Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Do You Do??

In my spare time, I like to read and blog. A year ago, I would have said that I love to scrapbook, but I've become torn. I discovered digital scrapbooking (was dragged into it kicking and screaming) and now I'm torn. Do I waste even more time on the computer, making digital scrapbooks that I could reprint at the click of a button should our house burn down? (My biggest fear is losing my scrapbooks in a fire. Could care less about any other material possessions. Just don't leave my scrapbooks in the house!!) Or do I keep making paper scrapbooks, because they're more fun to make?? Hmmmm.

Anyway, enough about me. I want to know about you! Do tell: What are your favorite hobbies?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

I was at a Mom's Night Out a couple weeks ago with some moms from our homeschool association. They got to talking about sibling rivalry and what a big problem it was. I was sitting quietly, listening. My good friend, Lis, pipes up and says: Ginger, do your kids ever fight?
Ha! I thought that was funny, but the truth is I really don't have the problems the other moms were complaining about. And the answer is simple. We have a bunch of kids. Adjusting to 7 children from 3 was really hard, I won't lie to you. But some changes were a real blessed surprise. Two things I noticed after several months of being a "big family":

1) My kids absolutely never complain of boredom.
2) Sibling rivalry decreased significantly from when we only had 3 kids.

Not that we never have issues, mind you. I give gentle reminders throughout the day: "Was that a kind thing to say?", "Are you being a blessing?" and "You need to make it right with your brother/sister." But because there are a lot more playmates available, there is less to fight about and more cooperation on a regular basis.

My advice if you have sibling rivalry problems is: Have more kids!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Firstborn

My good friend, Vicki, recently blogged the birth story of her only girl. It was so sweet and so funny, it got me all sentimental and thinking about my own births. So, please humor this sappy mom as I regale you with a tale from the apparently distant past. (boo hoo!!)

Three days after Christmas, I woke up with light contractions. I hoped, but didn't allow myself to think much of it. I called my friends and we headed to the mall to make returns. I had contractions off and on the whole time we were there. We stopped at ChickFilA for lunch and I remember eating whatever french fries anyone left on their plate.
Still not confident this was actually labor, I took a nap when I got home. Contractions stopped soon after I laid down. When Kyle got home from work, I told him I wanted to go out. We went back to the mall to walk around; I wanted to pass the time. We didn't walk far before I was tired of that and wanted to sit down somewhere and stuff my face. So, we went to one of the cheapest pizza buffets in town. You know the place. I remembered hearing that spicy food induced labor, so I ate plenty of my favorite- Pepperoni Jalapeno. Dumb move. It didn't taste anywhere near as good when it came back up later.

Fast forward a few hours, my parents are in our living room while I labor on all fours. It was a fairly easy labor, very textbook. But sometime early in the morning, things got intense and as I lay on the couch with Kyle inches from my face, I said with bug eyes: I feel like I'm coming out of my skin!! As soon as I said that, I knew I was in transition and a big hopeful smile came over my face.

An hour or two later, I was in bed ready to push. My water was still intact at this point. That's the way to go, I tell you, that extra cushion really makes laboring so much easier. Well, one big push later and I splashed water all over the midwives. 40 minutes after the big splash, Elena torpeedoed out of me. We had talked about Kyle catching her, but there was no time. The reality was- nobody "caught" her, she just slid out onto the bed, apparently in a big hurry to eat after all those hours.

What a peaceful experience her birth was! Today my Elena Glory is 9 years old. Happy Birthday, Elena!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Frugality = Creativity

So, Kyle's parents' anniversary is coming up next week. Kyle wanted to give them a professional photo of their family. He thought it would be neat to do a photo of them in the center, surrounded by all their grandkids. That idea was nixed in favor of a big group photo of their kids and all the grandkids. Oh my!


