Sunday, March 30, 2008

Skate City

Daniel and I went out briefly for dinner last night while Sarah and Shannon babysat for us. While we were out we swung by the local skating rink for fun to see what their hours are. When we saw that they have an "adult skate" time from 9-12pm on Saturdays we decided to go home and come back out later after the kids were all in bed. Shannon and Sarah were staying the night, so it worked out perfectly.

We had a wonderful time! Even though I was pretty wobbly at first we were laughing and hanging onto each other and just enjoying some grown up time acting like kids again. Daniel isn't an amazing skater, but he's very sturdy. He can skate somewhat fast and does a great job of being my wall. By the end I was doing so much better even though my feet were hurting from those uncomfortable rental skates. While we were there a 70's themed birthday party was going on. There were men in light blue bell bottomed leisure suits and women in all kinds of funky sparkly outfits with Farrah Fawcett hair and headbands. I'd love to have a birthday party there if I could find enough friends willing to strap on skates!

Today we talked to Sarah and Shannon about it and they said they are available to babysit while the kids are sleeping most Saturday nights. So we're going to have a regular skating date night. Today Daniel and I bought skates at Sports Authority. We got a kick out of trying them on and skating around the shoe aisles in the store.

Life Fellowship Men's Retreat 2008

At the YMCA of the Rockies there was a time for learning God's word.
A time for sharing life stories in small groups.
A time for fun and games.
A time for exploring the wonder of God's creation.
A time for food and friendship.
The guys made mouth-watering 16 oz steaks, couldn't find the silverware, discussed "true manliness" as opposed to stupid brute strength like Samson had, listened to amazing life testimonies, and got to know each other in a way that you can't in the couple of minutes that they say hello at church each week.

The only scary part of the trip was when Ron and Daniel were coming home. A bolt came out of the right front brakes on Ron's truck. Thankfully, God heard our repeated prayers for the guys' safety. They were okay and even close to a place to get the breaks fixed while they had lunch. Ron said he was glad they didn't create two new widows. I'm still feeling sick just thinking about it. God is good and His mercies unending.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Missing Daniel

Daniel left us today. He's off at a men's retreat that our church is having up at Estes Park. We're all feeling out of sorts without him. He's having a great time. I got a call from him around 10pm tonight. He was about to go bowling. He'll be back Saturday afternoon sometime. Since I'm missing him terribly I thought I'd make a list of a few things I love about him:

1. There isn't a household job he isn't willing to help with.
2. He takes out the trash and pumps gas in the car because he's a gentleman.
3. Every time I complete a scrapbook page or post on my blog he takes the time to read it and say something encouraging or helpful.
4. He's confident enough to play Barbies with our daughters.
5. He still holds my hand when we walk together.

Sometimes I actually feel guilty. It seems to me that I got the good end of the deal when we got married over 11 years ago. It's absolutely true that I do not deserve such a wonderful, compassionate, passionate, funny, gentle, forgiving guy and it's a fact that I would not trade him for the world.

Inside facts you may not know about my Sweetie:
1. My nickname for him (besides "Sweetie") is my "Hunka hunka burnin' love man".
2. He has an enormous mole under his the shaved bald look would never work for him.
3. He's extremely good at all racquet sports like Ping Pong, Raquetball, and Tennis.
4. He does a great Donald Duck impression.
5. He can crochet. His mom taught him how.
6. He sings in the car.
7. I was his first girlfriend.
8. He doesn't really have any hobbies, but wishes he did.
9. He has worked in the same field (telcom) for almost 13 years since starting right out of high school.
10. He doesn't snore, but his nose whistles when he sleeps.

AWANA Crazy Hat Night

This Wednesday was Crazy Hat Night at AWANAs. Most of our family borrowed a hat from our friend Deanna who has a collection of crazy hats. I was the lucky one who got to use our family's one crazy hat. It's a fish hat that one of the girls one a couple of years ago at a carnival. Those knock off toys at carnivals always crack me up. Things like a yellow Winnie the Pooh, or in our case, a red Nemo hat. Walking around with a fish on my head was odd. I got quite a few strange looks from people I know at church.

I've also included here a picture of one of the girls on our team who won the prize for craziest hat. She made a "fruits of the Spirit" hat that was pretty creative. We also had the boy with the best hat on our team. He had a clown hat with a colorful wig attached.

