Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Thousand Word Thursdays and Mysteries of Motherhood

I've found a great new meme over at Jen's blog, perfect for photo-loving me to participate in:

Cheaper Than Therapy

A picture certainly is worth more than a thousand words and do you know anyone who takes more pictures than me? No I didn't think so :-) So join us on Thursdays for looking back at meaningful photos from our archives. But today I'm not digging into my archives at all ... well perhaps a bit into the archives of my memory. Here are a few photos I snapped as I lay in bed early this morning:

For moment in time, in my drowsy waking moments I had a total flashback ... back probably 13 years. Our youngest laying there cuddled up with me flashed me back to when I would wake up and see my very first child snuggled up to me. Of course once I got up this morning here is where I found my oldest, I just had to take her picture too (as she was working on writing yet another book):

Can you believe how quickly they change from that sweet baby smelling, nursing, snuggling, needy baby stage to the adorable, talented, independent and energetic teenage stage? Did I blink? How did this happen???? Its seems like just yesterday I was waking up to a quiet house snuggled up with my first little girl. We were the only ones in the house as my dh, her daddy, was in the Navy and out to sea and it was just the two of us, Mother and Daughter. At least it feels like yesterday, yet I can remember the day she sat up without support for the first time (on our old couch), I can remember her first steps and her first taste of cake (both at her first bday party), the first day that I heard those daring words "I wuv u mama" (while driving to a playdate in Tacoma, WA). I remember her confusion as we moved across the country when she was three and her mixed emotions at the birth of her first sibling. I remember her first day of preschool, her first sleep over, her first time on horseback, her first harp lesson ....
How is it that all of that could have really occurred and yet I feel like it was only yesterday she was nursing while snuggled in my arms. Hear my long sigh here as I chalk it up to being another one of the mysteries of motherhood.

Ahhh ... Motherhood ... I think I speak for most if not all mothers when I say we had NO clue what we were in for.

I have mornings like these from time to time. I feel nostalgic and a bit weepy, remembering the first days of each my five children's lives. I'm blessed beyond measure! And I could get swept away in all the emotion if I allowed myself, but God has called me to motherhood and each of these five blessings needs me in different ways today. God willing they will each continue to grow and change, to meet new challenges and over come new obstacles. I will cherish not only the photos likes these taken this morning but also the ones only taken in my mind ... moments never photographed but truly never forgotten.

For today I will head out to be Kitchen help and Editor to my teenage daughter as she bakes and writes; I will be Coach and Cheerleader to my 10 year old as he trains in gymnastics and practices for his next baseball game; I will be a Naturalist with my 7 year old who loves everything about the outdoors and animals; I will try to understand race cars and tractors as my 3 year old tells me again and again about any number of car parts and farm machinery; and I will be mommy milk and a source of comfort and safety to my little one year old as she follows the lives of her older siblings. How does one person fill all of these rolls? I guess I'll never really understand it. So, again I just chalk it up to another one of the great mysteries of motherhood and praise God for the blessings I am surrounded by today and in my memory.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Not Me Monday! (or umm Wednesday)

Its NOT Monday again??? Already again??? It can't be! Want to play along with us? Want a healthy dose of free, funny, and oh so refreshing therapy? MckMama came up with the hilarious idea to take our not-so-proud moments and spin them around in a delightful therapy session! Come join us!

So Here We GO ...
... No I did NOT start this post on Saturday lest I forget all I have to NOT write about. But then NOT get it posted till Wed. Hmmm ...

No, I did NOT learn this week that we will be closing on our new home July 3rd instead of July 15th! This is NOT great news (ok, it really is) and I did NOT hyperventilate when thinking of all the packing and sorting and decluttering I still have ahead of me.

No, I have not been allowing my almost potty trained 3 year old to run around the house and yard buck naked. You see when he wears clothes he pees in them but if he is naked he always makes it to the potty. Simple solution now that our land is no longer a frozen tundra. Simple solution while we are at home ... not so simple when we are out and about.

No we did not leave my sister's poor nanny with 10 children Thursday night when we went to benefit dinner for THIS wonderful non-profit. And no I did not get to meet THIS wonderfully talented artist:

No we did NOT take all 5 of our kids out to a wonderful campground last weekend for tons of fun in the water and sun and then deny them the pleasure of actually camping. We drove 5 miles down the road and slept at grandma's house instead. While at said park I did NOT employ the talents of THIS wonderful new bloggy friend to take gorgeous pictures of our little Mary which you can see here and here if you would like.

