16 Candles

Colby turned 16 yesterday. What a special day for the young man. We celebrated him in typical Reynolds form. You all know what that means; lots of noise, lots of messes, lots of food and cake, and the dog shredding the wrapping paper. Any differences were that this time we were hyped up because of the extremely goofy, Justin Beiber wrapping paper. Poor Colby was once told he looked like Beiber and he recently made mention of that, so of course we played the antagonists and purchased the wrapping paper on clearance, because obviously no one purchased it full price during the Christmas rush. Colby played along well and laughed in spite of himself at our choice of wrap. Even Samuel and Silas got into the fun and were nailing his package with their bows and arrows. Salt took a particular delight in shredding the paper as well. 
For a moment, I thought that was Jake!

Samuel is armed and Beiber has nowhere to hide..
Before the cake cutting ceremony the kids danced around and Colby tried to chase down his favorite dance partner, but Hazel would only dance one song with him and ran off in typical 18 month fashion.
"No more dancing, Colby!"

Silas drew pictures of the Avengers for Colby. Silas thinks Colby is an Avenger.
Colby loved his presents and was blessed by all the siblings. He had a package from Sherlock Holmes, a telescope, 5 crisp one dollar bills, a check, and a card from a Great Grandmother. How blessed he was.
What a Smile.
We topped it all off with Cooks Illustrated best yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting and 16 candles.

All of these festivities were the Birthday Eve celebrations, on his day we cleaned out the van and hired a sitter for anyone in diapers or pull ups. The rest of us went off to the local Italian Restaurant and met up with some of Colby's friends. We chased our hearty meals down with a bit of Hobbit and called it a night!

Colby, we adore you and are your biggest fans. You are blessed beyond words and have been shown such grace and favor from our precious Lord. May your 16th year be filled with new adventures and opportunities to be chiseled and shaped into an excellent man of God. Happy Birthday!


Jake = Samuel...Samuel = Jake

Jake's folks sent us their old slide projector and all kinds of slides. John and Teresa, we've had the best time looking at pics of you guys and the great grandparents from back in the day. While we giggled at the clothing styles I must admit we were completely shocked by one small detail..

Samuel looks exactly like Jake did as a little boy. It was such a blessing to see where the gene pool for that boy had come from. In a couple of pictures Jake also was reminding us of Silas, mainly in his smile. Preciousness. I wish I could find a way to get the pictures on this blog. Oh well. Perhaps in the future. 

Thanks again for sharing.


Merry Christmas to All!

We made a pit-stop on the way to the beach back in November at an um.. pit stop or more accurately put a Rest Area. We rested there. NOT. There is no such thing as a REST area when you have a large romping family. Any "resting" actually occurs when we are safe in the van. If you don't believe what I'm saying then come with me for a quick review of what the average Rest Area detour looks like.

As soon as we pull into one of those so-called Rest Areas the panic begins. It never fails that we slip into a parking spot, slide open the van door and things start falling out. From some of the kids to various bouncing balls we didn't know we had with us to bits of trash being caught up by the wind, the chase then begins... Ahhh, and so does the sanctification. Inevitably, we catch the eye of many type of people. Some will start looking, others will stare, some just grimace at the sound of the huge, knock the hearing out of your eardrums, sound coming from our diesel engine, while others run and jump in their cars and speed away. Then there are those folks who say, "Hey we saw you driving on the road.. How many kids in your van?" Yah, that's our rest area experience for the first minute. Next comes actually getting kids split up into groups of:

  1. Who's gotta go
  2. Who's gonna have an accident if they don't go and...
  3. Who's already gone? :(
Yah, Jake and I split up the groups and tackle the issues. It never fails that loud, obnoxious comments about the condition of the rest area come bursting out of the lips of the babes. It's always quite mortifying. Not the mess, but the fact that my little ones are pointing it out in grim detail.

On more than one occasion, actually almost every occasion unless it's raining, I emerge from the toilet to find Jake and sons doing the Rest Area push ups. Chase that down with some jumping jacks, kids playing chase, somebody falling and scraping a knee and our dog dragging himself across the 'pet walk area' instead of actually walking and you get the picture of the Rest Area dysfunction's and the notion that we aren't resting.