On the Flying Trapeze

These girls are fearless. They are always trying to out-do each other with death defying feats at the park. These are only a few of the photos I took of them dangling by one limb or perched precariously on a narrow bar above the ground. Even when they are swinging they can't just swing high. Oh no. They have to swing so high that when they reach the highest point they actually fly out of the seat a little before slamming back down to complete the arc back the other direction. I don't remember being that brave when I was their age.

Going it Alone

More and more I've been trying to break out of my comfort zone by venturing out with all the kids by myself while Daniel is sleeping during the day. Tuesday night I took them to Fazoli's Kids' Night for Italian food and crafts. They always love that. A couple of times this week I also took them to the park and took them for a walk in the wagon. Who knows? Maybe eventually I'll get brave enough to do the grocery shopping with all six kids in tow.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Homeschool Girl Video

I saw this great video on YouTube called "Homeschool Girl" that uses characters from the SIMS game. We have the original SIMS games, but not the newer SIMS2 version. After watching this video I'm thinking maybe we should get the upgrade. Either way, the song is awesome. Definitely worth watching.

Happy Resurrection Day!

I noticed this morning at our church that instead of saying, "Happy Easter" everyone was saying, "Happy Resurrection Day!" That's okay and I understand why they're doing that to focus on the true important part of this special day. It felt a bit strange, though. Like instead of saying, "Merry Christmas" if we all started saying, "Happy Birth of Christ Day!" Yes, it would be a more specific name, but we'd lose some of the history and tradition I think.

Daniel and I were discussing Easters past this weekend. I don't ever remember going to a big Easter egg hunting event. We always did small family hunts at home. So did Daniel's family. I think our parents were on to something. This particular Easter is extra special for our family this year because both Gloria and Penny recently joined the family of Christ. I love that Glory has been repeatedly reminding us that she is not just our daughter anymore, but also our sister in Christ. I'm also amazed at the depth of spiritual questions Penny has been asking us. She's really understanding and questioning things on a level that I find surprising in an eight year old. I hope I can emulate her fresh wonder and excitement in my walk with God.

Daniel will hopefully be rekindling that spiritual fire this week when he attends our church's men's retreat at Estes Park Thursday night through Saturday. He's a little nervous since he doesn't normally go to these and it turns out that no one he knows is going. He's getting a ride up there and back from Ron, the other trombone player at church, who he's spoken to a few times and will hopefully get to know better on this trip. The theme of the retreat is "Act like a Man". It will be interesting to find out from Daniel when he comes back what that means.

Bunny's Birthday

Bunny turned four years old yesterday. To celebrate we took the kids to McDonald's to play, bought them all Happy Meals (a rare treat), and made chocolate cupcakes. She even got to help frost and decorate them.

She got lots of birthday presents including dress up things, new clothes, a game, a baby doll, and a magnetic toy, but her three favorite gifts were a jump rope, a Nemo ball, and a Dora the Explorer movie. Her big party will be a joint party later this week at Chuck E. Cheese for her and Latte.

If at First you don't get Eggs...

Saturday morning we got everyone up and dressed and drove out to Northglenn for their annual Easter egg hunt. Their advertisments claimed there were 10,000 eggs. I'm guessing they didn't anticipate thousands of kids arriving. They divided it by age group and still there were massive numbers of kids and their parents gathered around each egg zone. Our kids were in the third row back and still didn't get a single egg.

Penny got knocked down and run over by the horde of people rushing for the eggs. Someone took pity on her standing there crying and gave her two eggs. I don't want to focus on some of the extreme mean spiritedness we saw that morning. Instead I'll just say that I was very proud of how all six of our kids handled their disappointment and the overwhelming situation.

We went home and decided to let them all help fill the plastic eggs we'd bought them and then hunt for them a day early. The two younger girls hunted for their eggs in their bedroom while the three older ones searched for theirs in the living room and kitchen. Kevin missed out because it was nap time.

An Egg of a Different Color

Conveniently we were able to get a couple bags of mixed plastic Easter eggs so that we could divide them perfectly by each of our kids' colors. At our house each kid is color coded.

Penny: Yellow
Danya: Blue
Gloria: Pink
Bunny: Orange
Latte: Green
Kevin: Red

We were able to give every kid their own color (except Kevin who had to take purple since there weren't any red eggs) so that when they hunted for them they knew to only take their own color. That way we avoided any arguments and each kid got the same number of eggs. It worked out beautifully.