No, my children did NOT get tons of mosquito bites while 'camping'. But hey, we are Minnesotans, we can live with mosquito bites. What I don't want to live with is tick bites. I did NOT feel worried about a few of the bites on our little Mary for most of the week (oh yes I did) And on Thursday they did NOT start to take on that target sort of look and she did NOT start to run a fever (oh yes she did), so off to the Dr's office we went to hear what I feared: she might have lymes disease. So now we try to get her to take antibiotics three times a day for the next 21 days... UGH!

And just before Mary's Dr appointment we did not stop to play at one of our favorite parks and take this picture:

While at this park our 7 year old did NOT fall from the playground and knock the wind out of him. And he did NOT continue to complain of the pains into the night and I did NOT take him to my chiropracto/friend who quickly expected a broken rib and xrayed him to find that yes in deed he broke a rib (T9 to be exact) and he also fractures a vertabrate (L5 to be exact)

No that really was NOT enough excitment for this mama! Oh yes! Yes it really is!!!! Lymes Disease and a broken rib are really just too much at once.

But I did NOT come home only to get my son settled with an icepack on his back and proceed to make these signs to put along side the road that leads to the location of my great grandpa's 90th birthda party.

And no I did NOT promise to deliver a healthy dinner meal to my friend MckMama and then arrive almost an hour later than planned. Sorry about that, dear. And NO her darling charming little Stellan did NOT flip back into SVT as I arrived (oh, unfortunatly yes he did, but is doing much better and at the time of typing he is snuggled safly into his own bed in his owen room)

And then in my panic over the nearness of our house being done I did not decide to let the kids pick out the themes and colors for their bedrooms. Nope, I did NOT take all 5 kids to Home Depot, Menards, Lowes and then another Home Depot to look at paint colors and border ideas. Take my advice here ... 5 kids is toooo many to take with you into those sorts of stores.

Hope you are having a fantastic Not Me Monday or Wednesday or whatever!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I ♥ Faces ~ June 22 ~ Boys!!!

WEEK 24 - June 22nd - "Let's Hear It For The Boys!" It's the week after Father's Day and we'd like to keep honoring the special men in our life for the rest of the week.

All photos entered this week at I ♥ Faces should have a boy or man in them (no girls allowed this week). So come on over to I ♥ Faces and share a photo of that special boy in your life with us or just come take a look at all the amazing photos there.

Here is my entry for the Kids Category:

I took this picture just before the boys left with their dad to goto a "pirate party" hosted by our church. They had so much fun, really getting into the pirate theme. And I had fun editing it in Picasa ... still loving the sepia look.

And my entry for the Adults Category:

I took this picture earlier this year on a flight to Seattle. I love to watch my hubby being a daddy. He is so present with our kids and their needs. And I especially love when I come across these snuggling, sleeping moments.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What A Great Way To Spend Father's Day

Back in March my grandpa turned 90 years old! But we waited till today to celebrate. Living way up north in the 'frozen tundra' means not everyone wants to come to your birthday party in March ... cause it might be like 20 Below zero and there might be 20-some inches of snow and ice on the ground ... but June is pretty safe and what better day to be surrounded but all your kids and grandkids and friends than on Father Day!

So, Happy Father's Day to all the father's in my life!

'The Guys' enjoying the gator:

Our Mary enjoying the flowers:

And Zeke enjoying the dirt:

My boys and my dad by their 'hunting shack'

Friday, June 19, 2009

I had the honor and privilege of attending a fundraising dinner for A Way To Grow tonight and had the great pleasure of meeting the entertainment they had arranged: Ms. Sheila Raye Charles ... What a voice! What a story!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fun in the pool?

Found a great little blowup kiddie pool from Oriental Tradding Company (for 3.99) but also bought 2 dozen small beach balls. When I don't want to put water in the baby pool, no problem - fill with balls. We've brought this same pool inside to play with in our livingroom on rainy days. Pictures below are of Mary while at the camp ground, but her big brothers enjoyed it too

And not to worry - they do enjoy it with water too, as evident HERE on Mary's blog

Mary in photos

Please do visit my friend Carrie's site to see her brilliant photography, but also notice the sweet cute adorable baby in a purple tutu! We had so much fun at that shoot! You might also want to head on over to Carrie's blog about her campground and her little cubs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I ♥ Faces ~ June 15 ~ Sepia Toned

All photos entered this week at I ♥ Faces should have a sepia tone to them (not B&W or color.) It can be as much or as little sepia toned as the photogrpher like. So come on over to I ♥ Faces and share a sepia toned photo or just come take a look at all the amazing photos there.

