I normally don't do the tag/blog things, but this one is kind of fun. I was tagged by Northwest Ladybug (long-time online buddy) with the following instructions: "Go to the 4th folder with pictures on your computer and then upload the 4th picture in that folder. Discuss."

So, here is the 4th folder, 4th picture on my computer:

I took this picture of a picture in my house in Dec of 2002. I had just bought my first digital camera for the primary purpose of selling on eBay and so I went around the house taking pictures testing it out and I have no idea why it was never deleted.

This picture does have an interesting story. My husband was active duty Navy and we were stationed in the Philippines in 1988-1990. Filipinos are famous for copying things and they do it remarkably well. During this time, my husband was sent to Bahrain during the beginning of the build-up prior to the Gulf War (Desert Shield). He was obviously feeling lonely for me and found this card and sent it to me with the instructions that I was to find an artist to paint it because he wanted to hang it in our bedroom. That's exactly what I did. I love this painting and the story behind it.

What I think is particularly funny is that every one of our children has thought that it is my husband and me, despite the fact that in the picture the lady shows cleavage and wears heels. My boobs can't "do" a cleavage unless I'm nursing and get into weird contortions and I do not wear heels, tyvm.

Okay, so now I will tag 4 people and hope they will think this is fun:
Audrey's Playground - mommy of 2 gorgeous daughters, tackling life's twists and turns with optimism, and is having fun with her fairly new camera
Global Nomads - an expat living in the Persian Gulf who takes gorgeous pics of her life/journeys - oh, and she knits!
There's nothing like a daughter to love . . . - another mommy of 2 gorgeous daughters (one is a redhead) and who recently bought a new Nikon and enjoys photography
My Life as Mama Jodi - a sweet lady I met on a scrapbooking board years ago


Go Mustangs!

It's volleyball season for Pearly. She is a starter and thrilled about that. Her 6'2" height definitely has given her an advantage in this sport. I'm glad for her because it's hard to be extremely tall and in volleyball, being tall is an asset. Thankfully, she only has eyes for volleyball and seems to be taking the height in stride. We're looking forward to a great season. We love this team with great coaches. This is primarily a homeschool team and they compete with private schools up to 3-1/2 hours away.


Day 1

Day 1 of potty training

7 accidents on the floor and/or carpet
2 times on the floor around the toilet, but not in the toilet
2 times on the floor and IN the toilet
1 time completely successful (well, minus a couple drips)
Total Cost = lots of mama's patience, siblings' patience, lots of dirty towels, lots of gummy bears and apple juice

I don't ever remembering it wearing on me so badly. Last 2 times, dh took the duty on himself. I wish I could give it to him this time, but it's my turn :(


For Coffee Drinkers Only

Back in late September, some online buddies were discussing how they like their coffee from a French press. I was clueless. We don't drink a lot of coffee - maybe only with desserts and so I skimmed their comments. But when these ladies kept at it, it made me wonder what was the big deal. They told me that when you use a filter, it also filters out the natural oils from the coffee beans that keep the coffee from being bitter. That made sense to me as it was the primary reason I did not like coffee - that bitter taste. My husband's birthday was just around the corner, so I bought him a French press since he started drinking coffee more regularly (due to his office making it available to employees).

No doubt about it - French press coffee is definitely different than coffee from a coffee maker. We were sold.

So, this Bonjour Unbreakable is the one I bought after talking with a customer at the store who already had one. The carafe is unbreakable plastic and I thought that might be a good buy because so many people had posted reviews on other French presses that glass carafes break easily.

After a couple months, my husband noticed a crack on the plastic press. Within a week, the press had broken to bits. This is what it looked like after 2-1/2 months of use (click on picture to enlarge):

Okay, let me just add by this time, we had gone from occasional coffee drinkers to daily coffee drinkers and only from the French press. One day, the husband took the French press to work since he didn't have enough time to make his coffee in the morning. Wife was not happy.

Now we had a broken French press and dh was resorting to using his engineering degree to invent his own French press with a strainer.

We needed a replacement, and fast. I went online and after reading quite a few reviews, decided to purchase this at Clive Coffee not only because they had the best price online and reasonable shipping, but also because they are local and I could hopefully get it more quickly. Not only did I get this gorgeous French press, the people at Clive Coffee included a bag of Tres Rios hand-roasted coffee beans from Costa Rica! Woohoo! I ordered it on Friday and received it Monday.

I also sent the husband pics of it so he can drool at work. So far so good. The quality is superb and the press part looks well made. There are no plastic parts. My first cup was excellent.

Happy days are here again!


Sewed In and Blog Anniversary!

While a lot of people were complaining about being snowed-in a few weeks ago. I was blissfully sewed-in. The boys were outside sledding all hours of the day, the house was quiet, and much was accomplished.

Here are 4 of the 14 prs of pj bottoms I sewed with the help of Pearly who did a lot of cutting and prep work. It was a great team effort. The brown was for my daughter, Hannah, the blue pairs were given to my 6'3" sister, Denise (hi, Nise!!!), and the pink for my Mom. My absolute favorite part of Christmas was the thrill of watching my long-limbed family try their pjs on and see the excitement in their eyes when they noticed that they fit in length. My mom actually did a little jig, and once she put them on, refused to take them off even though we were having another family over for Christmas dinner. Well, that was all the encouragement I needed to remain in my pjs. So, that's how we ate our dinner - some of us were in pjs! Fun!

I made a pair for Tall Dude (who was 6'7" the last time we measured him), but they were about an inch too long. So I told him I'd quickly go hem them and he retorted, "Are you SERIOUS????". Ummm, I did not hem them. He's never experienced pants that drag on the floor, so he wanted to keep them that way. I originally wasn't even sure he'd wear them, because he typically wears his gymn shorts to bed, but he's been wearing them every night.

