Sunday, April 29, 2012

Holy Week Days 1-4

Holy Week is our way to make Easter into a bigger deal than one day of baskets, bunnies and eggs. Christ was dead and He rose from the grave for crying out loud!  (That's Eben's new phrase. He says it all the time!) It's even more amazing than a baby being born in a stable, right? I know it's the same guy, but our culture has turned Christmas into a month long celebration, so I think Easter needs a little more emphasis in the right direction.

Holy Week 2012 was a blast. It really flew by. And since it's been almost a month since it happened I don't remember all of the details. But very important things happened on these days! Very exciting and wonderful things! So I'll post lots of pictures and write about the cool stuff.

Day 1- Palm Sunday
Praising the King

Sword drills. We do them every morning at devotions, so Holy Week was no exception. The bonus was that there was candy sometimes for the winner.

Praising the King with our WA version of palm branches - ferns!

Day 2 - Cleansing the Temple

Lake City Community, our church, was kind enough to let us borrow a really cool model of the temple, well, actually it's the tabernacle, but close enough. I loved playing with it!  The kids loved playing with it. It even has Aaron's staff, Moses' urn, and the Ten Commandments inside the Ark of the Covenant! 

That afternoon we went to see Grandma get baptized! Then we celebrated her birthday over at Uncle Chris and Uncle Tonya's house.

Day 3 - Questioning Jesus

This was an exciting day! All of the kids wrote down a question they would ask Jesus if He was standing in our family room for our Holy Week banner.

 "Jesus, will you help me obey?" Jasper
"How are you made God?" Kivi
"If nothing can come from nothing how did God appear?" Eben
"Will you come into my heart?" Opal

She's told me she's "blessed Jesus into her heart" many times before and then I fully explain what it means to have Jesus be the boss of our lives/ask Him to be our Savior, and how to asking Him into our hearts means we believe that Jesus is God's Son who had to come to earth to die on the cross so our sins could be taken away. Then I ask if she wants to pray with me to ask Jesus into her heart and she says, "No. Thanks." But this day. I asked again. And she said, "Yes, I really want to!" She was so cute and so excited.
So Opal became a Christian on Tuesday, April 3, 2012! And while we still have a lot of "training her up in the way she should go", we have seen so many changes in our little girl and a change of heart when it comes to obedience for sure. She's letting Jesus help her change and that's huge!

Day 4 - The Anointing of Jesus

I had grand plans to make this day work. It didn't go as planned, but it still worked. On our way to Costco, we stopped by the mall and I took the bigs and the middles into Nordstrom's to let them smell super expensive perfume, like the nard that Mary poured on Jesus this day.  They each got to pick 2 different perfumes to spray on a strip of paper to take home to our banner. They did really well! The sales lady let us test anything we wanted and we had the whole perfume section to ourselves.

Dada had his last day of all juice. After a couple of days he craved something savory and bought tons of V8 drinks. They had a little salt, but we deemed it worthy of the cause and worth a happy Dada. He was very excited to eat food again the next day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pre Passover and a Fast

This year our church invited Alan Shore with Chosen People Ministries to lead our Saturday night service in the Seder and Passover meal. It sounded like a whole lot less work and fun time to celebrate the Passover with our congregation. So we told the kids we would be having Passover at the church on Saturday the day before Palm Sunday. I didn't anticipate a couple of things. Our kids had really come to love our tradition of having Passover and Eben especially didn't handle the change very well. Also, it ended up to be a very adult version of the Seder, meaning our kids needed to be very quiet, instead of the kid-like atmosphere we have at home. It was very educational, but not geared toward the younger crowd. And we brought everyone, unlike almost all other families who put their babies in the nursery. I wanted to be all together as a family like we had always been during Passover. Thankfully, Beckie held Pella so we could deal with the very food anxious Berg and the other five. (We were watching our good friend Reagan that weekend.) This is what most of the time looked like:
 All of the kids were trying so hard to be quiet and keep their eyes closed during the many prayer times.
At one point, Eben looked over at me and said, "I feel like I'm going to throw up." I got a tupperware under him just in time for him to puke during one of the prayers and ushered him out while he continued to spew while walking through the tables to the bathroom.
 Thankfully no one else got sick. Well, except Dada. He was sick but only of juice.
 Peter was on his 6th day of his 10-day juice fast, thanks to a bet we made just after watching the movie "Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead" on Netflix the day before we started the fast. I lost the bet after 3/4ths of a day. Although, I was pretty sure I'd lose anyway and really didn't think Peter could do it. Actually, all the research I found said that pregnant and nursing women shouldn't do a juice fast at all, so c'est la vie. But Peter was amazing, and since we didn't buy a juicer, or find one to borrow (He said he'd only do it if no one knew he was doing it, which turned out to be a much harder secret to keep than he thought.), he drank only Odawalla juice and V8 (because he started to go insane on only sweet juice). Such willpower! And some things that were bothering him cleared up too - coincidence or juice? Hmmm. (Not the rosy cheeks, he's always had those and I think they're cute.)
 So my poor babe couldn't eat the Passover meal, or many of the yummy things we had for dinner those days. I think that week we were invited to more people's houses for meals than ever. 
So we made it through the Seder and the Passover meal, but really it was more like trying to endure a really long fast. Keeping the kids quiet, dealing with a puking boy and stuffing matzah in to the mouth of an "on the verve of screaming" Berg was a little much. I think in the future, we'll just stick to our own lots of work, in a different way, Passover meal at home. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Big Brothers