I'm coming back to the topic of this entry right now. So, we made a stop at a Rest Area. At the Rest Areas in Va there are these lovely LOVE letters displayed. The kids of course needed to craw all over the things and touch every part of them. I whipped out the camera and tried to regain some order so we could get a LOVEly picture. Well, a very kind college student came up from behind and offered to take a picture of all of us. Mind you this was after the push ups, the division of groups, the dog wasn't there this time, and so on. So, we were ready to pile in the van and REST for real. The guy did great. I had a small fear that he was going to run off with Jake's Iphone, but he didn't. Instead he got this great shot and our Christmas card was birthed. Notice that Samuel is running, but at least he's accounted for. Thank you College student from William & Mary wherever you are.

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends!

As a disclaimer, my older children are very controlled and a HUGE help to us during these times of rest..


Chill Time.

A night or two ago, Jake and I were going to have a scrabble date, but he was exhausted and went to bed early. I too was tired, but didn't want to go to bed early. It seems that each day runs into the other so quickly that I rarely catch a break.  What, with homeschooling and cooking, with running kids around to orchestra, guitar, and ballet, with cleaning up the house and disciplining the kids, with planning time for just Jake and I to be together and preparing meals, with mountains of laundry and tickling the kids and listening to the kids and talking to the kids and crying because of my shortcomings with the kids... It often seems that one day never truly ends. It just blends into another and into another and into another. I love my job and my high calling in this family, yet when the opportunity to chill out knocks at my door. I welcome it with open arms. So that's what I did the other night when the house unexpectedly shut down at 8:45. I ended up opening the computer and reminiscing over pictures. Laughing at them and marveling at how the kids have changed so much, even in this current duty station. 

While looking at the pictures I was quickly reminded of the labors of the day and the things that I could be doing, like the laundry or scrubbing that shower (thanks JJ..). Then I decided I would be better off sitting and resting and by doing so I'd be more engaged and excited about hitting the next day running. 

I was reminded of this scripture:
Mark 6:31, "'And he (Jesus) said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat."
There are actually days that lunch is neglected til snack time or not eaten altogether. While my sweet mom was here visiting, she reminded me of the blessing to munch all the time. I'm making it my focus to eat more! After all, the little people keep me physically engaged. They are all over the place. 

I have to share about my sweet Hazey. I get so tickled by her. She reminds me of Yoda and Hobbits. There's a scene in Star Wars where Luke is discouraged because he's crash landed his ship into the belly of a planet and Yoda shows up. Yoda is digging through Luke's bag and is pulling things out throwing them every which way. Of course Luke is further exasperated by this and Yoda isn't bothered. He just keeps on checking stuff out and even eating some of it. Funny. Hazel is like that. She digs in my bathroom drawers and throws things in the trash that shouldn't go there, she puts my nail polish bottles in the toilet. She smears herself in Vaseline and destroys tubes of lipstick. She climbs up on the table and shreds important documents. When no one is paying attention she'll chew gum. She's funny. I chase her and save her constantly. She's my little wandering sheep right now. She'd get herself into all manner of trouble if I dare turn my head too long. She doesn't understand when I tell her no. She wants her way all the time. She's like a hobbit because she's so squat and hairy. 

Thinking of Hazel leads me to Samuel. The little lad is hilarious. His voice is like that of a muppets. Jim Hansen could seriously take it and develop a new muppet character from his chords and call him Sammy T. Jake and I are always so pleased to hear him speak; we can't help but smile and tune him in. Samuel has a very childlike understanding of his world. He expressed to me the other day that he thinks we pray before dinner so that our meal is cool enough. He doesn't quite grasp the idea of worship nor communion with the Father. If his meal is hot, he says, "need to pray!" Priceless. He is busy and sometimes a wee bit naughty during homeschool hours. He knows when I'm up to my elbows in reading and recitations with the kids because that's when the 'world of the littles' unfolds. He tries to bully Hazel around and she always reveals to us whats going on by her sudden shrill scream of "NO!" Not long after Samuel will start crying because she's pulled his hair. She does this frequently. She refuses to take any of his harassing. He's even gone so far as to tempt her to climb the ladder to Silas's bunkbed. Naughtiness. He then ditches her and comes and tattles on her.  Ahhh, what's a mom to do. 

