Tharrrr She......

Goes!  Jake and I went out the other evening and because I applied some make-up, asked him to take a picture.  I aren't too whalish yet, though the tummy is round.  We'll save the sarcasm of "Blows" for a much, much later post...

Silas the Bulldozing Machine!

For Christmas Silas received this very cute bulldozer.  When Jake first picked it out at Target, I thought to myself, "what a waste, where will we put this orange piece of plastic? Why not buy something more practical like corduroys and a button up shirt..."  Then I recalled how last year, when I shopped without Jake, I was completely practical and didn't buy Silas anything because he was well, a 6 month old and he'll sleep through opening presents anyway.  So I kept my thoughts to myself and told my man to pick out what he thought Silas would most enjoy.  Jake was right on and every morning after breakfast, this bulldozer thingy is the first thing my littlest man goes for.  He even rifles through the hat basket and digs out a hat to wear with it.  Sometimes it's one of the girls hats, so we were particularly proud when he picked out the camo hat the other day to wear.  He sure is cute.... just like his old man.

Colby Turned 12

This Sunday past, our oldest child turned 12.  Jake and I can hardly believe we have had the privilege of parenting for some 12 years now.  Colby Brett is such a joy to us and we are so blessed for the time God has allotted us with him.  We proudly sang to him and blessed him with many prayers this past Sunday.  What a joy! Thank you Lord for this sweet Mercy shown to us in the form of our oldest son.


Done and Done

Dad, we took a day off yesterday and then hit it hard this morning.  Everything went smooth today until we re-installed the alternator.  One of the mounting bolts sheared off at the tip in the block; yikes!  Colby held the flashlight while I painstakingly backed the tip out with needle nose pliers.  Turns out the bolt was Grade 5 and most likely a manufacturer defect - very smooth shear failure.  We found some Grade 8 automotive bolts at a local hardware store and then finished the alternator.  A little help from my neighborhood Portuguese mechanic (just back from the War) for a quick QA and ATAF, and then a test run. Believe it or not, it runs.  And, so far, no more leak.


Christmas "Golds"

Merry Christmas family and friends!  We had a wonderful day of celebration, gifts, games and rest today.  Pictured is everyone (minus Silas who was in bed) with their "gold" Christmas gift (I am holding Christie's-hence her joyful expression).  I, in particular, finally received the coveted purple Cabela's button-up shirt.  Needless to say, I am still riveting with excitement as I am planning on engaging the Commandant on having this piece added to the Marine Corps blue-dress repertoire... Dad, we'll send it in the mail soon.  

Love you all, and hope you had a Christ-exalting Christmas!


Dad - update on coolant leak

We started on the water pump replacement, so here are a few pictures to keep you updated. Wish you were here to help us; we are having a lot of fun.  

Got the old pump out and compared it to the new one.  I think the old pump was the original with markings of "GM21".  Probably reason enough to put in a new one.  Obvious problem is that the new pump is black.

Nothing that a little spray paint can't solve.  Chevy Orange is just the thing to make the cowboys and indians stand up.

Now that's much better.  Letting it dry over night and then we'll start the hard part...trying to get humpty-dumpty back together again.



Checked in with the doc yesterday and had an ultrasound.  I've put on 3 more pounds.... Jake says it's all the Baklava I've been consuming.  
The ultrasound was wonderful and everything appears well.  We told the tech we want to be surprised by the gender, so she didn't tell us.  She was excited that only, "God and I know."  The due date was right on target so no changes there. 


