Sunday, April 29, 2012

Did I mention....

                                                                    just how much

we love

our new pool?!



LOVE it!!!

Yipee ;D

And we're so thankful that the weather has warmed up and we're able to enjoy a refreshing dip!

Today, after fighting a migraine for the last 3 days, Allie even joined in the fun!

And Josh tried some things he probably shouldn't.....

which he realized pretty quickly ;D

Matthew & Noah tried out a new trick too

It went a little better than Josh's stunt :D

Then dad, after spending hours and hours spreading pine straw and shoveling dirt, even took his first plunge in our new pool!

That made it a real party!

Dads are always more fun!

We are so truly thankful for an amazing place for our family to spend time together!  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Georgia House tour: Part 1

The basement is finally finished!!!  Well, all except for hanging a clock on one of the walls ;D

Ready for a tour?  Let's go!  

As you enter the main hallway from outside, you'll find Ruby just inside the door....

(Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them if you want detail!)

I have to laugh when I stand in the hall between Allie & Emily's rooms because they're so incredibly different!  Allie's is pink and slightly over-the-top....

(Not to mention it's full of penguins!)

She's not quite finished with the space above her bed as she is looking for more unique pieces to add.  She's already using one of my old records (I believe it's Wham! LOL!)....

Emily's room, on the other hand, is reds and yellows and full of country....

Her lego collections fill the room, as both rooms are pretty tiny, but the space is their own, and I think they're happy to have it!

The hallway into the basement is nice and big- the perfect place to keep the rabbit hutch during the night or if it gets too cold or rainy outside....

And we had our builder do a built-in bench seat to store linens and blankets that we use downstairs....

The space we call the theater room is just off the entryway at the bottom of the stairs.....

I reluctantly agreed to a sectional couch to fit in this space, and it turned out to be just the perfect thing! We have space to seat the whole gang while still maintaing the ability to move a section if the kids want to play the Kinect....

I love the built-ins in this area as well!  All of our electronics are stowed away from the little kids sticky reach, and we don't have to look at wires and cables!
I put some of Caleb's toys in one of the cubbies so he can entertain himself if we're all down there :D

Here's the sectional from the front....LOVE it!  It is super comfy and it stands up to all the little boys rough play too!

Beyond the theater area is the bathroom.  I didn't get pictures because Allie was in there getting ready to go ;D  The other doorway leads to our rec/guest/kithchen space....

Ta Da!  

This was a tough space to design, but I think it turned out pretty well in the end.  It fits our needs and is very functional as it includes a kitchen area, a guest bed, a game table, our 2nd fridge, and a storage area for all our DVD's, board games, and Wii/Kinect games....

The two additional doors lead to extra storage rooms.  The one with the double doors is a huge room that we have talked about making an exercise space or possibly a photography studio for Allie!

Here you can see the "cubby" space where we put our daybed/trundle....

And this is the cupboard where we store all the games, made to match the other built-ins....

We have fabulous wood floors in this room, and I love the way it turned out!

And here's the bed area...

Complete with its own shelf and clock (you're welcome mom!)...

And above the bed hangs a fun country candle chandelier (?) with this writing below....

LOVE it! 

Next stop....the main level ;D

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An explanantion....

I snagged this article from Kimberly on Facebook- she always posts the BEST stuff!!!  And now I'm subscribed to Life Site News and excited to receive their emails :D  Thanks Kimberly!  

Anyway, I love this article because it answers the "why" I get from strangers in the store as I drag my gang of eight along behind me.  But it does more than answers the "why" that I find myself asking God on nearly a daily basis as I struggle to raise my gang in a way that would honor God.  I've always known that God continued to put the desire in my heart for more children, but I haven't been able to answer the why....until now. 