I tell you, God has equipped me for all of this. I don't often know how I get everything accomplished. Oh, that's right, I DON'T get everything accomplished. I keep my appointments and the rest is chiseled away when I'm able.  
Proverbs 21:5 blesses me, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty." 
and this too:

Proverbs 14:1, "the wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down."
Alright, I'm all over the place with this post, but I can hear the baby Hobbit (thanks Maryn) aka Hazel stirring from her nap. I'll leave you with some pictures I was tickled to come upon during my thoughtful evening of chill time. I've been guilty of not taking pictures lately. Mainly because..... well, no excuse. I just haven't. 
She's angry with me. Flailing her arms around. 

Where'd the water all go, oh it's in the roll of TP. Thanks, Hazel.

Upside down hobbit baby. 

Yoga in action.
Okay, next post I'll try to stay on topic.


I am allowed to this!

After all, I've been married to the dear man for 16 years.. Not only does he woo our hearts, charge after all the hard things so we don't have to and look after our souls...

He is now... drum roll please, Lieutenant Colonel select Reynolds.  We probably won't pin on for a looooong time. We have been giving much Thanks to God. It was a tough board and we are truly humble.

Give a shout out to my dear man!


Something Happened Today.

It's a big deal something too. Colby Brett aced his Driver's Permit Test and is now able to drive, with a capable adult in the passenger seat of course. He took his first 'big road drive' in the BRV. What better way to christen the lad then the pleasure of cruising in our family wagon.. Joke. He will remember the feel of driving the van for a long time. I still remember driving in my dad's big white van when I first got my own permit. My sweet mah sat in the passenger seat and patiently instructed me, but oh I so wanted to learn to drive her fire red jeep with the hard top, but no.. My parents sold it before giving me the chance ;(. It's okay, I've moved on to bigger, better, brighter things.. things like a van with a kicking diesel engine and let's not forget the suburban with the after market kick side something or other!! Ah, the pleasure of living large.. Oops, I'm sorry this post is about Colby. Enjoy the little clip. We are so proud of him!


Apple Pickin'

Well, all I can think is thank God apples grow in the USA. There is no label, "Made in China." We've committed as a family to a 'Made in the USA' Christmas. It's really hard finding things made in the USA. I'm thankful for ETSY. Such a great online store with many treasures to be found and most of them made in the USA.

Okay, I'm not going to rant. I'm going to talk about Apple Pickin' with my favorite little people. Just because some may be bigger than me doesn't mean they're not little to me... (Ahem, Colby). The kids and I packed up the BRV a couple of weeks ago to set out on our Virginia tradition of apple picking. We were a bit late in getting out for apple picking season and you can see in the pictures that the apples were rotting off the trees. The boys thought this was perfect. They could nail the trees and each other with all of the rotten fruit. Think of it as a friendly game of 'dodge apple.' 
The troops set out to fill their bags with apples.
We paired up according to... well, I'm not sure what that according to was, all I know is there was a bit of quarreling and lots of laughter to be heard in the orchard.
The girls worked pretty well together. Due to the pervasive rot, finding firm, pest-free apples proved to be a chore. The girls had the bag with the most.

Little man did well. He and Benjamin shared a partnership. Sweet boys.

Hazel spent most of the time in the baby carrier on my back. She was loud and ferocious. Many attempts to rip the earrings from my ears were thwarted. She doesn't realize how many times I've endured the same maltreatment from her predecessors. 

There was some crying in the orchard. 

There was also some peeing in the orchard. Normally I wouldn't betray my kids with a picture of the sort, but I was laughing so hard, because clearly Silas hadn't put the belt through his loops that morning. Thus, the drag across his rear. Funny boy.

More Crying.

And of course, lots of apple eating.
Apple Picking was fun. Before Sandy came through we whipped out two beautiful, crusty, flaky, sweet apple pies from the earnings of that day. Thank you, Lord that we have apples growing practically in our own back yard!


