Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Year in the Life of a Big Family-July 23

A few weeks ago the three youngest girls all bought baby dolls at Target. It was a double win because they were on clearance. This baby wets her diapers when she's fed with the bottle that came with her. The girls have been wanting to go buy more disposable diapers, but I  nixed that idea. I told them the night before that we could make some diapers out of fabric we had. I used the disposable doll diaper they had for a template and then I drew each of them their own pattern so they could all trace and cut their own. What started out as making disposable diapers turned into a day long event with the girls making matching clothes for them and their babies. You may wonder why I was free with my fabric. I didn't pay for it and they were scraps that someone was giving away a few years ago.

                   They're at it again today so we'll see what creations they come up with. Added bonus: They're learning how to use cloth diapers using pins the old fashioned way.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Year in the Life of a Big Family-Weeks 5-10

Well I have failed miserably at keeping up my daily if not weekly posts. I guess being the mom of a large family means life is happening and no time to sit. So we'll catch up with the last six weeks. Here goes!

                                                 Here's Jaidyn meeting her great-grandpa.

The boys ended school in early June so they've had more free time than the girls have at this point. They went to work with their dad for about a month earning money for camp by painting a mini-storage building. If they weren't doing that they had other jobs that people needed them to do. My boys are good hard workers and others recognize that. It helps that I am a drill sergeant. train them well.

We were able to go to a few graduation parties, birthday parties, and bridal showers to celebrate with friends. We love to get together with our friends especially if we don't have to do the work. (Wait, did I just say that out loud?)

The girls still had school until June 20. I went on a field trip with Abi's class to the aquarium at Legoland. They were there to dissect a squid. I was proud of my girl for staying the course and dissecting hers. Some of the kids quit because they were getting grossed out which was ridiculous. (From my observation in the world kids now a days are really soft. They get grossed out easily when it's real science. They can't run to save their lives. They're lazy!-off my soapbox)

Addis was able to go to Disneyland with her 8th grade class. She earned some awards at the school's award assembly. Later that week we all attended Addis's 8th grade promotion with a full sit down dinner at the Barona Golf Course Conference Center. She looked beautiful as always, and knowing what she has accomplished academically over the last six years years she has been in the USA makes it all the sweeter.

Joel and Abi went to Mexico with the youth group from church. Every year the junior high students go down with our youth leaders and Pastor Phil. It gives them a chance to play with the kids at the migrant worker's camp, and be stretched out of their comfort zone. Riding in the back of our fifteen passenger van will stretch anyone.

We have a new pastor at our church. He comes to us from Texas. We've been busy with meetings, a dinner, and listening on Sunday mornings as he spoke. We voted him in a few weeks ago and we all love him and his beautiful family. We look forward to many wonderful years ahead with them.

We were able to go to the fair courtesy of the San Diego Burn Institute and the San Diego Fair. We were invited since Meskerem is involved with the burn center. We had a really fun day. I took the younger girls to kiddie land while the older teens went off by themselves. The first hour we get the park to ourselves. SCORE!!!! and all the rides were free! SCORE!! After lunch we all met up by accident and the older kids each took a little sister with them. It was heartwarming to see my seventeen year old son take his eight year old sister-willingly to go ride some rides, and likewise with the other brothers.

After that as if that weren't enough we met up with our youth group at the beach for an evening of beachtime. The older kids like to go play soccer on the grass while the younger kids play in the sand and moms/dad sit and talk. Since we have a teen driver we were able to leave and take the younger girls home while the older teens stayed for devotional and group time.

I met my sister-in-law for lunch which is not something I do. I'm just not a go out to lunch with women or let's grab coffee kind of a person. I do life with my kids or my husband. We had fun catching up since we live on opposite sides of our county. Our husbands are brothers and they work together, but we never see each other.

After that I met up with Steve and we went to the fair to see Huey Lewis and the News. We also walked around the boring parts of the fair that I can't do with kids. You know the plant area, the art, the boring stuff.

We had a small birthday party for my grandsons Scott & Stephen who are turning three and one this month. They swam in our above ground pool while the older kids watched the World Cup.

We all went to a wedding of some dear friends who grew up together, and decided they needed to spend the rest of their lives together.  The dance floor was open so this mom got her groove on. Yes, I embarrassed my family, but I did give hope to other moms to get out there and move their groove thing.

Steve and I went on our annual getaway for a few days. Nice and relaxing with lots of food and rest. The week before that we went and saw Jefferson Starship. Nothing to write home about. It was actually one of the worst concerts I've been to. The guitar was too loud and I couldn't hear the singer. She was great I just couldn't hear her.