The Holly Ball

In an earlier post I mentioned Cotillion, the club that Colby's a part of. Last night was the big ball. He had learned his dances for this particular event. He had such a blast! He and his buddy, who rode to the ball with us, were very nervous. So nervous in fact, that when we pulled up I thought for a moment they forget how to open a car door as there was suddenly some very heavy nervous breathing going on and whispers of "oh man, I'm nervous." They had such cute conversation about the dances and discussed whether or not they should talk to the ladies whom they danced with. Colby's buddy said, "yeah, we can pay them a compliment" and Colby chimed in and said, "like, I really like the way you put up your hair." Back and forth their conversations went and they verbally reviewed how to do each dance. It was awesome, raw in fact. Because they were genuinely nervous they'd forget the moves, they weren't at all having discussions about inappropriate things... you all know full well I'm sure.
After the ball Colby was dropped off and had such funny stories. He danced most of the night and there were games. One of the games was to hold a snowball using your and your partners forehead while dancing quickly to the Foxtrot. He dropped the ball on the first one and the second time did so well, he and his partner won. He told me there weren't enough prizes for the boys so the girls left with them.
He also went into description of the different kids there. From the, "little girl who was like maybe 9" who wore lipstick. She had it smeared all over her little face and inevitable she asked Colby's buddy to dance with her. Colby told me his buddy, "he just didn't know what to think of it." I laughed so hard at this... Then there was the little boy who came in a lovely green tie, except that he tried to make it into a bow tie and the thing drooped really low on one side and was touching his shirt. He told me, "the green was so shiny it caught every light in the room." More laughter! Oh, it was such fun for the boys and it was a hump to get over and now Colby can't wait for the next ball.
Above he's tying his shoes for the big night and the picture to the right, I told Colby that he was looking real good as I took it. He replied with, "I know."
Please for a moment more tolerate me in this. He had 5 compliments on how he tied his tie. He had to tie it alone because Jake's away. He learned how to tie it this past Sunday with some help from his Pastor. It looks pretty sharp, huh?


There's only one way...

... to eat a cinnamon roll. Put the whole thing in your mitt and take a big bite.

Don't forget to smile for mom :). I could just kiss that sweet cream cheese frosting right off his cute little face!

Maybe I should shop more often.

Because when I came home today this is what was outside my front door, neatly packaged of course. Thank you Dad! Oh the meals that we will enjoy from them...


Santa is dead and other things

At dinner 2 nights ago, or maybe it was 3. Louisa was talking about Santa Claus. It's curious because we aren't big Santa pushers. Louisa continues on about Santa's visiting peoples chimneys, bringing good girls and boys gifts, etc. She asks me if I believe in Santa and before we could have the talk about it, Benjamin chimes in and says, "Louisa, Santa is dead." He then continues eating dinner as usual. Louisa of course says, "Nooo he is not." She asked me if it were true and I told her that yes, the real Santa is dead now. She proceeds on with her meal and than stops and says, "It is okay, I will believe in you now mommy." What a sweetheart.



May I just say how excited I am about the baby? It's a very curious thing that more people aren't inquisitive about my pregnancy. Almost as if because this is our seventh child that we aren't equally as thrilled as we were with the 1st or 2nd. We are looking forward to meeting this child! Maybaby is no less a sweet delightful gift from God than any of our other children are.

Perhaps this is too preachy, but people tend to be grossed out by me or shocked and even afraid to congratulate me. Instead there have been many who've turned up there nose. I am so thankful for the delight of my sweet friends in response to Maybaby! I am blessed indeed.



You may not have heard of it before. The only reason it rang a bell with me is our friends/former CO's son was involved in this League. Cotillion is a program of Dance and Social Etiquette. Colby was invited to be a part of the New Bern Junior Cotillion League and with his interest, Jake and I decided we would invest and indulge him. Let me just say that he had his first class today and loved it. He was a bit sweaty palmed and nervous when I dropped him off. He had to come in slacks, white shirt, tie, blazer and dress shoes. He learned the Cha-Cha, Fox Trot, and the Shag. He learned how to treat a lady in a formal situation and formal table manners. Colby came home beaming and taught his sister, Jackie, and I how to do these three dances. Most of the children involved in the league are public schoolers. He and 3 other friends are homeschooled, so they are among the minority.
Jake and I are very excited that our Squirrel skinning, baseball hitting, grammar hating son will have rules of etiquette, and know how to dance as well. He told me that at his next class he will learn the Electric Slide... Now he's talking!