Oh, the election.

I'm still reeling from the great fiasco election. One might think it was the great depression judging by the response of many this past Wednesday. While I haven't given into despairing, I will say that I've felt discouraged. For the first time in my adult life, I feel as though I'm truly in the minority. I'm left stupified trying to discern why so many would have voted for Obama. He believes in murder, he believes in sodomy, he believes in thievery. My words are true. Check his records yourself. Search the face of God and see how many tiny bodies have been vacuum sucked out of their mothers womb's by the hands of butchers far before their time. Ask the rich who can't keep their pay; who have had to work hard and feed thousands of lazy, unwilling, but able to work men. Ask the sodomite who has gleefully joined his fellow man in an act of so called, "marriage."

Sure, the sodomite was born with a lust for his fellow man-neighbor. So was every man born with a lust for every good looking woman to step out on the street, so was the woman for every strong, good-looking man. Does this make it right? Heck no! Is the, "un-wanted" baby rightfully murdered? Heck no! All because his parents had a lust for one another and threw self-control to the wind. Let's kill this little soul that is growing. Let's not battle the fear that says our life is about to change. Let's not battle the sin that says, "lusting after this man is wrong." Let's not battle the sin that says, "she'll never know." Obama stands for the celebration and legalizing of sin. He stands for all the things I don't. He willingly protects those who want to romp around in their filth and heave it upon others. He even proclaimed that he wouldn't want his own daughters living with "the mistake" of an unwanted pregnancy. Sure, Mr. Obama, you can kiss your grandchildren goodbye. You may never know the pleasure of kissing the small of their necks, the laugh of the fat, well fed belly, the curl of the soft downy hair nor the joining of daughter and future son-in-law. That's right, because according to him, his daughters may marry their best girl friend and if they happen to have sex they can also murder their children. Through his actions he has represented our future in a very frightening way. I pray he would realize the sting of what his presidency will bring if it continues in the same path for the next 4 years.

Then again, I come down from this cloud of frustration and anger and recognize that Christ is on His throne. He's orchestrated all of History and Tuesday's election is history. He is giving us, America, the consequence of our sins. We are like Babylon. We are wicked and our judgement is plain. My prayer is that God would be merciful to us. My prayer is one of repentance for not speaking for Christ and the Kingdom as frequently as I should have. May I be bold to tell the truth. I don't want to fear man. I don't want to hit my grave with regret.

Lord, please help me.


Marine Corps Marathon 10K Race Complete

Back in the summer sometime, Jake came home from work and announced that we would be running the 10K together come this fall. We had been whispering about it, but he made it official. We started taking jogs up to our cul-de-sac when we were able. Normally I would just walk back. It really hurt me to run. I kept thinking to myself, "There's no way I can run 6 miles. I can't jog a half mile without feeling terrible." Well we trained and slowly I was able to increase to a mile of running. Before I knew it, I was at a mile and a half and on one particular day I broke 2 miles! This is a HUGE deal for me, perhaps if I frame this to you in a different light... 

My mother was reminding me the other day of how my brother used to make fun of me when I ran; because I ran like a girl. Not only that, but even in school I'd be the kid that couldn't run a lap around the field in PE because I'd get terrible side aches. In high school I tried to run for the track team... I ended up being offered the job as Track Manager.. Obviously I didn't run well and as it turned out I was good with a stop watch. So in my high school yearbook pictures when I finally got my credit for athletics, I had put it off for my senior year out of deep fear, there I am dressed in my normal clothes. Everyone else is in a track suit and looking very athletic and fit while I'm wearing a big yellow happy face t-shirt and cut-off denim shorts. Athletics just wasn't my thing. I could knock your socks off with my acting skills and always took home medals for that, but in no way was I inclined nor any good in the physical activity realm. 

