Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday - JOY!

This is my picture of JOY! Children dancing and worshipping God! These girls pictured were participants in last years Signs and Wonders Camp hosted by OHOP's Children's Equipping Center. That's Cecelia (then 7) in the front, right - red shirt, pony-tail flying, big smile.

I am so thankful that my 3 oldest kids got to go to this camp last year. I am trying to gather funds for 3 of them to go again in just over a week. It is an amazing time of worship, prayer, and equipping for the boys and girls.

I am giving thanks for God's provision and the Joy He gives everyday. His faithfulness overwhelms me.

Verse for the Day:
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 1:4

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

I'm following a new (and quite popular) meme called Wordful Wednesday and hosted by Seven Clown Circus. Love her blog title - sounds all too familiar. Anyway WW is all about posting a picture that you just can't resist saying a few (or more) words about. Like this one of Sabina (20 months):

I think it's the funniest picture I have of her. I laugh every time I see it. I just took it a few weeks ago while we were on vacation, visiting Tarpon Springs for the day. She and her brother Luca (3) were playing on this HOT day in the little barrel fountain in front of a souvenir store. I was trying to get a picture of her so I could see her amazing blue eyes, and she likes to squint and say "cheese" every time a camera is pointed at her. So, I kept pestering her and taking pictures and then she turned to me and did this! I laughed and snapped it. Good Enough! You sure can see those baby blues, can'tcha?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time Savers?

The other day, as I was folding laundry...again, I was thanking God for the miraculous modern washing machine and dryer. How much time was spent by my foremothers on laundry alone? Then, think about how long they toiled over cooking, washing dishes, sewing clothing, cleaning floors! How blessed are we to have microwaves/modern ranges, dishwashers, sewing machines/discount clothing stores, and vacuums! I started to get overwhelmed by the notion of being a homemaking mother just 100 years ago. When I get that AMAZED feeling, I turn to God for answers.

What's up, Lord? What's the difference between now and then? God has allowed His precious children to grow astoundingly in the past century. Why do we have all these "time-saving conveniences"?

Time is short. He wants us to spend all that time we've saved WITH HIM!

What do you do with the time you've saved? I think most of America spends it on entertainment. We've filled that time with television shows, movies, video games, computer stuff, endless hobbies and pursuits of fun.

I've examined the use of my time. It's true, I'm crazy busy, but what about that hour I stole to watch a show on T.V.? Or, the book I read for fun, but probably shouldn't have wasted my time on? It's time to reset my priorities and keep my mind on what's important. Please, God, help me stay focused on keeping my lamp filled and lit.

Bible Verse for the Day: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:13-16

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Baby Picture Sunday - Fruits & Veggies

Or...sandy fruit.
After an hour of wading in the Atlantic waves, chasing sandpipers, and digging, Luca (here at 19 months) was ready for a snack. He got his own apple out of the sack, and took about 3 big bites before dropping it. He didn't skip a beat, picked it right back up and kept eating. He didn't seem to mind the sand, I think the main problem for him was getting his little mouth around that big apple! We all tried not to be too grossed out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my parents. We may not always communicate well, but I love them so much. And, now that I've grown out of my totally self-centered stage, I appreciate all they have done and continue to do for me. I even appreciate the advice they give which I may not agree with. I understand that they want the best for me - happiness, security, and love.

I am thankful for all the time and patience and love they pour into my children. My mom will read a bedtime story to each one. My dad will put bait on every hook, and take hooks out of every fish (if he must.) They gave Nick and I a much needed anniversary alone while they took care of all 7 AND cleaned out the vacation rental. They are the best Papa and Granny I know!

I am thankful that, despite our separation by half the country, my children hold their grandparents dear to their hearts. Those good-bye hugs are sad, but so, so sweet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Birthday Parade

On August 2nd, while we were on vacation, Carlo Z. turned 5! I can hardly believe it, partly because he's always been so small, but mostly I think it's about how I felt about him when he was a baby. I thought he would be my last. We were finally on track with the Natural Family Planning and this little one was a blessing and surprise I could baby for a while. Little did I know... Anyway, we had a great time celebrating with "Granny" and "Papa." We had a Kung Fu Panda birthday theme and my parents really blessed Carlo with a new bike! Now, he is a big kid too, especially with the sweet helmet we got him. ;)

Rocky turned 10 on Aug. 9th; it was a busy week. My parents celebrated with him a little early since they had to head home on Friday, but we had a fun time on his actual birthday. He got to pick out the birthday dinner: lasagna, rolls and salad, followed up with Rocky Road ice cream and a Swimmer cake. (Notice the snorkeler mask on the face of the cake.) It's been a little hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I now have 2 kids in double digits. I can't be that old, can I? Rocky's number 1 gift request was Legos - of which he already has millions, I think - so he was so happy when he ended up with 3 new sets! I was just happy we were able to get him a gift at all. Funds have been tight, but my kids' happiness comes first. What is childhood without birthdays?

