August 31, 2009

Balloons, Cake, Cousins and Food - Brianna's Birthday

Well, I know it is a bit out of date. And I know I did a Not Me post on Brianna's birthday. But let us remember that the main point of my blog is to record the important moments. I have had so many things I wanted to post about that I never got around to posting about Brianna's birthday for those loved ones who could not be here with us.

When Brianna was getting ready to turn three, she adored balloons of any size, shape or color. We had no extra money in those days so it became a real treat for her to get a balloon at the grocery store once in a while. For her third birthday, I decided that I would get a bunch of balloons. And just before she woke up, I would sneak in her room and fill her crib with them. I did and she loved it! Ever since, each birthday in our house has begun with a balloon attack in your bed. It is always followed by a raucous of a fight with balloons and squeals going every which way. The battle almost always ends with someone getting hurt. You would think we'd learn!

But no. We just spread the cheer as much as we can.

One year we filled my brother's little car with black balloons. He has to commute a very long way in very bad traffic. To avoid rush hour he gets up around four am to go to work. He went out to the car to leave and of course it was still dark. So dark, in fact, that the black balloons were all but invisible. He was trying to get in his car and couldn't figure out what was in his way! When he arrived at his office that morning, a florist delivered 30 more black balloons to his office.

Now, the trouble with Brianna is that she rises before the other kids. And she is a very light sleeper. For the last few years we've not been able to get her before she got us. We devised a plan to surprise her. We got up and went about our morning routine as if it was no special day. Brianna, expecting us to come and jump on her, laid in bed pretending to be asleep. After we made breakfast and finished chores, yes we made her lay there at least a good hour, I told Nathaniel to go to her and deliver a message. "Brianna you had better get up now. Mama is quite upset that you have not gotten up to do your chores and everyone is ready to sit to breakfast. You are in big trouble!"

In the kitchen, we had our balloons and were hiding behind the cupboard. Now, the only problem is that everyone got dead quiet. Because they wanted to surprise her. Just about the time that Brianna was coming down the hall and was ready to round the corner it occurred to me that she would for sure know something was up if the house was quiet just before breakfast!

Just the same, I think she was a little shocked when we all pounced on her as she came into the kitchen.

For birthdays, the person of honor gets to choose the movie and pizza for their dish night. Brianna chose The Princess Bride and shrimp pizza. I never cared for this movie in the past and the children would usually watch it when I wasn't around but I could not very well not be here for Brianna's night. At the end of the movie I was surprised that I enjoyed it very much this time around.

Now, I wonder if that means that my taste is improving or if it means that I am declining to a lower level of good quality entertainment? Either way, it was a hit all around. Since the entire family enjoys fencing, the sword fighting scenes were a favorite. Ever since, Samuel keeps asking me to play out the part when the Buttercup jumps in the water and the electric eels are trying to get her. That apparently was his favorite part. In case you are wondering, I am Buttercup.

Needless to say, the shrimp pizza was delicious.

The children don't have a whole lot of kids their own age around that they consider friends, so instead of birthday parties we give the option of doing an activity of their choice. Brianna chose to spend the day hanging out at the pool. We swam, played cards and were just generally lazy all day. She pronounced it a successful birthday celebration.

In the evening, my parents joined us for dinner.

She was delighted that they gave her the suitcase she has been saving up for. If you'd like to know about her current fascination with luggage you can read about it here.

We had an extra special guest come as well. My nephew Brandon and Brianna share the same birthday. Brandon turned 18 this year.

He is three months older than my Kaitlin. Because of his father's military service, Brandon's mom was here in Maryland and raising Brandon alone while attending college and working. For the first 18 months, he spent most days, and often nights, with Kaitlin and I. During that time, they became quite close and were almost brother and sister. When his mother, Ann, and my brother, Frank, married and moved to a base in New Jersey, I moved there and cared for Brandon until about his second birthday. As you can imagine, they came to be close friends.

About the time the two were eight, Brandon's parents divorced and Frank came to live with us at the same time because his commitment to service in the military was over. Brandon spent many holidays, weekends and summers with us after that until about three years ago. He was a special part of our family.

Circumstances have limited the time we got to see him to about 5 visits in the time since. We have missed him and are so thrilled to have more opportunity to see him now that he is graduated and driving on his own.

It was fun to get some pictures of the cousins together. The last ones we have, there were far less Wachter children!

Now for those who know us well, I know you are wondering what Brianna chose for her birthday food. If you would like to know how important food is to our birthday celebrations you can read about it here.

The menu went like this:

Breakfast- Lox and bagels, orange juice and grapes.
Lunch- club sandwiches and potato chips
Dinner- Taco casserole
Dessert- Strawberry shortcake

For her gift, I found this great patent leather bag at Lands End. It was an insane price of around $80 at the beginning of the season. I was amazed to get it for $20 by waiting until August to buy it. I had a blast hunting for green things to fill it. Stationary, patent leather slides, pajamas, camisoles, socks, unmentionables, sunglasses, hair stuff, office supplies and some videos went in, too, just for kicks.

We sat poolside laughing and visiting until we couldn't keep the bugs away or our eyes open any longer. It was indeed a happy day!

