Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You would think I would be an expert by now

By the time you reach #7, one would think you might be pretty close to being an expert.  Ever since I first bought the potty chair back in February, I have dreaded having to begin potty training again.  My last two that I trained were HORRIBLE, and took months to train because they were stubborn to the core.
When Caroline turned two, she started showing signs of being ready to train.  So, I bit the bullet and bought the potty chair and some Dora underwear. We got the potty out of the box, it was a hit.  So far, so good!  This might not be as bad as I was anticipating.  We broke out the underwear, which I thought would be a total hit and she pitched a huge fit.  So, the potty went on top of the refrigerator and we decided to wait.
Months later, it is now summer and I have to decide.....train her now or wait until Christmas break.  With homeschooling starting in August, I knew I would not have the time to devote to training her until the kids were on break this winter.  I had pretty much talked myself into just waiting until December, when Brett got tired of the potty being on top of our refrigerator and got it down.  In my head, I was screaming....NOOOOOOOO!  Caroline saw the potty and was immediately enthused with it again
So, the next day we tried the Dora underwear again.
We are now on week two and are on our way to having just ONE in diapers.  She has done really well and after a few days of figuring out that she is not wearing a diaper and underwear gets wet, I think she has the hang of it.  We are down to one accident a day!
Feeling thankful that #7 is under my belt!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Fashion Show Kind of Day

Emily and Kate decided yesterday to put on a fashion show.  As outfits began to change, more and more siblings decided to join the runway.
First up, Emily wearing a summer outfit fit for a day in the sun.  Her big floppy hat is sure to keep the hot summer sun out of the eyes.
Kate is enjoying wearing her bee Halloween costume, complimented with a flower head piece and her sister's Dora purse.
Staying with the floppy hat theme, Emily is ready for a day of summer shopping.  While Kate has quickly changed into her cheerleading dress and is ready to cheer her sister on! 

A third sister has joined them on the runway.  Emily is now dressed in her soft white sweater dress, complimented with her blue flip flop over the shoulder purse.  Kate has managed to find a Mickey Mouse dress that is sure to please the Disney enthusiast.  Our newest model, Caroline has now changed into the bee costume we saw Kate modeling earlier.

Loving our newest model on the carpet.  Matt has heard the laughter and joined the fun on the runway.  He has chosen an outfit I know is father will be so proud to see him modeling.  Who doesn't love a good blue Cinderella ball gown!

Finally, our final participant has joined our show.  Andrew has chosen a Florida Gators football uniform to compliment the cheerleader outfit Kate is wearing.  While Emily, Caroline, and Matt have chosen gowns fit for a ball.

 Now wait, the roles have reversed yet again. 

And the final pose of the day....  Emily has chosen to wear an all pink outfit, while Kate and Andrew have to take the more eclectic route.  Who doesn't need a good pair of fairy wings?
The kids had a blast which was quite evident when I walked into the playroom to find every dress up outfit on the floor.  I'm glad they are using their imaginations and having fun.
"Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
Colossians 4:6

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our 16th Anniversary

Brett and I celebrated 16 years of marriage on July 12th.  It seems hard to believe that we have been married this many years already.  The years truly do fly by.  We have known it each for almost 20 years!  Our dating days at Bethany College still seem so fresh in my mind.  I recently saw a video of a couple getting engaged on Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh, PA and memories came quickly back to our night on Mt. Washington, the flowers, the ring hidden in the flowers, me almost losing the ring over the railing high above the city.
Our engagement picture

Our wedding day was perfect.  A beautiful summer day in July.  Our ceremony completed with loved ones and friends.