Okay, so maybe it was gas

You know, I was pretty sure I was feeling Maybaby kick a lot in the beginning... I am thinking it was gas, as I typically do deal with it when I'm prego. Maybaby is kicking a lot these days and it's really sweet, right in the waste-band of my trunks. I'm growing a bit larger and will post a picture of myself sometime... well maybe I will.

Home Again!

Made it home safe and sound. Nearly hydroplaned once, and only ran over 1 curb in my desperate attempt to do a u-turn because we had passed the long awaited McDonald's. Nobody peed their pants, though there was the one proclamation from way back in the van, "But mom, I've been holding it since yesterday!" Oh the art of exaggeration...


Vreeginia, Here We Come

Tomorrow morning, we're dropping off the dog/rabbit and heading north to Vreeginia as Lou and Libby would say. My dear friend from Oki lives there and because both our husbands are away, the mice will play. The kids are thrilled and so are the mommies. Here's a picture of us from a long time ago... it was the day before we moved away from Japan and back stateside.

That's Lib in there.


And tomorrow, it's the girl's turn...

Tonight I decided to get after the boys room. It was a mess, smelled like a coat from the lost and found, and well I've been avoiding this task for some time. So, off to work we went. There were all kinds of things to be thrown away. We filled one trash bag to the rim. The room was in such an uproar that in the middle of the clean-up Salt came in and yacked on the floor. I took it as a sign of a mother's duty put off for far too long. Unfortunately, in the midst of our clean up, I was made aware that my dear sons have a larger idol worship problem than I thought. There were all kinds of things that if I even breathed near, it sent them into a frenzy of, "please don't throw that away, it's so special to me." What's so special about a piece of paper with some strange code, about a cardboard box torn at the edges, about a pile of miniature rocks that all resemble an old man's teeth? These things are far from my understanding, but really I can relate. Didn't I just flip out when one of the Little's grabbed my knitting project and tried to undo it? Really, I've got an idol worship problem too. Oh for the love of the world and the things here. It's shameful to think of what makes me stumble. I'm so pleased for my Redeemer, for the Holy Spirit to make me aware of my sins. Oops, I didn't mean to turn this into an self-examining post.

We finished the room with great success. Soon Silas and his crib will be moving in. The boys are thrilled and I know Silas will love it too. I often find the little guy hanging out in there. He plays with there toys, tries to climb on there beds, or just sits in the middle of the floor and sucks his thumb while he holds his blankie.


Dr. Appt.

I checked in with Dr. Tinga today and I've gained 8 pounds in 4 weeks... I've been using self control while I eat, so I am thinking that I shouldn't have any guilt right?
We listened to the heartbeat as well. Hovering right around 141 bpm.

Just in case we haven't told you all. Lord willing, we are going to be surprised and not find out the sex of the baby. We're also keeping our names secret... Even from family, so please don't tempt me with Joseph Schmidt Chocolates because I still won't tell!


Kids at the Tree Farm

Libby, just as cute as a button. She likes this tree, but will she get her way?

And sweet Louisa, she looks like a real farm girl, ehh?

And we topped off the day with a hay ride, well sort of, it was a tractor pulling a long bed trailer. One of the farm dogs had a strange fettish with the engine in the tractor and kept trying to "sick it."


Yogurt's Finale

It's a bit fuzzy as the hour was early when I took it. It looked very clear to me at the moment.

My yogurt stayed in the cooler probably 6 hours last night and when I took it out was still a bit soft. It always finishes thickening in the refrigerator during the night.
Stir in ideas we use:
homemade preserves
agave nectar
homemade granola
fresh fruit of course
You can also make yogurt smoothies. It's been entirely too cold to consume a cold drink for breakfast, so that will wait until summer. Just add fruit from the freezer and a bit of sweetener and you should be set.


Fun Pictures from Last Week

DIY Yogurt Baby!

List of Ingrediets:
1 Gallon Milk (The more fat, the creamier the Yogurt)
1 Cup Plain Yogurt with live cultures
5 Large Mason Jars
1 Pot
1 Thermometer
1 Cooler
1 whisk
Kitchen Sink

Step 2: Pour milk in Pan and heat to 180 degrees.