Don't forget to click on the button to read all about the country fair coming to my blog September 14th!

August 30, 2009

Loyal Friend and Reader Award

Christy Rose at The Secret Life of an American Wife and Mom
has passed this award back to me. Now how sweet is that?  Since we met she has been a faithful reader and commenter. Her blog is full of beautiful pictures of her life with five children and a husband who is leading them all in following the Lord. If you need a spiritual gem for the day stop by Christy's and see what is going on there.

In my new tradition I am going to tell you one of my favorite posts at Christy's is this one "Way More".

I would like to pass this on to the following ladies who bless me with the delightful comments almost on a daily basis.

Tara at Keeping Up with the Kelly's for her heart warming post about being a loyal friend to Penny.

Darcie at The Story of Us for her post that touches on learning to be a friend to her teenager

Christina at Luvin This Life take a five minute vacation as you view a slide show of some of her talented photography

And while you are there you might read a story or two of living life at home with little guys and while trying to walk with the Lord.

And don't forget to click on the button to read about the country fair coming to my blog in September.

August 29, 2009

Dear Diann

Dear Diann,

We here in old Maryland are a little bummed that you are there and we are here. We are even more bummed that you took our answer to prayer, Baby Button, with you. And still more bummed that we can't work out a way to celebrate a baby shower with you.

Never fear though. We are so incredibly creative that we have worked all of these issues out. Our little baby shower gift to you is the gift of blog. We, well mostly Brianna (I am the idea man, you know) has set up your very own blog. Where you can post pictures of you for the duration of your pregnancy. Magically, this wonderful site will become home of all the baby button pictures and news for us back home.

Brianna and I will be at your disposal for know how advice. We are just an email away!

Now here is the magic button to take you to your page. Just click and then tell me what a great idea it was. (I do crack myself up!) And to my lovely readers, I invite you to click over to Baby Button's page and welcome my dear sister, Diann, to blog world!

And don't forget to click on the button below to check out the country fair coming to my blog in September!

August 28, 2009


Monday night I was at F.B.I.

Not the F.B.I. Like the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I've never been there. But my mom did work there. She was the assistant to J. Edgar Hoover himself as his personal secretary. She still has her own gun. Isn't that nifty? Well, I think it is pretty cool. Actually, she has done some really incredible things in her life. Plus, she raised some great kids. And now in her retirement she is a matriarch who loves her family and spends her time in service to others.

Oh, but I digress. This is not about that F.B.I. This is about Faith Bible Institute. Which we call F.B.I. This is such an amazing class that I just have to tell you all about it. I was hoping to do it before now, so that you could sign up for the Fall. But now you will just have to check it out and look forward to Spring enrollment.

Let me back up. Faith Bible Institute is a 36 credit College level Bible course that was written and is taught by John T. Yates from Monroe, Louisiana. It was started around 1985 and has become so popular that it is video taped and sent to satellite schools all around the world. Yes, I said WORLD!

Their motto is every word, every church, every Christian. It is 6 semesters over the course of 3 years. In order to keep their accreditation the course is only open to 18 years and older. But there are special exceptions made with a case by case consideration as to maturity and such of the student. My Kaitlin, and most of the young home school students we know, are able to start at 15. There are no exceptions for anyone younger than 15.

You do not have to be a member of a church to take the classes. As a matter of fact, about half of our class are not church members. Most of the members of our church have long since finished and graduated. Many of the church members who are taking it, are on their second and even third time through. Because yes, it is that good.

I can not begin to tell you how dynamic a teacher Brother Yates is. On the occasions when we missed a class and had to bring the video home, our little guys have sat for the entire 3 and 1/2 hour video mesmerized by every word.

He has an amazing testimony and teaches from his love for the Lord, unbelievable knowledge of the Bible and how it fits together with history and future prophecy. I have not seen his teaching, preaching or Bible know how matched by anyone else.

Nor his humility. He will move you to goose bumps and tears over and over. He will compel you to walk closer and deeper with the Lord.

Allen and I took this class years ago, when our church was first offering it. We had to drop out after a number of semesters because of family responsibilities. We were so excited last January when Brianna offered to babysit on Monday nights so we could start going again.

Kaitlin is in her final year. It has been a blessing to attend with her. In fact she convinced my parents to attend as well. My dad, who wanted to discuss nothing of Bible matters previously, is now working to convince my in laws to attend as well. My brother, Frank, who is a member of our church, is a student so we all get to learn together. Often we will go to dinner afterward.

There are exams. But if you choose not to take them, you have the option of auditing and taking the course for no credit. I will tell you, though, that the tests are not as intimidating as you might think. I would encourage you to take them and if you aren't happy with your grade just audit.

We have learned so much and enjoy doing our homework together and studying together at the dinner table. At the beginning of the semester you will receive a study guide that includes all the information you will need to know for the test. It doesn't get much easier than that. We always have a stack of study cards on the table. Even our youngest kids can shout out the answers to the questions by the time our final comes along.

