Sunday, July 31, 2011

Children's Camp, Boston, and Nanny's

Well we have just arrived home from Children's Camp 2011
Whew and it was fun!
Randy and I both went with THE GIRL and 18 other kids and 5 other adults from our church!

While the 3 of us were at Children's Camp in South Carolina, THE BOY was with some of the adults and youth from our church in Boston, Massachusetts on a Mission Trip.

THE TWINKIES and THE BABY spent 4 days at Nanny and Pa's!

We all reunited tonight and while we all had a GREAT time on our varies adventures it was nice to all be back together and to be able to share the highlights!  I was particularly happy to see The Boy.  It had been too long!

Jennifer's Blog

Does a fantastic job of detailing our Camp Adventures so I will refrain for rehashing all that here.
I spent over an hour uploading 107 photos of all the RBC kids...and was so excited to share....but apparently it overloaded my blog :( check out Jennifer's we had a lot of the same general photos.  I may post some later....and I may not!  I am very technically challenged!

The Boy had so much fun visiting with the Chasteen's, hanging with the RBC follks, meeting the people of Metford, sightseeing, going to the baseball game, and serving the community.  He said it is definitely something he would want to do again.  Love that he had the opportunity to go.

The Twinkies and The Baby had a Blast at Nanny's.
They went swimming, played in the sprinkler, went to Nanny's church, picked blueberries, tried Tutti Fruity, went on a hike, watered Nanny's flowers.....and I'm sure much more!
I've enjoyed hearing about all their adventures.

Love that everyone had such a great time.
Welp.....tomorrow's gotta finish getting ready for school!
The bell rings sharply at 8:30!
and I am soooo not ready!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cleaning Frenzy!

Whew....what a whirlwind.  I've been gearing up this week for camp and for school.  So I've been a cleaning, packing, planning, decluttering maniac all week long!  We leave tomorrow for children's camp and are so excited....but when we get back Sunday everything has to ready because school begins on Monday! I want to start off with a neat house.  So I have been working!  I so wish I had taken more before and after photos....because...... it is looking good....finally and I know it won't stay this way for long.  I'd like to have photographic evidence of how nice it looked for a while.  I even did closets and cabinets and drawers!  The good news is that we are leaving tomorrow morning and not coming back until Sunday....which means my house will be looking good until at least late Sunday :) and that my friend may be a record!

I finally thought to take a before and after when I got to the laundry here it is before

I was bad...but if you had seen my kids rooms and closets and game would not think this was too bad!
and here it is after:

When life is CrAzY and I feel like I can't control my circumstances or feel overwhelmed....then I clean!
So my house is looking good these days! if I could just get it to stay clean.

So Randy had started to cut the grass tonight, I wanted the yard straightened up before we left too, and we ended up having an impromptu neighborhood gathering and as we sat and and watched Randy my kind neighbor felt bad for Randy sweating away.  Not only did Brian feel bad for Randy but he took it a step further and went up and got his Mac Daddy lawn mower and cut our grass and gave the kiddos a ride!

Thanks Brian!

Ya'll are GREAT neighbors!
We are going to have to have a cookout our treat!
He is a sweet yard angel!  He came by and weed eated around our house while we were away too!
He is WAY to nice!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our neighbors!



I'm going to try to blog at camp but I'll have to see how the connection is.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Don't Pin Your Life on Living"

"Don't Pin Your Life on Living!" Just this morning I read that quote from a woman dying from cancer.  Wow!  That is powerful.  I am very fascinated with the words and advice of dying people, especially godly people who are dying.  I know that is probably a little creepy....but I think they speak truth, wisdom, and give a unique perspective on life.

When life is slipping away...what is going to matter?  Stuff I've collected?  My health?  The way I look?  The state of my house?  The job I have?  My accomplishments?  People?  My relationship to a holy God?

The list gets mighty short.  Don't get me wrong.  How we live does certainly a degree....but what is the focus....what REALLY matters?