Anyway back to the training. I broke 2 miles and eventually got to 3 miles and was stuck there for sometime. Before I knew it we'd hit the 8 week out date and that's where the official 10K training schedule was to pick up. Together with Jake, Colby and Jackie, I set out to train for the MCM 10K. We had fun training together. It was hard. The kids would run and think they couldn't finish. I'd run and think terrible thoughts of jumping into a ditch hoping to hurt myself bad enough that I wouldn't have to run the 10K. Those were vain thoughts though and I'd finish my run. Eventually the training became very exciting and I would go for the run and really enjoy it. I was seeing some of the hail damage left on my thighs from all of my pregnancies fade away. It was really awesome. Running was fun. There I admit to the truth. Yes, I still run like a girl, but I've come to terms with the fact that I am a girl. Seeing my kids get over their own trepidation about running helped me with my own. In the end we were all finishers at the race. I ran my race in 1:09:12.  My pace was 11:13 miles. I would have liked to have run my miles in 10:30. So, maybe I have a goal for next year. As a matter of fact, Jake, Colby and I are talking about running a 1/2 marathon together in the Spring. I don't know what the Spring will bring, but maybe just maybe I'll train with my men.

Here are my sweet treasures. They ran hard. Jake is a charger and leads us well. Thanks for giving us a goal to aim for, darling! We had fun and got fit along the way. And look! I got my first athletic medal!!



Beach Trip and Man World

We had the awesome blessing of going to the beach last weekend. We packed up the BRV and strapped numerous floating devices to it inside and out. Jake was a wise man and volunteered for duty on Thursday. Duty shifts are 24 hours without much sleep which meant an early departure from work on Friday am. We were able to hit the road sometime after lunch time. We splurged on 9-chick-fil-a sandwiches, 1-three strip chicken and 5 medium fries. We took a stop at Man World along the way. The other, less brilliant name for Man-World, is Bass Pro-Shop. After suffering in the parking lot watching all manner of men and gear parade in and out of the World for an hour, Jake and our young-man crew re-emerged and we hit the road again. Thank God! 

We arrived at Dam Neck around 6 something.. I think. We were vacationing and the clock was optional. Dam Neck is a Marine Base. I bet you couldn't guess that. Our cottage was right on the water. I kidd you not. $150 per night and we were there. On the beach. Free access to one of our favorite places on earth, a beach! We were so pleased. The cottage was equipped with a kitchen, a full living room with a fire place, 3 bedrooms and a huge bathroom, plus laundry room. Crazy goodness. 

I am going to try to explain to you the debacle my cameras have put me in. The one on my iphone has completely fried. Colby dismantled the phone and tried to fix it for me. Then my nice camera is freezing up and refusing to focus. I can manual focus. But, for some reason the camera is now absorbing all kinds of light if I use it outside. So the pictures I took were white.. like lightening. I had to add the dark filter to even recognize who was in my shots. Some of the photos look kind of neat, but all in all they are a sad reminder to me that a camera purchase is lurking in the future. 
 I used my long lens to take this of Jake. You can see how close our stairs to the water were. 
 Our cottage had an outdoor shower.. all for us!
 That's the cottage behind Jackie. Not the best shot, but you can see how nice it looked.
 There's my stud! He had so much fun riding waves. I was so pleased to see him so excited!
 Some of my sweet babies. 
 Seriously. I nearly split my bad rib rolling at the lump of coal in Libby's swimsuit. The swimsuit is one that Jackie wore and Louisa wore and you get the point. It's old. Libby managed to gather some sand back there. Funny.
 This is where the camera goes wild. Cool effects, but not what I was hoping for.
 Hey Haze!
 She loved the sand and the freedom I gave her exploring the beach.
 Nothing like a slow dance with daddy on the deck.
 Rocking chairs to nap in. We were in an earthly paradise for sure.

 I kept wondering why Jake was wearing a shirt with the plural of Van on it. Was he sending me a message? Is there more than one red van in my future? What does this mean? 
 This is what Hazel really looks like. She's not a black and white cartoon.
My sweet and crazy boys. The youngest and oldest. I am so blessed to have such troops in my home!

