Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Seven! Seven!

Time for our weekly Wednesday praises!!!

~We had a great time with my parents! (and celebrating their 40 years of marriage!)

~Chloe had a wonderful time at camp! 

~Coralynn is FINALLY signing "more" so the hollering has waned!

~We are done- because I decided so- with school!

~School uniforms have been ordered!

~Details are falling into place for the visit back to Georgia!

~A friend's "M" baby is coming into the world today.  Hopefully.  If the induction goes smoothly....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maybe I'm Ungrateful

Or maybe I'm just picky.  Or fickle.  Or anxious. I'm not sure, but I do know that I am suddenly very uneasy about going back to Georgia for a visit.

The kids are doing great here.  They really are enjoying themselves, and they have goals for the days and weeks here.  They are looking forward to school.  They have their SS funny-dress days marked on the calendar.  This Sunday is dress-in-bright-colors-for-Pastor-Andrew's-birthday day.  They've been talking about what they want to wear.

Tony and I are settling in to life here.  Tony really enjoys his job, and I enjoy his satisfaction in his work.  I enjoy church, and the kick that it is each week.  I'm getting excited about the kids' school and finding a place to fit in there.  I love all the new food and the adventure that trying new recipes is.

In short, Panama is becoming our home.  It is home for the kids.  Tony and I are a little slower to completely adjust, but we no longer wake up and brace for the day.  The pep talk to get out of bed is gone.   The struggle to survive has slowly been replaced with living. 

And now I'm afraid again.  I'm afraid that the kids are going to unadjust to Panama.  I'm afraid that they won't want to come back to their new home after visiting their old home.  I'm afraid that knowing the hurt of leaving- which they couldn't imagine the first time- will make them resistant to return.

And I'm afraid it will fit again.  I'm concerned that it will still feel like home.  It shouldn't feel like we're home.  We've been gone too long.  We've lived too much.  If we fit right back where we were, we haven't done what we needed to do here.  We haven't learn what we could have.  It's been almost 4 months.  About 32 more to go.  Georgia needs to become a comfortable place to visit.  But it has to stop being home.

Panama is our home.

Monday, June 27, 2011

They Know!

Whew! No more secrets!


We went to dinner to celebrate my parent's 40th anniversary.  While the kids and the grownups were getting in the van, I stayed upstairs and got the clues in place.  The first one was on the front door.  When we got home, the kids saw the first clue, and the game was on!
 

video

The door clue sent the kids to the Master bedroom where they found the 2nd clue and a pair of scissors.


Clue 2 sent them to the kitchen where they found another clue and the laptop.


This clue sent them to the girls' bedroom which was filled with balloon.  Two of the balloons had clues in them.  One balloon contained the paper clue.  Another balloon had a flash drive in it.  They had to use the scissors to open the balloons.

video

After we collected all the clues from the balloons, we set up the computer in the master bedroom so they could all see it clearly.  On the flash drive was a video I had taken a few weeks ago.  It shows Chloe's best friend, Libby, reading the final clue.  While you watch this next clip, watch both my kids' reactions and Libby's.  I think Libby is actually my child.   Chloe has her Daddy's cool demeanor.  And Carson is just skeptical- no real surprise.



Now that all has had a chance to sink in, the kids are super excited- and so am I!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tonight's the Night!

Okay.  Here we go.  Tonight the kids get to play the "game."  The game when they find out that we're going to Georgia.  The game is going to work like this.  They are going to start outside with a clue posted.  They will solve that clue.  Go to the room it says and find a helpful tool and new clue.  That will continue until they have all the clues and tools.  The final clue was taped a few weeks ago with the special help of a mystery guest.  I hope the kids are excited.  I'm thrilled.  And I'm so ready to stop keeping this secret!!  I'll keep you posted on how it goes!!

Happy 40th Anniversary!!