Our painting has been going well. Our living room is done. We're working on our dining room now. I painted our oak bookcases WHITE and the walls behind them WHITE. I LOVE IT!!! Nice clean look. I'm downsizing on the pictures on the wall and knick-knacks. We've put up new blinds. I have HATED our horizontal blinds and now we have vertical blinds. YAY!!!! We live on four acres of dirt and those dog gone mini blinds were ALWAYS dirty. When we have parties I always lifted them up so no one could see the dirt. Now no worries! We're fine tuning the painting. We still have edges around corners and where the walls/ceilings meet. I've learned how to grout, pull baseboard off, and some other handy stuff. Steve bought me a little sander for the baseboards and door jams.

Now that we're caught up are you tired? Oh! I forgot! Jesse, Sage and the baby have been staying with us until he gets his start date back in Baltimore. My sister is staying with us for a few weeks or so. We have a full house and never quite know who is here and who isn't. ;-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Year in the Life of a Big Family-Back to Week One

Me and Anna at Balboa Park

A Year in the life of a big family-Weeks three and four

Yikes! Time has certainly gotten away from me! Since we've talked last so much has happened in two weeks. My boys went on a hike with our youth group, my son and his family came into town, my oldest son had a birthday, two boys had finals, a class pool party, 8th grade promotion, and today Knott's Berry Farm. We've gone to a high school graduation where many of our high school friends were graduating, two graduation parties, a co-op day and used curriculum sale, a concert for mom and dad, and a one year old's birthday party. We also had Awana Award night, but that was back in May.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Week two

Hi everyone,

Yesterday after I dropped my boys off at school I was heading home up our winding two lane road. Cars coming at me were flashing their lights which meant to be careful because something out of the ordinary was up ahead. Well what I saw was a school bus broken down on the side of the road which was mostly in the lane it was driving in because there is no where else for it to go. I also saw my daughter and her classmates sitting on rocks up and off to the side of this broken down bus. Oi vey. I didn't know if I should wave or keep going. I slowed down, talked to them and decided to head up to the school since cell phone reception is sketchy on our road. No police or security were there to direct traffic so I knew it had just happened. I drove up to the school to alert them. The school admins knew and were trying to get the proper people to help the kids. The kids were on their way to a field trip when liquid started leading inside the bus and then something exploded or popped from what they described. They were stuck on the side of the road for an hour and a half. Poor kids. They did continue on to the field trip, just really late.

When I got home I ended up sorting through our curriculum cabinets which are in our garage. There was a used curriculum sale today with other home schooling people so I had several motivations in getting this done. The cabinets just needed to be cleaned up, sorted through, and organized. As I was cleaning and sorting I had to figure out what I really didn't want anymore or that I knew I wouldn't use. I then took my 2012 A Beka catalog and inventoried what I have on hand so I could figure out what I needed to buy. Of course the A Beka curriculum I have is not current, but usually not much changes except the cover. When I organize my books I put them in subjects and then grades. Also my elementary is separated from my upper grades too.

I found I had sold my fourth grade curriculum a few years ago when we were fundraising. Now that the girl I was fundraising for is home, and in need of some school books I need to buy some; preferably used.

We had Awana Awards last night at church. This year I was the slacker mom. The mom whose kids didn't finish their books. This is the first year since 1988 that none of my kids have not finished a book. We dropped the ball. The big Awana ball. Next year we'll have to be on top of this. No more "Participant" after our name!

At today's curriculum sale there was not much to pick from. Most people are not using A Beka anymore so there is not that much to buy. I did find some from someone with older kids, but not much from anyone else. I picked out two items from one mom and went to my van to get money to pay her. I must have gotten distracted because she came to me a long time later (like 45 min) and reminded me that I had not paid her. Her car was so close. How could I have been so distracted within minutes to forget to go pay her. For the love. I am losing my mind. Which is not news to anyone who is around me on a daily or weekly basis. Most people would tell you I lost my mind a long time ago.

We then went to Michael's and picked up two presentation boards. The two middle school boys need them for their science fair projects. The boards had to be the one that has the three different sections to it. Never easy there were two choices. I can't stand making decisions for people, but calling home and talking to my son about what and why it was needed was like talking to a brick wall. I decided to get a larger board; just to keep it on the safe side.