When I start to unpack this statement the first thing I wonder is WHY?  Why not pin my life on living?  I've got one shot....I should live life to the fullest.  Well the obvious answer is because I'm not going to live.  Life on earth is fleeting. It is a vapor.  It is here today and gone tomorrow.  Even a long life on earth is but a moment in eternity.

So what is worth pinning my life on?  What matters? Something that will last.....something that is sure and does not disappear.  Something that matters.

Only Christ.  He was here....He is here.....He will be there.  Eternity matters.  This life is just a breath-just a moment-going......going....gone!

So how does that change how I live?
Am I going to live for eternity?
I'm just sayin?

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekly Update

Monday I spent most of the day making lesson plans and the kids spent most of the day playing.
THE BABY enjoying a snack and playing dress-up

The girl playing her new favorite game, "Charity"!

Tuesday we had a playdate with some friends from our co-op.  I didn't get any pictures!  But the girls played here and the boys went to our friends house.  So I had 5 girls for the morning and no boys....
The girls played lots of UNO, played outside a little....but ended up getting too hot, had lunch together, and played pretend.  It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday we spent a lot of time in the car.  We dropped my car off to be inspected.  Dropped Randy off to paint.  We took Andrew to the orthodontist.  We picked Randy up from painting.  We picked up my van.  We dropped off my in-laws car for some work.   Randy dropped us off at the house and went to finish his painting job and then had a quick dinner at home and went to church for Wacky Wednesday at Pelican SnoBalls!

We had a great turnout

Unfortunately I didn't allow enough time to enjoy our treats so we were a bit rushed.

Next time.....I'll give us more time to enjoy!

Thursday I went to the grocery store with just THE BABY.  She enjoyed riding in the car shopping cart and helping me with the groceries.  We spent the rest of the day here doing laundry and starting to clean out the school room and get it setup for school which starts in 8 days!!!
THE BOY spent all day Thursday working out in the heat by a fire.....clearing off a job site with my Dad.
It was hot but he came home happy and with a fist full of $$$
He showered, packed, and headed off to his friends for a sleepover.

Friday was a super fun day!
The boy got to spend the entire day from open to close with his buddy at the pool.  It was his friends epitome of a great day....and since his buddy has to start school back this Monday (they homeschool too) his mom let him live his dream day on Friday and THE BOY had the privilege of participating in it and he LOVED it!
THANK YOU Kellie!!!

While The Boy was bumming at the pool.  I got to go to one of my most favorite places on earth....THE HOMESCHOOL GATHERING PLACE!
I was trying to return some items I had purchased for school and decided I didn't need.  I didn't have a receipt and it had been about 1 month so I wasn't sure if they would return the items or not!  Well they did!!! So I purchased a planner and a History Guide I'm going to use at Co-op this year with my credit and left $35 richer!
Then I ran a few errands: Went to the bank (thank you whoever you are :), Went to Target to pick up some things THE BOY was going to need for his mission trip and get a birthday gift for our cousin, and filled up the van with gas.

THE GIRL, THE TWINKIES, and THE BABY spent the afternoon and evening at the lake with Randy's parents and Randy and I were treated to dinner out with some sweet friends.  We had so much fun! 

About 10:00 the whole family was finally all back home and we were frantically packing THE BOY's bags for his mission trip and tucking very tired children into bed.

I finally got to bed around 11:30 and had my alarm set for 4:00.

This morning came early.  I woke up the boy and we headed to church.  We said goodbye and he is off to Boston.  I'm a little sad.  I miss him.  But I am mostly happy because I know he will have fun.  I know he will learn to serve others.  I know he will make memories and I hope he will grow in his walk with the Lord.

I got back home around 5:30 and tried to sleep for a few hours....
The rascals got up and we headed out for cousin TL's Birthday!

TL is Randy's sisters daughter.
She is 5!
Randy and the kids had fun bouncing!

But it was HOT so they got tired out pretty quickly....

and they headed inside which is where they got to do the LIMBO

How low can you go?

The Birthday Girl was all smiles!

The girl of course found the nearest baby and was one happy camper!

She's REALLY into baby's right now!

The decorations were cute!

