Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not me! Monday

Oh dear, I have really lost my touch now. I completely forgotten about Not Me! Monday...or should I say that I did NOT completely forget about it!?! MckMama did not though, and she's got it going again. Click over to her blog to check out lots of other's embarrassing moments! Its loads of fun and an easy way to completely waste several hours of what would otherwise be productive time...not that I would ever do that! Not me!

We did not spend over 3 hours in the ER Friday night waiting for stitches. FOUR medical professionals did not come in, ask for the story, look at the wound and declare that he needed stitches and then walk out. The fifth did not FINALLY get the supplies and actually put in the stitches! Thanks Mitchell!

I did not have to spend 4 hours around food for 2 of my kids "Thanksgiving Feasts" as school on a day I had set aside for fasting. It was not SO HARD to resist the rolls and frosted sugar cookies (not 2 of my VERY favorite foods)!!

Riley did not make a very pretty centerpiece for his craft at his feast out of plant life from around the school grounds:
Alayna did not dress up like an Indian in her handmade costume and sing an adorable song at her feast...or make a cute turkey out of her hand tracing

I did not forget that the horse in this picture is deathly afraid of camera flashes and that you should turn off the flash if you want to take his picture so that the kids around him don't get trampled or bucked off...good thing my flash didn't go off when I took this picture of Riley brushing him and completely loving being in the country for a bon fire last night!
I was not so sad that I took my camera in the house when we ate and then forgot to take any more pictures of our fire and friends. Alayna was not so exhausted when we got home that she fell asleep in her closet on the floor holding her magic wand! I am so glad her closet was perfectly clean so I could take a picture of her without worrying about people seeing her messy closet...

We are not all so excited about having an entire week off school! We are not planning on sleeping in, not even once! Or cleaning, or getting things around here better organized...because that is not what my helpers are for!

And, in light of the upcoming holidays and thinking about the holiday pounds so many of us put on, I ran every day this week, I am up to that five mile mark, handling that with ease! I had plenty of time to prepare nutritious meals all week with low calories and fat! We did not eat out at all this week, after all, we are on a tight budget! I certainly didn't make my children eat Cheap Cheap Cheeseburgers at the Rendezvous Cafe (they are not $1.50 between 2-4 pm, served with onion rings, fries, or soup!!) I also didn't make them eat dinner at just before 4 pm to get in on the special! Paul, Gabe, and I also didn't eat Taco Bell in the van the night before because we spent the evening in the ER instead of eating a nutritious dinner. This was not a complete violation of our no eating in the van rule either! Good thing there is no evidence that the three of us broke that rule, so the other kids will never find out...Okay, your turn, what did you NOT do this week? Sara, I can't wait to hear what you've NOT been up to, you always make me laugh!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday Fright Night

If you are privy to Gabriel's blog, you will note a post from today with the same title. I am going to blog about the same thing, but with fewer graphic pictures (many of you will be happy to know). Hey, its his blog and he wanted the pictures on there. . .Anyway, trying to keep this short and sweet (do I ever manage that???), Gabe had an accident tonight. He fell off Riley's top bunk, striking his shin on the dresser on the way down and took off the entire thickness of skin, tucking it neatly inside the top of the wound. It bled surprisingly little and Gabe was more crying because everyone was upset. Holden and Alayna were both crying, so sad to see their brother hurt. He kept saying he was sorry for getting hurt. So sweet! It was about 5:30, so all offices were closed, so we spent a significant amount of time trying to find an Urgent Care. Unfortunately, we didn't know the name of any of them and they weren't neatly filed under "Urgent Care" in the yellow pages. We ended up taking him to a Fast Track ER in Sarasota. I should have placed "Fast" in quotes above because they were anything but fast! Gabe had to tell his story 4 times, each person declaring after looking at his leg that "He needs stitches!" Um, yes, that is why we are here! Finally, the 5th person who came in, asked for the story, looked at the leg and declared the need for stitches also said, I'll go get my stuff to do it! That only took 2 hours! Ahhhh, we have been spoiled by the lack of need to go to the ER lately! Mitchell put in 19 stitches and was a very kind PA who was obviously very gifted for this type of work. He was very kind to Gabriel and even let us take pictures whenever we wanted. We were out of there just after 10 pm. Off to Taco Bell since we all missed dinner. That was a yummy treat! We thank God for Kate and Jack May who came to stay with the kids so Paul and I could both go with Gabe. Kate's husband Dan is out of town and she and her son Jack had great plans to hang out together, watch a movie and finish up laundry. All spoiled by the accident. They came to our rescue and brought their movie (Wall-E) to our house to share. Thanks you two, you are a blessing to our family...again!