40 years ago, my parents got married.  Happy 40th Anniversary to them!!!  (Pciture to me posted later.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thirty-thousand pounds of Bananas

In the name of Panamanian fun, we took my parents to the produce market today.  It was was raining.  It was an adventure in Spanish.  It was a good time.  And it was CHEAP!


Red peppers, tomatoes, pineapple, avocado, potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, cilantro

Our haul:

77 pounds of mangoes- $5.00
50 pounds of oranges- $6.00
16 pounds of plantains- $3.00
43 pounds of bananas- $4.00
3 pineapples- $3.00
1 bunch of cilantro- $2.00
2 pounds of tomatoes- $1.25
1 avocado- $0.75
3 red bell peppers- $2.00
4 pounds of cucumbers- $1.50
2 pounds of zucchini- $1.50
2 pounds of potatoes- $1.25


So 204+ pounds of produce for $31.00!!!

Bananas, mangoes, oranges, plantains

Friday, June 24, 2011

Funsy Friday!

Overpriced grocery store edition!!

$6.35!


$7.55!


Very happy Camilla because Grandpa splurged!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sisterly Love!


What's going on here?  Anyone want to guess?

It kinda looks like Chloe is trying to silence Camilla forever, but then you notice that Camilla is holding a Wii mote.  Here's the story- Camilla fell off the couch onto the tile floor today.  She busted her lip so I had her holding a rag with ice on it.  It was her turn on the Wii so Chloe offered to hold it for her.  I promise you that Chloe is the only one of my children who would have thought to offer her services.

You know we need 7!

It's Wednesday- here's 7!


~My parents are on an airplane headed to Panama! (OK- they're actually on a plane headed to Atlanta, but Panama is the final destination.)

~Enjoyed a Father's Day lunch with friends!

~As previously reported, Carson had a great time at camp!

~Camilla enjoyed a playdate with a new friend!

~Everything is mostly in place for the Surprise- definitely stay tuned for that!

~Cleaning helper was able to come yesterday and today so I have a clean apartment for my parents!

~The new grocery shopping strategies are finally making a dent in our huge grocery budget!  Yay for saving money!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Question. Question. Who has a question??


I was reading through the blog's comments today (I really should be better about that), and I came across one that I could answer.  With a picture!!  The question- how big is my freezer.  It's the same size as the refrigerator.  The fridge and freezer remind me of the kitchens on MTV's Cribs.  The rest of el (or is it "un")apartmento doesn't live up to the comparison.


So, what question do you have about Panama? 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baking (and so much more) Day!


We started the day when I was able to drag my lazy self out of bed.  The kids were all up and ready.  We had to gather our things to have a successful day.  The essentials were in place.

The agenda!

The assistants!

The must-haves: laptop, water, music!

The ingredients!


We started the day with Casting Crowns and the crock pot yogurt.  The first time I made this I was less than thrilled, but I decided it would be a healthy base to smoothies, especially with all the cheap fresh fruit available.  We moved on to Chris Rice and the  crescent rolls.  The recipe was great last time, and now that Carson is an expert roller, the task was even faster.  We had those proofing in the oven when the baby got up at 9:30.  Got the Bits nursed and going on her oatmeal, changed out the ipod selection to Keith Green (sorry Amelia!), and got going on our first of the two new recipes: goldfish crackers! 

The dough going to chill in the fridge!

The rolled dough!

I decided a heart cutter was appropriate for us!

The heart crackers out of the oven!

As most of you know, I am allergic to cheese so I am unable to try these.  But the kids wanted me to let everyone know that they thought these crackers were fabulous.  And it was my favorite recipe to make all day.  Very simple.  Very fast.  And apparently, very tasty!

We moved onto the next recipe, Breakfast Burritos, and a new artist, Johnny Cash.  (That was the last time I let anyone else pick the music.)  We were on a roll.  I couldn't believe how much we were getting done.  Besides all the food, we were working through the laundry quite effectively.  Until, the bacon incident. 