So, then a few days before this photo shoot is to take place, my dear sister-in-law called to say that we all needed to wear jeans and a white shirt. Grrrr. Only three of us look good in white. (Can you guess which three??) And, as it turns out, Kyle is the only one that even has a white shirt. I was not thrilled about going out and buying a bunch of white shirts that several of us would likely never wear again. I had just read the chapter of Financial Peace that talks about bargains and negotiation. I decided to get creative.


I called my stepmom to ask if she had a white shirt I could borrow for Maya. She did and also had one with sleeves long enough for me. Then I called a friend/neighbor, who had 2 more shirts; and another friend/neighbor who had 2 more shirts. The next day, my mom gave me a bag of hand-me-downs someone had given her for us. Among the clothes was a white shirt! That makes 8! God is so good! (I should mention that Pedro was unavailable for the photo shoot.)


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas. . .

. . .from the Clarks!

May your time together be blessed as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It Bears Repeating

Thursday, December 18, 2008



Special-Needs Children Forced Into Cells aka "Time-Out" Rooms
The room where Jonathan King hanged himself is shown after his death.

MURRAYVILLE, Georgia (CNN) -- A few weeks before 13-year-old Jonathan King killed himself, he told his parents that his teachers had put him in "time-out." "We thought that meant go sit in the corner and be quiet for a few minutes," Tina King said, tears washing her face.

But time-out in the boy's north Georgia special education school was spent in something akin to a prison cell -- a concrete room latched from the outside, its tiny window obscured by a piece of paper.
Called a seclusion room, it's where in November 2004, Jonathan hanged himself with a cord a teacher gave him to hold up his pants. Watch Jonathan's parents on their son's death »

An attorney representing the school has denied any wrongdoing.

Seclusion rooms, sometimes called time-out rooms, are used across the nation, generally for special needs children. Critics say that along with the death of Jonathan, many mentally disabled and austistic children have been injured or traumatized.

More here.

If you have children with special needs, don't be duped into believing the public school system can do a better job with them than you can.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Cake for Hitler

Grocery Store Refuses to Make a Birthday Cake for 3 Year Old Hitler (link to article)

Anybody see anything strange about a couple naming their son Adolf Hitler and then saying: It's not like he's going to grow up to do what Hitler did?
If they dont' want him to be like Hitler, why name him after the famous murderer?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

He's Legal!

Last night, Pedro came over for his birthday dinner, Zuppa Osso Buco, his favorite. He has just turned 21! (Since he's dieting, we gave him his other favorite- the much-requested oatmeal raisin cookie, in place of the carrot cake he loves.)

It was so great to have all my kids together. It's been two months since Pedro moved out and he'll be out of town for Christmas, so this will be our first Christmas without him. Boo hoo!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Strike a Pose

I wanted to do a post about my love of thrift stores and post some pictures of some great finds, but that would honestly be too many photos. So, I'll just show off one of Elena's favorites. See those fancy shmancy jeans? They looked brand new and they were an 8 slim. Whenever I find anything in slim, it doesn't matter what size it is, I buy it. Slim jeans are so hard to come by, I figure if we don't get to them, someone will.
Here, she's modeling her favorite jeans with her favorite shoes- her prized "cowgirl" boots.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand: I've been shopping at thrift stores since way back when we were a double income family and had no kids. I just love it. I feel like I've just won something. Somebody bought this nice Abercrombie & Fitch shirt, but decided it wasn't the right color and gave it away instead of returning it to the store. I'm happy to benefit from their laziness. Or somebody got these great jeans as a gift, but they're the wrong size and unreturnable. Drat, that Grandma Sue! But I'll take them and thanks! I've gotten so many awesome deals, I've lost count. All I know is, I've saved a FORTUNE. Clothes just feel better when they were a bargain.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Latest Reads

As you know, I'm a book addict. I've been reading Mansfield Park for quite awhile. I'm new to Jane Austen and I absolutely love her satirical style. About halfway through the book, however, I got several non-fiction books from InterLibrary Loan.
So, I'm working my way through Better Late Than Early, Adrenal Fatigue, and Financial Peace.

