighteninged, and rained. The water ran out of the hills and then turned to a trickle. Just when they thought it was done...flash flood!
Ty didn't really like the splash zone.

We were there all day and still didn't do it all. There are 3 other museums on the campus too.


Annaleise...You're 1!!

My baby girl is 1. We've all had such a good time watching her grow, she's starting to take steps now; and she is sooo proud of herself. She wasn't walking for her birthday, but she's going to be soon.

We decided on cupcakes for the birthday party, and I assigned the girls the job of decorating. I LOVE have girls big enough and skilled enough to be able to assign jobs like that :)

I stayed up late the night before making the cupcakes. I could have assigned that job too, but I decided to cut the some slack. Besides, it was sort of fun. We have two types of allergen-full cupcakes, some flourless chocolate, and some vegan vanilla ones. Ahhh, I remember when everyone ate the same thing...

Sierra's happy to be decorating cupcakes :) The toothpick means it's gluten-free.

I asked Hailey to make one where the rose covered the whole cupcake. I decided that one would be Annaleises. Unfortunately I asked for it after the chocolate ones were already decorated, so she didn't get as messy as she could have.

Didn't the rose come out great?? The first one came out great too, but I dropped it on it's top and smashed the rose so she had to do it again...

Annaleise thought it was pretty good though :)

We waited for the party for Eli to open his presents, even though we did the traditional birthday stuff on his real birthday, so that more family could be there.

Miss Cadence :)

The balloons were a big hit. Gotta love the dollar store!

Happy Birthday baby girl! We are so grateful God brought you to us.