Carson really wanted to be in charge of the bacon for the burritos, but when he actual saw the fire on the gas stove, he lost his gumption.  Camilla picked it up off the floor, and decided she was going to be in charge of bacon.  I explained the ground rules of stove usage to her, and let her have a try.  Of course, she was doing great until she grabbed the pan.  Next thing I know, she is screaming.  I quickly get some ice, and stick her hand under running water.  She continues to scream.  For the life of me, I can't see where she hurt herself.  She's just grabbing her hand and screaming.  I'm looking over her hand for the wound- finally finding it between her fingers- when I hear screaming.  But it's not Camilla.

Beating the eggs for the Breakfast Burritos!

Carson is in his room sobbing uncontrollably because he can't handle Camilla being hurt.  Great.  Now I have two to deal with.  Chloe asks me if she should start screaming, too.  Funny child.  I get Camilla some kiddie Advil, and put Carson in charge of her care.  This seems to settle both of them and allows me to get back into the kitchen.

Stinkin cute, but completely unrelated picture of the Bits!

Chloe and I assemble three dozen breakfast burritos and get them in the freezer.  I mop the floor, Chloe does the dishes, and we get lunch together.  These people's need to eat is slowing down my progress.  After I get them lunch, I put together the hamburger buns.  Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy as the kids would say.  I set them in the oven to proof.

After lunch was cleaned up, Camilla and I made new recipe number 2:  the beckery's almond pound cake.  And I finally switched from Johnny Cash to Scott Krippayne.

The lovely assistant!

The cake in the oven!

Chloe and I finished up the baking day with chocolate chip cookies.  Switched the music to Michael Card, and mixing we went.  I had run out of butter (already used 2 pounds) so we had to try some of the butter spread instead. This made the cookie dough super loose, but we were able to make the balls and get them in the freezer.  While we were working with the cookies, Chloe and I were chatting.  Faithful followers of the blog know that this is always interesting.  Today did not disappoint.  

"Hey, Mom."  "Yes, Chloe."  "Why doesn't Satan just give up?"  Umm. What?  Huh?  I never know where these conversations come from.  "Well, Chloe, because he's evil."  For any other child that answer would suffice, but this isn't any other child.  "But, Mom, he knows how terrible Hell is.  Why would he want other people there?"  "Chloe- Satan is evil.  There is no more answer than that."  (Two minutes of dead silence.)  "Mom?"  "Yes."  "Is Jesus going to stop Satan at some point?"   Me: "Yes."  (I have no idea why I thought that answer was going to satisfy her.)  Her:  "Like when?"  Now, I'm stuck.  She always does this to me.  I get stuck having conversations with my child that theologians don't agree on.  Unfortunately, I can't just have her call and talk to Pastor Tom anymore.  "Chloe, there will be a battle called Armageddon when Jesus will defeat Satan."  "That's good to know.  Is it gonna be soon?"  I'm done.  "Chloe, talk to Dad about it."

While the girls and I were baking (and discussing the end times), Carson was moving through laundry like an animal.  He ended up folding and putting away 6 loads of laundry!  We were able to get everything on the list made, plus all the laundry done, plus have the kitchen cleaned up by...

6 and 1/2 hours later!



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Getting ready for the Bake-a-thon!!

We have company (my Mom and Dad) coming in this Wednesday so I want to get the freezer stocked before they get here.  Tomorrow, Tony has to work late so it will be the perfect day for a Bake-a-thon!!

The goal is to make:
~1 almond pound cake
~4 dozen chocolate chip cookies
~32 crescent rolls
~12 hamburger rolls
~2 dozen breakfast burritos
~100 goldfish crackers
~a batch of yogurt

Let me remind you that I am NOT a homemaking-is-my-heart kind of person.  I will not be wearing a denim jumper whilst we are baking.   I will not be using words like "whilst." I will not be saying "Cleanliness is next to godliness, young children the Lord has entrusted to me."  This is about cranking out some food to save some money and have some fun with the kids at the same time!  It will be loud.  It will be messy.  It will be exhausting.  It will be a great time for the the three older kids to learn what they can do when they try and when they work together!