Windy Walk

Friday was the first day of Spring Break for Penny. We celebrated by taking a family walk to enjoy the nice weather. The wind was much stronger than we thought, so we found ourselves struggling to push the stroller and pull the wagon into the wind.

Within a couple of blocks none of the kids wanted to walk. We made them take turns riding, except for Kevin who gets an automatic pass due to extremely short little legs. On the way home Bunny and Latte took turns sitting in the basket under our big stroller. They thought that was hilarious. Then Danya rode in the stroller with Penny on her lap. I'm pretty sure we were exceeding the weight limit on that thing. Daniel and I are debating purchasing another wagon so that three kids can ride in each wagon. Of course, if we get any more foster children then we'll be back to square one with not enough seating. And there's the issue of wether or not I'm actually strong enough to pull three kids weighing almost 150 lbs combined in a wagon. You know, minor details.

Hair Gone Wild

When I got my hair cut on Friday I asked the stylist if there was a certain way I needed to cut Kevin's hair to get it to spike. She talked me into letting her cut it right then. Here is the result.

He was very calm during the actual procedure as long as he could sit on Daddy's lap and didn't have to wear the plastic cape thing. Afterwords he kept rubbing his hands on his head. Friday night we had a special Good Friday service at church. Everyone who saw Kevin's hair loved it. That night we all nailed pieces of paper with our names on it to a big wooden cross. It was a great service.

Good Choice, Bad Choice

Good Choice: Clean the house before the assistant guardian ad litem (GAL) arrives for her monthly visit with the foster kids
Bad Choice: Choose that morning to help Gloria clean out her closet

Good Choice: Take a family walk
Bad Choice: Pick an extremely windy day and an uphill route

Good Choice: Get my haircut to get rid of the lower layer that's driving me crazy
Bad Choice: Take six kids with me to Great Clips

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Birthday Card Swap

This is the card I made for the birthday card swap at my local scrapbooking store for this month. On the inside it's blue and will either say "It's Your Day!" or "It's Your Birthday!" Personally, I like the first one better, because if someone had a need for a non-birthday congratulations card it would work for that, too. I still need to find out how many of these I'm supposed to make.

Not Exactly Picasso

Okay, so it's not great art. It did however make the kids happy today. They cut the ears out of one paper plate and stapled them to another. After giving them bunny faces, they took their masks and hippity hopped all over the house yelling, "boing! boing!"

If I was a really cool mom or if I felt better right now I might have let them paint the plates before cutting them. But I'm not, and I don't, so we didn't. We may not have super amazing bunny art to hang, but despite feeling under the weather today I still managed to:
1. Return library books
2. Buy a giant cork bulletin board
3. Do multiple loads of laundry
4. Cook
5. Give three little ones a bath
6. Attend praise band practice
7. Be an AWANA leader (including being "IT" for Freeze Tag)
8. Make a card for the card swap
9. Homeschool four girls
10. Lots of other things too dinky to count

Chick Flicks and Chocolate

Since this blog claims to be an "inside look" into our family I thought I'd share something personal. Once a month I get knocked down hard for about a day and half. This means that Daniel has to step up to the plate more than usual, handling meals, bath time, bedtime, and getting the kids up for the day.

I still have to function somewhat and sometimes, due to unfortunate timing, I even have to drag myself off the couch and get the kids to appointments. Whenever possible, though, during those times when my guts are killing me and I feel (in the immortal words of my mother) like "death warmed over", I try to stay in a horizontal position, stuffed with Advil, and focus on the only surefire cure...chick flicks and chocolate.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I got this list from my net-friend at I have a good life and thought I'd try it for fun.