Keep a whisk close by, because you don't want your milk to burn in the pot.
When milk is nearly to temp. fill up your kitchen sink with cold water.

Once milk is hot submerge pot in water to rapidly cool the milk. It needs to cool down to 130 degrees (give or take a couple of degrees.)

Step 3:
Put your 1 cup of yogurt in a bowl and add some of the cooled milk to it. Whisk it good.

Step 4:
Pour your yogurt into the big pot and thoroughly combine with the whisk. The yogurt cultures need to be scattered throughout the pot, other wise you'll have yogurt with some thick parts and other very runny parts. (Experience Talking)

Step 5:

This is fun, fill up those clean, glass mason jars with your yogurt/milk mixture. Seal them and put in your cooler.

Step 6:

Fill up your cooler, right to the neck of the jar with hot water. The key here is to have water that is between the temperatures of 122-130 degrees. Hot tap water is typically fine and on the cold days turn on the teapot and add some of that as well. Seal your cooler and leave it alone for 3-5 hours.

I'll post a picture tonight or tomorrow of the yogurt done.


Sweet Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving was oh so sweet. With plenty of grace abounding, we broke bread, sipped wine, feasted on beef, pies, and the like. We were well aware of God's Mercy to us and delighted in the company of one another.

The children had various readings for us, from lovely, well thought up poems, to books and internet articles on the founding President's and Thanksgivings initial intent. We capped it off with Jake reading to us from William Bradford's Account of the first Thanksgiving.

Jake served the family by washing the dishes after dinner. I took a picture, because to me a well cleaned up kitchen is as lovely as a well put together meal!

On Stewardship

The dear family from church whom I mentioned in an earlier post did in fact say goodbye to their son. He passed away from them and into the arms of our Redeemer last Tuesday evening. His father held him as he passed and the family and nurses sang hymns and praises to God during the time. Jake and I are so sad for their loss. Yet, we continue to marvel as the Holy Spirit is upholding this dear husband and wife in a most supernatural way.
We are reminded again of our temporary rolls as stewards over our own children. Each day is another merciful reminder of our sweet time with them. May we not be consumed with the things of this world, but rather the souls of those around us and entrusted to us.

Soli Deo Gloria
Glory to God alone


Happy Thanksgiving!

We love you all so much!  Rejoice with your families and friends over the glory of God, His mercy, His unfailing love to His people, His sacrifice in giving us His Son.   We are so not worthy of such a sacrifice, and yet he still gave.

Truly, there is so much to give thanks for.  


Bathing Babies

Alright, I know that kids in the bath tub are only cute to their parents, right?  Well, be patient because I think that the grandparents will really enjoy these and maybe a few of our friends....

In our home it's just so easy to put a bunch of kids in the bath... kind of like putting a bunch of veggies in the pot right??  Maybe not so much.  The little girls think it's fun to have Silas in the tub with them, because he acts like a wild man.  Silas is always the last to get out and he really enjoys his alone time at the end; he runs back and forth, back and forth.  I was able to get him on his last jaunt.

Please pay no attention to the color of that bath water... What do you expect when you put veggies in the pot... err kids in the bath?

Did somebody say Chowda?

Alright ladies get out your big pot and turn on the stove.  I made a New England Fish Chowder for dinner last night and it was hailed as, "Excellent."

Feeds 8 Reynolds with soup left for lunch the following day for yours truly:)

4 slices of thick bacon~cut up into bits
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Med-Large Onions
1/2-3/4 tsp. Thyme
2 bay leaves
6-7 small-medium potatoes

White coldwater fish such as Haddock (I got 2 packages from Walmart for 4.47 each)  So if you half this meal it's not quite the splurge.

2 cups of cream or a can of evaporated milk.

Go ahead and make some french bread too, because this broth is awesome!!

