Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Going on a "Holiday"

This picture was taken in France right on the Seine River. It was beautiful in Paris. 

The kids are looking at a sunset on Lake Garda in Italy.

The Eiffel Tower speaks for itself. It was amazing to see.

This picture is right in our town. This is a canal that runs north and south in England. 

These are some of the places we have been that I haven't written much about. I guess in my everyday life at home, I haven't thought to journal more about the adventures in England and more broadly, Europe. The title of my blog says that I will share our adventures with you and that's what I plan on doing more of in the near future. 

In the meantime, we're heading back to the U.S. tomorrow morning to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family. We are all anticipating a great time. My husband hasn't been home since we moved in May and is especially excited about seeing everyone.

Our journey starts from Manchester, England and the first stop will be in New Jersey to see my family and friends. After a mere 2 days there, we'll hop on a plane in Newark to head to Detroit. We moved from Michigan to go to England which is why we like to head back there. Our dear friends and home church is there. Once again, after visiting for about 3 days there, we'll drive down to Indiana. All of our kids would call Indiana home in a heartbeat. Afterall, that's where Grandma and Grandpa are, about a gazillion cousins, the Boilermakers, and uh, the farm where they have endless hours of fun, fun, fun! 

Please pray for our safe journey and I look forward to reading your blogs when I return. In the meantime...Happy Thanksgiving and God bless. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A week of ups and downs

I haven't written much because of the kind of week I had. I get terribly moody at times and other times, it's smooth sailing. Sometimes it's just easier to read other people's blogs and get encouraged. It also turns my focus on them with prayer and thankfulness. 

Being a homeschool mom is both rewarding and can be the most arduous thing I've ever done. I'm working with 5 children and I want to do the best job I can. The problem is that I want a decently clean home, clean clothes, make good meals, have an occasional coffee with a friend, read up on my blogs, and the list goes on. I feel stretched beyond my ability at times. 

I have a fairly short quiet time in the mornings to start my day, but I don't feel as close to the Lord as I would like. I'm not sure why that is. Am I running further from Him or am I just too busy. He knows how much I love Him, yet I don't always call upon His name when I need Him the most. 

I want to draw closer to Him in the worst way so that I am a better mom, wife, friend, sister, and teacher. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chivalry is NOT dead!

Shawn has always been a gentleman! He has talked to our boys on occasion about how to treat girls and women in general. When we go on dates, he opens doors and pulls my chair out at a restaurant. Though I am capable of doing all of these things, there is something special about when these things are done for me by my prince charming. I am a blessed wife. 

Well lastnight, my son, Austin, and I left Shawn with the rest of the kids as they were taking swimming lessons at the local high school. I thought that it was a good opportunity for the two of us to "run" to the store and pick a few things up without 4 other children making shopping requests. Well we filled our small grocery cart and made our way to the van. As I approached my door, Austin said, "Wait". He walked in front of me and proceeded to open my car door, then closed it after we loaded the groceries in. When we pulled up to the house, he came around to my side of the car and once again opened the door. He grabbed the groceries and brought them in the house.

Can I tell you that those gentlemanly gestures melted my heart. Especially since lately Austin, being 12 and all, and I don't always see eye to eye. He's getting more of an opinion and doesn't always agree with mine. Because of that, and my attitude problem, we have had recent difficulties. Nothing major, just the two of us going back and forth. We have sweet mother/son talks as I kiss him goodnight when he says, "Mom, I love you so much." 

Because of his sweetness, today I am a different mom. God is so good......all the time.  

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Moments I'll Definitely Miss

Melanie is so cute holding onto the pompoms of her new winter hat.

I have been wanting to do Pam's "You're Gonna Miss This Moment" complete with the official picture from her blog for awhile now. But the problem was that I couldn't, for the life of me, cut and paste it. The problem lies in the fact that I'm using a Mac instead of a PC. Though I am enjoying my Mac, I'm not able to do some cool PC stuff I used to or that you all are able to do. For example...notice that my pictures are above Pam's button instead of below it. That's because I can't use Windows Live Writer to post my blog the way I would like to. Anyway, I digress...