Oh, and I guess I should tell you what it is. It is the Bible taught chronologically, verse by verse from beginning to end. Each class is actually comprised of three segments. The first hour is Old Testament. This semester we are starting with the Exodus. There is a short break before the second hour of New Testament. Which happens to be the second half of the Life of Christ. (We did the first half last semester.) The third segment is about 30 minutes and is usually theology. This is the only semester where he doesn't teach a theology class. Instead we are doing an in depth study into the book of Acts, the establishment of the church and the Great Commission.

I know what you are thinking. How do you make it through 3 1/2 hours. I am telling you. At the end of three and 1/2 hours you will walk out and say, "Where did the time go???" It is just that good.

At the start of each semester you will also receive a text book/notebook deal with blanks to fill in throughout the lectures. As well as a chart of daily homework assignments with reading from the Bible and Wilmington's Guide to the Bible.

Don't take my word for it. You can check out all the details and, I believe, even get a sample DVD by going to their website. You can contact them to find out how to locate a satellite school near you or how to establish a school in your area. I assure you. If you love the Lord. If you want to have a closer walk with Him. If you want to have a greater understanding of His word. You do not want to go one more semester without checking this out. What do you have to lose? You can sit in on a class and see what all the hype is without any obligation.

But watch out. You will be hooked!

Click on the button to read all about the country fair coming to my blog in September.

August 27, 2009

Week 19 of 52

A big thank you to Brianna for redoing my page to fit the theme for our upcoming country fair! If you haven't read about it yet you can click here. Get your posts ready, I hope to see you all there.

Forever In Blue Jeans

I've accepted Carin's challenge, as a Mom, to get back into the picture. The idea is that once a week you take a picture of yourself with one or more of your children. It's that simple. If you'd like you can post your picture on your blog. You can let me know you posted so I can check out your pics. You can check out my previous weeks or Click the button to add your name to the Mr. Linky. So, have fun!

This week we have a lot of, "I wasn't paying any attention to what was going on around me" pictures. This first was when I was visiting with my parents by the pool. When I was looking through the camera card I found about 20 similar ones of me and a bunch of other family members that night. My best guess is that one of the youngers got hold of the camera. They have been trying out their skills this summer.

This is a rare picture of me without makeup. I have a great deal of scarring on my face and long ago made a habit of doing my face as soon as I get out of bed. I am not sure why I didn't that day. But, Elisabeth didn't mind and gave me some loving anyway!

And here I am blogging. And I don't know about you but I am usually completely out of touch with everything once I enter blog world. That is why I try to keep it for before the family gets up, during nap and after they go to bed.

Which, brings me to the fact that classes resumed Monday night and I have a boat load of reading and studying to do now. I will be leaving for vacation in 21 days and when I return on October 7th home school will be starting. There is a bunch of travel going on between then and Thanksgiving. So, I may not be around your blogs as much as I usually am. But don't forget, I love you anyway.

And to my dear Canuck...if you are out there. I haven't seen you in a long time... talk to me girlie.


Don't forget to click on the button to learn all about the Country Fair coming September 14th! It won't be any fun without you there.

August 26, 2009

Color Coded Cups

My dear husband asked me to do this post about my Tupperware cups. But first, I have to go back a few years to where it began. The dinner trays.

You will see, there are nice little divided compartments so your baked beans don't run all over everything. The trays are big enough to hold your entire meal and drink, as well There is a nifty little space where you can put an ear of corn or a silverware and napkin roll.

This handy dandy invention is sturdy enough for the little guys to carry it out to the picnic table without spilling. And, as with all Tupperware products, they came in a variety of summer colors...mine are orange, purple, green and pink. We have used them over and over and over.

I got them because during the summer we eat outside all the time. I don't have to worry about my ceramic plates getting dropped en route to the back yard. Since they go right in the dishwasher no extra work is involved for clean up. And since they are reusable they are environmentally friendly and easier on the wallet than disposable plates.

I have a friend who sells Tupperware. For one of the kids birthdays, one year, she gave them one of these great cups. Everyone liked it because unlike most cups (except baby cups) it was almost leak proof and the cool part is it has an opening for a straw.

With so many little ones at the table, I bought enough for each of the kids to have one so that meal time was a little drier. By the end of last summer, we had only one or two left. They had been dragged out to the playground and left in various places.

At the beginning of this summer I bought a set of the 16 ounce ones in four different colors. And a set of the smaller ones in 4 different colors. We had the odd one in a fifth color left over to make the ninth that we needed.

I then assigned a cup to each person. Big people got big cups. Small people got small ones. With a sharpie I wrote names on the bottom of each. Who do you think the little pink one belongs to?

These were very expensive in the Tupperware book. I found a much better deal on the sets by going to eBay. As an incentive not to lose their cups, I warned that if a cup was missing we would know who it belonged to and they would have to replace it out of their own spending money. Three months and we still have all our cups!

A big bonus I wasn't counting on is that now everyone knows their color and so we don't end up with a thousand cups at the end of the day. In the past someone would get a cup. We leave ours on the kitchen windowsill to reuse. But when someone returned later they would forget which one was their cup and get another. By dinner time the top rack of the dishwasher was filled with cups. Not anymore.

Don't forget to click on the button below to find out about the country fair!