A: Attached or single? Attached for 11 1/2 years now
B: Best friend? Can't pick one. Glenda's my oldest friend, Christina is my "listening ear/sympathetic" friend, Deanna is my nearest friend, Dawn is my newest friend, and my little sister Toni is the only one who calls me weekly just to see how I'm doing.
C: Cake or pie? Pumpkin pie with whip cream
D: Day? Sunday because I get to play in the praise band, talk with friends in Sunday school, here a great message, and frequently Shannon or Sarah will babysit for us so that Daniel and I can have a date or get groceries.
E: Essential Item? My camera. I hate when I forget to bring it.
F: Favorite Color? Purple, because I like blue (inside joke)
G: Gum or Mints? Gum...Daniel is the mint guy
H: Home Town? I live near Denver currently, was born in Newport News VA, and raised in Stillwater, OK.
I: Indulgences? I like reading in scorching hot baths.
J: January or July? July because it's Kevin's birthday and I love the 4th!
K: Kids? Currently six ages 1 to 8.
L: Life is incomplete without? Knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
M: Mexican or Italian food? Italian
N: Number of siblings? 1 full brother, 1 half sister, 2 half brothers, 2 step sisters
O: One word that describes you? Mom
P: Phobia? Being alone in the dark
Q: Quote? "Cleaning your house while kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it's still snowing."
R: Reason to smile? Six of them currently (and even better, they're all asleep!)
S: Season? Fall, because I can hug my kids and know they'll be staying with me.
T: Tag? Anyone who reads this and wants to copy it
U: Unknown fact about you? I have a weird hair that grows super long on my right shoulder.
V: Vegetable you love? Broccoli steamed with cheese
W: Worst Habit? Not asking for help when I need it.
X: X-ray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound, they should be required viewing before being allowed to have an abortion (by the mother and doctor)
Y: Your favorite food? Soft pretzels with salt and cheese
Z: Zodiac Sign? Who cares? The only sign that matters is the "sign of Jonah".

AWANA 3rd Grade Girls Skate

We left the younger three with Shannon while Daniel and I took the older three to the AWANA 3rd grade girls' skate party in Westminster.

None of us have skated in several years, so it was pretty pathetic as all four of us girls clung to the wall for the first several laps around the rink. Luckily, Daniel (even when he's rusty) is a very good skater. So we all took turns clinging to him and trying not to fall until we got more confident.

It ended up being a lot of fun by the end. Danya even won a cha-cha skate dancing contest! She won a light up smiley face ball that looked really neat when she skated around the rink with it. Gloria smashed her knee into a wall, and Penny fell and hurt her arm a little, but they were both alright after a few minutes. I told Daniel that we should go there sometime for a date night, just us. It was so much fun, and not too expensive. Besides, it reminds me of my only truly fun birthday ever, my Sweet 16 when my parents rented out the skating rink. Good times!

Something About Six

Strangely enough, these past few weeks have been really good. We've got more kids than we've ever had before and our schedule is crazier than ever before, but we are all feeling more peaceful than ever before. There's something about having a large family that requires you to just relax and let go a little.

We bought all five girls matching blue outfits for $3 a piece at Toys R' Us the other day when we were shopping for a new toy box for Latte and Bunny's room. We had just gotten them all washed, dressed, and hair done. Daniel led them out to the front yard to take photos of them just as Latte announced that she'd had an accident. Instead of letting Daniel help her while staying clean, she made a huge mess of the bathroom and ruined her entire outfit.

Normally this would have been cause for major drama at our house, but this time we both just shrugged it off, cleaned it up, and let her get new clothes on for the picture. So she doesn't match. So what? We still got an adorable photo of our kids and even managed to have Shannon take a few with us in it, too. It seems that just when we needed Him the most, we are figuring out how to fully rely on God's grace and peace to get us through. We're learning not to sweat the small stuff...and it's amazing how much of it is really small stuff after all.

The Tooth Fairy is Fired

In the past couple of weeks we've had three girls; Penny, Danya, and now Gloria, lose a tooth. Every single time they put their tooth under their pillows in a little plastic baggie. Every single time the Tooth Fairy forgot to show up. Fortunately the Tooth Fairy, upon being informed the next morning of her abysmal failure by a weeping little girl, was able to swap the tooth for a baggie with a buck in it while the kids were getting dressed. Then their mom claimed that they had simply overlooked the money that the Tooth Fairy left for them and they needed to look again.

It's sad, but true. Personally, I think the Tooth Fairy needs to be fired.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Wednesday night after our church band's practice, I brought Penny, Danya, and Gloria up on stage to see where I sit and meet the other brass players. Penny was really excited to meet our trumpet player, Mark. She wanted to run home and try out our trumpets when I told her that Mark had loaned us a couple. She is usually away at school when Danya and Gloria are doing homeschool, so she didn't even know we had trumpets.

This is a picture of the three of them practicing buzzing into the mouthpieces. They all had so much fun this week "playing" their trumpets downstairs while I was playing my trombone upstairs. I enjoy seeing them start to understand music in a deeper way. I still remember learning to read a treble clef scale when I was 7 1/2. They are definitely not to young to learn. Danya is also enjoying her continuing guitar lessons with Anna. Penny wants to take piano lessons, but since I can't afford that right now, hopefully she'll stay excited about the trumpet.

