Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Accident

A week ago today we received a call no parent wants to get.  My cell phone rang and a quavery voice on the other end said,
"Mom, I just got in an accident.  My car it totaled."

Thankfully, he was not injured severely, nor was anyone in the other car. 

Over the past week, as we pieced together what happened from what Taylor remembered and what the police report said, it was apparent that God had been incredibly merciful.  He had been going too fast and went slightly wide around a turn.  A large box truck was in the other lane and got over as far as it could to avoid a collision.

It happened a mile or so from our house and we heard the sirens.  When he called, he wouldn't tell us where he was because he thought I would freak out and said someone who witnessed it was driving him home.  I had a gut feeling that those sirens were for him.  It haunted me over the next few days as I realized they HAD been. 

We continue to be incredibly thankful for God's protection and some valuable lessons learned.

- If Taylor's car had crossed the center line and had been fully in the other lane, the head on collision could have been catastrophic
- If Taylor had hit a smaller vehicle, there could have been severe injuries for the occupants.
- If Taylor's car had hit the truck six inches closer to the drivers side door, his injuries would have been much more severe.  (The damage was mostly directly behind him)

- The occupants of the box truck had no serious injuries.
- He walked away with no broken bones.  He does have a concussion and neck strain, chest contusion, etc.  But we are well aware that we could have spent the week planning a funeral.
- A friend had just told him to stop driving with his seat reclined so far back.  THAT MORNING, he set his seat more upright.  He says he doesn't know why.  We do--because of God!  If his seat had been reclined, he could have slipped from the seat belt and/or had a serious neck injury from the seat belt hitting him across the throat.

He is having some memory gaps from the concussion, but other than that, he is healing well.  Mom and Dad are having some post-traumatic stress but mostly we are profoundly grateful that God chose to spare his life and the lives of everyone involved.

Taylor's car at the impound lot. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Patriots Day!

When we moved to New England, we discovered that there is an additional holiday here that Midwesterners don't know about.

Patriot's Day!

It's celebrated the third Monday in April to commemorate the battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775.

I forgot about it until Sunday night when I heard it on the nightly news.  Hmmmm....maybe a field trip was in order.

Monday morning, I googled what was going on in Lexington and since they were having a few activities, we packed up and headed out.

Once we arrived at the Battle Green, we saw a small contingent of Minute Men who were kind enough to let us take a picture of them.
Excitement rippled through the crowd as 'Paul Revere' rode up on his horse.  He sounded the alarm, "The regulars are coming!"  (Contrary to popular belief, the real Paul Revere didn't yell that the British were coming.)  Each year, Paul Revere and William Dawes' separate rides from Boston to Concord are reenacted.
William Dawes arrived and within a few seconds, they were off--continuing their ride to Concord to warn the residents.
Scenes around the Battle Green.
There were many flags set up that aren't normally there.  They were so beautiful!
But the most beautiful flag of all is this one!  I was hoping the inscription around the half circle part way up the pole could be read in the photo but alas....  It said, "The Birthplace of American Liberty."
We decided that we wanted to wait around for the parade so for the next few hours the kids played in on the Green.  (And Jordan is rocking the sunglasses this year!  He finally has two ears and can keep them on.)
As a history geek, I was loving all the period clothing that the soldiers wore.  I was pretty much in history-geek-heaven.
I also lamented my choice to leave my big camera at home and solely rely on my iPhone.  Gah!  Oh, the pictures I could have had!
The pale yellow building in the background is Buckman's Tavern where the militiamen met and where it is rumored that men like Paul Revere, Sam Adams, William Dawes and others met to discuss the situation with the British.
The kids were fascinated by the size of these Clydsdale horses.
I had told the kids that they needed to clap every time a unit of soldiers went by.  Soldiers fought for our freedom, the least we can do is applaud them.  I told the boys that if they preferred to salute, that was fine as well.  Jake opted for the salute.  When these soldiers went by there was one man out in front leading them.  He looked over and noticed that Jake was saluting.  I could see the pleasure in his face as he turned his head and saluted Jake right back.  Oh my was the cutest thing ever!  Jake immediately squealed to me, "Mom!  He saluted me!"  He was so excited!
SaraGrace spotted these kilt-garbed men and in a loud stage whisper asked, "Mom...are any of those men wearing underwear?"  Immediately regretting having EVER told that child that Scottish men do not wear underwear under their kilts, I managed to give her a vague, "I have no idea," type of response and hoped she would not inquire further.
The parade lasted for an hour and 15 minutes and we had just enough time to dash a few miles down the road to the Minuteman National Park to see a half hour multi-media presentation on the Battle of Lexington and Concord.  It's free and nicely done.  Afterwards, Jake and Zoey scored a picture with this Redcoat soldier.
We finished up the day by driving another 10 miles north of Lexington to eat dinner at Sonic.  For some reason, everyone in my family loves that establishment.  I've eaten there several times and I just don't get it??  It IS kind of cool how they bring it out to the car but other than's just a crummy fast food joint.  I was given accolades of 'best mom ever' for taking them there, so I'll probably find myself there again some time in the future.

It was a good day!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Good Friday and Easter Celebrations

Miss Zoey's birthday fell on Good Friday this year.  She was all smiles as waited until evening for the big moment that she would be officially 8 years old.

As usual, Jillian made the cake.  Yum....chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and cream cheese frosting for the decorative piping.


 And then it was Easter.
Truly the most important holiday for a Christian.  If Christ did not rise, our faith is in vain, as Paul said.
It never ceases to cause my heart to REJOICE and be in AWE that Jesus would do all of that for me...for you...for us all.
Jordan was baptized this morning!  Here is a shot that Molly took of his video testimony.  He was so excited and sweet.