I have chosen a plethora of photos, mostly silly, of all five of our children. I will absolutely miss these moments.

Austin really likes playing tennis against the side of our house. Actually, I love playing it with him. I'll miss the silly faces he makes just to get my attention.

These are my twin monkeys, Grant and Cooper, that will be turning 7 on Christmas Eve. 

Not only does Braaten have an orange wedge in her mouth just like Grant, but she is doing
bunny ears  over her poor, unsuspecting brother.

The twins are playing the Wii. They love it.

The twins were painting and stopped to pose for this picture. They are so close and do pretty much everything together. They finish each other's sentences, share everything, and miss each other when they aren't together. 

I think it is a great idea to talk about these moments and take note of them, because one day we truly will miss them.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blessings of Blogging

When my friend, Pam, encouraged me to start a blog, I never thought for a moment that it would bless me as much as it has.

I have read not only her blog and been inspired, but as blogging goes, I 've stumbled upon so many others that God has used to change me. Change me in not only great ways, but small ways as well. He is worthy to be praised in this. Taking the time to not only write my own story, but to read others has been incredibly gratifying. 

Take this day for example... God used another person to draw me closer to Him, not that that's so uncommon. God can use anything and anyone to make a difference. I have prayed more today than I have in awhile. I have been more patient with my children and more loving toward my husband than I was yesterday certainly. 

So, thank you from the bottom of my heart, my blogging friends. May you be blessed abundantly!     

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fletch Has Arrived!

I can't believe that after posting a few times on our countdown to the arrival of our dog, Fletch, that I forgot to post when he actually got here! Anyway, the wait is over. Here is the delivery van that contained a huge kennel with Fletch in it, but there was also a small dog that would be arriving to his or her rightful owner in Scotland the next day. That would be a cool job... delivering pets to long awaiting families. Oh, the joy that comes with it would be fulfilling. 

Fletch's travels consisted of van rides, kennels, a plane, more van rides, and then finally seeing us again. He was tired, a little confused, but in the end happy to be here. 

I had to get a shot of everyone with him after he looked around to get to know his new surroundings. 

This is what happens in a house with 5 kids who missed their dog terribly. They spoil him!

He must be thinking..."another picture, come on I'm tired". 

He rests comfortably with the monkey he had in Michigan. He misses his doggy friend, Sara. I think Sara is getting another little puppy Golden Retriever very soon. Her owners went to see one the day after Fletch left. 

We took Fletch to the dam to show him around. Boy did he want the squirrels and ducks he was seeing. 

Fletch brings so much joy to us. 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Meet My Melanie...

Sweet, spunky, driven, happy-go-lucky Melanie! Those are just a few words to describe our 3rd child. In this picture she is working away at her history. Of course, I enter the room with a camera, and she is happy to oblige with a great big smile. 

Mel couldn't wait for Fletch to get to us from the States. We moved to England in May and had to wait for him through the quarantine process to get to us just about a week ago. Melanie pined for him and created a countdown calendar 39 days before his long trip to us. She absolutely loves him!

Always smiling! She has her moments, of course, but generally she is pleasant and fun to be around. We were in Italy when we took this picture. She also gets such a nice tan. She takes after my dad.

I just took a bunch of pictures on Friday of our kids to try and capture what I would consider their school pictures. We homeschool and, so in the past, I've taken them to JC Penneys. They don't have them here and I love trying to capture my own now anyway. Mel's in 3rd grade now. 

She loves to ride in circles in our driveway while removing one hand off the bars because she can and it looks cool, too. 

Melanie is a true joy and looks up to Braaten, her older sister. They are best friends and sometimes I don't think they even know that. Everything Braaten does, Mel wants to do just because she wants to be just like her. They spend tons of time together playing with their Polly's, their American Girl Dolls, scrapbooking, playing Webkinz and a host of other things. 

Hopefully sooner, rather than later, I'll tell you about our twin boys, Grant and Cooper. My friend, Annette, likes to call them Cary and Gary as in Cary Grant and Gary Cooper. She cracks me up thinking of that. That certainly isn't where we got their names. 

Be Blessed and thanks for taking the time to check in on us.