Heat your pan of med-low and toss in the bacon.  Cook and stir til it's golden brown, add the butter, the onions chopped, thyme, bay leaves to the pot with the bacon and its fat (don't even think about getting rid of it) and saute` stirring occasionally until the onions are soft, but not brown.
Add the potatoes and enough water to cover them up.  Turn up the heat and cook those taters til they are easily pierced and released by a fork.  Reduce heat to low and season generously with freshly ground salt and pepper.  Add the fish fillets and gently cook until white throughout, this won't take long, maybe 10 minutes, mine cooked just a bit longer because they were still partially frozen.  Lastly add cream, gently stirring in and season with more salt and pepper to taste..

This was so good, Colby just looked over my shoulder and said, "Are you posting that recipe, it's so good!"


Being Sober Minded

As you all know, Colby is our first born child. He is a sweet reminder to us of God's Sovereingty through sin, redemption, and the joys of marriage; not to mention parenting. His due date was on Christmas Day and he came to us 3 days later, December 28.

There is a family at our church who like us was expecting their first born child, a son, on Christmas Day. We just celebrated him this weekend with a baby shower. God called this child from his mother's womb a bit early, on Monday in fact. She gave birth to a beautiful little boy. However, he isn't able to breath on his own and his kidneys will never function. They are cysts and this dear little child is going to die soon. The doctor's have given an estimate of 3-7 days. I have wept over and over again for these dear people. God has seen them through in a most remarkable way as they haven't turned from Him, nor lost faith. Rather, their testimony has been so great that the doctors and nurses are marveling at them, wondering how they are able to carry on without fear and anger.

God's Sovereignty is something that never ceases to amaze me. In all things, no matter how awesome or how sad, He is there and has designed it. I am sobered and humbled that we've spent such sweet time with our own children. Sometimes forgetting how dear they are and how I don't deserve this time with them.

Please pray for this couple to continue to adorn the gospel and to have Faith. Please pray especially for the mom as she is going through a painful recovery. Thank you sweet family and friends.


What Christie Didn't Show You from the Ball...

That is, "How Christie got her groove back" (and her friend Melia too), by participating in that particular line-dance which I could never quite figure out.  I was proud of the wives for having such a good time, yet prudent and gospel-adorning in their behavior.  From juggling homeshool, dinner on the stove, chasing our little sharp toothed pet white bunny with the steam vac, to remembering how to have fun  and dance the night away, I am pretty impressed by the diversity and wide life-spectrum of my little woman.  Good medicine, I think, for the excellent housewife of 115 Mag Place.


Croquet or Go Inside!

What to do on a lazy day off?  Play croquet of course!  Jake had an extra long weekend, last weekend that is, due to the Veteran's Day holiday.  He and the kids became seriously involved in croquet match.  I say serious, because any event that involves competition at our home can become very serious.  Particularly as the kids have grown a touch older, and their respective strength and abilities have increased.  A simple game tends to evolve into a championship event, and there will only be one champion, no ties, no rainouts, no do-overs, unless you're Lou Lou who manages to get 4 swings to everyone else's 1 swing...  During the match I insisted on a picture, I told the family to be serious at first, you know, everyone smile and say cheese for the camera, and then the old, okay just be yourself... Here's what transpired.  Even Salt got into it!

Happy Birthday Marines!

We celebrated the birthday of the Marine Corps last night by going to a Ball.  We had such an enjoyable time.  Jake was stunning in his Evening Field Dress Suit.  We took along our very dear friends the Thomases.  For Jake and I, it was the most enjoyable ball we've attended.  The company of good friends really made the entire evening such a treat.  I told Jake that I wouldn't leave until they played the Electric Slide, so he requested it for me and I got to dance.  It was fun!  

The D.J. also played our song and we danced together as well.  What a treat to slow dance with my man.  This was the first ball we've celebrated in 5 years together.  It was such a special occasion to us.    


Happy Veterans Day!

To those who serve, to those who have served, and to those who have stood behind those who have served.


Big News

Or not so big, just my belly.  It turns out the big lump in my stomach is mostly residue from previous babies.... We are about 12 1/2 weeks along and my due date is May 19.  This is great news because Jake, more than likely, will be home from Iraq.  What a relief to us.  Thank you all for your prayers and thoughtfulness toward us!  



