Thursday, April 29, 2010

So I Won't Forget

I didn't think I'd post again before next week.  However, my head is filled with sweet memories and thoughts of today and I'm going to post them so I won't forget them.

This ...

this is my favorite retreat at night.  I love sitting here, and if I had a laptop, I'd be there right now.  I love that I finally have a place to sit where the t.v. is not just hid from view, but where there isn't even one in the room.  When I sit in this chair, I can see through my dining room and out the front windows where the chairs on my front porch sit almost calling for me to come join them.  When I sit in this chair, I can see the light upstairs that sits on my Grandfather's desk.  It is the only light on, as all the girls are clean and curled up for the night in their beds.  When I sit in this chair, I can see Richard in the keeping room, where he is engrossed in either a book or a show or an old football game.  And Richard, by the way, watches t.v. so quietly.  I've never really witnessed anyone who does this.  I like to catch a glance of him watching or reading ... I feel like I can literally see him thinking, processing, pondering.  I don't know why, but it's peaceful to me.  And finally, when I sit in this chair, I can look up at this sole window that is high above our front door where the moon always, always seems to be framed perfectly.  There's something new in this spot that is also special to me.  If you look closely, you can see a styrofoam cup.

This isn't just any cup.  This is Kate's cup from MMO in which grass seeds are planted.  I love sweet, simple little discoveries of life that my children are a part of.   I hope that while I'm gone these next two and a half days that these seeds get the attention they need.  I wonder ...

So yes, I'm starting to grow a little lonely with knowing I'll be away from 57 and five of my most favorite people for a couple of days.  Maybe it is because I'm used to being the one to stay behind ... maybe it is because I've done so much in preparation to leave that it feels like I'll be away for much longer than I will ... maybe it is because when I spend so much time focusing on our little world, I realize just how special our family of seven is.

Thursday is family day at ARCENT (Richard's current duty station) so he gets off an hour early.  We decided this would be a great day to pick for Patterson and Hanson Ellis' soccer practices.  Picking this day meant that he would get home in time to take them, which meant that I could stay home with the little ones (and Parker gets to take a turn being "the oldest" and thus thus primary helper).  I love these nights.  The two hours he is gone with the two girls, I am able to get the others bathed, fed and Olivia to bed.  I am able to pick up quite a bit (funny how when you have five and two are away, three seems like not much at all!). I love having a chance to clean up, place a neatly folded set of p.j.'s out for Patterson and Hanson Ellis on their beds, and have dinner prepared and ready when they all return.  It almost seems delightful to have a freshly vacuumed set of stairs for them to return too!  I love this night.

Today was especially sweet for me.  I had a lot of time to just listen to everyone here.  I got to spend some time in Kate's room before she went down for her nap.  I was determined to clean out her closet and drawers before I left (again, why this was important for just 2.5 days away, I.D.O.N.O.T.K.N.O.W., but it was).  It took longer than I expected (always does) but Kate was right there with me playing with her toys. It is always so enjoyable to just sit and listen to her pretend!  Because it was such a beautiful day, the older three played outside for hours.  While I was busy in my room, I could hear them playing away outside of my bedroom window.  There really is nothing quite like the laughter of children.  There's really nothing like it.  And finally, even though I felt sick the entire day from my run with Richard last night, we decided that we needed to do a quick 3 mile run this afternoon since I wouldn't get to run again for a couple of days.  We chose the flat route, which meant we had to drive to our starting point.  Whenever we do this, we typically take the station wagon, which is now Richard's car (hence it is no longer the "grocery getter" but the "black stallion"  ... laugh, it's okay!).  Anyway, I love riding in this car with him.  Even though we tend to scare little children that we drive past and cause numerous Suburban Housewives to pause from their yard work to turn and see what that loud sound is approaching, I love getting in this car with him and going somewhere ... even if it is just up the street.  We had another great run.  I love running with Richard.  I can't tell you how many years I've wanted to run, and run with him, but we've just never had the chance.  It is nice .. so nice.  It feels good to run, and it feels good to be by his side.  On the way home I saw his Alexander The Great book in the car, so I asked him how that was.  With the reading he's had for his graduate studies, he's not had that much time to read it, but he had read enough to tell me a little, which lead to other thoughts he had.  As we drove home, it occurred to me how nice, NICE it was to just sit and listen to him talk. What a gift to just hear what's on his mind and various thoughts he's had.  I didn't know that I had been missing that, but I had.  It's been a long time since I've had the gift of time and zero distractions to just listen to him.