The cake was adorable!

Everyone had a good time!

As soon as we got home....ROOMTIME....aka NAPTIME for Mommy!
That sums up our week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

How's Randy?

So.....The most common question these days is: What's going on with Randy?  or What does Randy do all day?  or Has Randy found a job? or How's Randy?

Randy is good.  We are keeping Randy busy.  His typical day is wake up around 7:30.  He gets dressed and ready and has coffee.  He checks several online sources for jobs.  He follows up on emails and leads people send him.  He does everything he can think of to find a career.  He has been filling out about 2 applications a day and submitting them.  He's following up on any that he has a connection to or can find contact information for......unfortunately this doesn't take too long.  His resume is good and was already updated because he has been looking for a job for a while now. 

After the morning job hunt he usually hits the books.  He is a full time master's program student too so now he can do this during daylight hours!  He was doing it after work and forgoing a lot of sleep!  He has straight A's so far on all his Master's work. He is one smart cookie!   Everyone keeps telling him how much this will help on his resume' too....."to explain the gap". 

So after studying and writing papers and job hunting it is usually close to lunch.  He eats lunch with us if you've been wondering about his dining habits....they are much more focused around the kitchen table now!

Then he works for me or on some odd jobs.  He has had a side job painting.  He is doing a side job project managing a bathroom remodel.  He's got a side job to help with a move scheduled.  He's also trying to do some plan drawings on the if you need a house plan Randy!  So when he is not busy doing all this he has been cutting the grass (well him and THE BOY depending on who can do it when it needs to be done!), getting cars inspected (mine was due....that is a whole other blog post!), watching the kids so I can grocery shop in peace, changing laundry, unloading dishes.....stuff like that.

Then it is usually about 4:00 and he has been going to the pool most days with the family or helping me get setup for Wacky Wednesday's at church, or hanging out in the back yard with the crew.....He has been helping with dinner, usually by making his famous peach tea!  Then we hang out with the kiddos.  After they go to bed we celebrate making it through the day and come up with a plan for the next day and try to think of ways to find a jobby job and we talk and facebook and we watch Glee.

So that is what's up with the MAN.  He's doing good.  He's hanging in there.  He's working hard!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pondering Passages

Oh my word!  I have about 20 posts running through my head.  WAY to much pondering going on around here!

So since it is Thursday I decided to go with an official pondering's been a while.

I have been pondering....just not posting.

This weeks passage is:
Colossians 3:15-17
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

First could there have been a more perfect passage for me to ponder this week?  I think not!  For those of you who don't follow my blog....My sweet Randy, who has spent the last 15 years of his career building in some form or fashion, was laid off last week.  With building it is feast or famine....and unfortunately the last 4 years or so have been very tough ones.  It is amazing that he has kept his job this long.  We knew this day was inevitable and we have been saving, living within our means, and he has been looking for another job for some time.....however as we are quickly discovering jobs are hard to come by these days!

It is very easy for me go worst case.....he never finds a job, we use all our savings, etc.....
HOWEVER....Passages like this remind me to run to the God of PEACE.  I can not worry and have peace at the same time!   Not only am I to have peace it is to RULE IN my heart.  Not pretend to have peace.  Not act peaceful.  Not want peace. BUT TO LET IT RULE MY HEART!  Sounds good to me but now for the biggie......HOW?

Well vrs. 15 says it is FROM Christ.  So I've decided if he has it then I am asking for it!  It has become my prayer that this time of our lives will be characterized with "a peace that passes all understanding".  I don't want to have my head buried in the sand.  I don't want to live in denial....but I do want peace....and guess what?  I have it.  I really am not consumed with worry and this my friend is ALL GOD....because if this girl likes anything it is control and when I don't have it.....and I can't get it.......I tend to worry about it!  So I'm thankful that Christ is at work in me.....because Kim would be worrying....but I'm not.  I care.....I'm staying plugged in....but I really do KNOW that we are going to be okay!