Join us in our baking fun!  What will you be making??

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Of course he did!

This morning, we picked Carson up from his overnight camp at the church.  He was outside playing basketball and was a sweaty mess!  He clearly was having a wonderful time- a big relief to his worried parents.  (And his father was worse than his mother.)  Tony went over to the courts to pick him up.  After stopping to talk to a few people, these two are always running for political office, they got back in the van. 

Carson immediately pulled something out of his back pack.  He proudly handed me a blue piece of paper.  I turned it over.  Best Camper Award- Carson.  Then, he handed me the gum and push pop he received as part of his prize.  Completely assuming this was more of a certificate of attendance, I asked him how many people earned the award.  "Two, Mom.  One boy and one girl."  I was stunned (and pleased).  He was clearly pleased that he had earned the award.


Carson with Pastor Andrew and his award.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Funsy Friday- Guest Blogger!!

(Carson will be bringing you today's blog post.  All the words are his with some typing assistance from his mom.)

I like the driving in Panama.  It is fun here.  I am going to camp today.  It is at the church.  I am sure it will be really fun.  (Note from Mom- Carson apparently has his Grandfather's dislike of contractions.)  And I am also going to watch Cars 2 on June 24.  I like it in the apartment.  I have a room with my sister, Coralynn.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weekly 7

Praising.  We're praising.

~We have chosen a school for our children.  We finally got clear direction! 

~We were able to get driver's licenses before our 90 days expired!

~The cook came yesterday, and the food was super yummy!

~I didn't cry or yell during yesterday's language training!

~Chloe and her bff continue to enjoy skyping each other and having Mario Kart battles.  It encourages me seeing kids keep relationships strong!

~My bff finally returned home after being non-Internet for 8 days.  I was going through withdrawal.  Tony was about ready to ship me to Alabama!

~Carson got a haircut!  Although he rocks the soccer-boy look, I prefer him not to need clippies in his hair to be able to see!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting There!!


Photo By Chloe
 Coralynn is now standing without assistance.  This is favorite of mine.  I think it's so cute how they just pop up in the middle of the floor.  The other kids think so, too.  They are so excited that she's almost walking.  The Bits took three tiny steps this evening.  I'm not sure what is more fun- watching her grow up or watching the others fall in love with her.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I think I'll move to Australia.

I'm having a no-good day.  In spite of not feeling well, I had to go to the church this morning to sign the big kids up for camp.  (I still can't believe I'm sending Chloe to an away-from-home-for-two-nights camp.  One minute I'm homeschooling.  The next, we're sending these kids anywhere.)  And I needed to run to the grocery store.

We bought a grill Saturday, and I have a hankering for grilled chicken.  (My kids call it Mrs. Angie's chicken.  I call it Pete-sent-me-into-labor chicken.)  I needed to go to the store to get some chicken, hopefully cheap Italian marinade, a box of Jiffy mix, herbs, garlic, and a pineapple.  All went super well at the church, and we were in the grocery store parking lot in time to get a parking spot!

Everything went downhill from there.  Jiffy mix was kind of a pipe dream, but I thought we would check anyway.  Carson has been wanting some corn casserole, and his behavior is better when he picks the food, so I'm making corn casserole!  Of course, they have no Jiffy Mix.  I now get to google copycat Jiffy Mix recipes.

Since I'm currently struggling to talk without croaking or squeaking, I decided to forgo the meat counter and just buy the prepackaged chicken breasts.  I found a package with 5 breasts, got the rest of my groceries and headed to the cash register. 

The cash register is always when my blood pressure rises.  Everything can get interesting there.  The language barrier can become more of a barrier, but I didn't have anything tricky.  I had high hopes for a smooth transaction.  I was wrong.

