May 31, 2010

Umm... Umm...Good!

As long as I can remember, when weather and the growing season permit, part of Memorial Day for our family has been picking strawberries. 

There are lots of places nearer to our home where we can pick our own, but the best berries come from a field thirty minutes away.

This farm has the most gorgeous plants and the tastiest berries of any I've ever eaten.  Elisabeth agrees.

So this morning, even before breakfast, we piled in the car and took a beautiful drive through the countryside. For those of you who might be interested to know, we spotted a corvette along the way. 
 Our happy gang set to work quickly filling baskets with the delectable start of summer. 
In under an hour we had filled all our baskets and headed to be weighed.

It sure looks like a lot.  With this gang, though, they won't be around by the end of the week.  

The grand total? 
Mr. Wachter wants you to know that's fifty-five pounds for piddling little families who only picked fifty pounds.  ☺ The good news for us is strawberries and ice cream for lunch, strawberry shortcake for dinner and crepes with fresh berries on our breakfast table tomorrow morning. 

May 29, 2010

The Eyes Have It!

Take one very nearsighted Pa and put him together with one very farsighted Mama and what do you get???
A whole lot of kids with glasses! Last week was our annual check up with the eye doctor at which time Emma joined the ranks of Wachters who-can't-see-a-thing-across-the-room-without-the-aid-of-optical-enhancers. (I stole that from Kent Hovind)
How cute is she???  Which brings me to the real thought I had in mind.  People often ask me how I manage things like checkups.  I have heard moms who say they like to take one child at a time to the dentist or for their annual physical.  But I just couldn't ever get anything done if I had to make 16 visits to the dentist, 8 visits to the doctor, 8 to the eye doctor and 8 to the allergy doctor each year.  And that is just counting checkups.  That doesn't include the orthodontist, dermatologist, haircuts, nor the kid who needs a sick visit or something else unexpected that requires a trip to town. 

I have several strategies to make this all work out as efficiently as possible.  One is that I only and always schedule appointments and errands on Thursday (of course, excepting an emergency).  That way if I am scheduling 6 months in advance, I don't have to worry about what will be on the calendar because I already know that day is blocked off.  I don't know about you, but the second we have to make a trip to town, half my day is gone and I can forget about getting any school or housework done.  I plan on being busy every Thursday.  If I have the option, I combine things into two or three Thursdays a month, then I get bonus days at home to do what I need to do, what we want to do or better yet, to just goof off once in a while.   

We have been really blessed to work with professionals who are willing to block off half a day for our family so that I can condense the interruptions into our school time as much as possible.  And, by the way, yes, I mean half a day.  We start our semiannual dental checkup at 8 am and finish at 1.  Our eye doctor visits take a little less time.  We are usually in and out in about 3 hours.  Every third Thursday we spend 2-3 hours in Allison's chair as she tends the family hair needs.    

In exchange for their kindness, I make a point to never be late, not to cancel unless absolutely necessary (we're talking people puking) and being flexible myself.  I have taught my children to sit patiently and quietly and behave respectfully in their waiting rooms so that they do not mind having 7 children in their offices at one time.  My children are expected to be cooperative and not complain or whine, even when getting a shot.

This method as worked beautifully for us.  We have had the pleasure of developing wonderful relationships with these people many of who have become friends to us.  As a matter of fact, if I go to an appointment without all the kids, it is not uncommon for me to get scolded for depriving them of a visit. 

When other patrons, patients or customers come and have a seat in the waiting room you can imagine how they look around at one mama and 7 children.  When they sheepishly look at me, I no longer wait for them to finish the question forming on their lips before I reply, "Yes, they are all mine."

May 28, 2010

How To Get a Four Year Old to Sit Still

Nothing wears a little boy out and makes him sleep sounder than some good old fashioned outdoors.  Last night, after a day in the yard and 5 hours in the pool, Samuel fell asleep on Emma's floor while we were reading Bible.  I love summer!

May 27, 2010

A Little Getaway

Forever In Blue Jeans

As I write Pa and Mom are zooming on their way to good old Philly. You see, Pa goes there pretty much every week and this week he had a 7:30AM meeting. That would mean getting up way early to drive all the way for a one hour meeting just to come get what I'm saying.

So Pa came up with the brilliant plan of asking his bride to go along with him the night before and then spend the night there.  Eliminating the need getting up early and getting a few hours of along time with each other.

But Mom (as some of you know and others have guessed) is a very busy women. The fact that she keeps up a blog AMAZES me, who can hardly keep my blog up and post once a day and I only have a fraction of the responsibilities that she does. But today with allergy doctor, grocery shopping, packing, AND 60+ pages of Bible reading...she ran out of time to get her Shoot Me post up. So she asked me to "guest post" for her.  Now, you have already found out that I am not HALF as good as Mom is when it comes to writing (if you read my blog you already know that) BUT the great thing about today being a Shoot Me day is that ANYONE can snap and upload a picture of themselves and jot down a few lines about it.  So if you are interested in joining in (trust me. If I can do it, you can too) go on over and link up at Carin's blog Forever in Blue Jeans.

