Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don't laugh!

Is it me? or am I the only one that has just started texting? Yeah, that's what I thought. It's just me. 

When I moved here, my sweet hubby brought home a pink "pay as you go" phone. I like pink! That worked for me since I knew no one anyway. Who would I be calling? I used my land line to call friends and family and the cell phone was mainly for emergencies or for when I got lost in the English countryside. 

As I started to make friends (ok, so I have 3 friends now! lol), they would text me. I quietly thought, it's much easier to just call me. I would, however, begrudgingly text back. I did it in that manner because I did NOT know how to set up the format to type the letters I wanted to. In other words, words I wasn't even thinking of would pop up and I had to learn how to type exactly what I wanted to say. It was so ridiculous how loooonnnggg it would take to txt 4 or 5 words. I know my one friend in particular was getting frustrated with my non-prowess in texting. 

Magically, one day my cell phone was reformatted for me to start typing in the exact letters that I was pressing on. (Read: the kids were playing with my phone and changed it on me). It actually worked! I started to reply at a more rapid rate and even initiated some of them. Wow!! My friend was getting impressed at my newfound knowledge and desire to send messages. 

Here's the kicker... I love sending and receiving little love notes to and from my hubby. Yay! And it is way more convenient to communicate with your friends that way. I feel so free now! 

Now, if I could only Twitter. I'll accept any help you can give me.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm not making breakfast...

As I sit here getting ready to start my Monday, my 5 wonderful children are in the kitchen making breakfast with the door closed. They asked me not to come in which is why I'm checking out your blogs first thing, and I also decided to post quickly. 

They are  blessing me with a surprise breakfast. Not sure what it is except that it involves the oven, because they asked me how to operate it, and marshmallows. They are so precious. I thought they might be up to something, when I came down the stairs in my sweats and hair up in a ponytail, because they were whispering. As I approached, they said, "Don't come in here, Mom." I quickly made a bee-line to my computer. 

Homeschooling gives them the flexibility to work together like this and start school perhaps a little later. I love the relationship they share together. 

Last night was a toughy! We had our twins take a nap during the day (yes, at the age of 7). It's not common to have them do that except they both looked really tired at lunch after church. Combined with that, we watched a slightly "scary" Little House On the Prairie episode that I think might have freaked them out. You know the one where Mary's baby and Alice Garvey die in a fire. How sad is that?! Those two things combined made for a long night. They were both up until almost 11 and then once I thought they would finally fall asleep, Grant came down and said his belly hurt. He ended up in bed with me, Shawn was in the guest bedroom and I was up pretty much the entire night on and off. 

All that to say, I think they are blessing me especially this morning, to ease into our day. I love them with all of my heart. And the Lord and I agreed I would be joyful, patient, and at peace today despite very little rest. A nap is definitely in my plans though. :-) 

Blessings to you all today!

P.S. I posted the first part of this post before I had breakfast. After they presented everything, I grabbed the camera to take the above pictures. They ended up making a yummy fruit dip over apples and bananas with a marshmallow on top and a ginger snap, too. The other part of breakfast was homemade French toast sticks. The whole motivation, by the way, was that they were looking at "Quick Cooking" magazines and got inspired to cook. The older kids had no idea what a long night I had had. Oh well, still a blessing either way.

Friday, April 24, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This Moment - Storytime


Our kids have always loved when we read a story to them. What kid doesn't, right? It seems that over time we had gotten away from doing a bedtime story for various reasons. Being too tired comes to mind very quickly, but then there is the going to bed too late as it is, never mind staying up even later to read. 

So about a week ago, I was alone with the twins. The girls were having their sleepover and Austin was also over at a friend's house. I told the boys to pick out a book that we can read together. It was as if I had given them a brand new toy or something. They were smiling from cheek to cheek. 

We sat and read, and the next day during prayer time in the morning, they thanked God for having been read to. Don't get me wrong, in school at home I often read to all five together as we cuddle on the couch. If I could do that every single day, I would. I love the books we read as much as they do. In fact, we are currently reading, "Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman".   

There will certainly be a day when I will miss this.
How about you? Do you read to your kids? To see more great moments that will be missed, visit Pam's blog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - FRIENDSHIP

My very best friend

My Michigan Friends

My NJ friends

Sarah and I in London

Friendship is a gift from God. There are so many of you not pictured because I'm not sure if you would want to be on a public blog or because I don't have a picture of you stored in this new computer. I cherish each one of you and love you from the bottom of my heart.

Not so wordless today. Check out "5 Minutes for Mom" to see more WW posts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ignorance is NOT always bliss!

Remember when I told you about the dryer I have that takes at least 3 hours to dry a single load?


Well, while Sarah was here visiting, she witnessed full well what I had been talking about as far as the nightmare washing and drying conditions I have been living with. Have I mentioned that the capacity for both machines is at least half of what it was back home in Michigan? or in the U.S. for that matter?

After many complaints and worsening drying conditions, my hubby and Sarah, who likes mechanical-type things, were determined to FIX the problem. She used to work on helicopters while in the Marines, so finding and repairing the fault with the dryer is right up her alley. 

A few things that you have to do to keep it running fairly efficiently is to drain the container that collects moisture from the wet clothes (it's a condensation dryer), clean the lint, and also clean something out at the very bottom of the unit. 

My friend, Jen, had informed me about the 3rd area and I thought I was doing it correctly for the past 9 months. Hmm... I thought so anyway. 

