Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Our Champion

Yes folks it's true. He won the championship. All in a day's work. He won the champagne too. His fan club was thrilled. They didn't know he even played, but they loved that he won. In fact, they don't even know what Whirly Ball is or what an incredibly big important deal it is in this country, how fierce the competition is... (What...you didn't know this?)

Yeah read it and weep people...

This is why Microsoft has a bunch of happy employees. They're all slaving away at Whirly Ball.

I took this picture because I IMMENSELY respect this fact about my husband. No, not the Whirlyball championship...although that is pretty sexy I admit... but I never... repeat NEVER have to beg and plead with him to change diapers. He just does it. He just takes the initiative and does it. There are EVER so many things about him that I respect...that make him "an apple tree among the trees of the forest". Tonight he sensed my not-so-gracious mood and suggested I have a night out to Starbucks or something. I felt more like staying home and getting some school/meal planning and blogging done, so that's where I find myself now. He ground and brewed my Starbucks and I can't tell you how the sounds of that coffee grinder ministered to my heart while sitting here having my time. I love you hon. And I respect you IMMENSELY. --especially in your Whirlyball shirt....

So I ask you: Is this the face of an Angel??? ... Or hardened Criminal???
Well, as I've learned from watching plenty of America's funniest home videos, sometimes things are just more fun to watch BACKWARDS.
So I will let you unravel the events shortly after Brian arrived home from work... Here, is the angel with a soaked towel and a very innocent face...
And here is his baby sister getting her first swimming lesson on the kitchen floor....

Here is the panic and mayhem as we discovered inches of water on our hardwoods...
Here is baby sister again, soaked, crusty booger nosed and all....
and here.... is the hardened criminal...weapon still in hand.
(Don't you love the irritation on Gemma's face?) Having the kitchen flooded was a little more unfortunate today than just any ole day because we were having the window to the back kitchen door fixed and it was a might chilly (thus, the booger nose). Below is the beautiful yet in dire need of repair, leaded glass window we have all looked at for 2 years. Apparently this door was from an old tavern in Snohomish. I love it and so wanted to keep it.

After Owen got over his initial anger that the guy took our window...
He had lots of fun playing peekaboo and chewing on his lemon.
Prince Henry and the Compass...
We made our own compass today. We magnetized a needle by rubbing it against a fridge magnet, then placed it on a circle of paper floating in a bowl of water. Tonight we will use our compass again to find the North Star.

Yesterday didn't go quite as smoothly. We set out to make the London Tower using a rice crispy treat recipe but with Cocoa Puffs.

I should've known at this point not to willingly encourage my children to plunge their hands into this cauldron of sin. I had the distinct feeling that I deserved this day. (Dad...can you ever forgive me for torturing you with the sticky carmel apples...the sticky maple syrup...the sticky everything???? And does it help to know that I have now inherited your phobia as punishment?) hee hee..
So yes, it was a mess. Our London tower was pathetic, the kids were kinda unimpressed...
And Bub pointed out very morbidly and matter of factly that it was "kinda like the acthual thstory of the Printhes in the cathle. They're gettin buried alive like the real boy printhes." Yes. Sadly the real young King Edward was locked up by his uncle Richard and he and his brother never found. A long time later they found their bones in a chest deep in the castle. Our little toy replicas of the boys fared about the same.
The Pen is Mightier than the ...Henkley kitchen knife.
Okay, I guess it was actually the sword, but I didn't have any handy dandy swords hanging around for display. During Hannah's phonics today I amped up her understanding of the power of being able to write well with this little illustration. I think it really made an impact. And no...we don't let our children play with knives! I wrote the saying on the board and then read from Hebrews 4:12 (like our Writing Road to Reading book suggested)...

For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

At this point I saw the following verses and had to continue reading, remembering them as some of my favorite.

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

On contemplating the power of the pen, (and for this matter...my BLOG being...even mightier than the sword?) I again am asking myself why I do this? What are the "thoughts and intentions of my heart" as I upload certain pictures and write certain things? Why? As busy as I am...What for? Creative outlet? To keep in touch with friends and relatives? I believe there is for all of us a battle and temptation of perfecting on our whatever web pages (myspace, facebook, blogs, etc..) the general temptation we humans have in this life to portray ourselves a certain way--because we wish we were that certain way, and want others to see us how we want to be... and not so much how we are.