And without any further beating around the bush, here's today's picture:

Looking through the camera card, the only pictures of Mom we had, Mom threatened us with our lives to post *smiles*.  So right before they took off we snapped a few.  Of Pa and Mom this is the best one....but something always happens and this time Emma blinked (come on, girl!).

Anyway, there you have it folks. Anyone know why I was so blessed to get such awesome (and great looking) parents? I'll never know, but I thank God for them.

Love to all blogging friends of Mom!

p.s. tech support apologies for the double signature, but I'm sure you will understand that it could not be helped:)

May 26, 2010

If you... a letter from a friend. Wouldn't you tear it open and read it right away? And maybe you'd reread it later. And put it in a special spot to read again and again. Perhaps you'd find part of it amusing or particularly interesting and read it to the family at dinner.  Or maybe on a rainy day, when you were feeling down, you'd think of that letter and pull it out and read it one more time for encouragement.

Well, I know I would.  I love to receive letters in the mail.  I have a friend who writes me quite regularly and I can not wait to see the mail truck pull up to my house each morning.  I drop everything to dig through the adds and bills to see what's in there for me.  I read it quickly and then at lunch read that letter aloud to my family.  It sits on my counter top for a few days and I will pick it up yet again.

My whole family loves to hear these letters so much, that if I don't have one to read at lunch, you can bet 7 people are asking me if there was any news from my pen pal.

And yet, our heavenly Father has given us just such a letter.  A personal note to each of His children with a special message for each of us.  To encourage.  To teach.  To discipline.  To instruct.  Last night I was SHOCKED to hear that only four percent  of professing, born again believers have ever read their Bible through even one time!  Can you imagine, ninety-six percent of people claiming to be Christians have never read the entire Bible through???  If I went to so much effort to write a letter so perfect as the one our Saviour left for us, I would be heartbroken to know that so few who claim my salvation could be bothered to read it.

One time, when I was a young Christian, I was listening to someone preach and he said, "Since I am being held accountable for every word in this book, I want to know what it has to say."  Well put.

No wonder, so many Christians struggle in sin and depression and despair and heartache.  They have never read the amazing promises that God has given just to them!  They've never read the instruction manual!

My young boys, who are just new readers, took it upon themselves to read from Genesis to Revelation on their own.  It is slow going for these novices, but every day they go a little further.  Yet, grown people who are to be out sharing the word with the world, have not made it a point to know what the Word has to say!  Pathetic, if you ask me.  Even as a lost person, I made a point of reading my Bible and trying to understand its message.

With our third exam last night, I heaved a big breath, looking forward to the three month summer hiatus.  But at the same time, for the last few weeks, I have been knowing that I would be missing the rigorous study in the Word.  One of the great blessings of these classes is that it forces you to contemplate the Bible in depth word for word. 

Our brother in Christ, was sharing with us a wonderful story of the transformation that being in the Word, really in the Word, can have in the life of a Christian.  Now, I have read my Bible through more times than I can count.  My children have read their Bibles through many times over.  Our family has read the Bible through in a different ways together over the years.  But this plan he shared with us, as he related this testimony was very intriguing.

The idea is to take the number of pages in your Bible and divide it by thirty.  In my Bible that would be 46 pages (how many do you read in a novel at one sitting?)  Read that number of pages each day.  The average reader can do this in 45-90 minutes a day.  (Less than the number of hours the average American, Christian's included, spend watching television or videos each day.) You can do it all in one sitting.  Or over the course of the day.  Whatever works for you.  At the end of a month you've read the entire Bible.

Then you relax.  No!  Then you start again.  Imagine, that?  At the end of the year you have read your entire Bible through 12 times!

With 3 months of vacation looming ahead of us, my family has decided to attempt this.  Today we each began reading our specific number of pages.  By the time we return to classes, at the end of August, we will have been through our Bibles three times.  I know it is unlikely that we will continue at that pace through the fall.  We spend that much time reading our Bible assignments and studying for classes already.  Perhaps we will try to read through in three months once the new semester begins.  Regardless, I've no doubt, there will be a blessing awaiting us.

For those who are not faint of heart.  For those who really want to commune with God in a new way.  For those who want the opportunity to claim the blessings that can only be had by being immersed in His word.  I challenge each of you to try to read through your Bible just one time this summer.  Just divide the number of pages by ninety, grab a cup of coffee and hang on for beach reading like you've never read before.       