God is always richly blessing us, isn't He?  I wish I didn't miss or overlook so many of those blessings.  I'm thankful that today I noticed them.  I hope I will remember them.



Where has this week gone?
The older two girls have been testing this week.  While, as homeschoolers, we are allowed to test at home, I've never chosen this option.  I have always been blessed to have a place to take the girls to complete their yearly standardized testing.  I don't know about most school kids, but mine absolutely LOVE this time of year.  For them it is something completely out of the ordinary. They get to get up and get dressed and participate in the daily hustle and bustle that they normally get to avoid.  They get to carry a backpack and pack a snack.  They get recess and scheduled "breaks."  They get to watch special performances and participate in Fine Arts Week at the school where they test ... it is a lot of fun for them, and I am ever so grateful at how God provides even in the very small details of our lives.

That said, we have been extra busy with a switch in our daily schedule.  And on top of that, Hanson Ellis has a Middle School Youth Retreat this weekend with our church that I am escorting her to helping out with.  Arranging childcare, getting things organized for Richard so that life won't be too chaotic for him and the other 4 girls while I'm gone (and for me when I get back!) ... all has added to the lack of time to sit and post an entry.

Yesterday we'd been home about 30 minutes and had eaten our late lunch and I was cleaning up and getting ready to put the little ones down for their nap.  As I was hustling around, I saw Kate and Olivia sitting on the floor looking at some new books we bought earlier that day.  Olivia had the coffee I just purchased laying on the floor beside her, Daycare bags and a recent Gap purchase was off in the distance ... I just saw the sight and thought what a summary of our life this week it was ... the "stuff" plus the peacefulness of the little ones amidst it all ... me flying around, them just doing what they normally do.  Love our life, love my girls:).

And for fun, I'll direct you to here where there is a fun photography post from the 28th that you might enjoy and a beautifully decorated home post from the 27th that I could move right into and not change a thing!

See you all again after the weekend!
To God be the Glory,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet Saturday Morning and More

This was the way our backyard looked Saturday morning (and the rest of the day as well).  It rained and rained and rained.  But fortunately, we didn't have any severe weather, and for that I am thankful.  I do enjoy a rainy day from time to time.  Nothing makes the green leaves look more lovelier.

This is what our kitchen looked like Saturday morning.  Hanson Ellis decided to make everyone muffins for breakfast.  What a treat!  She used the recipe she found in a cookbook that once belonged to Richard's mother.  She was given this book by her Grammy for Christmas and keeps it in the zip lock bag she was given it in.  She also keeps it in her room, while not under lock and key, high up in her armoire where the all too curious hands of her little sisters cannot reach.

The muffins were great.  Having a 12 year old make them was even better!

This photo has nothing to do with Saturday morning.  It is from Richard's homecoming last November and it is a little blurry, but it is perfect for my thoughts right now.  For us, the years of starting a family and raising young children and starting our homeschool journey has been one filled with moves, deployments and lots of long hours of work for Richard.  Our 11 months in KS in 2008 was tough because we had never really "lived" together as a family.  Our time here has been tough because we've never been outside of a military community or in a "big city" area.  Richard's been gone more than home during our time here, we're in our first home ... we still have one in diapers and one that is recently potty trained ... he has a crazy commute and he's in graduate school on top of all of that.  I feel like our time as a family is so like this photo.  Happy, yet blurry ... familiar, yet more of a passing moment.  I love this man.  I am proud of this man.  I am amazed at this man.  I believe in his job ... stand by him 110%, but our relationship is not without the battle scars from it.  I always look forward to the weekend .. our time together as a family ... but you know when you hold two magnets, one in each hand, and you don't have them turned the right way so that they attract??? Well that is the best way to describe us so much of the time.  We try with all our might to "come together" but we are hopelessly pushed apart.  Our time together is never really what I hope for.