My favorite part of all our birthdays is when Nick prays over the special person of the day. We thank you, Lord, for the amazing things you have for Carlo and Rocky! They are truly blessings in my life, and many others' lives. May they grow in knowledge of God and grow in relationship with Jesus! (On a slightly less spiritual note: Did you notice how Luca managed to make it into most of the birthday pictures? You've got to admire the little party animal.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Baby Picture Sunday - For the Love of THE Sippy Cup

Luca (here at age 1 and a half) thought he'd try MY sippy cup; though from the looks of his shirt, most of the good mocha sludge at the bottom dribbled down his front.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wedded Bliss

Last week we celebrated our 14th anniversary. We were excited to be able to go out on the town, stay up late and sleep in - with no little voices to wake us up in the morning. We were blessed to leave all the children with my parents at the vacation rental while we snuck back into Orlando A-L-O-N-E! What luxury to get dressed up after our little dinner for 2, go out and discover an enchanting corner of this metropolis, and talk over coffee. Not about kids, work, household, school, but about resurrecting dreams and seeing them fulfilled. We are not 19 anymore, and we may have a little wisdom under the belt now that will create success. It was wonderful to be able to connect and then come home to cuddle, watch a grown-up movie, and sleep in our own bed. I am so lucky to have found and married the man God made for me at so early an age. Everyday I love Nick more; everyday I grow to know him more. Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Salt Life

Cecelia Fishing from the Dock

We took a whole week for vacation on the Gulf Coast with my parents. The house they rented was right on a canal that led quickly to the Gulf of Mexico; it had a floating dock and a boat dock that we used to fish. Now, even though we live in the middle of Florida and are close to about 5 good lakes, we never go fishing. Nick is not the outdoorsy sportsman, no matter how much the kids want him to be. I used to fish and camp with my family for every vacation and got a little spoiled and rotten in my adolescence and haven't really done either for a long time! My Daddy was in 7th Heaven - rolling out of bed and taking his coffee to the dock. Rods and reels, tackle and bait littered the back porch.

Nick with the "big one" and Rocky

All the kids (except Sabina, although she was fascinated by the fish) got to experience the joy of catching and releasing. Most of the fish were small, none of them made it to our plates. But, Nick caught a big one - and he caught the fishing bug. I caught a couple "weed bass" and lost some bait to nibblers. Oh, well.

After all that salt, ya need some sweet!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm Back, Baby!

Well, it's been a hectic couple of weeks, but I'm honestly astounded that it's been 2 whole weeks since my last post! Last Wednesday (July 29th), my 4 oldest kids flew back home accompanied by my parents. Granny and Papa - as the kids call them - came for a vacation with us. I had a moment of panic that afternoon as I glanced at the clock to notice that their plane was due to land in about 15 minutes, estimating that I would see them in about an hour. That's when I realized that my parents' usual routine of renting a car at the airport might not work this time because they had to bring 4 children instead of 2. Most rental cars only seat 5 total. Was I supposed to meet them at the airport? They didn't tell me. They also didn't tell me they were going to rent a bigger vehicle. Communication is not always our strong suit. I called Nick to ask him. I called my sister to ask her if they said anything to her about it. They didn't. I left a message on my dad's cell phone hoping he'd turn it on when they landed and call me. I called his phone about 30 times in the next 30 minutes. He never turned it on. Nick came home to see what I wanted to do, but he knew he wouldn't have much time to get to the airport and back before his evening set at OHOP. So, we waited. We waited so long that I figured they would have called if they needed us to pick some of them up. About half an hour after I estimated they would be here, they trickled into the house from the rental minivan. Everything worked out fine.

I was thrilled to see my 4 oldest, tan and tall and wearing new clothes. Bags, backpacks, shoes and toys were strewn from the doorway, through the dining area, and into the living room. Their little brothers and sister were greeted with hugs, kisses and gifts. I managed to squeeze them all in between the chaos.

The next day, even before lunch, we loaded up both minivans and Nick's car and headed for a rental house on the Gulf coast for the week. What a fun adventure we had! Who knew 11 people (and a big puppy) could be so comfortable in a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house with approximately 1500 sq. ft.? I will post pics and details later this week. Today, I have other priorities...
it's Rocky's 10th birthday! So, there is cake making, present wrapping, wii playing, movie watching, and joy having to be done!
Blessings to all of you!