The beach was fun. Man World required a second visit on our way home. This time I went in to check out the store myself. I couldn't believe the things I saw in the store. It was like a zoo. Creatures mounted all over the place. Weapons abounded. Men up and down the aisle. The girls and I were wandering around trying to find something pink. We discovered a bottle of spray that was called.. Deer Sexual Attractant. Brings the Buck to you!. We were super weirded out.  We then fled and found a small jewelry stand. Intentionally placed near the check out counter. You know, for the man who has filled his buggy with weapons and odd sprays, the man who's hoping to not have to return all of those odd man items once he gets home. He can easily spin the jewelry stand and choose a pink stone bracelet to add to his cart and all will be well with his sweet little lady. She won't question his purchase, she won't care what that odd smell is, no she will be swooning over her new pink bracelet!

Man World... Strange World.


Organic is too expensive?

For years I've wanted to go organic with our food. However, the price of organic food versus the price of having a large family hindered my choices. Every now and then I'll grab something organic and think, hey! we're not eating chemicals. How delightful. But then, another month will pass by and I'll have the same problem as the month before.. the grocery budget doesn't add up. Rats!

Well, thanks be to God for giving us the opportunity to enjoy some organic meat. We have been dining on organic meat stew, organic italian food, organic steak, organic breakfast sausage, organic italian sausage, organic ground round, etc. All of this glorious organic food is from the blessed hands of my archer husband. He shot and killed a buck last Friday night. Don't get squeamish... the same method of skinning and stripping the buck is used on our black and white mooing creature friends all across america. The buck was free of course.. Take into consideration that deer are free range, they eat grass and produce from flower beds.. Seriously, it's awesome. We are learning so much about venison and how it's processed. Jake hauled in 36 pounds of venison once the cleaning of the buck was done. We have loved it. What's also interesting is that deer are extremely lean. So lean that it's best to process the meat with some added fat.

Anyway. We are thankful for the venison. It's organic and it's free... mostly. The costs of the equipment; bow, arrow, license, tree stand, will be absorbed as Jake shoots more game. Such fun. We are hoping to get a turkey as well. Though they are difficult to find. You have to dress like a turkey and make mating sounds hoping a wild turkey will come to you. Sounds kind of intimidating to me. Joking. You don't have to dress like a turkey but you do have to make calls and the turkeys do come to you. Very strange.


Libby is 7!

On September 30, 2005, God handed us our 5th child, a girl. She has been such a delight to us ever since her simple, sweet birth in our home 7 years ago. She was born in the quiet of the evening on a Friday, during date night. The Yankees and Red Sox were playing ball and Jake was enjoying a beer watching the ball players go at their sport. I hadn't been feeling well that evening and was feeling rather emotional.. we now know this is a clear indicator that I could be in labor. Anyway, I had been watching the game with Jake and decided I needed a bath. Not to bore anyone with labor details, Libby was born about 15 minutes later. She was born so peacefully and sweetly that both Jake and I forgot to note the time. When the midwife arrived about 30 minutes later, again not sure of the time, she asked what time Libby had been born. We looked at the clock and it was 12:25ish am. We laughed and thought, well we don't know. Is she a September 30th baby or an October 1st baby. We decided we would say September 30th. There you have it, Libby Lee's sweet day of birth. 

Here we are 7 years plus 7 days later because I'm late blogging. We had a grand time celebrating Libby. 

Here is sweet pea with her pinata, notice how she chose an ass. This was particularly funny to us because she's such a princess type girl at heart. 

It didn't take but 3 swings for her to completely decapitate the poor little pinata. 

Notice that even though it's Libby's birthday, the sin of everyone's heart dominated and she was the one who was shoved out of the,  "grab all the candy you can fit in your pockets fest."
 After recovering from the disappointment of not getting to the goods first, Libby's siblings graciously shared their treasure trove of sugar with her. We headed inside and ate a fantastic meal of ricotta and proscioutto stuffed shells, salad, and french bread. We dove into present opening after the dishes were cleaned up. Upon opening the first gift, Libby squealed with immense delight and ran to Jake's arms.
She is still a perfect fit.

Hazel figured out a way to climb the table and had a blast thrashing around in the wrapping paper.

