Thursday, August 30, 2012

Family Portrait

Last Christmas we rounded up my entire family to attempt a family portrait.
For December, it was reasonably warm-ish.
But not warm enough.
And the trees had no leaves.
And we could only take the photo at high noon--the worst possible time of day for lighting.
And so we ended up with....

The other night we tried again.
It was no small feat.
And it ended quite abruptly with some bee stings.

But before that dreadful occurrence, we managed to fire off a few shots with the timer and me sprinting to get into position in time.  ha.

It's not perfect, but my sister-in-law found a beautiful park and everyone looks reasonably cute.  With that many kids, there is no such thing as perfection.

I was hoping to round up Jeff's family for a similar portrait but I don't think we are going to be able to get everyone together at the same time.  We had a failed attempt last Christmas with them as well.  Argh.  Indoor photos without proper equipment just doesn't end well.

So here is my family....  I love you guys!  All that sweating and hassle is forgotten, right?  RIGHT?!  And guess what you're getting for Christmas from me?  :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Here Fishy, Fishy, Fishy.....

My parents have a stocked pond behind their house.  The kids have been excited about getting to fish.

Like...REALLY excited.
My dad and I went to the store early in the week to get a few fishing poles and the kids eagerly rushed down to the waters edge after dinner.  One fishing pole was defective and never worked from the start.

They drew numbers out of a hat to make things fair and Jordan was the lucky one who went first.  Shortly thereafter, there was a tug on his line and he proudly reeled in his very first fish.

Which meant that someone had to take it off the hook.
My parents didn't want to and Jeff wasn't here yet.
That left me.
Oh goody.
My mom had some surgical gloves so that I could avoid having my hands smell like fish for the next 47 days.
Have gloves.  Will de-hook fish.
Except that the hook was in there so good that we couldn't get it out.
We had to keep putting the fish in the bucket of water to revive it and then would try again.
We never did get the hook out.
Poor little fishy.

We decided not to fish anymore that night because our hooks were too small and we didn't want a pond full of fish with hooks stuck in their mouths.

Night two:  Correct hooks.
All my siblings came over with their kids so we had a large crew wanting to fish.  My brothers owns a fly shop and canoe livery, so he was the resident expert on fishing.
I can't even remember who caught this fish but soon afterwards, the fishing line got hopelessly tangled and that was the end of all the fun.

Three time's a charm, right?

Third night:  New fishing pole, and stick with fishing line tied on.
Don't laugh.
The stick actually worked better.
It helps that when you throw the baited hook in the water, about 20 fish try to bite it.  One of them is bound to hook itself.

Some of the Honduran mission team came over for dinner and woohoo...Kevin was a fisherman.  He patiently fixed their pole and helped them cast.  This was their pole.

This was our pole.
Yep...that stick that Jake is holding was our pole.  
And it worked.
We caught one after another.

It didn't take long for Zoey and Jordan to decide they wanted to take the hooks out by themselves.

Jake's fish was so anxious to get away from him, that he flopped around on the grass until his hook came out.  Then as Jake tried to pick him up, he continued to flop all the way down to the pond and back into the water.
It was unbelievable!

Taylor, Jeff, and Molly arrived Friday night and Taylor has been out there fishing quite a bit.  He has gotten some bigger ones but I haven't been here to photograph them.

At least he says he got some big ones.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods Grandmother (and Grandfather's) house we went.

{If you are coming here to view the blanket sets for our Haiti mission trip fundraiser, you can click HERE or just scroll down.  We still have lots left to sell!}

On Monday, all of the kids except Molly and Taylor, accompanied me on the 13 hour drive to Ohio to see my parents.  Jeff, Molly and Taylor will be joining us on Friday and then next week we will be continuing on to Iowa to see Jeff's family.  {Molly had camp this week and didn't want to miss it.}

I have no hilarious, horrible stories to tell of the trip here because...well...the kids were great in the car.  As in...perfect.

I have only one complaint.

There was an event that took place where I WANTED them to cry.  To throw a fit.  To act fearful and ask embarrassing questions, like, "How are we going to have enough money for gas, now?"

It happened in New York.  I was driving along...having stopped using the cruise control because everyone kept riding my tail.  I was happily thinking about who-knows-what but apparently not paying attention to the speed limit.

I suddenly noticed a cop sitting by the side of the road, glanced down at my speedometer and knew I was caught dead in the water.
He clocked me, alright, and pulled out behind me.
Of course I slowed to a respectable 60 m.p.h. in a 65 but was too late.
He pulled me over, at which point the kids should have started crying, right?  And wailing things like,
"He isn't going to drag you off to jail, is he, Mommy?"
But no.
They sat there, still as stones. Behaving way too respectably to have been the cause of my speeding.
Mr. Police Officer was polite.
But he had no mercy.
It was my first speeding ticket EVER.