I had to laugh at this one morning when I went downstairs to begin my sewing. I'm trying to ignore the fact that my beloved Rowenta iron got knocked over, but check out the army guys all lined up ready for battle. And be sure to check beneath the ironing board - we have a paratrooper who snuck down to get in a better position. For what???? I do not know. Boys!!

I also happened to notice that it's been 4 years since I began this blog. It first began as a place to document my knitting projects so I wouldn't forget details like name of yarn, needle size, gauge, etc, but now it is a diary of the happenings in our home as we raise our remaining six children. I am amazed at how many people from all over the world are interested in our seemingly mundane life, but thank you for your supportive posts and communication along the way.


Facebook Reconnections

Well, these past few weeks have been an emotional whirlwind to say the least. Finding the answers to my questions about my biological father and family so suddenly was amazing. I'm still sad about the fact that I never got to ever see or talk with my biological father. That is a pain in the soul that is very hard to find words to explain. How could I have love for a father who seemingly abandoned me, yet then find out that he carried my picture in his wallet for years? I was told awful things about my father my whole life. Most of them were true. But yet, I still feel an unconditional love toward this man. So, that chapter of my life was taken from me in his death, yet a new one unfolds with the meeting of my new half-brother and sisters and extended family. I still haven't met one half-brother and I'll probably leave it in his court since he knows how he can get a hold of me. At least I know about him and he is in my thoughts and prayers.

Interestingly, since all of this transpired, I posted my reunion story (the same story I posted here) on my Facebook wall. What I didn't know was how many other people have similar stories. Two people e-mailed me privately on Facebook telling me their story and how my story encouraged them to look for long lost friends/relatives. One person actually found her maid of honor after 25 years of no contact. Isn't that great? After that, I decided I should try to find friends from our college group where dh and I met. We were a close-knit group and it was during a pivotal time in all of our lives; yet as often happens, we lost track of each other.

I was able to find two friends from that college group on Facebook. We decided to make a Facebook Group so we could have a central location to reconnect, share stories, and pictures. In less than one week, we've found close to 20 people from that old college group and now pictures and memories are being posted. I thought I'd share a few here from my younger years.

This was where we held retreats at the Oregon coast. I was probably 20 years old. I'm right smack in the middle with the blue sweater and dh is to the left of me with the gray/striped sweater. This was probably the beginning of our courtship.

And what I found more interesting is the guy who took the above picture was also connected with me in the youth group and youth choir I was in when I was about 16 years old. He was an avid photographer back then and saved every slide! I was thrilled to be able to see these old memories.

This was when we were on a choir tour when I was probably 16 years old. What great memories! I am the far left person in the top row.

This must have been a quick stop at a convenient store for snacks, just a guess. I'm in the back with the light blue sweater.

And here I am sleeping on the tour bus. Seriously, who keeps these kinds of pictures for nearly 30 years?! I love it!

Now this picture really got me. I recognized the guy and befriended him on Facebook when I saw him posting on our mutual friend's picture. I remembered him from the high school choir, but then through our correspondence, he told me that he remembered me from further back than that. He was a student teacher in my choir class in 8th grade and remembered that I also played the piano for the class. This guy remembered me from over 30 years ago! That floors me. I remember looking up to him as an 8th grader because he played so well and aspired to play the piano just like him some day.

So, do you have lost friends or loved ones? Start searching on Facebook! And if you do find someone because of my post encouraging you, please drop me a note. I'd love to read your story!


Any Resemblance?

My new sister sent me some pictures of the dad I never knew. When I saw them, I was amazed at the resemblance, so I had to crop head shots for comparison.


Put a Smile on This Mama Bear's Face

See that flyer posted on my fridge? That is the flyer that was sent out to a lot of people informing them of camps available for children, mothers/daughters, sons/fathers, etc, this coming year at the camp we go to each summer. Do you see that picture in the upper left-hand corner? That's MY boy, affectionately known as Orange Boy here.

I take lots of pictures at camp of my kids (of course) and random pictures of campers. Last summer, the staff asked if they could make copies from our memory cards to use for slideshows, etc. Unbeknownst to me, they used my picture of my boy for this flyer. It's not the fact that my picture was used, it is the fact that they chose my boy - the boy who has a prominent birth mark on his left cheek - specifically a Portwine Stain birthmark right smack in the middle of his face - and made that the largest picture on the flyer. Do you get what I'm talking about? This is the kid who gets stopped in public all the time with strangers saying, "Who beat you up?" "Wow, what happened to you?" "Did your sister do that to your face?" I have had a police officer ask me what happened to him (and then went to a neighbor to verify). Countless (yes, countless) medical professionals have asked what happened to his cheek. This is something that is very noticeable, yet someone at camp decided that his face was worthy enough for the picture to be blown up and used as an advertisement for camp.

So, when talking to Orange Boy, he mentioned to me that he was surprised that they used his picture because of his birthmark. I told him that they probably never even noticed the birthmark - that the excitement shown on his eyes and face is what made them choose this picture. What a gift they gave my son (and his teary-eyed mama).

PS - We are aware that there is treatment available for Portwine Stain. It would require numerous laser treatments. The treatments cause scabbing and staying out of the sun for days. At this point, Orange Boy has decided that he is not interested. The ball is in his court and we will support whatever decision he chooses.

I've told him over the years that God must have been kissing him an awful lot on that cheek because it is sooooo soft. I sure love this kid.

Here's the original:


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