slide show

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Birthday Blitzkrieg quickly approaching

Did I mention that the summer flowers in the AZ mountains are divine? I've had more fun on my walks peering into my neighbor's gardens to see what treasures await! Then stealthily treading into these gardens to snap my pics. Ya, I know, it's not a pretty picture, me sneaking around my neighbor's property! But the flowers sure are pretty!

My thoughts are also consumed with our upcoming festivities! In our home we have 5 birthdays in the span of 34 days! Throw in T&J's "forever family" day and our anniversary also in this time frame, and we have a VERY busy time. We're probably crazy, but we're thinking of throwing a couple parties during this time too. Jujube's 2nd birthday comes first, then our anniversary, then Livy's birthday, followed by Tess, then forever family day and lastly the birthdays of Patch then Boo. This of course leads to the inevitable topic of cake! 5 weeks of cake for the whole family! What's not to love!

If I'm still breathing come mid-Sept, someone please scoop me up and carry me away to a spa!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hackers, Chop, and a Good Stick

Above--Tess runs across the putting green, a BIG no no!

The last few week have been full of golf. The kiddos have been knee deep in a golf clinic followed by a golf tournament. They do this each summer. Seems my older girls have finally decided that golf isn't their thing, and aren't too enthusiastic to play anymore. Which is unfortunate because Liv has a gorgeous swing. So that leaves me with the middle boys Mon-Thurs at a golf clinic and Friday a tourney for them for two weeks. How'd they do? Well let's say Boo's swing is much improved from last year. He was particularly fascinated with the score card, and with all those swings, we use hash marks to keep track of the strokes. At one point during the tournament he commented, "Oh look mom, I'm doing GREAT! I have more marks that anyone!" Not sure he quite gets the whole low-stroke objective yet! On 3 holes, Boo scored a 39.

Patch is getting better each year, and he's now good enough to play with Papa and Grandpa, and it's good time for him to spend alone with them. (Although yesterday he said he didn't want to, opting to spend time with his friends. I think he hurt their feelings!) Patch scored a 50 on 8 holes. Not bad for a 10 year old.

If was so fun spending time with my sister-in-law (Hi Sherri!) during the golf extravaganza, so there are several pics with the cousins too. My neices and nephews fared MUCH better in the standings getting both a 2nd and a 3rd in their division. Congratulations Kylee and Payton!

Above--Sherri waits with her kiddos during the clinic

Below-- A sea of junior clubs

Below--Patch waits to tee up and practices bouncing the ball

Below--Papa and Patch --Whose having more fun? Close call!

Below--Patch and Kylee--These two cousins are 3 months apart and are both 10 years old. They really enjoy each other's company. When Kylee's not there, Patch anxiously asks when she's coming.

Below--Sunny and Kylee still giggle

Below--My gorgeous niece Kylee. Oh those eyes and that smile! Really, she is SO SO pretty! Here she proudly shows off her 2nd place score card.

Below-Patch in the VERY rough on #11

Above--Boo's tourney score card. Lot's of tally marks is good... right?

Above--Granna helps Boo with his swing. Be sure to stay clear of the club, Granna! Gotta love the hat!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Photo Gallery -- It's all about Tess lately

We have a picture of Tess at 8 months old, when she was still in the orphanage, with JUST this crinkled-up nose smile. My case worker suggested that maybe she is one of those kids whose whole face wrinkles up when they smile. As she has grown, so has the smile, and indeed it has taken over her eyes, mouth and whole face. She still has it! I LOVE it!

Truth be told, I've been wanting to get some pics of Tess with her conical hat before she out grows it. I know that these pics will be priceless when she's older. And yes, those are little abrasions all over her face. She fell into some rose bushes last week, poor thing!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Proverbial Spaghetti

Feeding therapy and all... that girl LOVES her carbs!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Photo Gallery--Swingers

Jujube and Livy in the front yard

Little Cabin in the Woods...