So, I just have to say that I am so excited for my sonogram tomorrow.  You'd think by now that that sort of thing would be growing old and I'd tire of it.  Of course not!  To see a little life kicking around inside of the body is so amazing.  Knowing that this little person is an eternal being, created for the Glory of God.  It's an absolute miracle.  

My curiosity is also getting the best of me at how far along I really am.  The baby moves every day.  Reminds me of being pregnant with Libby.  She moved around all the time.  So much in fact that when she was born there was a "true knot" in the umbilical cord.  At some point she had managed to form a loop, swim through it and secure a, "true knot."  The midwife said she had only seen a couple of those.  Now that we know Libby it's far from being unbelievable.  She's as busy as a bee so to speak.  



He is so active right now.  I had forgotten how busy little boys can be.  He is very particular these days.  For example, he can't stand footed pajamas.  It drives him bonkers as soon as I start putting them on.  He turns up his little pug nose and kicks and has a fit.  Also, he can't stand the feel of grass on his feet.  It's become mine and Jake's most favorite way to trap him.  If we sit him on the lawn, he'll stay exactly where we put him, holding up his little bare feet.  He just doesn't like how the grass feels to him, he's got some kind of sensory thing going on.  He will just stay put until somebody comes to rescue him.  It's so cute.  He's throwing great fits now as well.  He got upset at church on Sunday and threw his shoe ACROSS the aisle and it hit one of our senior members in the ankle.  I was humiliated.  So obviously the moral of the story is that I need a lot more sanctification based on my humiliated response...  Silas on the other hand might just be ready for the paddle!


Libby and Louisa

Lately, at least since the weather has turned cool, you will find me downstairs during school hours.  The kids follow me of course and we turn to the smells and delights of the kitchen.  Everyone parks around the table with their work and Louisa moves front and center to the island.  There we do math and phonics.  She is so funny and still loves learning.

Libby on the other hand prefers to wear these lovely protective ear covers.  She enjoys tuning out what I am saying.  No really, I was milling flour and Colby brought these out so he didn't have to hear the noise of my milling machine.  Libby just thought she was cuter with them on.


May the Farm Be With You


Because I'm strange and don't use coupons... and because my boys love Star Wars



Well, I dropped off Jake and Colby at the curb of the Coastal Carolina Airport in New Bern this morning around 5:55.  Kind of early for a Saturday.  Of the three of us I seemed to be the one lacking motivation.  Colby was comical in his packing and Jake and I were reminded we don't fly often.  Colby was wearing a Survival Fanny Pack, complete with water bottles, books, games, and a knives.  Oh yes, knives.  He asked Jake if he was bringing his knife.  Jake said, woe, no, you can't board the plan with a knife.  Colby is old enough that authorities would be unmerciful if he tried to smuggle that thing on board.  

B.R.V.  That's the new Acronym for the Big Red Van

Also, I went to the Doctor yesterday.  He is estimating that I am somewhere around 14-16 weeks pregnant.  Jake and I are somewhat relieved because we will deliver the baby here, or I will.  He will most likely still be in Iraq when the bundle gets here.  The doctor I saw was a breath of fresh air.  He was pleased to see that there are people who love large families and he also gave me a most excellent response to the baby.  Saying that I don't deserve this child, the baby is a gift.  I affirmed his statement and told him "I know what I deserve."  It is hell. Without question.  Only the redemption of Christ has enabled me to receive anything good.  

Next Friday I will have an ultrasound to firm up his thoughts..


Out of the Mouth of Louisa..