Starting a New Band

This isn't the world's best photo of me, but I appreciate Daniel trying to get a picture of me practicing. This Thursday I went to the first rehearsal of the new Thornton Community Band that is starting. I'm playing second trombone with another female trombonist.

I was really nervous about not being able to keep up with this band, but it turned out to be perfect for me. Just challenging enough to be fun, but not overwhelming. The other players all seem really fun and friendly. Everyone was so happy to be there. We sounded surprisingly good for a first rehearsal. Our new director is great! I've been practicing every day. I know this new band is going to help me grow as a musician. I came home from practice Thursday night dancing and just gushing to tell Daniel all about it. He's been so great about encouraging me and helping me make time to practice. I know I couldn't do it without him.

Friends in Strange Places

Sometimes you make a new friend in an unexpected place. I met Dawn at a scrapbooking Friday night crop (or was it a Saturday?). She is going to be starting her homeschooling adventure this year with a 4 1/2 year old and two 3 year olds.

We've been trying to plan a day to get our kids together, but it's been challenging to say the least. Since the day I met her I've run into her twice more, once at our district Republican caucus and again at the scrapbook store. She invited me to attend a homeschool book fair, too, where she got to meet two of my daughters. I got to meet her three girls at the caucus.

Finally, this week we managed to pull off a playdate with five of my kids and her crew. They came over, had lunch with us, and played at the park since it was such a beautiful day. I also got to show her all my fun new curriculum materials and talk about our homeschool some. Did I mention that our new Sonlight materials arrived the other day? I should make a separate post about that.

Desert Oasis Diorama

We've been reading about countries on the Arabian peninsula in history this past week. We've read about Muhammad and the beginning of the Muslim religion. We also tied this in with some reading about desert life.

One of the fun activities suggested in our Story of the World II book was this desert oasis diorama using only food items. The palm trees are made out of tootsie rolls and lettuce (held on with a toothpick). The sand is brown sugar. The "water" is just blue M&Ms, and of course the animals are animal crackers. It looked really neat when it was done. It would have been edible, too, except that Bunny spilled her water cup all over it. At least I took pictures of it before that happened.

Sharing the Wealth

We had a TON of extra potatos at the food bank pickup this month. About half of them were rotten, but someone had to take them because we couldn't just leave them at the fairgrounds. So Daniel and I ended up bringing home a ridiculous amount of potatos.

Daniel sorted through them on our front yard walkway, throwing the rotten ones into the garbage cans. Then he hosed off the remainder and we all boxed them up. We've been giving them away by the bagful to anyone who will take them. We gave some to our neighbors on either side of us, we're going to deliver some to the scrapbook store owner, Wendy, and we gave a couple of bags away to two homeschooling friends of ours. I meant to send some home with Shannon, our babysitter, too but I forgot.

Also, when I was putting away our food shipment I had to reorganize the pantry and pull out anything we just don't plan to eat. We had a bunch of cans of red chili beans that none of us like, so I boxed them up and gave them away to friends. We also gave away several boxes of rice and Hot Wheels cereal because there is just not enough room in our pantry and we can't eat it fast enough. Two of our friends, after hearing about what a great deal this food bank is, asked us to pick up an extra whole or half shipment for them next month so they can try it out. It's great being able to share all this food and still know that we're getting an incredible bargain on all of it.

Doubly Blessed

This foster parent co-op food pantry that we've been participating in has been such a blessing to us the past couple of months. We started back in November and weren't really sure what we were getting in to. We've grown to really love it.

Not only is it exciting to show up each month and find out what will be on the truck, but it's been really good to know there is always something in the pantry at meal times. This month we got things like fruit drinks, fruit snacks, Ritz mini cheese crackers, cereal, canned soups, tuna, toaster struedel, potatos, salad, sliced mixed veggies, canned peaches, fresh carrots, and more all for just under $40. We're still eating the fish and other good stuff we got last month!

We help unload the pallets full of food from the truck and divide them up so that we get to set aside our items first, getting to choose ours ahead of those who just show up to get their food and leave. That way I get to exchange something like refried beans for a can of tuna if I don't like what's in our box. We found out this month that if someone doesn't show up to get their food by 1pm then anyone who is still there can buy it. So this month we got a double order! My cabinets and pantry are bursting at the seams! We were definitely doubly blessed this month.