Not to steal the birthday post from Libby, but I couldn't help but post this picture. Colby charmingly swept little miss Cruz off her feet and then stuffed her in a box. She wasn't pleased.
 The birthday cake Libby chose was a white one with a ballet pink shade of buttercream frosting.
She was pleased and so was Sally Northpole (Libby's bitty baby. Pole has been affectionately added to North by those in Libby's family who love to tease her about Sally's last name.)

Yup, one blow and those candles were out. We delight that her lungs fill so well with air. After all the the asthma issues she's had, it's a welcome site to see.
Libby Lee, we love you so much. You are a delight to every person in the Reynolds home. You are adored by many more outside our home too. May you grow to laugh as much as you do now. May you always sweep the crowd with that precious humor of yours. We love how God fearfully knit you together. I am so thankful that your daddy was the first person to hold you. Happy, happy birthday little one!


This blog, neglected again.

The blog may be neglected, but the family is not. We are splendidly busy. School is in session. Jake is busy with work. Long hours, long days, long dinners to catch up everyone with what was missed. These are sweet times. I think I've said it before, but we are so thankful. Thankful for this day, this time, these faces that look us in the eyes every morning ready to absorb what we tell them, ready to face the world in their own due time.

We have had so many friends enduring such terrible, difficult things lately. We are humbled that our days are peaceful thus far. I admit that I fear the time that the Lord would bring trials our way. I love things how they are, but confess I know that these times are fleeting. So, I'm going to make the most of them while I have them.

Colby starts his job Sunday. There was a snafu with scheduling and he's missing church. Not good. We will have that corrected this week. Colby is enjoying his school year and has decided to team up with the Air Force upon graduation from high school. We will forgive him for not choosing the Marines.. Just Joking! We are proud of him. He's so determined and has his eyes set on the F-35. He's running frequently and boastfully whizzes past Jake when they run. Calling him names such as, "old man.." eeeehh.

Jackie is bowing the viola (is that even a phrase?) and has started back up with the ballet. We were inept and she's had a year and a half off. She's thrilled to be back in it. We are proud of her. I was chuckling at Jackie this week. She was so happy that she only needed to run 2.5 miles for her training. She's come a long way since backing out of a 1 mile run. Way to go, sweet thang!

Benjamin is cool. We are so thankful and humble still after his report from the Doctor. He's become the pull-up king. Jake put out a prize of $50 for 10 dead hangs, Marine Corps style of course, and Benjamin succeeded. I wish I could do just one. Benjamin is now owner of a few relic baseball cards thanks to the prize money.

Louisa is a darling. She's learning her violin and is taking ballet. She is starting to find her way around the kitchen as well. The sweet gal chose the recipe for Coffee House Scones from the Joy of Baking webpage. She has mastered the recipe and will be moving onto something else a little more challenging for her next kitchen creation.

Libby is also in ballet and let me tell you; she loves it! She's a sweet little girl. Her birthday is this weekend. She just lost her front tooth. Such a cute little face to see with that gaping hole in her mouth. School is coming along well for her and she is loving doing her math meetings with Silas.

Speaking of Silas, math meetings make his day. He's learning his letters and numbers. One of the favorite parts of my day is to pour my coffee and sit down beside him while he works on his number and letters. Such a sweet little boy.

Samuel is too much fun. He loves legos and trains right now. He has to keep his precious things in his firm grasp otherwise Hazel runs off with them. He is potty trained now thanks to his love of trains. Has the, "POO POO CHOO CHOO" been to your house lately? :)

Hazel is our little baby. She is so sweet. She runs around the house creating all manner of mischief. She has so much hair. I have to use bobby pins or, "Barbie Pins" as Libby would call them, to keep the hair out of her eyes. She wakes up every morning with wild Hobbit hair.. Such a sweet little pee. She has lots of words she's fumbling around with.

I'm fine. Still drinking coffee, still eating chocolate. Some things never change.


Benjamin Adrenal Update.. Final Edition

We are so humble at the kindness of our Lord. The MRI disk was examined by several experts and Techs from the  Children's Hospital of Richmond. They all concluded that his Adrenal Gland is completely normal and no action should be taken. We are humbly done. Thank you for praying for us. We were comforted by the prayers of the Saints. I cried at the good news. Thank you again.

Much Love!