For more Works-For-Me Wednesday go to We are That Family

August 25, 2009

Country Fair Coming Soon To A Blog Near You

I am joining my girls, Kaitlin at Kitti Kat Korner and Brianna at By the Way in their Summer Challenge, One Thing I Did This Week. The idea was to get young bloggers more involved in writing by posting a picture and journaling about one thing they did each week during the summer. Their blogs are private so you will need to leave me a comment requesting an invite to your email address if you would like to stop by and check out the others or to join in your self.

I am a blogger and young at heart so here it goes. One thing I did this week was help the girls design their outfits that they will make to enter in the fair.

And then we spent hours at Joann's choosing the perfect fabric and notions. After cutting about 20 yards of various fabrics for us we became buddies with Bridget.

And then I helped cut out a few pieces so we could reclaim the dining table for dinner.

Why do you ask? Because the fair is a big deal around here. Not just to us. But to the whole county. School still closes every year on the fourth Friday every September so the children can attend the fair. Our fair is still very agricultural based. The main events involve judging of farm animals that will later be auctioned and slaughtered.

My family sure enjoys all that. But what we love most of all is the household entries. All through the summer there is talk of what will be entered into this years competition. Jams, cookies, cars, boats, pickles and of course sewing projects. I am proud of my children's effort each year and their creative and can do spirit. That is definitely something I lacked and have learned from them over the years.

Kat at Heart 2 Heart left the following comment on my peach canning post.

"I wish we could all get together and just have a good old fashioned county fair with all the goodies people make from scratch, can, and even the crafts that others sew, knit or even photograph. It would be an all time event of a life time. Bloggers County Fair."

And so you know, I got to thinking. I have seen a lot of creative ladies here in blog world. Some sew. Some draw. Some write poetry. Some are amazing with cameras. Others with a pie. Why not have a country fair, bloggy style?

So here is what I have in mind. Our fair starts on the 18th of September. Unfortunately, our family will be missing it this year. We usually plan to leave for our vacation after the first weekend of the fair. Ours local fair runs from a Friday to the Sunday of the following week. That way we can be here for the judging. But we had some difficult scheduling issues because of other travel and work plans this fall.

On September 14th I will put up my Country Fair post highlighting my entry into our local county fair. I will also put up a blog hop link for you to enter you link.

You photograph your sewing, canning, painting, drawing, photography, baking, building, scrapbooking, needlepoint, knitting, cross stitching, etc...masterpiece and post it on your blog. You can explain your entry with some journaling or just put up your picture. Brianna will shortly be coming up with the html link for the banner below so you can add it to the top of your post.

Then stop by here and get instructions and the code to add the MckLinky blog hop to your post. You may enter any time after September 14th until I return from my vacation on October 7th.

Now, when we return from vacation there are usually prize checks waiting for us in the back log of mail. So to make it a little more fun I thought I would add some prizes that make us think of the country fairs. Off the top of my head I have a candy apple making kit, a caramel apple making kit and a jar of my prize winning jam. I will be thinking of other ideas over the course of the next month or so. When we return from vacation I will be putting everyone who entered the link on the blog hop into the drawing. You can link up to an old post that fits the bill, too.

I think this will be a lot of fun if we can get a number of bloggers involved. So I will give an extra entry to anyone who posts an "advertisement" about the fair or adds the button from my side bar to your side bar between now and September 14th. Don't forget to stop by this post and leave me a comment that you posted or put up the button so I can enter you in the drawing.

Country Fair

Leave me a comment and let me know if you might be interested in participating. You could also leave me a comment with any prize ideas you may have. Sounds like fun, right?

Get those posts ready because I can't wait to see you at the fair!

August 24, 2009

This Just In

For those who were wondering and waiting and praying....

My real life friend, Susan at It's What Happening welcomed her fourth little baby this morning. You may remember her from this post.

This little baby was holding out and is now a week over due. But she did manage to be born on a Monday, which happens to continue a funny little streak that all the Schmidt babies have been born on a Monday.

Here are the details.

Makenna Faith Schmidt was born at 8:45 am this morning. She weighed in at 8lbs and 6 oz and was 21.25” long. Mom and baby are doing fine. Praise the Lord!

I can not post a picture because her husband, dear TJ, can not find the camera cord at this time. Can you imagine? He is taking care of Mom, new baby and the 3 older children (five and under) and can't find time to get a picture up for the rest of us?

Not Me Monday 8-24-09

We have a friend who always brings us her homemade tortillas and beans when she comes to visit. I usually fry up some peppers, onions and eggs to serve with them. Only today, she did NOT. Now, even though, Samuel knew she was coming. And even though he was waiting for her. And even though he was looking forward to those tortillas. When she came in the door, he would NOT ask her where the tortillas were. So there was NO reason for me to be embarrassed. She hugged him and apologized for NOT bringing one of his favorite treats. There for I was NOT mortified now.

The poor kid was NOT so bummed that he mentioned the lack of tortillas repeatedly throughout the day. Nor did he go out of his way to mention it to Allen when he came out of his office at the end of the day. So at dinner I did NOT make tortillas with all the trimmings, just as Maria taught me. We do NOT usually do this for breakfast NOR do we like breakfast for dinner periodically. NO sooner had we sat down to eat and Maria did NOT show up at the door with a bundle of her tortillas, still hot from the pan. Samuel did NOT take mine off his plate for Maria's much better ones either.