Here is my entry for the Kids Category, our youngest daughter cuddling her teddy bear one morning in bed, I love this one in sepia tone

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Babywearing at the zoo

Mary was not terribly interested in many of the outdoor animals today, but she does enjoy the view and the ride in the sling. Pretty sure she is more interested in all the kids running around than any of the animals.

But she did like these cute little critters ... prairie dogs
She kept signing "DOG"

Thankfully she slept right through the big kids eating lunch

Allowing me to be much more hands free

And then I just had to make my 5 pose all together for just one shot:

Fun Times!

Monday, June 08, 2009

I ♥ Faces for June 8 ~ Vacation!

WARNING: This may turn into a very long post! As I really do like to take pictures on vacation. But, hey, Amy and Angie over at I ♥ Faces asked for a vacation post.

WEEK 22 - June 8th - Telling My Story: Vacation Edition
a.k.a. - Amy and Angie's First Week Off! :)

Its "Telling My Story Through Photos: The Vacation Edition” week
Click HERE for all the details

For Easter in March 2008 we spent our Easter Break in Hawaii. We met up with my parents and both my sisters and their families on Maui. Yes, that does mean that there where 8 adults and 9 kids in our party. No need to share the ages of the adults, but just to let you know what kind of crazy we are ... we took children ages: 12 1/2, 9, 6 1/2, 6, 4, 2, 1, and 7 month old twins from Minnesota to Hawaii. Oh, and I was 5 months pregnant! Please note there will be NO pictures from the airplane, I'm sure can imagine why.

we packed our bags and headed to the airport:

We were thrilled to finally arrive at the Grand Wailea in Maui:

After stopping at both Kmart and Walmart for:
Sandwich fixings, iced coffee, boogie boards, inner tubes, sand toys, egg dye, and chocolate Easter Eggs ... we had just enough time to check in, change clothes and head off to our luau:

If you really like Luaus or want to see the 200 Luau photos I took feel free to visit our Luau Album at Just click Here

For Easter Sunday it was truly wonderful to wake up in such a paradise! I mentioned above that we arrived at The Grand Wailea on Maui. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this resort and their staff!

For anyone wanting to see more about this resort on Maui check out their main webite:
We actually stayed in Grand Wailea's new addition called Ho'olei ... I think there is a whole page on the Ho'olei on Grand Wailea's site. It was very nice to have several bedrooms and several bathrooms and a nice big kitchen. There was also a lovely deck, with the most incredible view! The sliding glass doors were more like a glass wall that retracted into either wall, which maked the deck and the view a part of the living room area.

We noticed a few churches on our drive from the airport to the resort and honestly just picked one at random and trusted that God would be present in the Easter message. Well, boy did God surprise us!!!!

Please Please Please if you get a chance visit this church's website!

My sister saw the sign for this church's Easter service and it was close to our condo, so we decided to have everybody up and ready togo by 7:30 ... not too hard when 7:30am feels like 12:30pm to our bodies :-)

I was so blessed by this service ...

What a beautiful setting for a Church, ha?

Our kids outside after the service:

The picture above is what the sanctuary looked like as we walked in ... near the beginning of the service the worship director held up a couple stacks of differently colored post-it-notes and he commented about how plain and ordniary an individual post-it-note can seem.

"Each one has its own use or purpose, but that use and purpose can seem pretty insignificant sometimes." Then he handed them off and said, "But when you put those insignificant, ordinary things in the right hands and they all come together its amazing what can happen ... "

The person with the post-it-notes walked off and the choir entered and stood in front of the black back drop until later in the service and when they moved we realized what had been happening with all those post-its ... while we sang and listed to a solo, others where behind the choir creating a beautiful mosaic type masterpiece our of those ordinary post-its.

Notice in the next pictures the now colorful backdrop:

Click on this last picture to see how the individual post-its fit together to make this beautiful piece of art.