The chicken wasn't scanning.  She typed in the upc-ish code.  Lots of beeping.  The bagger runs back to check with the butcher.  They both come up to the front.  He tells her the code.  Beeping.  He has her enter it again.  Nothing.  Then, the Panama part.  They tell me I can't buy the chicken. (We aren't in the US anymore.)   I try to have them just enter the price.  Nothing.  I try to act out weigh it like produce.  I think they beeped.  I give up and pay.

But my credit card won't work.  Why should it work anyway?  Fortunately, I had more cash on me than normal so I hand her a $50 bill.  (Panama uses US currency.)  She calls the manager over.  Man, I forgot that all the illegal money makes them hesitant to accept large bills.  She uses the little money marker.  She holds it up to the light.  She does the hokey pokey, has me sign a piece of paper, and agrees to accept it.  Praise God- I'm done here.

We get in the van, and I lose it.  Not a pretty moment, but it was real.  I'm crying.  I'm very thankful that my Spanish is really bad still, or I would have said something ugly to the cashier.  I have grocery bags full of fixins, but nothing for dinner.   I got stuck baking.  With yeast.  Ugh.


For dinner tonight, we will be having hamburgers (on homemade buns) and potato packets (on the Lisa-assembled grill).  We will also have something green and corn casserole (with homemade Jiffy mix).  And then, I'm going to bed. 

Such a big girl? Such a big helper? Such a frat Bits?

Tony and I were chatting about schools Saturday afternoon.  Chloe came in and said we had to go see the baby.  This is what we found.  She's big now, you know.  Just ask her.  She puts the phone to her ear and makes a helloish noise.  She plays DS.  And apparently she gets herself dressed and wears big girl panties.  Way to go, Coralynn Mae.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly 7!

Let's Praise Him because He is- and because He has the plan!


~We heard back from school #1- all three kids were accepted!!

~We heard back from school #2- all three kids were accepted!!

~God's provided me with the opportunity to completely rely on His direction!!

~The kids continue to do a great job adjusting to life in Panama!!  This includes their continued effort to make friends and to get along with each other.  The bickering I dealt with in Georgia is gone!

~Coralynn took a nasty fall from her changing table (not the praise), but had no injuries other than a bruise and bump on her forehead (that's the praise)!!

~Chloe has made huge strides academically.  I'm so pleased with her progress!! 

~Camilla is getting so grown up.  She's been shy for a very long time, but she is beginning to come into her own!!  I love watching her blossom!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cooking with Kids!

After I completed yesterday morning's post about pet peeves, it occurred to me that people who have to get sitters before they can do anything is another pet peeve of mine.  I've been blessed with many people willing to help me with keeping the kids so I could go to a prenatal appointment (kids don't really need to see that) or to the dentist (there is no worse place to try to control a toddler), but overall, the kids are with me all the time.  I like it that way. 

I had intended to spend yesterday afternoon baking so I decided that we ALL were going to bake ALL day long.  It was a smashing success.  The kids were so willing.  Keeping only the kitchen a/c on helped their willingness considerably!

You know how what they say about necessity being the mother of invention??  Pam makes a great rolling pin.

Carson was my butterhorn roll assistant.  He took great pride in punching down the risen dough.  The giggle was slightly evil.  Not sure about that, but he was a house-a-fire with the rolling Pam.  I had explained to him that he needed to make sure the dough sections were each about 12 inches to guarantee that they cooked in the same amount of time.  Unfortunately, he took me a little too seriously and measured each of the 4 sections to guarantee accuracy.



After he was done, he had made 32 whole wheat butterhorn rolls.   They are packed up in the freezer waiting for us to devour them.

Completely unrelated stinkin' cute picture of the Bits.

While Carson and I worked on the rolls, the big girls were on cookie-dough duty.  We like chocolate chip cookies but really don't like the mess of making them.   We decided to just make and freeze all the dough to keep handy in the freezer for future use.