May 25, 2010

Odd Random Questions

KK tagged me in this questionnaire.  Which I normally would not do, because I don't have a lot of time for blogging these days.  So, when I am online, I try to use my time to stick by my commitment to myself.  Write on my blog 1- to record our family memories 2- to encourage others in their mother/wife/home school journey 3- to answer specific questions from readers that would help me with one or both of the previous goals and 4- most of all to glorify the Lord.

But since this is KK... even though, I am not sure it accomplishes any of those goals, here it is. 

1. Have you ever ridden an elephant?
No.  But I saw an elephant at the zoo once.  And I watched dumbo when I was a kid. 

2. Have you ever eaten squid?
Yes! I love calamari especially the Calamari Ricardo at Carrabas!

3. What is something crazy you've done with your best friend?
One time, when she was living in San Luis Obispo, Allen and I took the girls to visit.  We flew to San Diego where my sister was living and then the six of us (yes, we just had three kids at the time) drove up one Saturday morning.  Sunday afternoon we decided the guys would watch all the kids and us ladies would do some girlie stuff.  We went shopping and stopped by the See's candy shop.

Then my sister said, "So and So said if we are coming to Morro Bay then we MUST go see the Madonna Inn... especially, the bathrooms."  Well, we weren't exactly sure what could be so special about a bathroom, particularly a public restroom, but who could resist that???

Katrina knew just where it was so we headed that way.  We walked into the gaudy pink and red restaurant with tufted sofas, instead of chairs, pushed up to the round tables.  For a moment we just stood and looked around in amazement.  When the Maitre d asked us how many for dinner we said, "Oh, we are just looking."  Then we kept walking straight through trying to find a sign for the restrooms.

We made our way to a door marked for the ladies and were dumbfounded at the elaborate decor inside.  We weren't in the McDonald's restroom, that was for sure!  We figured since we went to all the trouble of going there, we might as well stick around a while and fix our lipstick and freshen up.  That's when someone said, "What do you think the men's room looks like?"

You can probably guess that it was about two minutes before the three of us dashed across the hall, checked to make sure the coast was clear and made our way into that male den.  Which about describes what it looked like.  If you want to know more, in order to preserve my dignity, you will have to make a visit of your own.  You can read more about the Inn here.

4. Have you ever held an alligator?
No, but I visit the gators when we go to the Crab Shack.

5. Have you ever let a snake slither through your fingers?
Snakes are the things my nightmares are made of!  I can not fathom why anyone would want to make a pet of such a revolting thing.  When I was growing up we had huge, black snakes and rat snakes surrounding our house.  That is the price you pay for living in the woods.  On a number of occasions these monsters would make their way into our house.  One time I went running up the stairs and when I got to the top I realized there was one of these snakes wrapped around the full length of the hand rail.  He was as big around as my thigh!  I still get the heebie geebies thinking about it.  We lived on a two acre lot.  The neighbor heard my scream and came running. 

When we sold that house, my dad was cleaning out the attic and found a 12 foot skin from one of those snakes.  Ewww!

6. What is your first and foremost dream?
God has given me more than I could have ever dreamed for.

7. What is your dream vacation?
We take our dream vacation every fall when our family spends 3-4 weeks alone, just us, on a very secluded Island.  We fish, go to the beach, read, play games, cook, make puzzles, watch videos adn color.  There is nothing else to do and no one else there except the old ladies that run the thrift store.  On Sunday's we worship in the Chapel by the Sea.  And that's all I will tell you about that or I'd have to kill ya, because we have a family pact.

8. What is the funniest movie you've ever seen?
I remember watching "Private Eyes" with my brother and sister and we all laughed so hard we literally fell on the floor.  My sides ached when that was over!

9. What is your favorite song?
My favorite song changes all the time.  I love music and it depends what mood I am in what will strike me.  Today my favorite song is by the Knight Family..."It's Not my Life Lord."  They are a small group and write all or most of their music so  you've probably never heard of it but here are a few lines...

When I think of Calvary,
and how He died for me
I get a special feeling
that fills my eyes with tears

My Lord I will repay you with all I have to give
It's not my life Lord, Its in your hands.

It's not my Life Lord, I gave it to you.
So Jesus use me to do the works for you.

I can do nothing within myself.
It's not my life Lord it's in your hands. 

I know now that I am helpless
without you I can't go on
I know that you will shelter me
safe within your arms
I live my life to serve you
and win some souls to thee
It's not my life Lord, I gave it to you.

Thanks, KK.  That turned out to be pretty fun! Love, Mama

May 24, 2010

Are You Sure???

A few months ago, I was sitting in the parking lot at Starbucks when I saw this sign in an establishment across the highway.  I am guessing they must have even more than us???

May 23, 2010

Do You Think That's What He Meant?