Over the past 16 years, God has worked in our lives in a way that we could never have written ourselves.  Through the prayers of our family, we have come to know, understand, and believe that our life, our marriage, and our family are blessed by acknowledging God as our savior and putting Him at the center of our marriage.  Our life is full with the awesome responsibility that comes with raising the eight children we have been blessed with.  However, we have come to understand that the greatest gift we can provide our children with is showing them everyday that God is first, our love for each of is second, and our family is third.
This year, we have taken time for date nights, and even had the chance to get away for 5 amazing days to reconnect.  I'm looking forward to this year and trust that God has great things in store for our marriage.
"complete by joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind."
Philippians 2:2

Final Marco Island Pictures

First attempt at a beach picture.
The sun had gone down too much, so the picture turned out a bit dark.
Take two was better
A sea turtle nest
All the kids were fascinated by this.  There was a great article in a Marco Island magazine that talked all about the nesting season on the island.  It talked about the volunteers who patrol the beach every morning during nesting season finding and marking new nests.  This would be a great thing to further research with the kids before our trip next year.
One final picture from our beach trip!
Love it
"Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts."
Psalm 90:12

Our Quest- To Find a Sand Dollar

One of the best things about the beach in my opinion is searching for shells.  I still love to walk the beach at night and look for that elusive shell and our kids are no exception.  This sign was posted on the boardwalk as you walked onto the beach. 
This is looking toward the south end of the Island.  The picture was taken at low tide, you can see the sand bar uncovered in this picture.  We walked almost every night with the exception of our last night there because we were so tired from the long trek we made the night before.
This is looking toward the north end of the island.  We walked this direction every night except for one because at the far north end of the island is an area called Sand Dollar Island.  According to the research we did, this area is the best for finding sand dollars.
This is what our nightly trek looked like.  Daddy got quite a work out all week pulling our three little ones in our beach wagon.
Even with Daddy doing most of the work, he still managed to score the biggest shell find of the week.
walking with their eyes glued to the shore in search of the elusive sand dollar
A funny story to share and remember happened on our second nightly walk.  The older kids, especially Nick and Emily were getting discouraged that they still hadn't found an unbroken sand dollar.  We had already found thousands of broken pieces!  We were walking along and met a guy who was fishing knee deep in the surf.  He reached down into the water and pulled something up, then called Andrew over to him.  It was a whole, unbroken sand dollar.  Our family just about died knowing that the first sand dollar to be found was given to our roughest child.  I'm sure you can guess the outcome of this story.  About 2 minutes later, the sand dollar was in several pieces!  Oh well, I'm sure God had a teaching point in here for us to learn!
The tip of Sand Dollar Island.
Looking back from the tip of Sand Dollar Island.  You can see the condos and resorts in the far distance.  It was quite a walk, but well worth it.  Everyone in the family ended up finding atleast one sand dollar at some point throughout the week.
Finally arriving back with the sun setting
We were all pooped!
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him."
Isaiah 30:18

A Day in the Pool

After a couple of days in the hot Florida beach sun, we decided a day spent at the house playing in the pool was in order.  Can you see the rainbow over the pool?
The kids were out swimming bright and early.  You can see that the sun only covers half the pool.

All the kids loved the pool, from the youngest to the oldest.
First up, our Luke, who floated through the week in his baby ring.  He splashed and chewed on diving sticks, but never cried once in the water.  The biggest challenge of the week was trying to sneak his adorable bucket hat (a birthday gift from Aunt Cara) on his head without him noticing so that he would keep it on.  Once he felt that hat on his head, he immediately threw it into the water!

Caroline won the award for most progress in the water this week.  She went from walking around the pool, to swimming in her baby ring, to swimming with Daddy, to swimming all alone with her water wings.  She got so brave that she even tried once or twice to swim to the deep end of the pool.  She absolutely loved the water!
First of all, you have to have all the necessary equipment to be ready to swim!  Aren't these goggles hilarious?

tube swimming
swimming with Daddy

on her own and one other note....the pacifier actually helped her not get water in her mouth.  Without it, she always had her mouth open and was swallowing water.
Really proud of herself and having the time of her life.
Kate is always ready to pose for a picture.

Andrew was busy all week jumping into the pool.

Matt found a new passion in diving and bringing up the sticks Brett bought for them.
He was swimming very well this year and loved being in the deep end.
Emily also spent the week jumping and diving for the diving sticks.  She mastered the underwater handstand and worked hard to learn to dive and jump without having to plug her nose.  She almost has it figured out!

Jake and Nick spent the week perfecting their cannon balls, playing ball tag, and racing each other.  Everything at this age turns into a competition!
One of our favorite activities was night swimming.  After a long walk on the beach, it was a much appreciated reward to relax in the pool water. 
"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing steams."
Isaiah 44:3-4