Summer in the AZ mountains has been wonderful and at times loud and sometimes filled crazy chaos. Don't get me wrong, I'm SO lucky to be here, but part of me wants to go back home to the stinkin' hot desert, which currently at 9pm at night is honestly 112 degrees. Back home with Papa sleeping next to me every night and back to my home with all it's luxuries... luxuries like a kitchen and trash pick up and a washer/dryer that work without 12 hr notice. When we bought this adorable cabin, there were definite plans of a quick addition with a kitchen and working septic and laundry room and something other than a dorm-sized fridge... but with the business struggling those plans are on definite hold. The only table that seats all of us in on the front porch and that part is fantastic, eating breakfast,lunch, and dinner al fresco. My dreamy cabin in the woods is a cozy and sweet, but with 6 kiddos and Papa only here on the weekends, it has been trying to manage a household here. In a moment of weakness, I emailed my mom late at night and told her I needed reinforcements. She didn't hesitate and is now here helping out cooking, cleaning, and more importantly reiterating that I'm doing a good job. How old am I? And I still need my mom?

I know that the kiddos are having a wonderful time despite the cramped quarters and lack of modern conveniences. As predicted, Patch, (giving Granna a bear hug) is off each morning, and we don't see him till late in the day, starving and filthy. He's played 9 holes of golf every day for a long while now and several times a week he gets in 18. Remember that he's only 10. I hope he keeps it up. We could use a college scholarship with 6 kiddos! His hernia is acting up again with all his activity. When we go home next month, we'll look into re-scheduling his surgery for its repair.

Sunny is practicing her driving skills where ever we go. She's defiantly getting more confident behind the wheel. These days you'll find her with a permanent smile plastered on her face as she's enamored with her first "real" boyfriend. I could say more, but that would be a betrayal of her trust and so far it's been wonderful that she's keeping me in the know. Let's just say, she is DEFIANTLY keeping me on my toes the summer testing boundaries. I mean that's what being almost 16 is all about, right? Here's a picture of her with her good friend Sarah who spends a lot of time up here too. Beautiful young women!

T&J toddle around each day and get quite dirty. We take daily walks and my stroller is putting on some miles. Jujube also likes to push Tess around on the tricycle which is so good 'cause she loves nothing more than to be pushed around. Lucky for us the cabin does have a bath tub which gets a work out each evening!

I'd better head off to bed. The days start around 7am, and it's best to be well rested.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Photo Gallery--Crocodile Tears

What happens when you try to take a cell phone away from Tess? Crocodile tears. 6 kids later, and we've NEVER had a child with a temper like Tess. She will drop to the floor, throw her head back till it hits hard, roll around several times, flail her arms and legs, screaming all the while. It's quite a production. Lucky this aint my first rodeo.

My Papa has been taking photos of Latin American children forever now, and he's always said that there is something so beautiful about catching that those dark skin tones on film. Tess, whose skin is darker than Jude's, is just a dream to photograph and lately is my favorite subject with those dreamy dark eyes, (looks like she's wearing eyeliner here!) and dark skin. Just don't try to take the cell phone from her! Or her blankie, or her sippy cup, or the Tonka truck, or...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

4th of July Celebration

I have to say, that I live in the best neighborhood when it comes to celebrating the 4th of July. Probably because this is a summer community, and it's the only holiday when most of the residents are here. Nevertheless, there is a lot of todo around the 4th of July.

One group of neighbors has started a "parade" and over the years is has grown. This year I'm guessing that there were 50 entries, mostly lavishly decorated golf carts, and strollers, and kids riding their bicycles and even dogs with streamers. My favorite this year was the boat full of kids! Linda looks a little hot waiting in the back of the golf cart. Then there is also a little carnival for the kids that I would imagine had at least 200 people attend. (That's Patch on the left with his buddies in the wigs!)