It definitely put a damper on my mood for the rest of my drive but thankfully, we made it the rest of the way without mishap.

My dad has not been feeling too great and has continued to have some issues so we are staying close to home.  Yesterday, Jillian, Chloe and I helped my mom paint her kitchen and then my brother and his wife brought their kids over so the cousins could play.
And have Grandma spoil them with ice cream cones.
And sparklers.
How she still had the energy, I do not understand.
She's like the Energizer bunny.
She handed out the sparklers like candy and the kids had a ball.  I sat slumped in my chair after all that painting until she instructed me to get my camera.

So here are a few grainy pictures of them having was really dark so the pics are a bit blurry but its still fun to remember these fleeting summer moments.  I could edit them to make them look better but I don't have time because we need to finish the painting this morning so that we can take the kids to the park this afternoon.

I loved this moment of the kids helping to light the others.

My nephew is famous for making hilarious faces and did this for me on cue.  He has a future, I'm telling ya...

The aftermath...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

And the winner is....

...DAWN FEGEL!!!!!  Congratulations, Dawn!  Your blanket set is on it's way to you.

Thank you so much to everyone for helping us spread the word.  We sold about half of our inventory with your help!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blanket Fundraiser Update

Thank you so much to those of you who have ordered blanket sets!  The girls were so excited as each order came in.  :)  Everyone who has ordered should be receiving their blankets in the next week.
Ready to go to their new homes!

We still have quite a few left so I thought I would post an update on our inventory.

The remaining stack...

I thought we were out of these but found two more that had gotten lost under a mound of fabric.
***UPDATE:  We are now sold out of "Chinese Girls."***

Lots of these and they are so pretty

We have two left

Two shots of the Pink Ladybug.  This one is so cute and we have a lot left.

We have a few left of this style.  Hooray for boys!

This is a new design.  We have enough to make about 10 of these, I think.

We have three of these available.

The girls have worked hard but we need some help getting the word out, so we have decided to do a give-away!  Everyone has three opportunities to purchase necessary.

If you post a link or mention it on Facebook, you get one entry.  Leave a comment in the comment section to let me know you did this.

If you email 5 friends, you get one entry.  Again...leave a separate comment below.

If you post to your blog, you get one entry.  Leave a separate comment.  If you do not have a blog, you can email 5 additional friends, to get an entry.

We will give away one of the Chinese Girl blankets...only this one is extra special.  It's larger and has a band of green polka-dot around the outside and comes with a green polka-dot pillow.  We will draw a name on Saturday morning at 10AM Eastern time.  Good luck!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Here is what the girls have been working on...

In my last post, I announced that Jeff, Jillian and Molly are going on a mission trip to Haiti this fall.  They have to raise all the money themselves, which is $1,500 each.  To help with expenses, we knew we needed to think of a fundraiser.

Two years ago, they made doll blanket sets to raise money to fund medical care for some sweet orphaned children in China.  The sets sold beyond our wildest dreams so we thought we would offer them again. 

They are such sweet little blankets and pillows! They will fit pretty much any doll. We tried to size them so that they can be used for average sized baby dolls, beanie babies (two will fit under the blanket), and can also fit an American Girl doll or Build-A-Bear if you don't want to tuck the blanket under them.

We have sets made in a variety of fabrics. Most of them are for girl dolls, but since we have some boy Build-A-Bears, we have a John Deere tractor fabric as well as cowboy (not yet pictured).  Most of the sets are made of flannel, although some have flannel on one side only.  You can double click on the photos to see them larger.  If the backing is different, I folded the corner over so you can see it. 

The name of the ministry they will be serving is called Haiti Hope, .  The couple who run the orphanage are friends of our pastor and they have specific needs they have requested a team to fulfill.

Do you have any little girls on your Christmas list?  Or little girls with a birthday coming up?

We are selling the sets for $12, plus $3.00 for shipping.

We can take payments by Pay-Pal.  If that doesn't work for you, please leave a comment below with your email address and I will contact you.

Thank you so much!!  You will totally make the girls' day if you order a blanket set from them!

We have 10 of these

We have a limited amount of these and cannot get more fabric like this.
***UPDATE*** We are now sold out of this set.