The Bendaroos ended up being a hit, mainly with the boys, which was surprising. I really thought the girls would enjoy them more. Jasper was a Bendaroo rock star. They are just these different colored pieces of wax covered string. But all on his own he figured out what to do. He alone made a sheep, a basket filled with eggs and a chick. Eben did the green basket and Jesus in the tomb. And no, I didn't even prompt them to do Spring things. But they do know how much I love sheep, chicks, eggs and Jesus and they did want them put on the mantle to be displayed...hmmm.

They did pretty well with the sharing part too! We did divide the candy up into their own bags. So they had the opportunity to give from their stash to each other. (I got some new, healthier, if it's possible, candy. Not everyone liked them. So it made sharing even easier! Is it sharing if you give away what you don't like?) Jasper is an awesome sharer. If anyone expresses an interest in something he has he almost never misses the chance to share it with them. We actually have to work on not abusing Jasper's kindness in our house. There's one thing we all know: Jasper will always give, Eben will always receive.

Biggest Big with Littlest Little

Jasper and Eben work very hard on their Ninja House every time they get a chance to play with Legos. It gets taken apart carefully when they clean up so they can piece it back together the exact same way the next time they play. It has become a humongous project complete with a ninja training facility, hot tub tower, and horse stable. I think the boys should design a house for us!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter Basket Day!

March 25th was a warm sunny day so we decided it would be a good day to have our new Easter Basket Day (which next year will become Spring Basket Day). Six Easter baskets seems like a lot. A lot to buy, a lot of candy and a lot of little junkie toys cluttering the house, which I'm trying really hard to get rid of. Also waiting until Easter day, which is usually busy enough and raining is not an ideal time to go hunting for Easter baskets. While it's a fun tradition, that's really all it is. It doesn't have any spiritual meaning for the kids to take away, and really it takes away from the meaning of Easter - the day Jesus rose from the dead. I don't want any of our holidays to take away from the true worship of God. If we can add to it, great, but I don't want to take away from the important times He gives us to worship Him.
I also don't like how when we give the kids something it becomes "mine" instead of "ours". Teaching our kids that everything we have is actually the Lord's and He shares it with us is hard. So one big basket that we all share was an important lesson to create out of this also. Finding and opening the Easter basket is now becoming a time to thank God for His creation of changing seasons, welcome the Spring time and share. And since Spring began on March 20th - it fit right in!

I spent a lot of time explaining how we were going to have one big family basket this year, and the reasons why, but old traditions are hard to give up. This was kind of a hard transition for Kivi. She was used to her own basket and the old way. So while I did lots of preparing them that it would be different this year it was still a little tough. The others were really accepting of this new concept though and Peter tried to make it even more fun for the bigs by doing a picture scavenger hunt to the basket.

We dressed the kids up in their Dedication/Easter Basket/Easter clothes which I'm going to get my money's worth out of because we bought them new, which I never do! Peter gave Opie the first clue and off they went!

Berg loves going outside now and wants his "suice on, SUICE ON!" so he can go out all the time. He was in heaven following the big kids all over the yard.

It was actually a lot harder to find the close up shots Dada took than we thought it would be. I didn't even know where half of them were. They finally found the clue that led them to the bike trailer:

which led them to the Basket! It was filled with Bendaroos, Playdough, Silly putty, super hero figures, a baby doll for the bath, cookies, candy, tic tacs and dried apples.

It was big so they they were pretty excited.

Then we took our traditional Easter Basket Picture. They don't all fit like they did in years past, but they are all happy so that's even better!


And now a glimpse at the giant Easter basket's past.








Friday, April 6, 2012

Random Things of March

I finally finished my new schedule! It's been a long time coming. I think the last one I had on the fridge forever was from Feb. 2011! So we definitely needed a new one. Our schedule helps us in so many ways. The kids do so much better with routine. And I don't get blamed or argued with about what comes next. My friend Laura told me about this with a timer, she'd say, "Oh, the timer just rang. That means it's time to clean up. I wish we could play longer, but the timer said it's time to clean up." And the kids would just agree. It works the same with the schedule. "The schedule says it's time for school." And look at that, yes it does. No arguing with the very official looking document on the fridge. The kids are also very excited to have a new schedule, because I put their new pictures on it and it makes it personal to them. There's no doubt this schedule belongs to them their face is right on their. Except for poor Pella, I completely messed her schedule up on here. Oops. I'll have to fix it later.