What is not "open and laid bare" in all the many cute and fun-filled pictures in my blog (unlike when Owen is in the depths of depravity and I am happily snapping pictures), are the times when I myself am staring my own sinfulness in the face. The last thing I want then is a picture.

So today you see Hannah's powerful spelling lesson...and not my impatience and frequent complaining throughout this morning's struggle to get through. You see my funny loving husband in his Whirly Ball shirt and not the fact that I was on the phone when he arrived home and failed to greet him like he probably would've appreciated or the ungracious ways I spoke to him after dinner. You see my amusement over Owen's flooding of the kitchen, but never imagine the impatient way I snapped at him earlier for his incessant whining. And today wasn't even a bad day.

Why do I write this? Because the pen is mightier than the sword. I can write life giving truth or I can write about a million other things. The truth is that I don't want anyone for a second to come away from reading this blog thinking that for one second any of the good in my life has come from anyone but Christ, and anything but His grace--in spite of all my sin. His blessings of children, joy, learning, nature, humor, family, hot husband, a wonderful home, freedom to BE who He created me to be make me a truly joyful person. All of it though, undeserved gifts to a sinner who could be anywhere and doing anything if it wasn't for His grace.

If you are a struggling believer, a momma who feels like she's not living up, please don't look at my blog and think oh she must be specially gifted with a very strong faith to have all those kids and have the patience to teach them all because I can't handle my one or two! God has brought me here to this place. He has provided everything along the way, the very faith to set out on the journey. And yet I have still fallen and doubted Him. I have been where you are many times. God gives us the grace for today. He never said He would get us through tomorrow today.
If you are an unbeliever thinking I must be one of those "different gals", a little bit needy or feeble minded to need faith, and to feel such fulfillment while being so "tied down" in my career-less world of cocoa puffs, phonics and paper compasses, I would heartily tell you that I have simply never felt so free. Behind our fears often lie the greatest potential for joy. Since having toddlers, it became very clear to me that earthly parenting greatly mirrors what is happening in the spiritual realm. How much better God knows than I what will bring peace and happiness to me. Like a two year old, I screech and fuss for what I think I want and need... and I fear my own "noisy trains" and popping balloons because I can't control them. I don't know what the heck they are. Or why? By the sound of things, they might destroy me. I don't yet know that getting on the noisy train will take me to the great places my heavenly Father has in store.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet...without sin.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

How amazing it is that we are loved by a mighty God who "passes through the heavens" yet can sympathize with our weakness. He has been tempted in all the same things we struggle through and fail miserably in yet He, was without sin. None of us are hidden from His sight... comforting to those of us feeling alone, misunderstood and unappreciated...but maybe a little frightening to those of us who are trudging stubbornly on in whatever rebellion. All things are laid bare... all things? eek.

And yet, there it is again. Grace! GRACE held out to us. We can draw near with confidence to the Throne of GRACE so that we may receive MERCY and find grace to help in time of need...because of Him. Jesus Christ in whom we are made clean; all our debts paid. His perfect sacrifice completely covers over the worst of our sins. I don't know about you, but I want to "hold fast to that confession."

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I thank Thee, my Creator and Lord, that Thou hast given me this delight in the works of Thy hands. --Kepler

(Left to right: Silas, Elijah, Essie, Momma w/ Juliet in back-pack, Gemma, Hannah holding Owen)
My brilliant mother finally convinced me to do a four day school week and boy....she was right again. Today was so great knowing that I would have time tomorrow to undo the damage of all the fun before company comes on the weekend! We went on a fun fall walk today. I'm trying to get the kids and I out exercising more. After having WAY too much fun playing with my shadow it dawned on me to take a picture of us! Otherwise...
...this is the best I can do for a self portrait. My camera is broken and the batteries fall out if you I don't hold them in with incredible force while you take the picture. It's kinda like playing the F chord on the guitar. A little bit harrowing at first and a little too complicated for Gemma. Juliet was having way more fun than it appears here. (She's just ticked off at the camera.)
We had even more fun with the cat tails than with our shadows!
Owen didn't know what they were...but he knew that they were cool and he felt really cool once he was wielding one...
Si asked me to take a picture of his "meanest fighting face" Aw mann.....I'm just now noticing that he was wearing his nice new church pants on the walk....
That was fun Momma!
I figured out a couple years ago that I needed some reeeeally tiny vases for all those little (stemless!) precious flowers I get from my Littles. That's pronounced a bit Carol Burnette-ish by the way...inspired by her drunken rendition of Little Girls in which I do a pretty good rendition of. (Must be the red hair...) But anyway, Mothers out there, if you don't own a couple teeny vases just for this purpose, then you must somehow acquire them. I was talking with some other moms the other night about the value of our children's little gifts to us. Those little stemless, drooping dandelions deserve an honored place where you can see them and remember how loved you are. From the right perspective, there is nothing more beautiful. This sunny day there was such a flood of flowers coming in to melt my heart that all my cute little vases were overflowing.