And then I did NOT sit by and watch as an all out "war" broke out at the dinner table including sword fighting with kitchen utensils and the lid to my corning wear dish as a shield. There was NOT waded up wrapping paper flying in all directions. And all the kids were NOT trying to get Pa. They would NEVER all rally together to conquer the king.

If any one claims it, I will deny that I threatened to blog about it. I would NEVER blog about such silliness and folly at the dinner table where we insist on respect and decorum. Well most of the time anyway.

And further more, Allen did NOT promise ice cream to the kid who did NOT rise up against him and then give Emma Rose six bowls of ice cream.

As an extra bonus, for those who were wondering, I will tell you that I did NOT pick all the chocolate chip cookie dough chunks out of my bowl and leave the ice cream behind.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

August 23, 2009

Loyal Friend and Visitor Award

I would like to pass this award on to the following bloggers.

Heather Kay at Beauty for Ashes who was one of my very first followers. She has a beautiful testimony of love and redemption. You don't want to miss it.

Kat at Heart 2 Heart who writes inspirational comments and posts that really make you think.

Amy at In Search of Normal because she read my posts before I thought no one but my family would.

Jen T. at Many Blessings, Busy Life because not only will she give you computer advice on demand she will send you links to get wheat berries and good zoos to visit. If you click here you can read about when we met a few weeks ago.

Andrea at Arise 2 Write a prayer warrior for her real life and blog land friends. Not only is she praying she is rallying the blog world together for each request. If you need to go before the throne, with Andrea there is no need to go it alone. (Sorry that rhyme was an accident!)

Christy Rose at the Secret Life of an American Wife and Mom Because she read my first post twice! And it was long.

The rules: (1) Post the award on your blog. (2) Acknowledge the giver. (3) Pass the award on to who you think who is/are deserving to as many as you want. (4) Leave a message telling them.

August 22, 2009

Because I'm The Queen

It Feels Like Chaos has honored me with this beautiful tiara. I found her back in the beginning, when I first came to blog world. I enjoyed her tales of raising little ones because the stories take me back to my early days of child rearing. I don't think there is a post she writes about her munchkins that doesn't bring back some vivid memories of laughter, tears or disaster. And I mean that in a very fond way. If you are on, or have ever journeyed down the road of child training, stop by and pay her a visit.

I am going to steal her idea, because I liked it so much. She didn't just award her favorite bloggers but her favorite of their posts as well.

So I am going to pass this on to the following blogger and their posts. I would hope that you take the time to check out all these blogs but if you have time for just one please make sure you go to Michelle's.

Michelle at Psalm 104:24 for her post Need Help/Advice. Because she is so willing to admit she doesn't know it all. A rare thing in this world. She is such an example of the need to rely on others for advice. She brings up topics others avoid. And graciously moves about the different opinions represented.

Mikki at The View From My Beach Chair for her post I Finally Figured It Out because in this post she asked the question that I keep wondering but never got around to asking.

August 21, 2009

How We Get It Done

You've already seen my necessary room in this post. Now I will grace you with my thoughts on how we make do with so much family and so little square footage.

A few months ago, I walked down the hall as we were getting ready to tuck the kids in bed and saw them all brushing their teeth. It struck me as something I wanted to remember and I grabbed the camera.   There is often a lot of talk with curious onlookers about how we manage with so many in such a small house.  But really it has never been a big deal.

We do have 3 bathrooms in our house. The one in the basement rarely gets used unless we have house guests or the kids need to use the facilities, while swimming, so as not to drip through the house.

But this disclaimer should be out there. Our bathrooms are smaller than most peoples' closets. No joke. And yet we still all manage.

And I don't recall ever hearing much fussing over the issue. For one thing we are not very particular about does not mind others coming in to use the commode or sink while they are in the shower for instance.

For another we have rules of common courtesy. All showers or baths are taken in the evening. The three boys bath together. Ellie gets in with someone. No one is allowed more than 10 minutes for a shower unless they wait til the end of the line. If you don't shower at night than you must get up before the alarm and be out of the bathroom before the family starts getting ready for the day.

Plus, we don't shower as much as some. Not that we go around dirty...just that, for the most part, twice a week is fine for most people during the winter months. So Wednesdays and Saturdays are bath nights. And during the summer, kids are often in the pool in which case the Wednesday and Saturday rule applies most of the time there, too. If you need to shower more often or want to soak in the tub then you follow the rules of common courtesy.

And, if you feel so inclined, there is always the basement bathroom.

I think part of the success is that we start with the heart. Whining, complaining and fussing about waiting for the bathroom is already ruled out because of the rules that those attitudes are NEVER accepted in our home. Not just for the bathroom, but in all things, he who complains goes to the end of the line. We don't hear much complaining.

For normal teeth brushing, we often have 7 or more at the sink at once...and guess one minds or cares.

You know, I think it is up there with the whining and teenage rebellion issue. People expect to have problems or make problems of it so it becomes a problem.