Louisa is such a joy to teach.  There are times however that my response to her isn't joyful, but more frustrated.  Other times there's so much joy that I end up laughing with such pleasure.   For example when the year began we had to establish our morning Math Meeting.  This meant some adjustments, mainly for me as I realized there's a lot she just hadn't been taught, like counting to 100.  It's funny all the things kids learn from us, but how often do we count to 100 out loud for our kids to hear?  Exactly, we only count when necessary.  Typically we set the timer.  So, as she's counting, she's going v-e-r-y slow!  I told her to count faster, she countered with, "Ihhh don'ttttt talkkkk faaaast.  Thisssssss isssss howwwwww IIIII talkkkkk."  So cute.  She just wanted me to know that she talks slow and thoughtfully.  Which really is her nature.  She's a sweet little girl.  
This week I was able to teach her how to read time to the hour.  We were talking about the hour hand and the minute hand.  I asked her to tell me the difference between the two.  She quickly became saddened and said, "Ohh, the pour minute hand is shorter than the hour hand.  He's just a little one."  What a sweetie to take pity on the minute hand.
Then just yesterday.  She asked me when I was going to practice work.  I asked her what she meant and she told me that she wants me to go to work so that her daddy can stay home and teach her.  Such a humbling statement from a little thing.... I told her that I was the stay home teacher and that daddy works so hard to take care of us.  I know she doesn't get it yet... hopefully someday she will.  
Ahh a quick redemption, as I type this she said, "You are such a sweet mommy."  


Well, It's Ours

Jake and I are very excited and so is a certain young man, (I'm sure he will be once he knows), who will be flying to Minneapolis to pick it up and drive the wagon home.  
Check out the back.  The kids think it's great that they have an option of 4 rows to sit in.

Quite Possibly Our New Wagon

It's a 15 passenger diesel engine Hot Rod..  Well, maybe not Hot Rod so much.  But, we're excited.  It's a super buy and the mileage is low, something like 35000.  It's an 04 Ford.  Jake is negotiating today.  I'm blogging about it instead of calling him and harassing him about it.


Once again, I'm amazed at how much I don't know

There are a few words in my database of which I am immediately convulsed to hear.  There are several different subtitles to this master list, so the one which I will zero in on is the Toddler/Adult Contagious Infections.  Stomach Flu taking the cake and Conjunctivitis right behind it.  Conjunctivitis is what I'm going to discuss.  Colby was the first child to get it and I guess that would be the obvious thing to say since he is the first born, but really we've only had a few nasty bouts of Pink Eye.  I think after Colby that Ben had it once and then Louisa.  So we skipped Jackie and Libby and wouldn't you know that Silas came down with the infection this week.  I was uncertain whether or not he really had it, but time told it to be true as his eye oozed green and transformed into a crusty green monster.  The eye which was infected already doesn't drain properly and the poor lad is looking at a dilation of sorts and some probing to make his duct the proper size, but this isn't the purpose of the post.  So, let me get to the point.  I am somewhat of a naturalist, earth nut, or what did our preacher allude to?  Oh yes, Neo Earth Mother.  Anyway I did some online research and saw a great tip which had enthusiastic reviews from other N.E.M.'s.  Are you ready?  Neosporin.  So, it's not organic essential oils, but it's a great antiseptic and something we keep on hand.  
The instructions were to wash the eye of it's gunk with a rinsed warm soft washcloth, after that smear between your finger and thumb a small amount of the gel.  Use one finger to smear the gel over and under the eye and across the eyelashes and using the other finger repeat with the second eye.  (Even if the second eye isn't infected it's best to treat it as pink eye has no trouble working and oozing it's way over.)  
Result:  Within 2 hours I've seen a marked difference.  I'm so excited.  


Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Avocado (C. Steel this is for you)

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 yellow onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 plus 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro
1 -14 oz. can drained diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. cumin
4 cups chicken stock
1 skinless boneless whole chicken breast (1/2 lb.)
salt and peppa'
4 corn tortillas stale and dry
1 avocado pitted, peeled, and diced
1/4 cup monterey jack cheese shredded.
2 teaspoons lime juice

In frying pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Add onion, minced garlic, 2 tsp. cilantro and saute' until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
In a blender or with a hand held puree' thingy combine the sauteed, veggie mix and tomatoes and process until smooth.
In same frying pan over med-high heat, warm another tablespoon of the oil.  Add the tomato mixture and cumin.  Cook stirring frequently, until thickened and darkened, 5-6 minutes.
Transfer to you large saucepan over med-low heat and add the stock.  Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened, about 20 min. Add chicken strips and simmer until they are just opaque, 4-5 min longer.  Season to taste with salt and peppa!