Ben's Appt.

Thanks for praying. The doctor we saw today also declared he is, "not an expert" in the field of adrenal glands. He took our MRI cd (please don't lose this doctor..) and will hand carry it to Richmond. Tomorrow he will hand it to the MRI tech at the Children's Hospital to be read. Depending on what the Tech sees we will either have more testing done or be done. done. done. We want to be done, but also don't want the doctor to miss something potentially dangerous to Benjamin's health. Please pray for wisdom, clarity and assurance of mind for that Tech tomorrow.

Thanks you so much. We love you all and appreciate all the sweet encouragements you give us. What a joy to live (write, scribble, jot..) among God's people!


The Brain, The Brain!

Benjamin and Jake went to Richmond on Friday and met with the Brain Doctor. It was a good visit. We learned that Ben has a brain abnormality, but it is nothing of great concern and it is a beautiful uniqueness in how our God has designed our Ben. He has a Chiara 1 Malformation. Basically where most peoples brain rounds out above the spinal column, Benjamin's brain comes to a triangular point. This could explain away his headaches. It is nothing of grave concern and the Doctor said that Ben probably shouldn't play any extreme contact sports like Football. Otherwise, his brain is normal and as it should be. We are thankful. The adrenal gland appointment is on Monday at 10 am. If you think of us, please pray for wisdom for me. We don't want to undergo unnecessary and potentially harmful tests for Benjamin if we don't need to.


One Week Down!

We homeschooled again this week. We have been anticipating another year of school all Summer. We put it off so that we could start at the official end of Summer. So, we waited for the Labor Day weekend to come. Came it did and we lounged and played and ate and made homemade strawberry ice cream with the strawberries that we picked at the beginning of Summer. It was sweet.. both the ice cream and the Labor Day. We didn't labor much, only a few chores including mounds of laundry and grass clipping, but even that took a small portion of what seemed to be an extraordinarily long day. Then we went to bed and Tuesday was here. It came early and school started with the usual blast of shock and awe. God was kind in all of it, as He always is. He sent us gusts of rain and without a desire to play outside we sat at our table and hammered away at our new year of subjects and studies. Silas started Kindergarten, Libby 1st grade, Louisa 4th grade, Benjamin 6th grade, Jackie 8th grade and Colby 10th grade. What a glorious week. I didn't yell. I did get agitated about a couple of minor things, but even then the Lord allowed me to see clearly what was really at hand.

Also, Colby was offered a job! He's going to work the fall season at a local plantation. He gets to wear overalls and a red shirt. We can't wait. He wants to open a checking account and have a debit card. Fun times ahead for our first born. We are so proud. I'll put some pictures below of our family photo shoot in Texas this Summer. Our heartiest thanks to Barnett Photography in Longview.


Benjamin Follow-up

Thank you for praying for us! Unfortunately the Ultrasound Tech was unable to see Benjamin's adrenal gland on the left side. That's the one there is concern over. Benjamin's orthopedic surgeon is no longer comfortable dealing with this issue, so we are being referred to a Pediatric Surgeon. They specialize in that type of thing and will direct us in what type of further testing we should have done. That appointment is September 10th. Again, we are not worried. Please pray for us to remain at ease about all of this. We thank you so much for loving on us through your prayers.



Please Pray for Benjamin. He has recently been diagnosed with Scoliosis. His curve is only 12 degrees, but it does give him daily pain. The reason we request prayer is because during his MRI to diagnose the curve in his spine and to check for other concerns regarding his frequent headaches the Tech noticed his adrenal gland is enlarged. He will have an ultrasound of his abdomen tomorrow morning. If there is any concern from this Tech we will then have to have further testing for the young man. Those tests would include a CT Scan which involves high doses of radiation. The side effects of the CT Scan could be more harmful then an enlarged adrenal gland.

We trust Benjamin in the hands of our God. Benjamin is fashioned masterfully by God himself. However, during these times of concern we have been granted the gift of prayer, by God through Christ and the Holy Spirit, to aid us from anxieties and all manner of fear and worry. God will do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask. His best will for our lives is what we desire. Be it pain or not.