I was taking this cute picture of the Littles arranging their work of art (imagine Essie singing in her sultriest vabrato) when something caught my eye beyond them outside the window! We love to watch the deer and today there were five big hungry ones just hanging out all day looking for our apples. Yeah, I'm pretty pleased with myself too...

Owen says "deer" and "doe"

Now...why do I love these next pictures just as deerly? uh heh heh...heh heh.... well because they capture boys/brothers/Kirkmans/country life so beautifully. As you saw earlier they were dressed in decent clothes (in fact, the church clothes that needed to be kept clean for...church.) while we walked. But only moments later I look out and notice Silas back in pajamas, wearing the jeans I have tried to toss about 17 times now, and for some reason...both of them in their hoods but unzipped from the jackets. Don't ask me why! Boys! With their guns just in reach, munching on the old bruised castaway apples and probably figuring out how they can build a zip line from the deck to the pool or something even more dangerous...
But... just loving each others company! And do you see the Littles in the background munching on raw rhubarb? They just love it. They always come in with pink cheeks and teeth. (Saves a lot on groceries)
I took this picture of Eli just when we sat down to do phonics. I guess my Mom called and I broke my rule and stood up to get the phone and while chatting was mindlessly running my fingers through this mop of unbearably cute blonde hair...
This was the aftermath... Owen has been absolutely terrorizing us all with his screeching and fussing. The poor guy needs to talk so bad that the last two days when laying him down for nap I have begged God to "give him words". So this morning he walks in the dining room during school wearing his Mickey mouse hat and holding the football Gramma bought him at Disneyland and said:
"Mom! Mee Mouse hah! Mee mouse bah! Uh Gamma uh mee mouse bah! Uh DEENEELAND!!! Meemuh? Meemuh? (nodding and pointing)...I want DEE NEE LAAAAND!!! I want MEE MOUSE GIN!"
And translation for those not fluent in toddler, it was: "Mom! Look at my mickey mouse hat and my mickey mouse ball that Gramma got me in Disneyland! Remember? Remember that place? I want Disneyland and mickey mouse again!
This is one of Gemma's favorite things in the world--holding her sleeping baby sister

Yesterday I walked into the kitchen to make lunch and Gemma had taken it upon herself to get it started.
And what, you ask could evoke such a look of disgust from the sweet Gemma Kirkman? The following is the excerpt from her Adventures of Marco Polo...In the rugged Yunnan mountains, Marco visited a hill tribe called the "Gold teeth People...The men are all gentlemen, according to their customs," Marco wrote. "They have no occupation but warfare, hunting, and falconry. All the work is done by the women." But when a baby was born, then the men gave their wives a break: "After one of the wives has given birth, she washes and swaddles the infant. Then her husband goes to bed with the baby by his side and lies in bed for forty days, while all his friends and relatives come to visit and entertain him. They do this, they say, because the woman has done her part by carrying the baby in her womb, and it's fair that the man should do his share." The tribes people believed that this practice helped establish a close bond between father and child. But while the man stayed in bed with the baby, receiving congratulations, his wife gets up and "does all the work of the house and waits upon her lord in bed."
Uh. Yeap. I'm with ya Gemma. Just another of the delights to thank my Creator and Lord for...that I am not one of the uh, "Gold teeth People."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oven Sabbatical Part II

One of Hannah's spelling words today was "fashion". The sample sentence said:
Troubles are often the tools God uses to fashion us for better things.
--Henry Beecher

I'll say! As posted earlier, my oven had taken a sabbatical and quit on us. This past Wednesday and $300 painful bucks later, my oven is fixed and that is the end of that. Right??? Huh uh.

Apparently even well rested ovens just can't handle 70 pounds of falling kid. (To protect the identity of the falling kid, I will simply refer to her as Falling kid.)