It turns out that was exactly what the problem was. I wasn't cleaning it out COMPLETELY. No one told me to pour water through it and watch the nasty gray, linty stuff that comes out and goes down your kitchen sink. 

Here is the contraption.

It looks fairly innocent and easy to clean. I used to squeeze my hand in that lower part and grab onto some gooey, moist stuff and then proceed to throw it away.

Shawn and the mechanic realized you had to pour water like so in order to really clean it.

And this is what collects!

Then you gently return it to its rightful place, and perform same task in about 2 weeks time. 

I just thought of something. This can make the show "Dirty Jobs" on TLC... or maybe not. What do you think?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Our Baby Girl is 9 today!

Melanie Grace has had a pretty fun-filled birthday weekend. 

I love this photo of her which Braaten took a few weeks ago.

She had presents to open first thing this morning before Shawn went off to work. All of the kids were sitting around the table with excitement and anticipation to see what she had gotten. 

If you go back a few days to Friday, that's when all of her fun began.

Four of her friends came over for the sleepover. In the photo, from left to right, is Braaten, Megan, Melanie, Eleanor, Sophie, and Amy. They were playing different games in the backyard including, "Ghost in the Graveyard". Typically this game is played at night, but they found a way to have fun with it in pure daylight. They were also playing around with a bubble making machine. We have great pictures of that time for a different post.

The mini ping-pong table was a hit for a short while. 

Time to cut the cake.

Megan, Melanie, Sophie, and Eleanor

Time for opening presents. 

They watched a movie and were looking pretty relaxed.

The girls ended up getting to bed around 11:30. Not too bad. The next morning their parents came to pick them up around 11. You know they did a gazillion things between waking up and being picked up. That's just what kids do. They make the most of being together. 

Happy Birthday, Mellie. You are a precious blessing to our family. You have a way of making us smile in all your silliness. We love you from the bottom of our hearts.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This Moment - The Easter Egg Hunt



Every year, like most families, we color Easter eggs and then hide them outside. The kids get all excited, run as fast as they can, and get their said amount of eggs. If you let them go hog wild, the older kids will surely find more than the younger which is why we have to give them a set amount. This year it was 3. Is that lame? Anyway, that's so not the point of the post.

I am really going to miss doing these traditional things someday. Shawn usually gets all prepared with the Paas coloring kit and, in some cases, colors the eggs without me. Such was the case this year, when I was blogging about our recent travel adventures with our friends. Austin, our 13 year old, also didn't participate, maybe because he is a little older now. I think he was glued to my computer screen alongside me. 

Cooper, Melanie, and Grant coloring the eggs.

My friend, Sarah, got some serious kid hugs that evening, since she was leaving the next morning.

Come to think of it, Braaten was playing solitaire with Sarah's daughter, Sydney. Is she getting too old as well? She's 11! 

After church, the hunt was on!



Melanie and Cooper racing for the first egg.

Braaten (not too old to find them) :-)

Austin (also not too old to find them) tee-hee!

This was the last egg of the bunch.

The kids were wondering what their prizes were. Shawn had written a small monetary amount on each one. The big prize was £5 (that's equivalent to about $7.50) and Cooper found it.

To share which moments you will miss someday with your kids, visit Pam at "You're Gonna Miss This Moment". 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The Kiss

Austin was giving Braaten a tender kiss.

10 years later...

Look how big they are now. 

For more "Wordless Wednesday" posts, go to 5 minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great Adventures III- It's on to Durdle Door

I have to get moving on sharing our most recent travel adventures, or they will quickly be OUTDATED! 

After we saw Corfe Castle, we drove to a most picturesque place called, "Durdle Door". It is part of the "Jurassic Coast" down in southwest England from Dorset to East Devon. The Jurassic coast is made up of 95 miles of beaches, sheer white cliffs, and stunning rock formations and one place in particular is the place we chose to visit...Durdle Door. Funny name, huh? The funny thing is that I told my friend, Sarah, that under no circumstances can she "Google" this place before she came because it was a surprise.

I'm not sure if it was more surprising that it was not an actual door or that it was a very long, arduous walk to actually see it. It was breathtakingly beautiful and worth every complaint about the difficulty of getting to our final destination. 

Walk along with us and take a peek... 

We parked here and had to walk all the way up there and down over the hill...

My hubby and the kids were taking the first steps to what was a 2 km walk. It really felt longer than that.

Check out Lulworth Cove. We took the picture as we reached a high point on the way to Durdle Door. Isn't it beautiful? 

Melanie is looking a little hot and tired. They stopped so I can take a picture, but we all stopped to pace ourselves along the way. Our car is waaay down there.

Shawn taking a breather.

Pretty views.

We're almost there...

Our first glimpse of what we came to see. Isn't that cool?

We had to walk down these semi-scary steps to be at eye-level with it.

You wanna piece o' me?

I'm just happy to be here.

Sarah was taking pictures for us.

The water was ice cold, but fun to tiptoe in. The rocks, not sand, beneath our feet was really  hard to walk on. We must be wimps.

Okay, everybody, take your shoes off.

Roll up those jeans.

Austin loves to skip stones, but it looks like he had a handful of rocks that time.

Sydney was extremely happy to have gotten there, though you wouldn't know it by the look on her face. Her cheeks were flush.

Taking a little break. Braaten didn't enjoy the journey, but loved the view.

Hey, this one would be a great Christmas picture. Don't you think?

Shawn and I

What a great place to see. We loved it. Thanks Joyce for recommending it to us. I hope it didn't sound too whiny about the journey to get there. I truly loved it.