The girls were able to send 9 dozen cookie dough balls to the freezer,  We also made 18 breakfast burritos, 1/2 gallon of freshly-squeezed orange juice, and a batch of tzatziki.  The kids were a huge help.  It would have been faster without them, but it is so much fun watching them learn something new.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pet Peeve Pause

Please take a break from your regularly scheduled Monday morning to allow me to share my pet peeves.  This isn't complaining, but laughing at myself for the stuff that bothers me. 

~Chick-Fil-A employees who say "My pleasure" when their body language make it very clear they aren't pleased.

~Bug bites.

~People who ask for opinions and then get upset when your opinion is different than theirs.

~Jobs not done completely or correctly.

~Sticky stuff.  I hate sticky stuff.  Jelly, honey, taffy- oh my!

~Passive aggressiveness.  If you have something to say, just say it.

~Not using lose and loose correctly.  (The first one is when you didn't win or can't find something.  The second is how your pants feel when you've lost weight.)

~People living beyond their financial means.  Who are you trying to impress?  And will they care when you are in financial ruin- will they stand next to you while you file bankruptcy?

~People who know more about Panama than we do becaues they've seen House Hunters International.

So, what's your list? Leave me a comment, and let me know!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Funsy Friday- Our Soundtrack

No, we won't be singing.  (Cue big sigh of relief from cyperville).   It's more the theme songs of my family.  So, here is an opportunity to get to know us through song.  (With much appreciation youtube.)


Tony and Lisa: The Dating Years
(my apologies for the picture- though the irony...)

Meet Lisa
(Those who know me know that transparency is my end all.  Too much fake in this world. Someone posted on my facebook page the other day that they appreciated my transparency. No compliment do I value more highly.)


Meet Tony
(Tony chose this song himself.  I'll let you determine your own commentary.  Maybe he is the underdog who overcomes?)


Meet Lisa- the Parent
(I'm an unashamed Daddy's girl.  I love the way I was raised.  I was always allowed to have a voice- though often too loud for Dad.  I want my kids to know they were loved and respected and heard.  My parenting is a legacy to my parents.)


Meet Tony- the Parent
(At some point I will post a video of Tony and the oldest 3 singing this.
 It's too cute.  They've spent much time perfecting it. 
My kids are blessed with a Dad who's silly and engaged.  Even though his work takes more time away from us than anyone would prefer, Tony makes sure his kids know their importance to him.  Not every kid has a daddy who sings backup vocals for them.)


The Family Theme Song
(It's our life's motto:  Wherever He Leads I'll Go. I couldn't find a version of that song I liked.  This was a vialbe substitute.   So far Illinois, Georgia, and Panama.   I look forward to walking the rest of the journey.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day One of Household Helpers

The yummys boiling away on the stove!

Today was the first day of my household helpers (HH for further reference) helping.  I was very nervous, and part of me was hoping they wouldn't come.  They did.  And I'm thankful. 

The morning started a little rough because I didn't have everything I needed for Panamanian food.  HH#2 was trying to tell me what to get at the store, but she spoke no English and my Spanish doesn't include the entire grocery store.  So HH#1 stayed here with the kids, and HH#2 and I went to the grocery store to buy what she needed.  (Got some milk and tortillas while we were there.  I am completely incapable of walking into a grocery store and sticking to the list.)  We got home in about an hour, and the day picked up.


White Rice

HH#1 cleaned bathrooms while HH#2 cooked.  My house was immediately filled with the wonderful spells of cilantro, lentils, and grilled chicken.  Chloe, my ever-ready eater, kept going back into the kitchen just to have the opportunity to smell the fabulous new foods.    Meanwhile, HH#1 got to clean bathrooms.  I felt really badly for her.  I love cooking so the thought of not cooking in favor of cleaning broke my heart for her, but she assured me that she did not want anything to do with the cooking.  I still don't get it, but I'll take her word on it.  She did a great job.