Falling kid was sent into the kitchen to retrieve some candles out of the cupboard above the oven. Instead of pulling up the stool like Falling kid has been trained to do, she decided to short cut it and just use the oven door handle as a little ledge. Falling kid has been told many times not to climb on cupboard doors, drawers, dishwasher doors, etc... but she failed to take heed. The oven door opened under the weight of her foot but was nice enough to catch her fall. (Ovens like people, are generally nicer after 2 month vacations). So although the oven is now working, the door is now bent too badly to close.

And then there was this...

While looking for my sock to go out to the shop, get the tools and take a whack at fixing the oven door, I discovered that one of my sons had used it for his latest creative project. (For those of you who recall the Armani hat incident, you probably know which kid, but to protect his identity I will refer to him as sock puppet kid). When I questioned Sock Puppet Kid about the state of my sock, he totally innocently replied "Oh I needed that for doin puppet shows! Wanna thit down and see my show?!" (big grin) Sock puppet kid is thankfully very cute and I'm not particularly attached to that sock, so yeah, I "dealt" with him and...bought a ticket to the show. It really was very entertaining (every time a new ruined sock joined the cast of characters.) It was like watching a great suspense thriller just waiting to see who was gonna get it next and which gruesome weapon was used in the carnage. (Markers, scissors, etc...)

The wind storm hit us a little harder than we're used to. A drooping gutter is now beyond repair, our cherry tree was split down the middle making it newly exciting to explore and climb on, but being that it's split down the middle, I don't think it will survive. And for the grand finale, our new gazebo that we bought this summer was lifted off it's anchor, turned upside down and sunk to the bottom of the pool!

And don't be deceived by this sweet little close up. This innocent looking angel was half way up the stairs when I caught her!

Baby Gang was having a little "slumber party" on the stairs! Ah!!!!!!No Owen, do not pick up the baby... and we don't let her climb the stairs!!!

They were such a snuggly bunch today!

This (below) is somewhat of an unusual sight around our home...(Hannah glaring). We were reading about The Hundred Years' War between England and France, after the English victory in the Battle of Agincourt. Henry V had demanded the French King Charles VI's daughter Katherine as his wife. Charles had declined but after the English victory at Agincourt he handed her over! Hannah's face contorted and she said "My Dad would never do such a terrrible thing!!!"
Later in the day we were going to watch a snippet of "Lord of the Rings" where Aragorn was giving his great speech to the warriors before the big battle (to help the kids imagine how inspiring a pre-battle speech might look since we had read of Henry's famous Agincourt speech...) okay, okay...another homeschooler excuse to watch a good movie clip...

We have decided due to the scary nature of the Lord of the Rings movies to wait until they are old enough to at least have read all the books first. (I always make them read the books first!) So anyway, this image of the great valiant Aragorn, and the stomach turning Orc was new to Hannah.

Later she said "Mom, if I had to choose between a man who looked like Aragorn but didn't love God, or a Orc who did love God, I would still choose the Orc. But......(fluttering the eyelashes)...hopefully I will have a husband like Daddy who loves God and is handsome!" (Feeeuf! The Aragorn/Orc dilemma has been solved.) A glimpse into the mind of Hannah Rose Kirkman!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October Heavenly Mindedness PG-13

Every year October catches me a little off guard. From as far back as I remember, I recall October always being a month full of weirdness. Family troubles, "accidents", injuries, divisions, unusually bizarre high crime, and pardon my french here, but really a general "you-know-what hitting the fan" scenario reminding us that indeed, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."

My personal opinion (inherited from my discerning mother) is that it becomes more noticeable in the month of October due to the increase in satanic activity. My mom pointed this out pretty matter of factly to us as kids and it has definitely been something we've noticed. Creepy? Well...not really. We serve a sovereign God who is, and always will be LORD over all the dark rulers, and wicked spiritual hosts. Now as a good Reformed gal, I should point out that as I've grown into adultdom, I have learned that the problem of the pooh/fan scenario is not in fact the problem of the addition of the fan, but...well, the pooh. Namely, ours. Our sin. Our depravity, and our hell bent refusal to see it.

There can be danger in a doctrine that seeks to find a demon behind every gnarly tree, while ignoring the gnarliness of well, the tree if you get my meaning. (The tree analogy is a lot less offensive than the pooh hitting the fan analogy and I would like to make it work here in my good family friendly blog... but, I'm feeling convicted to go back to the pooh and the fan.)

