Friday, July 30, 2010

What Our Days Look Like

This post is mostly for me, so I can remember how sweet these baby days were when they are past. Julia is growing so fast, it hurts. Me, that is. I've not allowed myself to dwell on it, but there's a sadness in my heart that her newborn days are over. I recently had my sister's kids over for the day and as her 6 year old daughter, Ainsley, was playing with Julia, she said: It's so fun when they start eating and crawling and walking.
Oh yea! I had forgotten about all that! I have so much to look forward to!

Julia's has a very consistent schedule. Here's what life has looked like the past couple of months:

7ish: Julia wakes up, so I wake up and nurse her. We go downstairs together and have an hour to ourselves before the other kids awake.

8:30am: I wake up the kids who aren't awake yet (Maya & Lydia, that is). We have breakfast, read Psalms & Proverbs, do our memory verse for the week and clean up.

9am: Julia goes down for her morning nap. School begins: the big kids do seatwork (math, writing, phonics) & the littles color and practice writing. I workout if they don't need supervision. If they do, I workout later or don't.

10am: Rug time: I read our history or science book or we do Latin, depending on the day.

10:30am: Chore time. I throw dinner and possibly lunch in the crock-pots and then check everyone's chores. "Kids do what you inspect, not what you expect"-- that wisdom has changed my life.

11ish: Julia wakes up & I nurse her. Some kids are still working on chores. Others are reading. Then we all play with Julia for a good long while.

Noon: Lunch time. No school during this time. This is the social hour.

1pm : Julia goes down for her afternoon nap. Kids play together while I have some blog, read, or scrapbook.

2pm I read to the kids while they fold laundry or put clean sheets on their beds.

3ish Julia wakes up and I nurse her. Daniel & Lydia take a nap. I take a nap. Maya babysits Julia.

5pm Julia goes down for her evening nap. I wake up. We all tidy the house for Daddy and set the table for dinner.
5:30 Kyle's home. He hugs all the kids then has time alone with me before dinner.

7pm Clean up from dinner. Julia wakes up & I nurse her before giving her time with Daddy.

8:30ish Julia goes to bed. The kids are all getting ready for bed.

9pm The kids got to bed. It's Mommy & Daddy time. :)

Life is good.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: Beyond Opinion

The book is a compilation of essays regarding Christian apologetics, topics ranging from atheism to science to Islam, Hinduism and other cultural challenges. It was written by well known apologist Ravi Zacharias and other members of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries team.

Beyond Opinion will equip the reader to “give a make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15), spiritually and relationally. This book masterfully creates the Christian argument with gentle loving logic. The length of the book and small font intimated me, I won’t lie, but it is not intended to be read in its entirety at one time. That said, I found it delightfully engaging; a great go-to book for apologetics and evangelism.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Yarrow has been valued for centuries for it's ability to stop bleeding. It's also unsurpassed for flu and fever. Taken abundantly at the beginning of a cold, it will typically break it up within 24 hours. For fever, it can be taken in capsules or as a tea. Yarrow is a bitter herb so it's best to add Peppermint and Echinacea to the tea.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm a Hypocrite

I tell my children to quickly forgive when their sibling sins against them, but I am slow to forgive when they sin against me. I have a high standard of cleanliness for their bedrooms, but I joke and make excuses why my room is seldom tidy.

I'm a hypocrite.
I took Chloe shopping with me yesterday and while I was checking out, she spotted a bag of shells that she was interested in. Shells and rocks are all the rage in the Clark house. She asked the clerk if she could look at them. Then she told the clerk how beautiful they were and handed them back. I surprised Chloe and bought them for her. Chloe gushed thankfulness. It doesn't take much to impress my kids.

As we were walking out of the store, she asked me to hold her shells for a minute. When I took them from her, they fell to the concrete, breaking several. I was crushed and Chloe was clearly deflated. I said: "Oh Chloe, I am so sorry!"
Chloe quickly said: Oh it's ok, Mom, it's just a few shells.

I looked at her in awe. How quick she was to forgive me. I was humbled.

Blessed Are the Feet. . .

My mom, sister, and I got together tonight for a girls' night out. We had sparkling grape juice, brownies, and we gave each other pedicures. And of course we also solved all the world's ills via chit chat.

Can you guess which piggies are mine?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A New Old One

I've recently introduced the kids to The Lone Ranger and they are hooked! The next day, Isaac was asking if they could watch The Texas Ranger. Elena separately asked if they could watch The Lone Star Ranger that day.