And the next part of the verse says, "BE THANKFUL".  I think the two must be linked.  When I focus on my blessings my whole attitude changes. 
1.  I'm thankful for a healthy happy marriage.
2.  I'm thankful for healthy happy kids.
3.  I'm thankful that God is going to use this for our good and his glory.
4.  I'm thankful for a church family that loves us.
5.  I'm thankful for extended family that loves us.
6.  I'm thankful for a husband who works hard, is smart, has a good personality, and a good reputation.
7.  I'm thankful for a home.
8.  I'm thankful for retirement savings!
9,  I'm thankful for an unemployment check.
10.  I'm thankful for 2 more van payments!
11.  I'm thankful for God's word.
12.  I'm thankful for in-laws that offer to pay for my kids to each do one extra curricular activity!  We had just told the kids they wouldn't be able to do any "extras" this year, and we hadn't told anyone else about this....and my MIL came over today and said...."oh yeah...if you want to sign them each up for an activity we would be happy to pay for it this year!"  NEEDLESS TO SAY WE ARE BLESSED!  THANK YOU!
13.  I'm thankful for a Dad who takes time to let MY BOY come and work with him today, so he can earn some extra spending money for his trip to Boston (we were sending money for his food but not any he has his own money if he wants a souvenir!)THANK YOU!
14.  I am thankful for God's word and truth!

I could go on and on and on....but the point is we (I) have SO MUCH to be thankful for!
 Oh and then comes vrs. 16
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."  I am so thankful for this pondering.  It has helped my mind be MUCH more filled and focused on his word....which is truth!

Here are a few from this year:
"Consider it pure joy, when you face trials of many kinds because you KNOW that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."  James 1:2-3
Christ is going to use this to produce a perseverance in my life.  I need perseverance!  I'm excited about growing in this area!  Another thing to be thankful for!!!

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1
I am HIS child.  He loves me!  I am going to be okay!

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." Ephesians 1:17
My continual desire is to KNOW him better....and I have a feeling....I will KNOW him better after this because when we draw near to him.....he draws near to us!  THANK YOU JESUS!

LOVE PONDERING!  I'm going to stop here because this post is already really long!  I just want to encourage those who aren't in the word regularly to jump in.  Check out the pondering passages thing on Shay's blog.  You don't have to spend hours a day and be all solemn and ritualistic to grow in Christ.  A few minutes a day on a regular basis thinking over a very short passage and really chewing on it and really paying attention and asking questions about it brings better understanding, at least for me, then a yearly Bible reading plan.  Although if you are reading through your Bible in a year....go for's just too much for me!

For Shay's Blog Click Here!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Girl's Party....FINALLY

Today we FINALLY had THE GIRL'S Birthday Party!
Her Birthday was May 10th but she really wanted a pool party and we aren't allowed to have guests at our pool on the weekend until after swim team is over.
So....I said "yes" to the pool party.....but she had to wait 9 weeks.
She was so patient and it was worth the wait!
She had a long awaited pool party and the weather was PERFECT!

The kid's had a great time diving, sliding, swimming, playing Fox and Geese......It was a great group of kids and everyone got along really well.

They chowed down on pizza, watermelon, chips, Kool-Aid, and Cake....YUMMY!
It was fun to celebrate with............

Friends from Basketball....

Friends from Church....

(unfortunately I didn't get her picture with Sky....she actually had 2 parties to be at...but at least they were both at the pool so she kept running back and forth and unfortunately....I missed getting her picture :(  )

With Neighbors

With friends from Co-op

(unfortunately Meredith and Lindsay were out of town.....The Girl was soooo sad they were not able to come!)

Wish I had taken more pictures!  I was too busy chatting with all my sweet friends!  But it was a great day.  We had so much fun!
Now....I can relax....I'm DONE with the birthday bonanza....until February!


Friday, July 15, 2011

What a week!  Monday.....was a Monday!  Randy was laid off and injured his ribs but we are quickly getting adjusted to that shocker.
Tuesday was filled with paperwork, decisions, phone calls, talking, thinking....and then on Tuesday Night we got to go to Pelican SnoBall's with a bunch of friends at church.
That just brightened up my whole day!