Went to Target and bought some hair color. I've been in hair turmoil for two years now. I want to stop coloring my hair and let the natural white/gray take over, but I don't want to go through the process. Who does? I lightened my hair two weeks ago and bought an even lighter shade this time, but I want someone to help me blend it in since I do have some growth and want the colors to blend nicely. I also bought some groceries for lunches.

Since we were having carne asada and pollo asada tacos I decided to stop by the little market here in town. They cater to a Mexican population and always have delicious salsa, chips, and guacamole as well as cotija cheese. When we were at Costco last time we bought some uncooked corn tortillas. I cooked the asadas on my giant skillet (Steve was painting so no bbqing) and fried some red peppers and onions to go on the tacos. Heated up those corn tortillas and we are talking quite a feast. It was delish. Those tortillas are a must.

Now the girls are in bed, high schoolers are at youth group, middle schoolers are doing school work, and we're relaxing. Steve has been painting the ceiling in our living room which is two stories high. There is a beam with tract lighting that needed to get done so he was working on that.

Tomorrow Jesse comes home with Sage and Jaidyn! The last time I saw my granddaughter she was just hours old. Can't wait to love on her!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Year in the Life - Week One- Day 3 & 4

Hi everyone,

After getting the four girls off to school I headed down to the boy's school where the 7th and 9th graders had to do P.E. testing. I volunteered to help weigh and measure the kids, but instead I ended up checking every one in and out. The kids had to run so many laps, do flexibility and strength exercises, and get weighed and measured.

 I knew a few of the kids but not many since my boys are both in 8th grade. At their school not all the students go to school on the same day. When the 9th and 10th graders go to school they are the only students on campus. When my boys go to school you would find four grades attending at the same time, 7th, 8th, 11th & 12th.

We had three different shifts of kids so I was there from 8:45 until 3:30. I did manage to get a Costco trip in there. During a break two of my sons met me at the school and we drove over to the bank and Costco. We shopped, they dropped me back off at the school, they took all the groceries home and put them away, and then brought the van back to me. These are teenaged boys. Yes, teenagers can be responsible.

This week at the boy's school was a week that is called Projects Week. During the week different groups of students work on different projects already selected by the teachers. Some students visited 5th grade students from a local school, learned about them, and each made a scrapbook to give to their student. The one that broke my heart was the boy who said his happy day is, "The day I don't get bullied and my family isn't sad." His sad days are, "When I get bullied and my family is sad." What?! Heavy stuff. This is too much for a 5th grade boy to carry. (May we reach out to the children around us and treat them as we would want others to treat our children. You never know what a child's family life is like.)

Another project students and parents made homemade blankets, crocheted blankets or infant hats. They get sent to an organization that sends the items to hospitals around the country so babies can go home with a homemade item. There were many other projects that the kids selected from.

The project that my boys signed up to do was a Walk About San Diego. For three days they were to go to different areas of San Diego, learn about them, and journal about their experience.

The first day we hiked Cowles Mtn. I made it about 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile up. The kids all went to the top and some ran down. Me? I needed my walking stick to help me down the rocky path.

From Wikipidia: Cowles Mountain is a prominent mountain within the city limits of San Diego, California and also within Mission Trails Regional Park, in a neighborhood known as San Carlos, San Diego. The mountain is named after George A. Cowles, an early ranching pioneer in San Diego County. Its 1,593-foot (486 m) summit is the highest point in the city of San Diego. The main trail to the summit is a popular hiking destination taking hundreds of people per day to a 360-degree panorama of San Diego County. The hike to the top is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and an elevation change of about 950 feet (290 m).


Mission Trails Park

After our hike we went to the Mission Trails Visitor Center and had lunch out in the amphitheater. We then walked to the Grinding Rocks where we took a few pictures and the teacher explained what the Grinding Rocks were. After a rest there we continued on our path on another loop.

I was glad when the hike was over. I was tired, but glad I went so I could spend time with my teen boys and get to know some of their friends.  









Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Year in the Life - Week One - Day 1 and 2

Today I was thinking about faithfully blogging every day for a whole year. I know I'll miss days here and there. So much happens in my family that I thought someday the kids might like to look back and see what we did.

I'll start with this last week.

A friend of ours plays in a Lynryd Skynrd cover band called Skynrds Innyrds. He is a guitar player in the band and we had never heard him play so we thought we would go to the show. They were fantastic! We (mom and dad) love rock music, and they did a really good job and sounded just like Lynyrd Skynryd.