Waiting for someone to actually put in the needed stitches!

"V" for victorious!

Mitchell the PA who was fabulous to us!

Taco Bell, eaten in the van...2 treats at once!

Hospital Bling
We hope your weekend is less exciting!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holden's basketball team

We are really enjoying the pee-wee league team Holden is signed up for! He has a short practice then a short game. The kids are ages 5-7 and all on about the same skill (or should I say lack of skill) level. Ahem...anyway, it is so much fun watching these boys play. Dribbling is completely optional in their minds! They are like bees swarming around the ball with 9 playing defense and the one with the ball on offense. Holden really enjoys it and looks forward to it for 6 days until its Wednesday again! Here are all the boys...Holden is the one looking behind him, second red jersey from the center.They practice skills before they are unleashed to play a 20 minute game:
The other kids enjoy watching too (you can just make out Riley behind Alayna's hair)

And here is a video so you can appreciate the swarming:

We only have 3 more weeks of basketball...what will we do for entertainment then??

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not me! Monday

Oh, I am painfully behind on this week's confessions. You would think that I didn't have anything to post about...not so much this week! Its been a bit of a doozy! Check out MckMama's blog for 249 others' posts who came before me...since they were on the think I was #2 a few short weeks ago and now I've sunken to #250 this week!! The past 2 weeks have been near the end of the group as well...I must be losing my touch! Anyway, it has been an interesting week around here!

I did not get tricked into eating a cricket by my oldest child. No, not me! I am too wise to be tricked into such a thing! (It was hidden in a chocolate candy and I should have been SUPER suspicious when he kept trying to push this piece of candy on me. I was sick Monday and was tired of refusing him and seeing him disappointed, so I ate it. He then handed me a button that said "I Ate a Bug Club" Then he handed me the packaging--as I was picking cricket pieces from my teeth, thinking to myself that it tasted like a Krackel bar, but had the odd crunch that could have been a bug. The packaging indeed listed the ingredients, last of which was "1 oven roasted cricket")

I did not lose my credit card and not realize it for a month! I have no problem keeping track of important items and never misplace things.

I did not bring home a cold from Iowa and treat myself with a z-pack. It is not a miracle drug that I thank God for!

I did not take a nap on Monday for over 1 1/2 hours, thinking I had just closed my eyes when it was time to go get the kids from school. Why would I need a nap at this point in my life, especially when all my kids are at school?

I did not leave the oven on ALL day Wednesday. I would never do anything like that because I am extremely conscious of the electric bill and certainly would take all precautions to keep from burning down our rental house!!

I did not completely flunk "Stay at home mom/housewife 101" for 3 days this week when I did absolutely no cleaning, grocery shopping (after being out of town), or preparing of dinner. My AWESOME husband did not have to pick up the slack. He did not completely ACE "How to love your wife 400" this week!

Best of all, Paul and I did not giggle ourselves silly on Saturday morning as he proceeded to make fresh squeezed orange juice wearing ONLY inside out shorts. We were not picturing a chef at a restaurant preparing our food dressed as such, and our own apprehension for eating anything prepared by someone dressed similarly...guess you had to be there. If you were, you would have seen this:
Oh, yeah, he's hunky...and he's MINE! So, how about you? What have you not done this week??

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Iowa cold

We are on the mend here. We all seemed to catch the same cold even though we were all in different places...well a few of us did anyway. Paul managed to defeat his early on and had no trouble. Gabe and Alayna were spared completely, Riley, Holden and I didn't fare so well. Riley woke up with his first episode of croup in over 3 years on Tuesday. By God's grace, I knew where the Decadron had been unpacked to, and was able to go right to it and give him a dose. Unfortunately though, he choked on the water he used to down the 3 tiny pills and the coughing made him really short of breath, causing me to freak out a little and race around getting dressed to take him to the ER. I didn't know which hospital to take him to (I do now), so we spent a little time looking up the hospital number to call and see if they had the medicines he needed and were equipped to handle a pediatric emergency. By the time we decided where to take him, he was settled back down and we were able to give the medicine 20 minutes to work...and work it did! We hung out together that day both of us feeling miserable sniffing and sneezing and coughing. I started a z-pack that day and was 100% better by Wednesday. Riley was not, but could breathe, so off to school he went. He and Holden are still sniffing and coughing. Its funny to listen to them play and laugh together because inevitably, the laughing leads to a coughing fit!