We have enough to make about 15 of these

We have a limited amount of these and cannot get more of this fabric

We have enough to make 20 of these, I think

We have 6 of these
And for those who have little boy dolls, we have a limited amount of these.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to put a Buy Now button into this post, but it appears not to be possible.  Or maybe I am just not an HTML ninja.
I ended up being able to add the Buy Now button to my blog, so if you want to order, you will have to click HERE, which will take you to my site.   On the top right hand side, you will see a button that looks like this: 

Click on the button (on my blog--not this button--it's useless)  and it will take you to PayPal to pay via credit card. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Mission Trip

Jeff, Jillian and Molly are going on a mission trip to Haiti this fall with our church.  They are very excited to see how God will use them to help a missionary family that runs an orphanage, school, church and medical clinic.  They are currently working hard to raise money to go and I will be sharing more on the blog about it.  But here is a sneak peek....

SaraGrace watched big sister, Jillian threading the machine

Chloe puts the finishing touches on...??

We call Molly the surgeon because her stitches are so small

Working hard!

After I take photos of their project, I will feature them here for sale!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Swim Test, schim test

Look who passed the swim test and is sporting a green band to prove it?!
Oh yeah....that's what I'm talkin' about.
It took some convincing but she finally worked up the courage to take the test.  We all knew she could pass but she wasn't so sure.  She easily passed and 'wasn't even tired.'  Since then, she has gone from clinging to me to swimming all over the place all by herself.  Yay, SaraGrace!

Chloe goes for a ride on Jillian.  

Jeff and Jake, in one of the rare moments that Jake is out of the pool.  He only gets out to eat or potty.  

Jake is the only one of the kids who actually swims using strokes...all of which he claims to have learned from watching the Olympics.  
He's planning to be one of those Olympians some day.
He can do the butterfly, the breast stroke, and and the backstroke.
For about three feet.
Seriously.  It's so cute.
His strokes would be impressive except for the fact that he refuses to take off his flotation device.  
He jumped into the pool the other day without no advance warning to anyone...and went under.  I grabbed him out but not before he experienced the panic of not being able to keep himself afloat.
I wonder how much therapy the boy will need?

Jeff and I tried to swim a few laps today and practically drowned.
At the moment, we are sitting on the couch, watching svelte Olympians compete, while our own legs and arms feel like noodles.
But maybe....just maybe...I will tighten up some of my unsightly upper arm dangle.
Stop snickering.
A girl can have dreams.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

We have FISH!

Well...not REAL fish, thank goodness.  (Been there, done that...with a fish that lived on...and on....and spite of our neglect.)

We have little people fish.
The kind that want to go the Y to swim.

I registered my discontent with the Y pool rules earlier this summer, but I have to admit, my kids have learned to swim.

And's not so horrible to go to the pool.
I no longer have 6 little munchkins that need to stay within arms length of me.
I no longer have 5 who are wearing life saving devices that claim NOT to be actual life saving devices.

Drum roll.....we now have 4 kiddos who have passed the swim test!
Chloe passed the test about two weeks ago.
Jordan was the first brave one to lead the charge among the little kids.  He passed with flying colors!
A few days later, Zoey decided to give it a whirl.  She also passed, while we all watched and cheered.
That same day--an hour or so later--Kate decided to take the plunge.  And she passed!

I will say that Zoey was the only one who did it with a smile on her face the ENTIRE time.

Woohoo...we are all allowed in the deep end by ourselves!

SaraGrace has been too fearful to take the test--although we are pretty sure she could do it.  She is full of self-doubt so we need to get her over that hurdle but she did conquer her fear of jumping in.

Jake was also quite fearful of jumping in--but has now mastered it--and the two of them are cannonball maniacs.  Don't get near them unless you want a faceful of water.
{Is faceful a word?  Oh's my blog, I can make up words if I want to.}

Monday, the 6 youngest kids were standing on the edge of the pool jumping into the water.
You know....kind of like those synchronized divers at the Olympics.  Of course, there is no diving allowed at the Y pool, so they had to satisfied with jumping.  Two other random children joined in the fun and they all had a blast.  There weren't many people swimming that day so the lifeguards allowed them to do it.
"I'm gonna jump!"

Doing his impersonation of Peter walking on the water...
Or is it his impersonation of the Chinese women divers making no splash?

My sweet Chloe

Jordan has completely taken to swimming and loves it.  Zoey's smile never leaves her face--which causes her to swallow copious amounts of water.

Modeling the latest in swimming fashion and goggle-wear

"OK, everyone.  On the count of three....JUMP!"

Synchronization FAIL.

Let's try this again, shall we?

Not bad!  I'd give it a 5.5

Thank you, Jillian for taking these pictures with my phone!

Speaking of Jillian, she is off to a youth retreat this week.  We will miss her but know she will have a great time with friends, doing community service projects, growing deeper in her faith, and attending an outdoor Christian concert.