Eben and Kivi were out in the garden beds helping me till the soil and Eben started digging up carrots left over from last year. They got so excited to find them, you'd think they found gold. They found a whole bucketful of carrots, which were way sweeter than when we harvested them in the fall. Are suppose to leave them in the ground all winter? Eben said, "I have to admit it Mama, this gardening stuff is way more fun than I thought it was going to be."

I started putting Pella in cloth diapers. I started cloth diapering, not full on hard core, just when I feel like it, and never out in public, when Opal and Jasper were in diapers. I knew I didn't want to do newborns, because they wet them all the time and we already do a ton of laundry around here. So now that Pella fits the small size, she gets to wear them. I don't know what my kids will think when I tell them they wore hand me down diapers. It sounds gross, but they get washed, and I'm cheap. They just make their little booties look so cute and ginormous! Pants barely fit over them. Or in this case, they don't at all.

Another new thing we started doing recently is our change to big cups! The Bigs and the Middles all drink out of glass mason jars now. I put hair rubber bands on them so they know whose is whose. Eben is red, Kivi is green, Jasper is yellow and Opal is pink - this is true for many of their things. Those are their colors. I was going to do a reward thingy for if they drink their whole water cup in one day, but they drink a ton anyway and I never got around to the little incentive chart. So maybe I'm off the hook! Either way, they are way cute to look at on the table and I don't have to keep getting up and down to refill cups through the whole meal.

St. Patrick and the Trinity

On St. Patrick's Day we had more fun with green food coloring. I like to go through the day and make stuff up as we go along. Peter and I are both pretty good at spontaneity. It works really well with homeschooling too. So we started our day off with shamrock pancakes!

The whole day is a great time to explain the extremely complicated concept of the Trinity. I love St. Patrick for the beautiful explanation he gave through the shamrock leaves, which we painted on our cheeks. My sister had even brought us real ones from Ireland to put up as decorations. We watched a movie about St. Patrick on Netflix, but I had to watch it with them and correct many of the crazy legends they threw in there with the truth. (There is less furniture in the family room now! We moved one of our couches downstairs to the living room in front of our bed.)

Our friends Reagan and Pippa came over and we made a cute garland, salted carmel cupcakes and corned beef with potatoes and cabbage for dinner.

When Peter and Miss Kim came home we enjoyed a wonderful St. Patrick's Day meal together in our almost organized dining room! (We got a new space saving seat for Berg!)

The kids all show off their garland and cupcakes before eating their dessert.

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Things

March is a time of new things, new life springing up, new weather changes (except for us, not this year, March mainly consisted of rain) new things to learn, and around here of course, growing babies.

Our biggest babies had their first Spanish test! Actually it was their first test ever. Miss Mary comes to teach them Spanish every Thursday and she decided it was time for a quiz. They did pretty well. I can't believe my first little kids are learning so much.

Berg is learning a whole bunch of new things, dancing, running, giving everyone especially his baby, whom he used to call Babeese, now she's just Baby, "Muhs" (kisses) and talking up a storm. He repeats everything you say and points to everything he doesn't remember and asks, "Dis?" Then we say the word, "tools." and he points to it again and repeats, "tooze" in his own little cute way.

One of Pella's naps is at the same time as Berg and Opal's naps, which means both of the bedrooms are used up. So my new discovery is my sleep mask. I wrap her up, lay her on our bed (with pillows all around her of course), which is where our living room used to be, put a binky in her mouth and a sleep mask on her eyes and she's out! I can even work around her down there with the lights on and she's not bothered.

My huge February/March(and now April) huge project has been to try to de-clutter our home. I found this great blog called Large Families on Purpose during my two week sickness in Feb. which was when I also started getting sick of all our clutter and avalanching counter tops. I have found so much amazing advice and great tips for large families living in small spaces. Peter has been so supportive of this whole process and let me buy lots of bins. They're not so pretty, but very useful and you can see the contents inside. He's been wanting me to "see" the clutter instead of work around it for a long time. It's never really bothered me before. He said he's been praying for it to just not bother him, but God changed my point of view instead. I've ruthlessly been trashing, sorting, and clearing away junk from all over the place. In retrospect, it would've been easier to start at one spot and when I was finished go to the next one. But I got overly anxious and excited and tried to tackle all the rooms all at once. I also wish I had taken before and after pictures. Well, not the afters yet, it's not done, but I should've taken before pics. I did take one of my fabric organizing, while Pella slept in the background.

God is helping me be content through this whole process and use what we have to glorify Him. I'm changing my mind set that our 2 bedroom house is too small and coveting something bigger. The world is really good at pushing that mindset. He's given us this house and our children as blessings and I'm going to figure out how to enjoy our small house filled with lots of little people instead of wanting something bigger. Right now that means getting rid of the junk, keeping what's important and making sure everything has a home in our home. This whole concept and attitude change is a wonderful "new thing"!