Then it was home to eat Easter dinner, get into Easter baskets and have an egg hunt.
Jillian didn't want to be in the egg hunt this year.  {sob - children should not be allowed to grow up so fast}

Jake seems to have overshot the egg.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Lesson in Faith

For the past several years, the kids at our church have been sponsoring a little boy in Haiti named, Erlin.  Our kids will occasionally earn some money to help with sponsorship and they talk about Erlin quite frequently.

Today, Chloe told me that Erlin's birthday is coming up and that no one had been remembering to give money to him lately.  She was worried that there might not be enough money for him to get a nice birthday present.

She decided she wanted to have a bake sale.
In our driveway.
With a 30 mph wind blowing.
And very few neighbors in sight.
We don't live on a busy road.  We live in a small neighborhood and I feared she would have very few customers.

Wanting to spare her feelings, I suggested that maybe she should wait until tomorrow when the neighborhood kids got off the bus.  The bus stop is in front of our house so it might get her some business.

Her face fell and she looked so disappointed that I finally said she should just go ahead and do whatever she wanted to do.

In my heart, I thought she would be fortunate to sell a few dollars worth of cookies.

She got busy and made some Easter themed sugar cookies.  By the time she was done, it was late afternoon. 

Surely, she was about to be disappointed.

I wish I could say that I prayed for her success but I was busy doing other things and not paying close attention.

About a half hour later she came running in, breathless and excited.

"Mom!  I'm almost out of cookies!  I have $8!"

I couldn't believe it!  I looked out the window and noticed that another neighbor had stopped by.  She left empty-handed but when I went outside, the little kids (who had now joined the sale) all chorused,
"She's coming back to buy some!"

Sure enough, a few minutes later she drove up.  There were only a few cookies left and I couldn't imagine what she was going to buy.  She handed them a ten dollar bill and said she only wanted two cookies, one for her and one for her husband.

After we thanked her profusely and she walked away, Jordan looked at me with huge, round eyes and said,
"She gave us TEN dollars!"
He was so amazed!

And so was I. 
And humbled.
I had tried to tell my daughter not to trust God for a simple bake sale.  God had put something on her heart and I, although well-meaning, had tried to talk her out of it.

I am so thankful that I was able to be a spectator as God chose to bless the work of a little girl and remind me what He can do with even the smallest efforts.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19
Chloe runs to show me her money!
God is faithful!
Some little kids and their mama learned a valuable lesson in faith today.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why I haven't been posting on this blog....

There are a number of reasons but the main one is that we just aren't that exciting around here lately.

Our days kind of repeat and do not lend themselves to multiple blog posts.  Oh...there have been some possibilities but I often run out of steam and just mindlessly scroll through Facebook posts at night instead.

Pathetic, I know.

Homeschool has been a good year so far overall but part way through the year, we all started to get a bit bored.  Staring at computer screens daily became a bit dull for the kids, while typing schedules and grading papers turned to a bit of drudgery for me.

So I began to pray and ask around.  What were other people doing?  And what were large families doing?

A friend recommended Heart of Dakota - a curriculum that we decided to try because my friend graciously offered to loan us some of her books.

I decided to switch the four oldest kids to see if it would be a good fit for all of us next year.  Although our start was a bit rocky, we now love it!  We are spending lots of face time together and I am learning a lot of history that I never learned in school.  So fun!

The little kids are begging to switch mid-year but I'm holding them off until fall.  They see all the fun things their big sisters are doing and reading and feel left out.  Their time will come....

In the meantime, the days pass like this:

Making the breast plate of the Jewish High Priest (12 Tribes of Israel with Hebrew inscriptions).  There are cool projects to make and they are all with supplies we generally have around the house and things the kids can do on their own.  (ie:  Mom doesn't have to be an art teacher)

Jordan came up with a race track, complete with a movable arm for the guy with the flag.  He loves to create things out of paper - or whatever he can find.

SaraGrace basically photobombs her own picture.

Music class with their video.  SaraGrace often does video classes with the younger kids just for fun.  Then she pretends she is a teacher when they are playing. 

So that's it.
Our super exciting family.
We should have a reality show.

The end.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Snow day!

We finally got a decent winter storm the other day.  So fun!  It snowed all day long (as opposed to snow during the night that you don't get to watch).

Schools in the area were closed so I declared a home school snow day.  Whee!!

Jeff was out of town so we girls decided to get our pioneer spirit on and shovel the driveway.  We could have tried to figure out how to fire up the snow blower but, 
1.  I detest smelling like gas, which is unavoidable when you use one, and
2.  The teen was still sleeping in the basement and I wasn't about to do his job.  I knew we wouldn't get the entire driveway completed and he would have to finish the task.

Kate wanted a turn with one of our three available shovels.

Zoey was a trooper.  Unfortunately, she and Jake fight over the shovels until I am nearly driven mad.

La, La, La....Fun to be out in the snow storm getting some exercise.  No, really.  It was fun!

There was also time for sledding.

Jillian spent hours building a house.

The others spent hours building snowmen.

An army of busy workers.

Molly...."Stand by your (snow)man."  Lame joke, I know. 

SaraGrace flashes a smile in the midst of her frustration at not getting her snowman to cooperate.

"Oh yeah...Mom, I've got this all under control!"

Jake wandered around helping various siblings, but I'm not sure he ever completed anything.  He decided to be king of the hill instead.

The kids made this huge snowball until they couldn't move it another inch.  Alas, they had to abandon it in the middle of the sidewalk.

SaraGrace's snowman (snow woman?) has a shopping bag and a fistful of money (green leaves).  Where does she come up with this stuff?  

Wiped out after all day in the snow.  Cuddled up by the fire watching an educational movie (since they didn't have school, ya know).