I love how easily my kids are entertained. They don't need fast action or even color to keep them entranced.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Rare Ocassion

While running errands with Chloe the other day, we bought a few baby gifts at one store. The cashier asked Chloe: Is someone having a baby?
Chloe looked up at her and said: Yes, our next door neighbor is having a baby girl.
The cashier replied: Oh how wonderful. Well maybe soon you'll have someone to play with!

I couldn't stop myself from giggling. I said: Oh, she has plenty of playmates. She's one of eight.

The customer who was just leaving smiled at me and said: That is a gift from God. What a miracle!

Deadpan look from the cashier as she asked: You have eight children?

I said: Yes, I am really blessed.

Just then, a customer two places behind me peered her head out of the line and said: THAT'S RIGHT! I have five kids and they ARE a blessing!

That just made my day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

From the Archives

Guess who.

These pictures bring a lump to my throat.

Sweetheart, do you know how crazy I am about you? I am over the moon for you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

GSE Tutorial

I've blogged many times about our use of GSE. I love it because it's the most powerful natural antibiotic (raw garlic is a close second if you don't mind garlic breath). It kills infection but doesn't cause any of the side effects common to drug antiobiotics.

Here's how to take it:
I give 1 drop per day for a child less than 2 years old.
I give 2 drops per day for a two-year-old.
I give 3 drops per day for a three-year-old.

For children older than three years, follow the dosage on the bottle.

  • Always mix the GSE drops in something sweet. My kiddies all prefer the drops in orange juice. The drops do not taste pleasant. I have heard of moms using apple juice, yogurt, honey, agave nectar, or applesauce.
  • Prevent sickness with GSE. Whenever we have big family plans like a vacation, we all take 1 GSE tablet per day for the week leading up to the big event.
  • GSE drops can also be used to disinfect toothbrushes, clean fruit and vegetables, as a nasal spray to cure or prevent sinus infection, kill infection on the skin, and many more uses. For all of these uses, the GSE will need to be diluted in water.

*DO NOT put GSE drops directly on the skin undilited. It will burn the skin. *

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Am Done With Crayons

I got fed up with broken and dull crayons. So I switched to twist-up crayons. New problem: the twist mechanism often breaks and then you are stuck with a full-size, but useless crayon. FORGET IT!
I have found something infinitely better and you are going to praise the day I let you in on my secret. Are you ready for this?


Colored pencils! If they get dull, you sharpen them. They don't melt. And if they break, then the child to blame can buy a new set. ;)

I love them!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Medicating Babies

Last night, Julia threw up after I nursed her. It was all over me and all over the floor. When the body is detoxing in any way (that's the nicest way to say it), my go-to is Bentonite. It acts like a sponge and absorbs all the toxins that the body is trying to get rid of, so you don't have to be dehydrated in the process. So that was my first thought for Julia.
But how in the world to get it in her? It has no flavor, but that's not to say that it's exactly pleasant to take.
I added two drops of real maple syrup to a teaspoon of Bentonite liquid (worth it's weight in gold because you'll kill yourself trying to get the powder to dissolve in water-- trust me on this). I sucked up the sweet Bentonite in a medicine syringe and slowly but surely got it into my unhappy camper.

I'm happy to report she is fine. Bentonite to the rescue!

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Tried to Make Chicken Broth

I have lately ventured into making my own chicken broth. Who knew it was so easy?! I dump some leg quarters in the crock-pot, cover them with water, add salt & pepper, crush some garlic in and get on with my life. Come back later; debone the chicken & drop the bones back in the crock-pot. Get on with living for another 4-6 hours. Drain it and you've got some really delicious broth!

So, the other day I deboned my chicken and dropped the bones back in (and by "I" I mean Maya). Then, as my recipe suggests, I got on with life (and by that I mean "take a nap"). When I woke up, I remembered the broth and went to check on it. Something didn't look right. Too thin and watery. I stirred it around and only found 2 bones in it. What in the world?!

Maaaaaayyyyyyyaaaaaaa, where are the rest of the chicken bones?
{guilty look from her and from Isaac who happened to be nearby}

{confused look from Mama} Where are the other bones?

"We ate them."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What Are They Preaching at Your Family Integrated Church?

I just read this timely article, written by Scott Brown, the director of the National Center for Family- Integrated Churches:

Family integrated churches are simultaneously popping up all over the country without any one individual leading the movement. I believe that this is a providential moving of the Holy Spirit. He is igniting a desire to reform the church by recovering the biblical order for both the church and the home. He is actually moving to reverse the family-destroying elements that have grown up in the church.