After all this rambling, I decided to ask my kids what they thought on the topic of bathrooms. And here it is, in their own words.

Brianna says that she solemnly swears that with the 9 of us, and frequent house guests and many times others living with us, she has never wet herself.

KK says that privacy is not an issue and never will be.

Brianna says we don't close the door and don't mind us all being in at once. That's just how it is. I asked her if that bothered her and she said, "No, I don't care."

KK says again that privacy has never been an issue and never will be.

So there you have it folks.

Later that night, I asked Allen what he thought about the deal. He said, it is interesting that most of the time he is the only one that closes the bathroom door and that is so he can read his electronics magazine without being interrupted.

We have had a few funny bathroom moments over the years. We have strict rules that when we have company, the children are to use only the master bath (which is smaller than the one pictured and has no tub) so that the guest or guests can have the use of the bigger bathroom. As I said, we rarely close the door. When one of my boys was potty training, we had a lady staying with us. Was she surprised when this son came crashing in the bathroom on her! She wasn't bothered too much by it. The boy didn't even notice. I was mortified however.

While we were remodeling the hall bathroom, we had no door for a long while. Even after we got the door, we had no door knob for a very long time. We hardly noticed. Our company always did, though. I will never forget the gleeful squeal from a visiting girlfriend one day. "Kathleen! You have a door knob." I am not even sure that any one living here noticed it. And it had been up for weeks by then.

And then there was the time that we returned home from errands around ten at night. Emma was suddenly hit with a stomach bug. As she ran to the bathroom and got sick, a hose broke going from the commode into the wall. Water was running everywhere. Allen quickly turned the main off. I know what you are thinking. Good thing you have two more bathrooms. Wrong. The master bath was undergoing renovation and had no commode. And in the basement the wax ring was being replaced so the toilet was actually sitting in the bath tub. Of course it was 10 at night and all the hard ware stores were closed. If you don't come from a large family, perhaps you can not imagine what it is like when five children all suddenly come down with the stomach flu at one time. Fortunately, I've had a few years to recover from the trauma and can laugh at it now.

As the Nun's used to say when I was in school, "That's enough toilet talk." I will leave you with this thought from Bob Hope.

"I grew up with six brothers. That's how I learned to dance - waiting for the bathroom."

August 20, 2009

week 18 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

I've accepted Carin's challenge, as a Mom, to get back into the picture. The idea is that once a week you take a picture of yourself with one or more of your children. It's that simple. If you'd like you can post your picture on your blog. You can let me know you posted so I can check out your pics. You can check out my previous weeks or Click the button to add your name to the Mr. Linky. So, have fun!

Sunday afternoon, we met my dad at a local historical house where they were hosting an ice cream social. We went some years ago and had such a memorable time that when we heard they were doing it again we jumped at the opportunity to go. Even though it was very warm, we stayed cool under the trees. And of course there was the ice cream to help.

Because it is a historic location they had colonial games set up for the kids. And lots of craft options. There were four large tables covered with all sorts of fabric, paper, wall paper, wood scraps, markers, glue, and even toilet paper rolls for the children to stretch their imagination. While dad and Allen wandered, I helped the boys with their projects. Sam made a top and a boat. We colored the top his favorite color, blue green.

While we were working on our little creations, my stomach turned at the ugly display from a little girl Emma's age. She was going on and on about how much she hated her brother. He was 15 and from what I saw, was perfectly nice. Either way, it saddened me to see a child at nine with such venom in her heart. And toward someone she has spent her life with and will spend the rest of her years with. I couldn't help but wonder what could make someone hate so much. And think how heartbreaking it must have been for her mother who was standing there hearing it. I would be devastated if I ever heard my little Emma speak like that.

Anyway, when Brianna called Aedan to look at the camera, he smiled so very pretty but I think he missed the camera. He made a boat and a picture frame.

And this last one was a little treat. There was an antique car show set up for the day. We toured them for a little while but I was just as happy to stay in the shade. I did have to check out this Mustang. Not only was it my favorite car, but it was a limited edition 1968 shade of pink. Which happens to be my favorite color. The lady was kind enough to let me climb inside and take a look. Isn't it a beauty?

August 19, 2009

Guess Who?

Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane

Come for a walk with me down Memory Lane!
And if you have a "Memory Lane" post, head on over to Scottsville to join in on the fun!

The other day, I was looking for a photo on my computer and I came across this one. I was at a loss as to who this baby was. I looked and looked. I checked the properties for the date. The date that came up gave me no indication. I finally determined it must have been one of the many babies born in my husband's office last year. When all of a sudden something caught me eye. If you enlarge the photo, you will see down in the bottom left corner, the blue and white fabric.

That brought back some memories. That was my mother's bathrobe. which, she likely still has today. And then I noticed on the right wrist the watch my mother wore everyday. It was a gold watch her mother gave her when she graduated.

Which means that scrawny little baby could only be yours truly. It was most certainly taken by my dad in 1972.

I filed it away to do a Walk Down Memory Lane post over at Erica's someday. So, here it is folks. Me in my humble beginnings.

August 18, 2009

Have You Read This?