Salmon ladies with THE BABY AND TWINKIES

Some of the RBC SWEET

Randy and his buddies.

THE CREW!  Look at those rainbow colored tongues!

Here's a picture of most of our group! 
Here's my advertisement:
Pelican's SnoBalls is good and it is CHEEP!  Our family can all go for $10.  There is very little that we can do for $10!
Then came Wednesday.....
Reality started to settle in a bit and we worked some on coming up with a new routine for our days.  The kids are used to it being PARTY and PLAY time when Daddy is home so we have had to figure out how to balance this new dynamic.....we are getting into a groove.
After a morning filled with applications and following up on leads and emails and phone calls and picking up the last paycheck, and working on school we headed up to church to setup for our Wacky Wednesday's.

We filled water balloons for some water games, set up the slide, hooked up the hose......that took a while.....BIG THANK YOU to Kevin B. and Randy for their help! 

My little ones were super bummed that they didn't get to participate....but they aren't old enough yet!
J-Lil and I are leading the kids summer activities on Wednesday Nights and we decided to kick off the summer with a water night.  The weather was a bit threatening....but we had a blast and so did the kids!
A sheet of plastic, a few stakes, a LOOOOONNNNGGG hose or three, some water, and a few kids=BIG TIME FUN!

The kids were wet

and Muddy by the end of the night!

But they were also all smiles

Unfortunately my camera battery died so I didn't get anymore pictures :(

I made my kids clean their rooms and we did chores around the house.  It was the first normal feeling day this week.
Has been really normal.  Randy has been networking and has some odd jobs he's going to work on.  It looks like he may have a good lead on a position we are PRAYING will work out.  He's finishing up on the logistics of medical care, cell phone service....all that stuff.
PLUS.....a BIG highlight of our week was that we got the chance to skype with Jason!!!  That was cool.  Unfortunately Charity was out having coffee with a friend so we missed "seeing" her.
I've been running errands to get ready for THE GIRL'S long awaited birthday party....which is tomorrow!  We are very excited and hoping for BEAUTIFUL weather!

That's about it.....
Looking forward to seeing where God will lead us....


So although this was certainly a tough week in some ways it was still a good week.  God is still in control.  We are still thriving and enjoying life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rainy Days and Monday's Always get me Down

Yesterday was a tough day.  It started out pretty good.  We woke up....we got ready for the day....and we headed out to our friends house.  We arrived at the Williford's around 10:30 and Amber was so generous to let me spend the next couple hours using her cricut to decorate party favors for THE GIRLS upcoming birthday celebration. 

I had fun visiting with Amber and with Kelly and cutting out cute shapes and letters....time got away from me and I finally gathered all my younguns and headed back home.

I was a little surprised to see Randy's car in the driveway...but thought he had come home for a late lunch.....well he hadn't.  He was "laid off due to the economy."  WHEW!  We knew the company he worked for was struggling and we knew this day was coming but it still caught us off guard. 

The rest of the day is sort of a blur.  I canceled some plans I had for today.....I cried a little.....we talked a lot about how to deal with immediate needs.  We talked some to both sets of our parents......we made lunch...and dinner....and tucked kids in.....we vegged........and wondered what we were going to do. I prayed.  I started freaking out as things quieted down around here.....Kim Salmon fb messaged me at just the right time and spoke truth to me that I needed to hear.  I prayed some more.  I FINALLY went to sleep with Randy snoring loudly beside me :)

Today.....I haven't done much other than the necessary.  I have pondered a lot.  This is what I am thinking.  This is a journey....that I would rather not be on.....but it is the one I am on.
I can not control how long the journey is or where it leads but I can control my attitude and I can choose to worry or to trust.  I can choose to badger or encourage.  I can chose to withdraw or relate.  I can choose to look at the fears, worries, what-ifs or dwell on the TRUTH, the possibilities, and the reality of the moment. 
We can be destroyed or we can grow and be strengthened......