"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
Deuteronomy 6:7

This is how I found Nathaniel when I went to wake him Thursday morning.


May 22, 2010

Work Day

After enjoying a rare few weekends of fun and games, today is a work day in Wachterville.  There is much to do before the rain starts again later today.

The new dryer is installed.  
We just need to deliver the old one to its new home. 
The men folk are replacing the windows in KK and Nana's room.  Replacing the single pane windows, a number of which are cracked or broken out altogether, has been an ongoing project since we bought our house 8 years ago.  When finances allow we do another.  We have made great progress.  When this room is finished, we will have only 5 more windows to do!!!!  

After years of training, Nathaniel is becoming a real asset to Allen during home improvement projects. 
Around here, when there is work to do, no one sits.  There is a job that everyone can do.  And Samuel likes his duty of breaking up the old frame for disposal.  
The rain has been so plentiful, we've not been able to get our garden planted.  Brianna took charge of getting the beets, beans, spinach and lettuce underway.
The rest of us ladies, turn our attentions to other duties.  Cleaning out the fridge. 
Feeding the men
And sewing. 
 Yes, it is just another happy day in my little world. 


May 21, 2010

What Happens When...

... you take three little boys to a battle reenactment? 
We weren't home thirty minutes before they were fighting the civil war.
And of course, as is the case with war, it was inevitable that someone would die.
 And if you thought our pet funerals were special...
You ain't seen nothin' yet!
Don't you think the flip-flops on my little fallen soldier are authentic???
May he rest in peace.

May 20, 2010

Family Outing

Forever In Blue Jeans

I am joining Carin at Forever in Blue Jeans for her weekly challenge to get mom in the picture.  If you've not been in the picture this week, it's not too late!  Here's my four step plan to recovery.  1-Grab the camera 2- grab a kid 3- take a shot 4-post it!  You can't ask for easier than that.  I can't wait to see you in the picture.

This Thursday I have a couple of shots Brianna took while we were in New Market, VA for our blog friend meeting and Civil War Reenactment.  We must have been really busy or very boring this week because those are the only photos I could find.  Enjoy! 


May 19, 2010

New Market Reenactment

Last week in old Wachter ville was a bit like the week leading up to Christmas. Some time ago, Brianna met Jo March and her family through blog world.  They have corresponded and swapped stories of large family life and home schooling through their personal blogs.  We were surprised when I received and email from Jo's mother inviting us to arrange a meeting of our two families.

When the reenactment of the battle in New Market, Virginia came up it was decided that it would be an excellent field trip and the perfect opportunity for our rendezvous.  The rest of us, who don't read Jo's blog everyday, began studying pictures and names to get to know the family better.  I wasn't sure anyone would be able to sleep Friday night while looking forward to their trip Saturday morning.

After much bad weather, the day dawned beautiful and the sunny eighty degree day promised by the weather man became a wonderful backdrop for our drive and a day outdoors.

When we arrived at the battle field and got our hellos, picnic area chosen and a plan of action out of the way, the next order of business was a group photo of the 15 children together.   

Funny enough, later in the day while I was helping Aedan make a purchase from one of the vendors, a saleslady asked me if he was one of the fifteen kids?  Apparently, a group our size can not go very far without notice. 

All the kids partnered up with others their age.  Conveniently enough, Jo's family had all girls at the top end and all boys at the bottom end.  Their latest being a baby girl also.

The popular decision was to begin with a tour of the museum.  Samuel was particularly interested in the cannon model and the maps that showed the progress of the war.
While heading to the artillery demonstration, the boys practiced their marching with Pa.
And waiting for the demonstration to start...

The artillery demonstration...

Samuel and little "Ingio" quickly became the best of buddies.

A little rest for all involved and a delicious picnic.  Emma fixed us fried chicken, cole slaw, rolls, raw veggies, grapes, lemonade and pastries for dessert.

Fully refreshed and rested, we headed off to visit the sutler's tents while we waited for the reenactment to begin.  The girls were engrossed in the beautiful gowns and dresses while the boys were particularly interested in the weaponry and civil war era toys. 

The reenactment itself proved both educational and entertaining.  The babies mostly played on the blankets while the youngest boys wrestled a bit.  The older children earned home school history credits.  Us grown ups alternated between getting to know each other and watching bits of the battle.

And then it was time to say goodbye to our new friends.  The buggy was difficult to push through the tall grass, so Brianna and Kaitlin decided to give the Princess a ride fit for royalty and carried her buggy to the car. 
Once again, the babies were sound asleep before we got fifteen minutes from the park.  Are you starting to see a pattern in the way these field trips end for Samuel and Ellie?

All in all, a profitable and joyous day for all.  We feel blessed to have made new friends and look forward to our next meeting.  Thanks for a great idea, March family!