The girls had their Spring Choir Concert tonight at church.  As I sat there alone (Richard was off finishing an assignment and OH!!!! How I WISH I would have brought my camera .. you just wouldn't believe how cute the Cherub Choir was!) I was reminded of a great verse ... Philippians 1.6
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."   
I know that God has a perfect plan for Richard and I and for our family.  What a comfort the reminder of this verse was to me.   I will definitely keep it fresh on my mind, as I have been with this passage all weekend.  1Corinthians 13.4-7
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
May God continue to hold me near to Him.  
May He continue to work in me, and may I honor Him as I love my husband.
Y'all have a great week!
To God be the Glory, 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Not Your Momma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Edie over at Life in Grace  brought up the discussion of it ain't a home until you make chocolate chip cookies. She is moving into a lake house and I am enjoying following her progress.  Edie is an amazing woman, (if you don't follow her blog, add it to your reader!!! you won't be sorry that you did) and I am almost as excited about her move as she is!  How fun it is going to be seeing her new place come to life with her endless energy and creativity.  

Friday's here at 57 can be a little more productive for me around the house.  The girls are testing mostly in school, so I have a little more time to cook and clean (it seems the two always go hand in hand) during the time that I usually spend instructing.  I couldn't have a discussion about chocolate chip cookies and not make any of my own!  So I filled my cookie jar today with these cookies.  They are not your Momma's Chocolate Chip Cookies ...  they are my Momma's!  Okay, well she didn't come up with this recipe on her own, but they are what she makes and they are delightful.  Edie, let me know what you think!


Chocolate - Toffee Cookies
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 (8 ounce) bag chopped milk chocolate toffee pieces

Heat oven to 375.  Coat baking sheets with nonstick spray.
Stir dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.   Beat in egg and vanilla.
Gradually add dry ingredients.
Stir in chips and toffee pieces.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets.  Bake for 10-12 min or until golden.
Cool on baking sheets on wire racks for FIVE minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


This Time of Year

You won't find many students inside at The Davenport School.  Chairs are empty, books are closed, and there isn't a lot of time to pick up. 

I love this time of year ... when we go OUTSIDE!  So, Pull up a chair ...

Sit awhile ...

and enjoy the wonderful beauty of God's world with us!


It is such a gift to be able to homeschool.  I love being able to just "pick up and go." I love that the girls can be outside and not stuck in a classroom somewhere waiting to get home only to have homework to complete.  I love that they can play and enjoy the quiet of everyone else being at work or school.  I do enjoy our neighbors, but I have to admit, it is during the quiet work/school hours of the day that the little wheels in their brains are a turnin'.  I appreciate the uninterrupted moments of creativity for them.  What a gift.  Hanson Ellis is busy using the Swiss Army knife she got for her birthday in the above image.  She is building some sort of tree fort in our woods.  Hmmmm ... Swiss Family Davenport?  I'll keep you all posted.  And as I type, the red checked table cloth that Patterson is waving around in the image prior is being made into curtains for their playground.  I'll update you with photos of that next, as well.

I hope that you are all enjoying the changing season, and your little people, too.  And if any of you know how to slow down time just a bit, so that I can savor these years a little more, please let me know!  My house of little people is all too quickly becoming a house of bigger people with every blink of my eye.  

May God fill them with all joy, as they grow in His grace. 
To God be the Glory!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Beauty!

Every now and then I am inspired by what I see on my FB home page.  This morning I had this beautiful painting with Romans 8:28 as the comment attached, on my home page.  It is done by a friend, who I've never met, but who has her own little etsy shop Pink Peeps Place.  What a beautiful painting.  Thank you Catherine for a little joy this morning!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Mood-O-Meter

So I was putting girls to bed and the routine is always youngest to oldest.  Hanson Ellis is last.  As I walk in her room, I see her at her desk busy working on a little treat to put in a letter she wrote to her Aunt Rina (who is in middle school ... Richard's father and mother in law have adopted two daughters from Ukraine ... both beautiful and very strong women ... the eldest is in college and  I would trust her with my children's lives ... the youngest, the one in middle school, never lets my girls forget she's their aunt:).  Hanson Ellis loves her dearly and takes it all in stride.  I saw her closing, "Your Niece,  Hanson Ellis.")   I smiled to myself and stood their talking to her as she finished.  And while I stood there, I noticed something else on her desk ... the "Mood-O-Meter."  How fitting that it was on "cranky."  If that was on my desk, I think it would have had no other choices BUT "cranky" all the way 'round!!  I couldn't resist.  I had to snatch it up.  It just didn't suit Hanson Ellis, but screamed MK:).  She and I both got a good chuckle out of it.  What a great reminder of how silly I must look being so cranky all the time!