See here's what I love about my God: He is GOD. Lord of the Universe and in His great sovereignty He uses what we need to bring us to him. We earthly minded beings are so quick to forget where the real struggle is. Our little speckly lives are such a big ole deal to us when we forget about that thing called eternity. Our situations, reputations, feelings and our little illusion of "some sense of control" seem so real and important when we forget about the Almighty GOD. The real problem is our sin and not Satan and all the legions of demons he might unleash. Scripture says that "Satan will not outwit us for we are not unaware of his schemes". And we're not unaware...right? Is not his very scheming to place our focus on everything but our sin and rebellious spirits???

The other night while discussing this topic my husband was told he was "so heavenly minded he is no earthly good". I had never heard this saying before and wasn't sure where it came from. It was obvious to me that it comes from a dualistic worldview that separates and assumes that the heavenly is separate from the earthly. It really got me to thinking. Scripture says to "not be conformed to this world [yes, even Jonny Cash song theology] but to be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds" (i.e. the Bible).

My point is firstly that the problem is what's hitting the fan. Whether the you-know-what is flying this October for you or not, it's still there. We can ignore it, plug our noses and pretend it's not there and hope no one else is catching wind of it. We could avoid those lost souls who are covered in it so you don't have to deal with their stench. Or, you could be made clean and hold the offer out to them to do the same.

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ I John 1:8-9. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded... Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. ~James 4:8&10

My second point (to further the disgusting analogy just a leeeeetle bit farther) is the fan. I realize the analogy only goes so far but, we as Christians need to be aware that we DO have an enemy who is spinning and scheming to our destruction. He is seeking to steal God's glory by destroying His people! So many of us forget and play right into the ridiculous scheming. Scripture says that the way we will not be outwitted is by being aware. In fact, we become so "earthly minded that we're no heavenly good". This is a spiritual battle. The weapons, armor and tactics required in a spiritual battle are of the heavenly kind. The guy who doesn't know he's in a battle is the guy playing right into the scheme. The victory is the Lord's. He incites our Adversary and uses him to play right into His redemptive plan. The great deceiver...is himself deceived. If you've read the end of the story, you know this is true. If you believe that you are a sinner and that the sinless Son of God has cleansed you, and paid your debts by dying in your place, then you know you will be victorious with Him.

For me, October is a reminder. It's a month full of very sober "praying and petitioning in the Spirit" and seeking to be "on the alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" more than usual, as well as begging God's mercy and protection over loved ones who are slaves to sin and suffering in bondage because they have yet to surrender to the Greatest Power--Jesus Christ.

"Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Stand firm, having girded your loins with the TRUTH, and having put on the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the GOSPEL OF PEACE; above all taking the SHIELD OF FAITH with which you will be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of SALVATION, and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and petition in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. ~Ephesians 6:11-12

To my hot, heavenly minded husband: You won my heart by being such. Your earthly good and faithfulness is the evidence we benefit from day in and day out. Thank you for teaching me, for loving me, for being such a faithful husband, father, brother, son, friend and fellow soldier in the fight. You're my hero.

(OK, FUNNY STORY DIVERSION:) Last October while my heavenly minded husband was on an earthly business trip for three days, God moved my heart to pray for the safety of our children. I had this general uneasiness, there had been that tragic Amish school shooting and my heart just felt burdened. One morning I awoke early and immediately began to pray for the specific safety of the kids. A few hours later, Elijah ran in saying Hannah had fallen from a high tree and was "calling out to God". Big pregnant me went barreling out through the woods clearing a trail that would shame a backhoe. Long story short, about every firetruck and aid car in Everett paid us a visit. While riding in the ambulance, the medic was saying something about October always being such a crazy month, the full moon that day and how many calls they had taken for hurt children. (And this guy didn't have a clue about my own theories.) He then thought to cheer Hannah a bit and cracked a joke saying "but you don't believe in ghosts and goblins and stuff, do you Hannah?" Hannah, mud streaked face, leaves in hair, neck in brace, with the most serious face and tone of voice replies "No. But I do believe in witches! And in the Ode Testament, God tode the Israelites to KILL all da witches!"

Yikes! Not my shining moment, and that guy was sorry he brought it up. But, a funny story. Hannah was fine after the initial shock wore off. God used the whole thing to minister greatly to my soul of His sovereignty and authorship of every good and tragic thing that may come in and out of our lives.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Technical Difficulties?