I am glad Gabe was not sick because Flag Football started this week. Cross Country is over in 2 more weeks, but we allowed him to play anyway. He has kept his grades up (on the honor roll) and has demonstrated amazing responsibility in doing his work without being prompted! He has practice 3 times/week and is loving it! He is a receiver/blocker, and kick off return and plays in the backfield when on defense...he is not sure what his position is called yet! He is learning a lot!

On Friday night, we went to a local church for the school's Fall Concert entitled "Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart". Alayna, Holden and Riley all performed. Gabe's class did not, unless they wanted a part such as dancing, puppets, or praise band. It was different than any previous concerts we have been a part of and was lots of fun. It was quite a show! The PreK kids did several songs and were so cute! Alayna is in the green hat and mittens and scarf about 5 from the left for this short song. Enjoy:

Here are the kindergartners and first graders waiting for their turn to was very loud in that room! Holden is in the 2nd row on the right and that is his teacher on the far right.

These are the older kids also waiting for their turn. They looked so nice in their black and white.
This is the K-5th graders. I wish I knew how many exactly there were, but trust me there were a lot! The school is quite a bit bigger than we are used to. We are adjusting. The performance was at a local church since they have no gym or stage area for such a performance at the school. They are starting a capital campaign to build 2 more buildings on their land. The first one will be to house 11th and12th grades since the school only currently goes through 10th grade. The second building would be a gym and cafeteria.
On a completely different note (no pun intended), we would still appreciate your prayer regarding our housing situation. We still have not heard from our home's owners about our refusal to accept an increase in our rent. They could very well ask us to leave at the end of December. We were supposed to find out yesterday, but no word. We are not anxious. We have met many people and made connections and have plenty of options in our price range. BUT, we dread moving, especially over the holidays. We know God can use this to bless us with a better living arrangement, maybe closer to school and Agape. Our desire is to rest in Him and His perfect plan for our family. We know He can make their hearts look upon us with favor if He desires.

We have seen many answered prayers lately with the addition of several staff members in the development department at Agape! One is starting on Monday and several more over the next couple weeks. This is AMAZING! Several of these staff members are leaving jobs that pay very well, seeking to follow God's will in their lives! It is exciting to see their enthusiasm for Agape! Keep little Rachael and her family in your prayers, she is still in the ICU. If you want updates on her condition, go to Please let us know how we can be praying for you too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Urgent Prayer Needed

Hey all, just want to pass on a prayer request near to my heart. I don't know the people in need of prayer, but my friend Kate does and her heart is heavy for her friends Bob and Angie whose daughter Rachael needs a medical miracle and appears to be losing her battle with cancer. Please check out their story HERE and pray for God's guidance, peace, and comfort as they begin to make decisions regarding continuing treatment. There is power in prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."

**Update available at

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not me! Monday

YEAH! It’s that time again…you guessed it…Not me! Monday! Can I get a WOOT WOOT?? Jump over to MckMama’s website to check out pictures of her miracle baby and catch up on her story as well as get the rules (and consider joining the fun), and check out a couple hundred other ladies’ lists of denial (which I am told is NOT a river in Egypt). C’mon, its great fun and so freeing…and it gets those brain cells working, trying to follow the single, double and triple negatives! See if you can figure out what I have not been up to!

I am not procrastinating unpacking for myself, Paul and all of the kids to do this post...not me! I LOVE to unpack and put everything I have so much energy from all the rest I received this weekend!

I did NOT have the most wonderful weekend with my husband and most of our friends from home in Iowa when we returned there for the marriage conference we led.

We were NOT blown away at having 25 couples attend the conference and did NOT definitely feel the Holy Spirit working and moving so clearly in the people there. We were NOT completely blessed to be allowed to be a part of it, to be used by God, to share ourselves and our struggles openly to help others.

I did NOT realize after I gave my presentation that my skirt had been on sideways the entire morning. I did NOT stand up (behind a clear acrylic podium) in front of 25 couples in a sideways skirt trying to convey a serious message…I am sure no one was distracted!