I am again amazed (but shouldn't be) that the Lord has challenged my complacency. The days recently have been FULL THROTTLE PARENTING with little rest to breath as a mama. It seems that all the major tragedies happen when Timmy's away, leaving me to all the big decisions regarding consequences, groundings, big discussions, home management... and leaving me exhausted every evening. I've be seriously questioning my ability to effectively parent a teenager. And next month, with Livy's 13th birthday, we'll have two of them under roof. As a reoccurring thought, I contemplate our decision to live in the city we've chosen, an upper-class affluent community, and consider moving to a small town, like the one Tim and I grew up in. Not that that would alleviate all or even any of our parenting issues. I think I'll start a new mantra that reminds me that each of these challenges is an opportunity for my children to grow into stronger better adults.

We're so lucky that each of Tim's siblings and their families are also up here in our little cabin community. (Pics of cousins Payton doing his "gansta" impersonation at his 8th birthday celebration and Forrest too) Tim's parents also have a cabin across the way so this week our days are filled with cousins and grandparents, and bicycle riding, and golf, building forts, swinging on the hammock, games of family baseball in the back yard, and sewing projects... The kiddos are having a fun time. We are SO fortunate!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Photo Gallery--Cassandra asleep on the 4th

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Flesh of my flesh...

The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." Gen 2:23
I remember when I first REALLY heard this verse, my skin got goose-bumpy, and for the first time I heard each word. Understanding the sanctity of a man and woman united, the same flesh and same bone, together. I still tear up when I think of this verse. I still tear up when I think God saw me fit to be this man's partner.

In the spirit of expanding the blog, I thought I’d start at the beginning and had this lengthy post about Papa and how awesome he is. And let me assure you, he is AWESOME! But he’s my husband, not yours so I figured that the shortened version is probably best for the blog, and I’ll save the longer version for my diary. (And yes, this IS the short version!) So please entertain my ramblings and let me say these things about this wonderful man-

In the beginning... let’s just say that not all our folks were eager to have us pursue a long-term high school relationship. Now that our daughter is exactly the age Papa was when we started dating, 15, I TOTALLY get it!  But even that long ago we felt, probably naively, that we were a part of something bigger than a teenage romance.

Papa and I have been together for 25 years this Sept. (Can I be THAT old?!) We first met in the high school cafeteria on the first day of school. I already had a summer boyfriend, and not knowing this, Papa asked me out for a date. I quickly ended my summer fling, (who is also a wonderful guy, and married my best high school friend!) and we went out. And never once in these 25 years have I ever been able to imagine my life without him by my side.

Papa is a husband that always aims to be home by 5:30 family dinner. This was a deal breaker when he proposed. He is a man that will gladly scoop up all 6 of our kiddos and suggest I go away for the weekend with my girlfriends. This is a man that has been changing diapers almost daily for over 15 years now. I know Papa understands the surrender of adopting a child better than I do. This wonderful man will think out of the box with me, reel me in when necessary, and then push me back out when it's time.

Papa is able to follow the Lord’s path without question and has the wisdom to witness by example. He is the nicest person I know. Last week he bought a distraught woman, a stranger, a cup of coffee when she couldn't find enough change. Then he drove her home as he listened to her stories of a lost child, domestic abuse, psychosis, and CPS. He left her, assuring her that he would pray for her and her son. Her roommate then called the police on him for driving on to the private property of the “group home.” Not strangley, Papa has lots of these stories of encounters with strangers in need.

These days you can find Papa very busy at work, trying to keep our business afloat in this miserable economy. It's no easy task. There's SO much more I could say about that, but let's leave it at that for right now. He loves to play golf and gather with his guy-friends for cigars and wine. He's teaching Livy the "art" of fly fishing. I know it’s corny to say this, but, Papa makes me want to be a better person, a better wife, a better mama, and a better me. I want to do the same for him. I don't know how, and that's precisely why it's called faith, but he is the flesh of my flesh.

Thank you, Papa.
Thank you, God.
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