I think tonight I'll try to get a little more sleep.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gathering at the Table

As the weekend comes to a close, I find myself taking a deep breath and wishing I was getting an early finish on my day.  I never seem quite ready for the new week.  Not that I'm dreading it, or that I don't look forward to another week ... but I do grow a little weary of always seeming to be in the "catch up" phase.  I have felt so B.U.S.Y. for the longest time.
Busy, and most definitely in the four letter word sense.  

I wonder ... how many of you eat every single meal gathered around your table with your family?  We've always done it and sometimes I wonder if it is really all that it is cut up to be:).  With all the interrupting one another that goes on and the non-stop of this person getting up or that person getting up or this person's fork falling on the ground or that person's napkin falling on the ground or the milk that is spilled or the water that is spilled or the very loudly read devotion by Richard in attempt to speak over the baby whose been done with sitting in her chair for about 10 minutes prior to his starting .... (if you have a big family, I know you are secretly laughing with me!  WHAT A ZOO!!).  
But we still gather every day for every meal.  

Sometimes I look around at all that is going on and this is truly when having a family of 7 "hits" me.  This is when I am filled with humility (I can't believe how gracious God has been to me) and this is when I'm hit with reality (I have got my work cut out for me!!).  But there is nothing sweeter than seeing my 8 year old cut the meat for my 6 year old, or my 1 year old patting the thigh of my 12 year old, and in doing so hinting that she wants to get in her lap.  Life is filled with so many blessings.  I hope you are all catching them as much as you can!

Tomorrow starts another week.  I will finish Ted & Margy Tripp's book, Instructing a Child's Heart over the next two or so mornings.  What a great book.  I highly recommend you picking up a copy.  I like to read this in the morning as it gives me a lot to pray over and helps me with my focus for the day ahead.  CH8 is on Giving Your Children a Vision for the Glory of God.  On page 104 there is a reminder for parents to "Display and demonstrate the wonders of God."  I think many times I can be so busy that I might rush through a devotional time with them or just assign their Bible work for the day ... read over it but not really discuss it with them.  I think they are "getting it" but most likely all they are getting is a "check the block" on spiritual time.  I know I can grow weary in all that is laid out before me each day ... especially with a husband who is either deployed or working late hours (note Grad School on top of a full time job that requires an hour commute to and an hour commute from work is NOT that conducive to being a part of your family's life ... I'm not complainin' ... just sayin'), and I know that my weariness takes away many times, too many times, from living a life that adequately displays the wonders and glories of God and His word.  I am thankful for reminders ... for moments like those while we are gathered around our table and for books that people have written ... reminders of why we are here and for what purpose we are here.  

I pray our week is filled with laughter.  I pray God gives me the strength to create a warm home environment.  I pray for health.  I pray for healing.  But most of all, I pray that God will work in all of our hearts and draw us closer to Him and conform us more to His likeness.  I pray that all who see us and know us will say that above all else, we love the Lord.

Goodnight to you all!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Day

Nothing about today was the way I wanted it.  Nothing.  I'm as tired as I can possibly be and there are a thousand things left to do right now.  BUT, I just had to sneak away and look through the couple of photos from today and remind myself that while I wasn't where I had planned to be today, while my alternative plans didn't even work out, I was right where God wanted me and it was a happy day.  Patterson walked in from soccer with a milkshake and a smile. "Momma!! We won!  We tied!!"  Sweet little thing ... not really 100% on what did happen, but she knew what didn't ... they didn't lose, and that meant a milkshake and a perfect day in her world.  Kate and Olivia and I got out bubbles and Olivia had her first real experience with them (and of course she licked the wand, as opposed to blowing it!).  Kate enjoyed the BIG bubble wand that I found in the basement.  I honestly can't remember when I purchased it (oh, that basement!), but it was a great find this past week and a lot of fun today.  Okay, my quick break is up.  Now back to my girls.  And thank you all for your prayers for Parker.  As you can see in the last few photos, her hair has been cut and is evened out a bit.  It is still so thin, though, but better.  Her blood tests were fine, so nothing physical seems to be there.  Praise the Lord!  BUT, still wondering what is going on.  I'm thinking now it might be the pool???  Any thoughts on that?  We'd appreciate your continued prayers and I'll keep you posted.