While soup is cooking, cut the tortillas in half and slice each half into thin strips.  In a frying pan over med-high heat, warm the 1/2 cup veg. oil.  Drop a strip in the oil, if it sizzles your ready.  Drop handfuls of the strips into the oil and fry, turning with tongs, until crisp and browned, about 3 minutes.  Transfer strips to a paper towel covered plate to drain.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls.  Layer strips, cilantro, avocado, cheese, and lime juice evenly over bowls and eat!

I made this for the family.  The kids raved and Jake told me it was, "Fabulous!"  
I nearly tripled it and there was just enough left for one bowl the next day...


Alright, Enough of the Squirrels!

We are doing great.  The kids are keeping me from idleness and the house needs constant sterilizing!  Here's a few tidbits of what's been going on:

1. Louisa's getting ready to read her first book.  I say read and am prepared for a good 2 hours of sounding out... Mom, do you remember "Pan and the Mad Man?"
2. Silas is walking almost running everywhere.  He chases me down crying and is cutting about 6 teeth right now.  He's a real grump.
3. Silas just had his 15 month well-child appt.  He is 10-25% for weight, 25-50% for height, and get this, his head is whopping 90%.  All of these percents are in relation to other kids his age.  So, his head is 90% bigger than most other boys his age.  He's a smarty.
4. Benjamin announced that when he grows up he's going to become a dancer.
5. Jake and I have been test driving vans, buses, limousines, etc.  I think we're leaning toward the van.
6. I am nauseated most days and have a whopper of a toothache.  I'll see the Dentist tomorrow about that.
7.  Colby is still shooting, though is forbidden to shoot any more squirrels as it's just not right to accumulate squirrel skins. 
8. Jackie has 3 parts in the upcoming Nutcracker performance.  She's very excited and is working hard during her pre-pointe class... if she does well she'll get her Pointe shoes in the Spring.
9. Libby, oh Libby, she still has 2 crazy eyes, wild hair, and is the funniest little girl to hang around with.  She thinks any foul smell or sight is because of her dad...  
10. Jake is busy instructing other pilots.  He works long hours at the office and is taking a class every Tuesday Night.  He is also preparing for the upcoming deployment, actually we all are.

So that's that.  We are the Reynolds, through and through!


There's More than One Way to a Skin a Squirrel??

On days like this one, when the mornings are crisp and the afternoons warm, young men are given over to their imaginations and have the potential for adventures of any sort. Today was no different than any one of those days.   Colby has been watching the squirrels in the morning religiously.  Colby and Salt that is.  They both stare out the window, one frothing at the mouth, the other drooling.  One wants breakfast, the other to pick up his beloved .177 caliber pellet BB gun.  By now, you know which is which.  Well, this morning Colby loaded his gun and lurked around the backyard taking aim at a couple of unlucky squirrels.  One of the squirrels was shot and wounded.  Colby's jealous partner, Salt,
looked on.  The squirrel ran back over the fence and unfortunately, I fear the size of a squirrels head is indicative of the size of their brain, the squirrel came back and with a fatal blow, lost his head, at least part of it, as it turned out there was an ear that had been penetrated by a BB.  I didn't witness the event, thank the Lord, because I fear Colby's fun would have ended after shooting the squirrel the first time.  Colby came rushing upstairs, breathless with fear and excitement.  Fear over shooting a critter to its death, and excitement over shooting a critter to its death...  He wanted to call his friend Mick and report the good news.  He also wanted to skin it and keep its tail.  I told him no sir, no way, don't talk to me anymore about this poor squirrel.  Then I recanted and told him to call his dad at work.                                   
Jake called back not long after and let's just say the following moments were spent in utter excitement as Colby collected his knife, his homeschooling buddy down the road, a bucket of water, and some paper towels.  On close look at the squirrel, the boys discovered that the poor thing had an acorn in its mouth, don't be mistaken they weren't calling it poor thing, that's me. They had a blast skinning the thing and it drove the dog half mad, as he raced in circles inside the house madly barking as the boys laughed and played with squirrel guts outside.  Yuck!  The rest my friends is history, literally.