Back at the Resort:
After our beautiful Easter service and a yummy pancake brunch back in our condo, we headed over to the main hotel area for the Easter Egg Hunt and games for the kids. Shaved ice, cookies, ball toss, ring toss, miniputt ... stuff like that with little prizes. Kids enjoyed that. We all wore our swim suits over to the egg hunt, because then we planned to hit the big pool or the beach after the egg hunt fun. But it was sooooo packed over there that we decided it was too stressful to keep track of the kids. They went around the lazy twice and the little boys played in the wading pool for a bit, but then we came back over to our condo and enjoyed the smaller much quiter pool by our condo. Acctually for almost an hour we were the only people using the pool ... very nice.

Monday Morning Sunrise
Ok, so our condo faced west ... great for sunsets, not as great to watch the sun rise, but Zeke and Papa and I were up around 6 this morning and we watched from our deck as the sky turned colors and the moon disapeared. Very cool!

The rest of that Monday was a pretty lazy day:

We hung around the condo and then spent 4 hours by the pool. The kids were swimming and playing most of the time, but I spent most of the time on a lounge chair. Little Z. even ended up falling asleep down there ... such a cute little guy!

Crazy Tuesday!
I guess its a good thing we rested on Monday because Tuesday was full of activity!

Aunti Am. and Uncle B. went out on a half day fishing excursion that left at 5:45 am. The rest of us woke up around 6 or 7 or 8. Papa left to do a bike ride up a volcanoe. Grandma, Auntie Al. Uncle R. the twins, and 2 of Am & B,'s kids were going to drive up the volcano and see Papa at some point but also enjoy a nice hike. Am. and B. were going to catch up with them after fishing. My family plus one of Am & B's kids left for the beach around 8:45, hoping it would not be as crowded as the other day. There were a lot of people already out for 9am, but we found a spot with 6 chairs by the kiddie pool and the kids had great fun there. They enjoyed the lazy river and several water slides. Then we walked a little ways farther and enjoyed the beach for 30 minutes. Kids have boogie boards ... that was really fun. After 30 minutes there, though, they were ready for the pool life again and we went back to our spot by the kiddie pool. We headed back to our condo around nooon and are resting a bit while we have lunch, then we went to check out the Maui Ocean Center, Hawaii's largest aquarium.

Trust me G. got happier ... he just looks pretty miffed in this picture.
Z. fell sound asleep as soon as we arrived at the Ocean center.

If you click on this picture and see it bigger you might be able to find the red Coral Fish

We were glad Z. woke up to see the turtle pool

And here are the pictures from Papa's trip UP the volcano

Here are Grandma and Papa at the top!

Papa rented a bicycle on Maui ... he can't ever go too long with out a bike ride, yah know. But the ride he took on Tues. was not your average bike ride.

He rode from the town of Kula(3500 ft elevation) up hill 22 miles, to the top of a volcano. The summit of Haleakala is at 10,032 ft. elevation. This ride is a big tourist attraction, but the bikes are usually rented and hauled to the top and the cyclists spend the day biking down the volcano. Not my dad ... he rode up! Grandma, Am., B., and R. and J. drove up to meet him and do a little hiking. A. & R. and the twins drove up, too.

Check out these link on Haleakala and the bike ride:
(info from the National Park Service)
(more about the volcano)
(but keep in mind Papa biked UP, not down)

Wednesday on Maui

A good friend of mine from elementary school and high school lives on Oahu, she and one of her sons decided to come spend 24 hours with us on Maui. They got in on Tues. night and we had a great time down at the pool and the beach with them on Wed. Here are some of the great pictures she took while down on the beach:

And here are a few from my camera:

And check out M's crazy beach hair after Wed. at the beach:

Also on Wed. was our eldest's turn to go horseback ridding. Our daughter M. is in love with horses, and that is putting it mildly. So her and Papa signed up for a 2 hour horse ride. It was just her and Papa and this really nice guide, who by the way she homeschooled her boys. Papa said Mikayla and the guide chatted about almost everything under the sun for the whole two hours :-)

What a great memory! And we truly did make some wonderful memories on that trip!

Friday as say goodbye to Maui

But then, how does that saying go? All good things must come to an end?
What a great vacation we had in Hawaii! And we threw the flowers of our leis into the ocean before we left ... a Hawaiian symbol that you will one day return. We certainly hope to.

So there ya have it an very very very long vacation post!