Sunday we went to church and watched the last DVD session in our Sunday school class. We've been going through the series The Art of Marriage. It's a six session series and covers the topics listed below.
  1. Love Happens: God’s Purpose and Plan
  2. Love Fades: Overcoming Isolation
  3. Love Dances: Fulfilling Our Responsibilities
  4. Love Interrupted: Communication and Conflict
  5. Love Sizzles: Experiencing Real Intimacy
  6. Love Always: Leaving a Lasting Legacy

We both come from families of divorce. Both sets of parents are divorced. My dad divorced his first wife and married my mother, and then he remarried twice after my mother My paternal grandparents were divorced. We have had to make a conscious decision to do things differently than the way we were raised. We needed to break the cycle. It's not always easy, but we made a vow until death do us part. We renewed our vows in 2011 after our thirty year anniversary. All our children were here so we asked our pastor if he was available and we renewed our vows in our front yard.

After our vow renewal we had a friend who is a photographer take some family pictures. It's not often we're all in the same place. Since that picture above we've added one daughter and four grandchildren to the mix. We now have thirteen children ages 31-7, and our oldest grandchild is four.

So you can see why I'm going to make a little daily diary. I would never remember all of this, but if I write it down now, the kids will thank me later. I hope.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just the Two of Us

This is how we started, just the two of us. Yes, we have thirteen children. We have six grandchildren. We've been blessed beyond belief with our family. Who will be there when the children are gone?
Us. Just the two of us.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


We went to LEGOLAND with our homeschool group this past week. It's the only way we can afford to go to such places.
We were able to take five of our girls, our daughter-in-law Arianne, and two grandsons. We had so much fun together. I enjoyed holding Stephen while his mom went on rides with Scott or the girls. I went on one ride, the little rollercoaster and thought I would die. I have no idea why since I love rollercoasters.
This is Addis. Aren't those Lego alligators something else?
                                                                       Abi and Amy
                                                                     Adah and Addis

                                                               Anna, Scott and me

                                    Steve made the two oldest go down the slide together.

                                                       Our granddaughter Makenna
                  On our way out. Thank you LEGOLAND!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Turkey Noodle Soup

This is a tradition the day after Thanksgiving or anytime we have turkey throughout the year. You can freeze the turkey carcass and make the soup whenever you like. I've even made it while we've camped. Yum.

1 leftover turkey carcass
7 quarts of water (28 cups)
2/3 cup of Better than Bouillon or 8 chicken bouillon cubes
2 large onions, peeled and halved
8 whole peppercorns (or more)
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups uncooked egg noodles

Place the first nine ingredients in a soup kettle or Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer for one hour. Strain brother; discarding the carcass and any bones, halved onions, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Remove any turkey from the bones; set aside. Add bonedturkey, carrots, celery, potatoes, chopped onion and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for twenty minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add noodles and return to a boil for ten minutes or until noodles are tender.
Yields: 7 quarts=24-28 servings.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Our visit with Eyob

We had heard Eyob of Kingdom Vision International was close as in an hour and a half away instead of continents away. Through a friend we were able to get in touch with one another, and we were able to meet for dinner with just a few hours notice. I picked the girls up from school and rushed them home to get ready. They had no idea so they were pretty surprised. I was able to take them, two of my boys, and Steve met us there.

We decided to meet for Mexican since we are in Southern California after all. He had Steve order for him and carne asada tacos were delivered shortly.

Eyob with five of the kids. (two had left to go to youth group)

Eyob with Meskerem-They are from the same area in Ethiopia. Can you see the similarities?

We adopted through CWA in 2007 with these two. He escorted us to the American Embassy and helped us with our interview and gathering their passports and visas.  They were only eleven and fifteen months old when he last saw them. He kept telling me how spoiled Adah was. well....she is the baby.....

 Addis first met Eyob in April 2008 when we visited KVI in Addis. We brought donations to the orphanage and he gave us a little tour of the facilities. He told us he has moved many times since then because the rent keeps going up and up.

John and Eyob. One time John was told by an Ethiopian female friend that he would be a missionary to Ethiopia. Maybe!

Back in 2007 it was Eyob's dream to visit the United States and visit the children he has helped into families. While I was there I remember him being so discouraged because once again they denied him permission to enter the United States. His fortitude and persistence paid off. We were so happy to see him!
Another reason for him visiting the USA is to raise funds for the ministry of KVI-Kingdom Vision International. His rent in one facility is $2400 a month. A previous donor has had to drop their funding of $10,000 a month leaving the ministry in a crisis situation. Many nannies and other workers have had to be laid off. Food is being stretched. If you are able to help with a monthly, annually, or even one time donation any amount is appreciated. As always he covets your prayers.