Fort Thompson

I have two parakeets that my husband gave me for our anniversary. I named them Art and Chili Pepper which are pet names my husband and I have for each other. (That's another story). I've learned alot about birds since they moved in last they must have a mate and they mate for life. This really is true. Every morning they wake up when we get up and start singing to each other. I swear it sounds like they are having a conversation. It is almost always really beautiful. Once in a while though, she will start squaking at him like he is really in trouble for something. (Ladies, you know what I mean if you are honest and have been married for any length of time.) After, they are fed they fly out of their cage in the living room and go immediately to the ceiling fan in the kitchen. After a few minutes they fly to the fan in my son's room off of the living room and then they fly back and forth like that, together, for an hour or so. Eventually, they perch on my son's fan for the remainder of the day, chatting with each other. Around, dinner time, when the sun starts to set they fly back into their cage eat some seed and sit there quietly until around the time we tuck the kids in bed. Then they go to the top of the cage perch on the side, snuggled together, and go to sleep. Our bird book said they must have a companion or they will literally die of loneliness.

Well, today, the oddest thing happened. Art, went flying down the hall and perched on the ceiling fan in our master bedroom. Chili went to the living room fan and sat there all day crying, I swear it sounded like crying, for Art. He would call back to her but refuse to come. It was sad and pathetic. We thought about shooing him out to her just to put her out of her misery.

Stay with me...All of this has a point.

Now, my husband, Allen (nicknamed Art), travels a great deal for his work. Today was one of those days. He got up before the sun to make the four hour trip, meet with customers all day, and then make the 4 hour drive back home. On these days I feel like that bird. Nothing in my world is right. I sometimes think it is in my head but I didn't imagine today. I woke up to no electricity. That in itself isn't such a bad thing. We lose power quite often as we live in an older house with older above ground lines but... We heat our house with wood. That is usually a blessing when the power goes out. However, the last few days have been unusually warm, almost 70 degrees, so we had no fire and no wood in the house. We also have a well with an electric pump. One of my sons had wet the bed during the night and I had no way to bathe him or wash his linens.

As a matter of fact, I was due to host 10 ladies for tea at 11 am and I had no water to boil let alone power to boil it. My daughter used my cell phone (cordless phones don't work when the power goes out) to call and cancel our guests except for one. My one friend is deaf. They don't own a phone since her husband is also deaf. We keep in contact through email. Which guess what...went out with the power! I had to send my daughter with a fever hiking a mile down the road with a note. With all that taken care of it was back to the other issues at hand.
Six of my seven children were burning up with fever. My three year old son had an asthmatic cough. He needed to go to the asthma specialist. Here was the next problem. Now, I have had some trials in my life and I have given birth to seven children. I have very little pride. But I don't ever, I mean never, leave the house without make up. I don't even open the door to the UPS man if I haven't finished my morning routine. Now, did I mention we had no water. That means no shower. You with me still. By this time I was starting to feel lousy myself and it had all the ear marks of the flu. Fever, chills, aches all over.

So, I have kids who need to eat and no way to fix anything. I was even out of milk so cereal was out the qestion. All at once it hits me. The ice cream and popsicles are going to melt. Can we say breakfast???

So around about lunch time the power is back on and I quickly bathe everyone and we start washing linens and run the dishwasher and all those things you just HAVE to do when you lose power. I fed the kids little sandwiches and tarts slated for my tea and they start asking to go back to bed. At last, naptime! Now, my one year old, Elisabeth, the only person not sick at this point, is the bestbaby in the world. She never fusses, has slept through the night since whe was born, smiles for get the idea. She decides she doesn't want to nap. For the first time in a year she won't take her nap. When all I want to do is lie down and close my eyes so the pounding in my head would stop. Any other time, someone is begging to play with her, but all they are begging for today is to lie down and take a nap.

Oh, yeah, and the bird is still pining away for her sweetheart.

My daughter did actually play with Elisabeth for a while and I napped for 45 minutes. Then the other kids started wandering into the family room where I was resting. I did what any self respecting mother would do in my place...I put on a movie. Last year, my husband remodeled our basement and put in a high tech projector and 100 inch screen and 2 DVD players, sound equipement-the whole deal. Do you know the blasted thing wouldn't work. So here, we are with thousands of dollars of equipment surrounding us and 7 kids and myself watching Leave It to Beaver on my laptop.

My husband called a little while ago to say he'd be home in about 2 hours or so. At that moment I realized what my 17 year old said was true I am just like that bird. Today I was perched on the ceiling fan alone and it was spinning out of control. One phone call to know that he is on his way and suddenly everything is alright again. The sun has set and the birds are back in their cage now quietly waiting for bedtime. The kids have fired up the 18 year old television set in the armoire upstairs and I don't hear a sound from them either. And after a month of trying to start my blog...I have at last written my first entry.

Want to play along with Oldies... but Goodies? Its simple. Click on the button above and head over to Ft. Thompson to find out how.

This is a super fun carnival and it so easy to do. It gives us the chance to read new things on your blog that we might have missed, or just never saw because we didn't follow your blog at the time.

So lets catch up! Join in the fun with Oldies... but Goodies!