Where it ends I have no idea.....BUT
I know this much is true:

1.  God is in control and HE DOES NOT CHANGE!  I not only KNOW this is true.  God allowed me to be reminded of this truth in church on Sunday morning....THANK YOU MARC for bringing God's truth!
2.  God is a wonderful provider and he will provide for us.  He loves us and cares about the details of our life and even though this caught us off guard it did not catch him off guard.
3.  Randy is WONDERFUL.  Randy is an excellent provider and he provides for us in many more ways than simply financially.  He will provide in that way as well....but in the mean time he provides us with lavish love, ample laughter, lots of hugs and kisses and time.  He listens and leads and guides us and provides direction for our family and I couldn't choose a better provider if I got the chance to hand pick one.
4.  God has given us an amazing circle of friends, an unbelievable church family, and precious extended family.  We are loved by so many and prayed for and that support is invaluable.
5.  That we have the ear of God through prayer.  He listens and answers prayer (not always how and when we want) but he does listen and he does answer and our prayers do matter.  So glad to have heard Jared's message in Sunday school Sunday and Shay's message about STANDING last week and to be pondering God's truth in Ephesians this week.  God uses teachers and his word to prepare us in advance for the trials that WILL come.
6.  We were surprised but God wasn't.  God knew this was coming and thank the Lord I had just finished having all the kids checkups and they are all healthy and up to date on their shots!!!!  PRAISE!!!  I believe God orchestrated all this.  THE GIRL has also been delaying her birthday party for 2 months so she could have it at the pool and we had already bought her party stuff and so that is not a stress.  I usually don't buy things ahead...but the Lord knew this was coming and allowed us to be prepared. So now instead of dreading it and stressing about it we can look forward to it and enjoy the celebration she has so patiently been waiting for!  THANK YOU LORD!

The Lord brought this verse to mind and this is my prayer
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed, We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

I have all these normal feeling and fears in my flesh.  I am so glad I am also filled with the Holy Spirit inside me so that life and it's blows do not win.  Whatever happens I pray Christ will be glorified. 

I know if this journey is long I will surely have doubts and tough days and forget things that I know are true.  So while they are fresh in my mind I am recording them for the days I need to look back and remember.

What can you do?  Pray.  Let us know of any job leads :)  and just keep on loving us.  We love you guys!  Happy to be on the journey with you!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Champs Weekend

Well swimteam has ended for yet another season.  What an adventure it has been.  I must say this year is the least committed we have been.  Our vacation, THE BOY'S youth involvement, and the weather have conspired and we have missed A LOT of practices.....and THE BOY has missed several of the meets-including the champs.  So while this year was still a big commitment....It was less than years past.....especially for THE BOY!

It was a fun year.  They especially had fun this past Wednesday at the intersquad Cowboys vs. Indians meet.
My kiddos were both on the cowboys team....although my big cowboy wouldn't allow me to post photos of little cowgirl was happy for me to post her photos!

Then this weekend we had champs!
THE BOY spent the weekend at the lake with his buddy....
BUT....THE GIRL did do Champs!  Champs was fun.....but it is a bit intense.  Some people get REALLY into it....and even shave their heads and tattoo them!  This guy was hilarious!
Can you guess who he was swimming for?

It is a very intimidating situation for the little ones.  It is a HUGE, DEEP pool and their are stands filled with yelling fans!
I was so proud of all the little swimmers!  They all did such a good job....and were brave!

It was long and it was HOT and it was exhausting.....

Just ask the coaches!

The Girl had fun hanging with friends and going out to dinner with our friends afterwards.
But when we got home at 11:00 Friday night she passed out and slept in late on Saturday!

 She not only had fun but she also did a great job swimming. She ended up beating her personal best time on both back stroke and free style in the championship meet!  GO GIRL!  I LOVE that you "win" by beating yourself.  It is so neat to see the kids improve over the year!

Last night we capped off the swimming weekend/season with the awards banquet.  It  was fun to see the kids get their trophies and ribbons and awards.  Another swim season has come to an end....and I am just about pooled out! I KNOW the coaches must be!
A BIG THANK YOU to all the coaches for all the work they did with our kids this summer!