This is wonderful.

All wonderfulness aside, my greatest concern for family integrated churches is that they are God-centered, Word-saturated, Christ-exalting churches. If the family becomes the center of the church, we might as well close up shop now and cut our losses, because if we do not fill the church with the Word of the Head of the church, we will have not only wasted our time, we will have marred the bride of Christ. This is why it bothers me when I hear people say, “We are looking for a family centered church,” or ask, “Is there a family based church in my area?” These questions reveal a misunderstanding of the church and the Christian life.

It is critical, therefore, that family integrated churches have a big focus on preaching the Word of God.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Pendulum is Swinging Too Far

Almost two years ago when we were looking for a new church home, we found two extremes: churches with children's classes with fun and games that rivaled Chuck E Cheese, with church bulletins that made it clear that children were unwelcome in the service; and churches whose entire focus was family driven. On the one extreme, the church mirrors the world's view of children- that they are a burden and adults shouldn't have to be bothered with wiping their child's nose when they are worshiping the Lord in song. Church for children is all about fun.
Biblically, we see no examples of segregating families to worship. But in our attempt to solve this problem and agree in action that our children are a blessing and a gift of God, many churches have eclipsed the gospel with family. Family is important. My children are one of the most valuable tools of my sanctification, but the family unit is not more important than Christ. Our focus should be Christ, not simply family.
The pendulum is swinging too far.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thumb Sucker

Julia sucks her thumb and I love it. When I'm not quick enough to nurse her when she's hungry, she pops in the thumb instead of wailing in protest. When I put her in bed awake, she pops in her thumb, closes her eyes, and puts herself to sleep. And besides all that, it's just so cute!
Elena and Chloe were also thumb-suckers. Chloe sucked her thumb the entire time we were in the herb bath after her birth. Lydia, on the other hand, was a tongue-sucker. No pacifier covered in floor crud, no pruney thumb, all she needed was her own tongue. Too funny.

Which side of the fence are you on? Pacifier or thumb? Do tell.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Although I know what does and does not work in schooling my adoptees, I still get discouraged every so often by the slowness of their progress. I frequently say, "Let's take a break and come back to this in a little while," then I lock myself in my bathroom and call Kyle crying. She's still sounding out words. Is she ever going to be able to read fluently? What if she doesn't? What if it's always this hard for her? He read a whole list of short /a/ words, but suddenly in the middle of them, he read "ran" as "run"? Why do they do that? Why don't they see the pattern? What if they are still having trap door days when they're adults?

Some days I have perspective and I look at all they've accomplished and how far they've come. But other days, I only see how far we still have to go and I get discouraged. It's overwhelming on those days. Kyle said it's like that man who was swimming the English channel on a foggy day. He couldn't see the coast and he gave up when he was just a few yards from land. He's so right. It feels like that. I only know that I'm plugging away, but I don't know where we'll end up. Maybe one day, reading will just click and they'll take off. But it might not. And I have to be prepared for that.

Earlier this week, Maya was having a lot of trouble with place value in her math lesson. I figured out a different way to teach it to her and I was so proud. It worked! She understood! She completed her math sheet with ease. Then she did the same thing yesterday and was so proud of herself. Then today she forgot all about the new method and got half of the problems wrong.
Today is one of my discouraged days.

Monday, July 5, 2010

If I Could Do It Over

I realized the other day that we've been debt-free for almost 2 years now. A year ago, we paid cash for our first vehicle. It got me thinking about the dumb financial decisions Kyle and I made early on in our marriage. I started thinking about what I would do differently if I could rewind and start over, financially wiser. I realized I'd have to go all the way back to high school.

I would not have gotten student loans in order to get a college degree. I would have worked to pay for classes in photography and sign language. I wouldn't have bothered with a degree at all. I would have printed a business card and become a photographer and then registered as an interpreter for the deaf. Both jobs make good money, but both can be done as little or as much as wanted.
Then when Kyle and I got engaged, I would have insisted on a wedding ring from James Avery, not some fancy shmancy jewelry store. Spending hundreds, not thousands would have been my goal.

Then, looking forward to our first house, we would not have gotten a mortgage based on two incomes. Not wise. Ever heard the term "house poor"? Well we were. Our second home was smaller than our first. We wised up.

Our children are so blessed. They'll already know this stuff!