Sunday, February 21, 2021

Our Birthday Club!


Honestly, these ladies are such a blessing!

We have celebrated each other since our five older kids were little!
They all have children that "age wise" intermingle with our big 5 kids.
Now, they are adults, married or getting married, working, 
being adults and many have children!

We share grandchildren joys and marvel over the adorable photos!
We remember stories of when our children were young!
We share the heartache of ailing and aging parents.
And then together, mourn their passing.
We laugh often, cry sometimes
and love each other well!

Because of COVID
we celebrated in the safety of the fresh air!

Carol made a backyard winter wonderland
for us to celebrate in!
Complete with ice luminaries, party lights, snow table,
fire pit, cozy chairs with cushions and fresh tulips!

Okay, I'll admit it...
I was skeptical!
I wanted to celebrate inside...
I was wrong!
It was a perfect evening to celebrate outside and
we did it right before the deep freeze came to MN!

This is the birthday girl!
She is a blast and quite possibly the one 
that got this group together!
We'll call her the instigator!

We all bundled up, brought extra blankets 
and a thermos for a beverage!

I told you there were REAL tulips!

Homemade chili and corn bread was served!
They are all empty nesters 
that are also 
amazing cooks, welcoming hostesses, creative in every way,
funny comedians and lovely singers!
I am a bit of an anomaly within the group 
but still very accepted and loved!
I don't like to cook.
I can't sing.
I have a "few" children still at home. (LOL)

Happy Birthday dear friend!

You look marvelous and warm!

The ladies wrote a song to the tune of
"I Saw Her Standing There"!
I believe one of the original Beatles joined us
(photo above)!

And we ALL love to take photos!
It was a perfect magical evening!
And now we are trying to make a 
winter wonderland
fire pit area, in our yard!
Hoping it works!

We all need friends. 
We need the love and support that they provide.
We need an opportunity to be validated and
a chance to give back what they give to us.

I am very thankful for this lovely group of ladies!
I hope that you also have friends 
that you can laugh, cry and love with!
HUGS and God's Blessing to you!!

Welcome to the Junior High Cafeteria!

Formally known...
as our home!

The noise level has increased
a bit since our kiddos are now 12-20 yrs old!

Yes, things have changed drastically at our house!

We used to have sweet little kiddos with matching outfits
running around the house!
(Those were the days my friend,
we thought they'd never end....)
Okay, I'll stop!

And then, 
in the blink of an eye,
they all became tweens, 
teens and young adults!

And now we live in the junior high / high school cafeteria...
-where everyone is ALWAYS hungry!
-and everyone speaks VERY loudly
-and food is found in places it shouldn't be
and we often hear,
it wasn't me!

We find articles of clothes, that supposedly don't belong to anyone?
Shoes that were put away but actually... are not put away?
Skirmishes that were started by "not me"?
A definite certainty of being right... when they're not!
Balled up sock being thrown across a room,
usually at someone!
Chocolate chips that disappear when 
no. one. has eaten them!

It's a mysterious world we live in!
The house of never ending tweens and teens!

The adjustment took me/us awhile 
to get used to...

For me, parenting littles is easier.
Everything is just more simple,
less complicated.
Joys are easily shared, laughter is sweet, 
motives are simpler.
And they just plan love 
their Mommy and Daddy!

Now there is bargaining,
Jokes that they get... 
that I wish they didn't get

The bachelor on TV!
Yep, they(the teens not the tweens)
 found it and like it...
So guess what we are doing on Monday nights!

It's the way it is, 
We are watching it and critiquing the potential 
Mrs. Matt James, 
Hoping he finds the right woman to be his wife!
And we are trying notice to good qualities in the contestants 
and point out those that are not so virtuous...

Luke is our youngest at
12 yrs old!
He came home at three yrs. 1 month...
I literally heard God's voice and He said-
"He is your son."
It would take many mountains to be moved
in order for him to be our son...
Including a risky open heart surgery in Israel...
2 years later we brought him home!

For now,
Mia(19 yrs) is really thankful to be back home!
She is working on getting her drivers license!
She has saved up money and will buy her own car!
We are so proud of her hard work, determination
kindness and helpfulness in the home!
She has really matured beautifully
plus she is a lot of FUN!
Her siblings love and adore her!

Ava, Melissa, Abby and Jenny (not pictured)
will all be taking their permit test soon!
They are all 15 yrs old

Our neighbors are awesome!
A herd of 8 deer!

Life with our 16 at home...
is a blessing!

I bet you are wondering...
How on earth, does it work?

It works because these kids
are amazing!
We all work together!
They are kind, caring, thoughtful,
hard working, considerate, fun, accepting
and so much more!

Happy 15th Birthday Abby!

Empathy is crucially important
and it is a characteristic that they have!
They do not blame others for their life journey...
We are thankful that they are not stuck on the blame game
and finding fault with others, 
but instead move forward positively!
They ARE competitive and always give it there all
they are not competitive with each other.
Instead they cheer each other on!
They embrace the life
and work with the talents they have.

They have kind hearts and 
they are considerate of one another.
It makes our home a lovely place to be!

Sometimes Hubby and I look at each other 
and are amazed a God goodness!

Oreo Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory!


Abby and Luke came home together in December 2011!
They are very much brother and sister and have a special bond
like Ava and Sam, who also came home together!

Abby is amazing!
One of us, takes her to her transfusion every 3 weeks
and it's a delightful day!
We have to arm wrestle to see who gets to go!
Thank you Children's MN Hemoc!

Truly, tweens and teens aren't so bad!
They are a lot of fun
despite the noise level!