Lentils

When the 6 hour day was done (minus the hour spent at the grocery store), I ended up with 4 clean bathrooms and 5 pots of food.  Chloe thought more cleaning could have been done, but the bathrooms were gross, and we had to figure out where all the cleaning supplies were.  (I hear the judgement out there.  Back off.)  Total cost for household helpers- $30.00.  I am completely pleased with Day 1.  So pleased, in fact, that HH#1 is coming tomorrow to stay with the baby during the big kids' evaluations.

Chicken Soup


Plantains


Some Spanish word I couldn't understand.

(And I asked because I know some of you are interested, they don't have relatives in the United States.  And work Visas are impossible to come by.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lest You Think We Only Play Mario Kart

Chloe and I played a game this afternoon.  I'm usually hesitant to play with the kids because I hate losing.   When I do play with the kids, I end up trash talking them, and then they cry, and then I feel badly.  I just hate losing.  (Remember previous post about competitiveness?)  And I really hate losing games of chance so Candyland and the like drive me crazy.  The game I always refuse to play?  Trouble.  With four players, the game never ends.  Yesterday, I agreed to play it with the kids.  (A weak moment.)  The kids asked if we could put it up because they didn't like my attitude.  Oops.

But today, Chloe asked to play Scrabble.  I love Scrabble.  It's intellectual.  It requires focus.  It doesn't have a die stuck in a plastic bubble.  It's my favorite. But, it's really hard for kids.  It's even harder for a kid who struggles a bit with reading and spelling.  I was hesitant to say yes to this request.  I cannot control my competitive nature.  (At one point, Tony disallowed me playing games with church people.)  I did not want to frustrate Chloe.  I want her to love words as much as I do.  I want her to know I love her.  I said sure.

We used every letter!

And you know what?  For the first 6 rounds, she was beating me.  I have never been happier (or more surprised) to be losing.  She was on a roll.  Not only was she playing words, she was playing good words that were spelled correctly.  She was strategizing what words to play where for the most points.  I couldn't believe it.  I ended up coming back on a few 30+ point words, but she held her own. 

Final Score:
Mommy 283  Chloe 201

For those of you who know Chloe, you already know that she is a great kid.  Sweet, helpful, thoughtful.  Now, she's on her way to becoming a Scrabble player.  And although she ended up with fewer points than me, she's still the better player.  After we finished playing, she was able to sincerely congratulate me on my win.

Weekly 7! The Praising and Praying Edition!

Time to take a minute out of the middle of the week, and thank God for who He is and the blessings He sends!  But I've got to tell you the truth.  I'm struggling with it a little bit today.  Not because I don't have anything to praise for, but because I have so much and so many to pray for.  We are told to both pray without ceasing and to give thanks in all things (Lisa's Handy Translation, LHT- 1 Thess 5:17-18). So today, we will do both.

~My baby girl continues to put on weight and grow.  She is cruising around furniture!
 (Please join me in prayer for a friend's unborn baby who wants to join the world a little earlier than recommended.)

~I have 4 beautifully happy and healthy children!
(Please join me in praying for a friend of an acquaintance's daughter who is having brain surgery today.)

~We had a wonderful staycation.  Any extra time we spend with Tony is always special!
(Praying for a lady whose cancer prognosis looks bleak.  May whatever time she has left be spent enjoying her teens and husband.)

~We got in and out of the Embassy quickly today!
(Pray for a friend who is deployed overseas and his wife and boys at home.)

~My kids have 4 wonderful grandparents, 2 great grandmas, and 1 great grandpa who love them to pieces!
(Pray for our dear friend's mom who is having a heart procedure today.)

~We heard back from one of the schools, and it has spots available for all the kids!
(Please pray that the kids do well with their evaluations, and they are able to attend the school.)

~Our church continues to be an adventure in faith,  Every service challenges our preconceived notions of God and challenges us to trust Him more
(Pray that our lives, the joys and struggles, will bring glory to Him, not attention to ourselves.)