I did NOT also have my socks blessed off by many of my friends who pitched in to get me some of my discontinued scent from Bath and Body Works. They did not find enough of my FAVORITE scented shower gel to last me for the next SIX YEARS!!!!!

I did NOT get to spend an evening with almost 30 of my friends sharing food and fun, games and drinking up their familiar faces, voices, and stories, hoping to have enough to get me through the next month until I get to go back! I did NOT completely enjoy this sweet time and appreciate each lady who took the time to come hang out with me on a cold Friday night. YOU GUYS ROCK…um…I mean you don’t rock!
No one accidentally dressed like triplets at the gathering, then sat right next to each other to accentuate the obvious!

Paul and I were NOT so excited to see friends and family at a dinner to update our supporters about our ministry with Agape Flights. I did NOT completely take advantage of this time to show off my kids on the big screens by playing movies I made of what we did this summer.

We did NOT love that the Williams family made us feel right at home in their place without a worry for a meal or a place to sleep. I did not abandon my husband one night to sleep at my moms! I did NOT happen into the hallway as someone (who is not my husband) came out of the bathroom wearing only a towel. We did NOT finally figure out where everyone should sleep so that the dogs would not bark all night on our final night there! We did NOT find these barky dogs and puppies completely adorable and agree that if we ever own a dog again, it would be one of theirs! If you are NOT looking for a small, nonshedding, hypoallergenic, affectionate, good with kids, lap dog, you should NOT check out her website at Thanks Williams family! We do NOT love you guys!
The Williams' youngest daughter Bekah (in blue above) did NOT decide to forgo birthday presents and instead use her birthday to gather donations for our support at Agape Flights. She did NOT just turn 10 and bring us to tears with her generosity and love. She did NOT have all the kids at her birthday party make us encouraging cards and present them to us as well!

The Williams did NOT continue to bless us by hosting dinner Sunday for my sister and mom and Tim and Dawn Stultz and family who we weren't able to connect with until that day! We did NOT really enjoy that special time of fellowship!
I did NOT get 5 ½ inches cut off my hair when I got back home. Riley did not cry last time I drastically changed my hair. I am sure he will love it! Here is the new me with Brandy who has cut my hair for the past 8 years or so:
Okay, so besides the skirt and towel incidents, it was a pretty slow week for not me moments, I admit it. I just can't think of any more because of all the blessings showered on us upon our return home. My mind is still reeling at the generosity of our church body and families. There were many more gifts and kindnesses shown to us this weekend, I could go on and on. Please know that you make a difference in our lives, you make it possible for us to serve the Lord here with Agape Flights, and for that we can never say thank you enough. We covet your prayers, phone calls and notes of encouragement, especially your comments here on my blog! I love sharing our lives with you and hearing what is going on at home. It seems I am missing out less!

{Abandoning the "not me" style for a second.}I had to post this picture (even though its terribly out of focus) because this scene just brought so much warmth to my heart. We were usually one of the last people to leave church for some reason or another, and we would always see kids running around, playing together and enjoying being in God's house. It was so good to experience that again!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My civic duty has been performed

Alayna and I went to vote. We heard about long lines, so we went prepared. Paul had voted before work around 7 am and had a 45 minute wait, so we packed snacks, water and my borrowed iPod just to be sure she didn't make me crazy! I didn't really know what to expect since this is our first time voting here and we have voted absentee for the past several elections. We drove all of about 3 minutes to our polling place (a clubhouse in a local retirement community that was quite lovely!) and found a place to park easily. We were quickly greeted by one of the Candidates running for Congress, who I was not voting for, but who was extremely nice and did not try to run a commercial in person for us or detain us in any way, just commented on my cute little voter as we went on by. We went straight in, signed the signature line, practiced filling in an oval (I'm glad I didn't flunk that, since upon approval, I was given a ballot!). I would have loved to document this entire process for you, but no cameras were allowed and I even had to turn off my cell phone! The thought went through my head that this was very biased against bloggers...but anyway, I got my ballot, filled it out, was given my "I voted" sticker and enough for all my kids and was out the door. I was back to my house in 20 minutes flat, door to door! We didn't have time to eat our snacks or even take a sip of water! Well, actually, Alayna got half of her candy bracelet eaten while I was voting. This was all she had left:

And proudly displaying her sticker!
Now, the waiting game begins! Its going to be a long evening!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not me! Monday


Well folks, that's right! It's Monday again! This is a celebratory Monday also because MckMama who started all this soul baring confession had her baby on Wednesday and it appears that he has been 100% healed from his heart problems! The baby that doctors said would surely die before he had the chance to be born several weeks ago has no signs of a heart rhythm problem and has been discharged home with his mama! Praise the Lord! Click over to her site to see her story, get the rules to join me in being brutally honest and living to tell about it, or just read a few hundred other ladies' weekly confessions of their most embarrassing moments! I have to admit this was a pretty low-key week for me since I was sick the majority of the week, so this is all I have...