The poor UPS driver didn't get enough momentum 
to get up the hill on our driveway.
He started to slide backwards and turn sideways!
It was quite the surprise as we turned 
into the driveway with Sylvia the Sprinter van!
Thank goodness I didn't get to far down 
or we would have slid into him!
Sylvia is not so great in the snow and on the ice...

Blessings to you!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Welcoming 2021!

We are entering 2021
with cautious optimism!
(Pictures are from the first half of January 2021)

2020 was a challenging year for us and
 for everyone else...

We are ALL (even the tired parents) drinking apple juice 
and 7 up in plastic champagne glasses!
Every other year...
we have been able to watch the ball drop in central park,
celebrate the New Year with hats and noise makers!
Then we would quietly send everyone off to bed at 11:05...
snicker, snicker!
But not this year, they caught on to our secret trick!
This time we all stayed up past midnight!

Frozen fog on the trees, aka frost! I see it as "stunning" but 
if you don't like winter you may describe it differently...

We entered 2020 with grand resolutions and 
claims that it would be our 
Yep, we honestly said that!

God's artwork takes on many different forms!

We are very positive people and 
always try to look on the bright side.
BUT... 2020...
even though,
 we saw God's many blessings scattered throughout the year,
you. were. NOT. our. best. year. ever....

We love playing games in the evening!
PIT and Sequence are our current favorites!
Tell us which games are your family favorites! 

Movie night often migrates to the master bedroom!
It was the dogs turn this time!
The cats have had a lot of opportunities!
 We are getting more lenient in our old age!
Usually they are not invited on the bed!
But they are soooo cute
we couldn't help ourselves!

Early in January the kids went to Homeschool Ski Day!
It was Joey, Jake and Luke's first time skiing in MN!
They previously skied one time in Colorado.

The kids had a blast!
We had two snowboarders and 10 skiers!

Some of the most difficult parts of 2020 were-

STOP right there!

(Madeline, Abby and Ava... how did they get so good at selfies?
Definitely a talent, Hubby and I will never have!)

I actually wrote a list of the things
 I'd like to forget about from 2020
BUT, no need... "you all" lived it...
You already know.

(Madeline, Jake Melissa and Mia)

you also had many many blessings!
Such as-
Great family time!
Plenty of homeschooling time!
Weekly family movie nights!
A slower pace!
Hubby works from home now!

Mia was so happy to get the day off from work and go skiing with her sibs!

(Blessings continued)
A new commitment to exercise!
(Hubby and I walked over 400 miles and the kids ran and walked with us, often!)
Church at home! 
(Although we can't wait to get back to church in person 
wo masks and when we can have full communion!)
Distance Doctor visits (no travel time)!

I love when they send me ski photos!
I was home with the non skiers but am hoping to go next time!

(Blessings continued!)
Time to read good books!
Time to play family games together!
Home projects getting done!
A true appreciation for other humans 
and how much we miss conversations with friends, real life hugs, etc!
And so much more...

Yep! The hubster and I flew to Virginia and 
celebrated a 5th birthday with someone VERY SPECIAL!

Incase you wondering???
Throughout the post (here and there)
I am having two conversations/ two topics
going on at the same time!
Multi tasking is my middle name!

2021 is a New Year and
there is every reason to have joy and hope!

We are pushing the reset button and 
embracing whatever it will look like!

Truly, our spirits were instantly lifted!
It is such precious and cherished time
with our grands!

A Nana and an Omi with their beautiful granddaughters!
We are both, so blessed!

A friend party just wasn't going to happen at this point...
so the Grandmas' were invited to a special
American Girl Doll party!

It was such a thrill for this Nana to
be at the party and share in the excitement!

Both girls got their first American Girl doll
and the birthday girl received extra outfits!

What a good deal for the big sister
(and the birthday girl sister)!

Emily chose Joss and Ali chose
a look like me doll!
Ali's doll has blue eyes and blonde layered hair!

Happy 5th Birthday sweet girl!

Such a precious birthday girl!
How can she be 5 yrs old already!?!

We all love this puppy sooooo much!
She is the sweetest dog!
Coco is one year old now!

The three boys had a great day together 
and once the ladies were all home
we continued the celebration!

January has already been a good month for us!
Thankful, just plain thankful!

I'm sorry... That is not her glass of wine!
It belongs to an adult in the near vicinity!

As you can see the chosen dinner
was mac and cheese, chicken fingers and blueberries!

The adults may or may not have eaten that same dinner...
 Use your imagination!
We enjoyed our meal after the kiddos went to bed!

And then it was time for the gifts!
Birthdays are so much fun,
especially from the eyes of a child!

Emily was making a you tube on her 
latest science experiment!

Joss was right there with her!

It's hard work being a Papa!

Jim and I celebrated our 39th Anniversary this month!
I'd say that is truly an accomplishment!

We are so thankful for the blessing and challenges
that we have faced throughout the 39 years.
We are so grateful to God!
For HIS steadfast love, peace and protection!

The two of us celebrated a night early!

Because it just so happened that
three wonderful couples were available to come over
on our actual anniversary!

It was such a blessing to be together!
These two spent Christmas in Moab!

We missed them but the enjoyed their time away! 
And had a peaceful,
beautiful, quiet Christmas together!

We played PIT later in the evening
and Kelly won, Billy came in second!

All of our middles/littles were home too!
But we rarely get a pick of the bigs together
so we made it a priority!

Minnesota goodbye's tend to be long!

Lots of hugging, high fives, reiterating goodbye 
and making potential plans to see each other again!

We are so thankful that they all adore each other!

Truly such a blessing!
The photos speak for themselves!

Along with the crowd that gathers 
when people/ family come and go!

We hope and pray that you 
have a healthy, happy and prosperous