MckLinky Blog Hop

"A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years and in your heart till the day you die." Author: Mary Mason

For those who were wondering. For those who were hoping. Here is a beautiful picture of my dear sister, Diann and 28 week (by the time this posts it will be 29) and counting, niece or nephew, whom I call baby button. Doesn't she glow beautifully?

Dear Di,

I hope you don't mind me plastering your picture on the world wide web. But when you look this glamorous, you must expect it. Thank you for this gift you are giving to us. I must admit...I wish I was in the boat with you.

Love your big sis,


August 17, 2009

Hot off the Press!

Maybe you noticed the beautiful picture of Brianna in my post this morning? My friend, Susan, came over Friday and spent a very hot morning photographing the children. She is an incredibly talented and self-taught photographer. That picture was one of the over 300 she took.

The amazing thing is that she was due to have her fourth baby on Sunday. As in yesterday. That little girl still hasn't made her appearance. So prayers for Susan would be appreciated. And if you'd like to check out some of the black and white photos she uploaded you could go to her blog. And to this page if you'd like to see the color photos.

And if you'd like to read more about this beautiful family, Hope this means you, then go to her family blog page.

Not My Nana Monday

Today is NOT Brianna's fourteenth birthday. We are NOT having a special NOT Me Monday in her honor.

There are absolutely NO memorable moments from raising my second born daughter.

She was NOT born prematurely after four months of bed rest and hospitalizations. It was NOT a difficult and complicated delivery. She was NOT born blue, but quickly resuscitated. While I was expecting her I did NOT think that there was NO way I could ever love her as much as I did my first born, Kaitlin. And the instant she was born, my heart did NOT double so that I could love her every bit as much. I did NOT think she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.

She was NOT jaundiced. So there was NO reason to set her in the window to sun, naked.

When she was a few weeks old, Allen was NOT changing her diaper when the shelf above her changing table did NOT fall on top of her head. I was NOT away from home for the first time since her birth when this happened. He was a calm and collected father and he did NOT panic. This was NOT before the dawn of cell phones so he did NOT spend hours worrying about what damage he did. NOR did he look like he had been hit by a car when I returned home. He was NOT almost in tears as he told me the story.

At three months old, Brianna did NOT develop chronic ear infections that would keep her in pain and on antibiotics for the next 15 months. During that time she did NOT sleep every night on my shoulder in the rocking chair to relieve the pain. I did NOT love every minute of it. At 18 months she did NOT have surgery which did NOT instantly correct the problem. At which time she did NOT become the sweetest and most content baby in the world.

Brianna did NOT develop a habit of biting everyone and everything and definitely NOT the cat.

She was NOT almost bald until her third birthday.

NOR was she a precious child to everyone who came in contact with her.

NOR did she love 101 Dalmatians.

When she was potty training my Brianna did NOT pee on the floor of Staples. And Pa and I definitely did NOT leave as quickly as possible before someone realized it was our child who did it.

When Brianna was NOT three years old, Allen did NOT buy the girls ice cream cones. And then they did NOT fool around for a while and we did NOT have to go. Allen did NOT tell them that they had one minute and they every minute after that he was NOT going to take a bite of their ice cream. After one minute he did NOT take a bite of Brianna's ice cream. She then did NOT stuff the entire cone in her mouth so that he would NOT take another bite.

And, while we are NOT speaking of ice cream, when Brianna was five, she was NOT eating an ice cream cone for dessert when she did NOT do a back flip off the dining room chair NOR did she NOT land back on her bum on the chair and NOT lose one drip of ice cream. All those dancing lessons did NOT pay off that well.

Brianna did NOT fall of the jungle gym and break her arm. And I did NOT tell her that she should get right back on the horse so she would NOT be afraid. She did NOT obey her mother and fall again. And when she did NOT fall the second time she did NOT break her arm again. The orthopedic specialist was NOT amazed that she did NOT make one peep as two grown men twisted and set her arm with NO pain medication. She did NOT love the fact that she got a purple cast that matched her favorite purple clogs. And while her arm was NOT in a cast in the middle of August, I did NOT take her to visit a friend in South Carolina. And while we were NOT there, we did NOT go to a family reunion. And while we were NOT at the family reunion I did NOT give her permission to go swimming if she did NOT get her cast wet. She did NOT fall into the lake and subsequently get her cast wet. Two days later there was NOT a revolting odor coming from her arm. When we took her to the hospital, her arm was NOT covered in a fungal growth. OOPS! I would NEVER be responsible for causing my six year old so much discomfort. I do NOT still feel guilty about the whole deal eight years later.

When Brianna was eight years old we did NOT look out the back window to see her standing naked under the clothesline trying to hang her bathing suit.

Brianna did NOT overcome dyslexia to develop a love for reading. Nor did she overcome the challenges to become a very talented pianist.

Brianna's favorite color is NOT purple. And she did NOT choose the Baltimore Ravens as her football team based solely on that.

Brianna is NOT a good cook. She is NOT funny as all get out. She is NOT a prize winning seamstress. NOR is she a wonderful artist.

Brianna is NOT a joy to be around. She does NOT love her God. She is NOT a servant to her family. She is NOT a blessing to all her know her.

And on this day, I would NEVER wish her the happiest of days yet.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.