I did not spend several days in my pajamas for the majority of the day because surely putting on real clothing would make me feel even worse.

I did not spend my sick days glued to the television updates about the election because I know God is in control of who our next leader is and I rest contently in His sovereignty.

I did not yell at the TV yesterday as I watched my team (I'm embarrassed to tell you who I root for) squander a great lead and the best game they have played all year to lose in OT. No, I was singing praise songs and worshipping the Almighty, the Father of Football!

I did not plan my Monday morning around doing my post to coincide with the timing of the last 2 weeks when MckMama put up Mr. Linky. My morning plans do not go like this: get up, eat breakfast, take kids to school, photocopy for Riley's teacher, back home to post Not Me! Monday and lurk on MckMama's blog until 9:30 (it helps that I am an hour ahead of her!), then go run (because that is 2 hours after I ate and I will get the most benefit from my food for my run), then shower and start some semblance of a productive day! Those would be pretty lame plans if they were!

I did not decide we couldn't possibly rent a certain house we looked at yesterday just because the owner left food in the refrigerator and the entire house smelled like something died! We discovered something had died...a chicken was packaged in the freezer that was not working. We did not help clean out the refrigerator with the intention of being a blessing only to discover that we made the smell MUCH worse!

I am not thinking bitter thoughts about our landlords after they chose to increase our rent by $300/month when our lease is up at the end of December. I am so excited to possibly be moving over the Christmas holiday! We do not want prayer for this situation at all!!!

I did not serve this to my family on a rice and beans night just because it was the only thing that sounded good to me:

...I also did not eat BOTH chili dogs myself!

We did not all celebrate the end of October (that signalled the end of rice and beans for 4 days/week) by going to Pizza Hut for pizza. We did not save enough money to continue our yearly tradition of going to a Japanese steak house on Christmas Eve by eating rice and beans. We will not compare the steak house we choose to our favorite place to eat in the world: Three Samurai!

Okay, your turn, what did you not do this week??

*** UPDATE: So, a friend who doesn't have a blog emailed me her Not Me! that I could not resist posting for her. Can anyone guess who the owner of this blunder is? (it truly was not me!!)

After I was at work about an hour I wondered why one foot was warmer than the other and I looked down . . .

and I'm not going home any time soon!!

I think this is cause to hold my very first contest!! IF anyone can guess whose feet those are, I will send you a prize! Leave your guess in my comments and GOOD LUCK! I will reveal the feet owner in my next post likely tomorrow, so I'll give you until 12 noon on Wednesday to figure it out! Here is a hint: this is a friend from Grace.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bye-Bye Baseball

Today was Riley's last baseball game. We all enjoyed it a lot and our seat cushions we used to use only once a year when we went to Michigan for the NASCAR race have seen lots more action! It was really fun to cheer him on together as a family and root for his team. We have lovingly called them the Bad News Bears for the last few games...they haven't won very many games, but they all had fun. Their coaches were very laid back and fun loving and each boy enjoyed the experience, got to pitch if they wanted, and got lots of experience with counting blades of grass in the outfield and clumps of red dirt in the infield. They were so cute! Riley just corrected me by saying, "I'm not cute, Mom!". Okay, they were adorable. "That's not better!" is the reply to that statement...oh well, we'll have to settle for mom's take on the situation!
Riley pitching

Fully garbed!

The coaches

The team. Way to go Golden Eagles!


We decided not to do dressing up this year and went down the street a big to our friend's church for their bash. They offered games, bounce houses, face painting, hot dogs, snow cones, popcorn, and of course candy! The kids had a great time and we were there from the time it started until they closed down and we ended up helping out. Paul was where he was most comfortable: behind the grill, turning hot dogs. I got to help put away chairs and clean up tables. The kids were exhausted after spending almost 3 hours in the bounce house! Here are a few photos of our fun night.