Is anyone having a problem with the music playlist blocking the text? Please let me know so I can fix it! Thanks!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hospitality Hero and Food Rants

I'm kind of going backwards here but what the heck. I'm inspired and feeling a rant coming on...
As a general rule, families of nine don't typically get many dinner invitations. My children are not bad dinner guests at all, but kids in this country just have a really bad reputation right now. My kids eat everything, are thankful for whatever they get, and don't require short order cooking. (BTW parents, this is accomplished by simply...not short order cooking for them.)

This however, seems not to be the norm in America these days (anyone see the preview of Seinfeld's wife on Oprah talking about her new big ingenius way to "sneak" healthy foods into kids' food?) Geeez. And we wonder why people are afraid to have kids! I didn't see it, but my Mom gave me the runny run-down. She got a kick out of it, said she was thinking of my kids while she watched it and how never a meal -vegetables included- goes by without them saying one of the following: "Mom (or Gramma) this is dulicious! Thankyou so much!" or "This is the bestist meal ever!" or frequently "Can I have this for my birthday meal?"

I'm not bragging here and I don't consider myself an above average cook. I'm saying the problem isn't the food, it's control issues, lack of obedience and character in the children. My little ones may occasionally balk at a particular food and I don't force them to eat it. But I don't give them anything else either. I save it in the fridge for when they decide to eat it, or they wait until the next family meal. They don't sit there fussing and begging but quietly trying little tastes. This is how a 2 year old learns that good food is a blessing and not a weapon to be wielded in his quest to achieve total control and become world dictator.

Kids need strong boundaries to know their parents are in control, in order to trust them. When a child sees their parent consistently carrying out what they know is good for them, they feel safe in this great big uncertain world--including the dinner table. When he sees Mommy having trouble controlling little him, then he may feel insecure and untrusting in general. Trying new foods doesn't come natural to most kids and is fundamentally a fear issue. When they trust that their parents know and do what is good for them, they will be willing to try. Don't confuse "good for them" with making them "feel good".

A whole different issue all together is when a kid has made up his mind not to eat the healthy stuff. By sneaking goodness into their food without them knowing it, the parent feels they've won a little battle, but is sadly losing the war. This is a control issue, not a food issue. Mommas, if you're struggling with this, tackle the obedience issue head on and save yourself the trouble of washing the cuisinart every day for the next 18 years. A family who is "training up their children in the ways they should go" will see it naturally flow out into mealtime and will reap willing, joyful, thankful eaters.

Okay so back to my point (but boy do I feel good after a little ranting! haaa) So large families don't get many dinner invites, understandably because the thought of figuring out what kids will eat, finding sippy cups and chairs for a bazillion little buns, among other things, is a little intimidating for most--not to mention the akward moment when you have to ask their parents for the damage deposit... ha.

So I was very impressed this Sunday when we received a dinner invite from a sweet single guy from our church. He also invited another couple and their little 1 year old. What a breath of fresh air. Dave didn't let all those common hospitality hindrances keep him from blessing two families very much. Yesterday after a busy day of homeschooling, I got the kids in the car and instead of cooking, enjoyed Dave's tacos! These are such great pictures of Dave because it captures him -- Always smiling, always talking, and always helping out. Thankyou Dave! I think you're a keeper!

The First Russians ~ For history we're reading about the first Russians now and Grandma joined us for some Crayola therapy coloring Ivan the Great and Ivan the Terrible. Aren't they sweet?????Speaking of Picky Eaters... What? You don't want to eat blood red beet soup? :) In keeping with our Russian theme, for lunch I made the Borscht & Bread recipe from our Story of the World activity book. It really was delicious for Mommy, Daddy, and Gramma who all love beets, parsley and dill. But Essie, Hannah, Silas and Gemma had a hard time with the looks and the taste of it. Gemma ate most of hers, Silas ate all of his, (and made the most delightful mess), and Essie polished off her dollup of sour cream. I watched "Hannah the gracious" in my usual amazement. I could tell she had a particular dislike to the beets and yet thankfully ate her Borscht commenting optimistically that "maybe I'll like beets when I'm a grown up?" There was no fussing and complaining, plenty of joy and thankfulness. While finishing up lunch, these two rascals ran up saying "We got into the food Mom!" Hence: the chubby cheeks.I love the profiles here. Poor Essie's got her momma's chin. Never a dull moment.