What are you currently reading?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Everything I Needed to Know about Dating I learned from a 3rd Grader


9-year Old Author Reveals Secrets of Picking Up Girls (Link to video)

Forget the psychologists and relationship experts, guys. If you really want to know how to meet girls, snuggle up to a clever little book written by 9-year-old love guru Alec Greven.

A year ago, Greven was just another third-grader with a writing assignment at Soaring Hawk Elementary School in Castle Rock, Colo.

“We got to write whatever we want, and I chose to write about girls,” Alec told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Thursday in New York.

Here's an excerpt from his book, "How to Talk to Girls":

If you are in elementary school, try to get a girl to like you, not to love you. Wait until middle school to try to get her to love you. Otherwise, you have to hold on to her for a long time and that would be very hard.

Tip: Most boys in elementary school can hold on to a girl for only 30 days.

Don't you wish your kid was in public school gaining valuable knowledge like this?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is It Wrong to Gamble?

Well I do! (Judge me if you must.) Every time a baby is about to be born, our family has a gambling tradition. My quiverful sister is 36 weeks pregnant with #4 and is taking bets on the baby's gender, birthday, and weight. Head on over and take a gamble. She's giving away a prize!!

Really Big Hair

After having her hair in a half ponytail all day, Chloe took it down to find this 'do. She was super duper proud of her big funky hair.
That goofy look is her proud look. Let's hope it mellows a bit over the years!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A New Laundry Inductee

As you know, all the kids do chores. We've had to change up the chore system since Pedro left, so I recently sat the kids down and told them:
Chores are not just for big kids anymore! It's time Daniel and Lydia did their part! We're all grateful for all your dishwasher duties, but it's time you stepped up to more responsibility!! No more playing around while everyone else dusts and vacuums! No more sitting idly by while your laundry is folded and put away for you! You're 3 1/2 now! Act your age!
And as for you big kids, I know what you're up to! No doing their job for them because you feel sorry for them! No taking over because you want it done faster! These babies gotta learn and you're gonna help them! So stop helping them!

So, after the big girls had washed their clothes, Lydia took them out of the dryer.

Some things are way back there, but she's not afraid! She dove right in there to grab those orphan socks and unmentionables.

Did you get it all Lydia?
Wait I see one more! Go get it, girl!

Tada! No more runaway panties! Liddy's on laundry duty now.
She drug the basket to the den for folding. Which she supervised. Because she's too little to fold clothes.

But she did hang up all her clothes. So leave me alone! She's the baby. I'll teach her how to fold next week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Clark Christmas

We have a lot of Christmas traditions and memories as a family. There are lots of things we like to do together every Christmas, places we like to go (Who could forget the Christmas Parade incident??), special books we love to read, and songs we enjoy singing. One of our favorites is decorating the Christmas tree.

For us Clarks, it's all about the ornaments. The kids each get a new one every year and they are each sentimental. It's a very exciting and emotional time when we decorate the Christmas tree every Black Friday. (Who wants those early morning crowds? I'd much rather lounge around in our pajamas having fun.)
Here's how we do it (because you know there must be order in a "big" family): we set the big box of ornaments in the center of the rug and the kids line up in front of it.
They take turns picking out an ornament, unwrapping it, strolling down memory lane, and then adorning the tree.
As soon as that ornament is on the tree, the next kid jumps up. It goes pretty fast actually.

Lydia kept saying: I got a big one! I got a big one!

Of course, the biggest thrill was when a kid unwrapped more than one ornament. Sometimes 2 or even three are wrapped up in that precious bubble wrap. (Their momma's a real penny pincher.)
I must brag about Daniel's footed pajamas. Found these at my favorite thrift store, in new condition, and ya know footed pajamas in size 4T are kinda hard to find!

Remember I told you Maya's always cold? Thus the windbreaker in our living room.

After we got all the ornaments hung, we celebrated the accomplishment with some holiday dancing.
Look at that happy boy! He's just happy to have found someone willing to dance with an over-sized wearer of footed-pajamas. Partners like that are rare ya know?