October 21, 2011 ( - A few months back, I told my readers on my blog how to raise eight children without even trying. Today, I’m going to tell you why I never should have had eight children in the first place: had I listened to the devil and modern conventional wisdom, that is.
When I was a happy mother of four, seriously considering and deeply desiring another child, an odd feeling overcame me. Over several days, my excitement at the idea of a new little soul became mixed with feelings of discouragement and fear. It began to dawn on me that I was barely good enough “mommy material” for the four treasures I already had, and that any further parenting would be irresponsible. It came to a head one evening: I remember standing in my kitchen, full of fear and anxiety, telling myself that I had no business - no business! - having another baby. Not now, not ever.
All my shortcomings and sins came to the forefront of my mind, and I stood there reeling from the truth of it:
I can’t cook.
I can’t grocery shop.
I can’t bring the kids out alone without help.
I have nooooo patience.
I am not crafty in the least.
I can’t sew.
I can’t throw a party.
I’m not athletic or outdoorsy.
I don’t know how to make a pretty home.
I don’t know how to make anything fun.
I am lazy and a procrastinator.
I’m used to being served, not serving.
I am sarcastic and cranky.
I am a complainer.
I like to be alone.
I hate to be interrupted or inconvenienced.
I am not particularly good with children.
In that moment, I knew all of these things. And I was discouraged. Any one of these reasons could be enough for a woman to convince herself that it’s imprudent to have another child. In fact, you might just be saying to yourself now, “My gosh, that woman shouldn’t have one child, much less eight!”
But see, there’s the thing: Moms of big families are told constantly by other women that “I couldn’t do what you do!” or “You must have so much patience!” or “You must have a real way with children!” They think we were given a special gift or have a mutant gene that they do not possess. But they have no idea how much we are just like them. In fact, most of the women who say those things to me are better suited to raise a large family than I.
As I stood there in the kitchen that night, a moment of grace overtook the moment of discouragement. How many times had I told others, “Discouragement is not from Christ, as Christ only encourages. Discouragement is from the devil!” I remembered it then, and my fears and anxieties were banished. Only the devil himself, the one who hates human beings to his rotten core, would taunt me with the notion that my lack of gourmet skills should preclude new life in my marriage. I saw the evil of it then, and I called him out. I still cussed a lot back then, and I am pretty sure I told the devil what he could do with his putrid flood of discouraging thoughts. Yeah, that was a good moment.
Since that day, five eternal souls have been created in our family, four of whom my husband and I have the privilege of raising on this earth. And, while I can’t claim to have conquered all the deficiencies and vices on my list (not even close! drat!), the existence of all my children has moved me along the path of holiness. Because that’s how it works: The souls in your life are gifts, each of whom is meant to sanctify you in a particular way. My little sanctifiers are the artisans who change and mold me in all the ways God knows I need, and they are their father’s and their siblings’ artisans, too.
That my family exists as it does is living proof that “with God, all things are possible” - even Leila Miller mothering eight great kids.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Wow!  So I went to upload pictures to my blog and got a big shock....what happened to Blogger?!  What a difference!  After years of the "old" look I'm not sure how much I like this "new" post page!  But it seemed to work pretty well, so I'll wait to make a final call, although the pictures still took forever to upload!

I know I haven't been posting much over the last 4 months since this whole move from Kansas began.  The truth is, I feel guilty when I sit down to even look at other blogs or Facebook....I just have so much to do after school with the boys each day!  And now that I'm finally getting closer to being done with all of the moving in "stuff," it's time to get ready to return to Kansas for Emily's graduation.  I just got her announcements completed and in the mail, but I still have a party to plan (long distance, I might add), arrangements to make for our new bunny while we're gone, clothes to plan for all the gang while we're gone, etc, etc! 

Anyway, I hope to get back to a more "normal" as soon as we return from KS.  The boys will be done with school the last week of May, and we are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of all our labors.....especially our new backyard :D

And speaking of our backyard, I thought I would post a few pictures tonight of more of our progress on that front.  As I was going out the door to get some shots, Emily came over to me with a new friend.....

 She was so excited to find a tree frog in our backyard as she was working in the garden!

We've been finding so many wonderful little "creatures" in our yard, and the boys have thoroughly enjoyed them all :D
And if you missed it, we also have a new bunny (Ruby)!  Since the weather is warming up now, we have been bringing her hutch outside in the afternoons for some fresh air.

In addition to all the landscaping we've been doing around the pool, we also have a ton of work to do all the way around the outside of the house.  Georgians like to use pine straw for landscaping....I'm not a fan!

We've always used wood mulch, and I think next year we will get rid of all this straw and return to the mulch.  The straw is much less expensive, but I just don't like it!  It's much more messy and starts looking bad almost immediately after you put it down!  Unfortunately, we had to spread over 80 bales of this stuff around our yard!

Ok, so now I'm noticing that these pictures seem a little small....gee, I wonder if they'll be small in the actual post?!  That's annoying :/  I usually upload in the "large" size.  I hate change.

But back to my post ;D  So, we've also been planting peach trees (this IS Georgia after all!)....

Two different kinds :D

And in addition to Emily's vegetable garden, we now have a wonderful little flower garden :D

Emily gets the credit for it as well!  She just loves being outside working on the yard, and I'm happy to have her do it!

We spent the past weekend spreading rock around the pool, planting all the plants in the space above the pool, and spreading mulch.....

It was NOT fun, and my muscles will never be the same!  Somehow, I always seem to get the job of spreading out the rock!  And I had to move it all the way around the entire pool too!

Sophie spread all the mulch by herself in the pool area.  She followed along behind Zack as he planted our new flowers, tall grasses, and 4 palm trees :D

I think it turned out pretty well, and as tough as it has been, I am happy to say that we have done ALL the landscaping in our yard!!!  We laid all the sod, spread all the rock, planted all the plants, dug all the holes, built the retaining wall, made a fire pit, planted gardens, created our play area, etc!!!  HARD work, but very rewarding :D

That rock you see above.....ALL me baby ;D

We really don't have much left to do now.  We still have one corner of the pool deck where we are hoping to use decking material (instead of rock) so that we can put a table on it, but that may have to wait for more funds ;D  This has cost a small fortune for sure!!!  And we need to put the swing set together (still).......

But that's about it!

We even hung a clock so we can check the time when we're out enjoying the pool....

It's coming together......slowly but surely....just not quickly enough for me....but then I tend to want things done yesterday and can't stand things left I guess it's getting done fairly quickly....just not quickly enough for me...... ;D

Oh yeah, and I have to mention that Allie may have scored a full-time nanny job for the summer!  And she had her first official photo shoot since we moved to Georgia....I'll put the link to her website when she gets the new pictures up.....they are AWESOME!!!

Now how the heck do I post this????????????


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