Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cody's 11th bday party

Cody had a skating party this year for his bday. It was a blast. I can't believe this boy is 11.

Cody and Harrison skating
Cody skated around the rink while they played Happy Birthday for him. As part of the party, he got a free pair of skates.
The big moment
Too bad he can't eat that cake! :(
One of his favorite gifts, duct tape. Who knew it could be so fun.
The party was the day before his bday because the first day of school was on Cody's bday. He was thrilled (not really) about that. I took Chick-fil-a to school for him for his lunch that day and ice cream bars for the class to celebrate. We had pizza and ice cream for dinner that night.

Swazi Walk Update

I wanted to thank all of you who helped, participated, and walked in
this year's Swazi Walk. We had over 40 participants/workers and many
families who walked over 9 miles from Vanguard Church to Children's
HopeChest. As many of you know, Vanguard is working on getting our first
micro-enterprise up and running through "Beyond Survival"
( Vanguard's ministry in Swaziland, Africa. It is our hope to create 200 jobs over the next two years that have never existed before.
Through this year's walk, we raised over $4,000! This is an incredible
start to our goal of $25,000 to launch our first Rose Geranium Farm.
Our grand total to date is over $6,000. I wanted to thank all of
you for your continued prayers, support, and passion for the people of
Swaziland. I am so grateful for John & Sue Cressman for all their leadership
in this year's Swazi Walk. May God continue to use Vanguard as His hands and
feet to the tiny nation of Swaziland, Africa. We are loving others into a
REAL relationship with Jesus Christ across our globe! Thanks for investing
into the lives of people. Keep loving!

Abby walked about 6 miles!!!
Lauren walked 8 miles!!
The final carepoint
Cody walked the full 9 miles!!
Rick after the walk
I was so proud of our kids. Sam walked 2 miles. Isaiah and Laila helped me as we went from Carepoint to Carepoint to make sure everyone was well fed and hydrated. Sam joined us after the first leg of the walk. It was a great day for our family. We have some great ideas on how to expand this walk for next year!!!


The next few posts are going to be old news to most of you. They are events that I haven't written about yet that have happened in the last month. Rick had a Mac, but I didn't. Getting his pictures on my computer was a problem. Now that I have my Mac, it is a breeze, and I have some catching up to do.

So, here come the big events of the last month!!


Isaiah's new favorite food.

He asks for it at every meal and for every snack.

Just so you know, he doesn't want anything to eat with it, just ketchup.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Laundry Room

I thought since I spent so much time writing about laundry this weekend, I should make sure I ended on a positive note. This is my laundry room when it is clutter free. I really like it. The curtains and pictures that my kids have drawn were courtesy of some friends who decorated it for me. I always wanted a decorated laundry room. I added the "Laundry"sign and flowers on the window sill. I am thankful to have a laundry room on the top level of our house. I am thankful to have a washer and dryer that work. I am thankful that, unlike many women around the world, I have water to do my laundry. My frustrations and stresses in life would be a blessing to many women around the world. I don't ever want to take that for granted.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Apple Season

My hubby surprised me today. I am feeling pretty special right now. I have never owned a laptop. I am excited to see how it revolutionizes my life. I am already considering all of the new ways I can use it. Fall is the time of year for apples, right?

A Risk

I took a risk with dinner on Monday night. I saw this on another blog and realized I had all of these ingredients in my house and it is gluten free. That sounds like a winner, but my family can be picky at times. I decided it was a cheap enough meal to take the risk and it paid off!! They all liked it. I was tempted to change it up a bit, leave out the spaghetti sauce and use smoked sausage instead of hot dogs. Instead I followed it exactly. I did use Nathan's hot dogs because I got them on sale buy 1, get 2 free recently. They are better to me than regular "cheap" hot dogs. This person has more videos on youtube that I plan to check out. I am always looking for cheap, easy, quick meals that my family will eat. The fact that it is gluten free is an extra bonus.

My kids asked what I was making for dinner and I told them, "Poor Man's Meal." While we were eating dinner, they kept asking me, "Does this mean we are poor now?"

Laundry Update

I know that many of you are concerned about my laundry situation and just may not make it through the day without getting an update. So, here it is:

Laundry is complete and as of yesterday each item is put away.

Now, in order to avoid EVER going through that again, I must go and begin doing laundry starting with the girls' room.

A Virus

I have had an ugly virus on my computer so I can't download any new pictures right now. I am just glad to be able to actually use my computer some because I haven't been able to since Thurs.

Now, we are debating about getting a new computer. We already wanted one, but weren't expecting to do it now. I honestly can't live without my computer. I do a ton of work for our family, Beyond Survival, the church, and personal stuff.

Rick is a Mac guy so he wants to switch over. His work computer is a Mac. The only thing about all of that is that I will now have to learn a new computer. I don't really know how to fit that one into my schedule!!!!

At least for now, I can check and send emails and keep up with my blog and all the blogs I read. It is my lifeline many days.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Baking Gluten Free "Cookies"?

So, the gluten free version of the cookie recipe didn't turn out as well. I only replaced the regular flour with a gf flour. I haven't done much gf baking up to this point. Can anyone tell me if I was supposed to adjust other parts of the recipe to compensate for the gf flour substitution?

The cookies were really flat when they baked.

Then, when I tried to get them off the cookie sheet, they fell apart. So, here is the final product, a pile of cookie pieces.
Cody said they taste great. At least they weren't a total waste. They just don't look very pretty. His response, "A lot of foods that look perfect don't really taste very good." Thanks for the encouragement, Cody. I will keep trying.

Baking Cookies

The hinges on my oven door were bent causing the door not to close properly. As a result, a lot of heat would escape when I would turn it on. Rick ordered new hinges and fixed it today!! Yay, Ricky!!

I really love to cook. When I have thought about what I might have done if I didn't go into ministry and pursue my studies in that direction, the two things that come to mind are something in the medical field, or culinary school. The problem is that I get so overwhelmed by all of the other things that I have to do each day that by the time I am supposed to be cooking, I do not have the desire. It also doesn't help that at that time of day, our house is a madhouse. The kids have just arrived home from school, everyone is hungry, homework must be done, and Laila and Isaiah are very needy.

I haven't cooked much in the last year. Between Cody's Celiac diagnosis and the changes that brought to the cooking arena, going through the adoption process, and the adjustments of adding Isaiah and Laila to our family, this area has suffered. It has made me sad at times. I miss it, but just don't feel that I have the energy to fully embrace it again. It has been a huge blessing that we have received so many meals from our church community since we brought Isaiah and Laila home. We would not have survived without those.

I was looking at a blog and saw a recipe for some yummy chocolate cookies. You can find this recipe at They looked really good, and the new oven hinges motivated me to bake them. I even made a gluten free batch for Cody to have, too. I had so much fun. It was relaxing, and I watched Biggest Loser while I did it. (I love watching TV while I cook.) Maybe this is the beginning of more yummy food for the Clapp fam.

Cookies baking in my oven with a door that closes!!

The finished product
I do have to warn you, these cookies have 4 sticks of butter in them. They don't have eggs so if you are allergic to eggs, you should try them. The way I look at it, if you are going to eat a cookie, you shouldn't really worry about the calories, just enjoy it. The dough tastes really good, too!!

12 down 3 to go

Still doing laundry. There are so many clothes that I am making the kids put them away in phases so we can clear out the piles to make room for more. I don't want to do laundry this way again!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Future Plans

Sam informed me today that he is NOT getting married. He also says that when he gets older, he will eat Panda Express and lots of caffeine every day.

Sounds like a plan, Sam. Since you have that all figured out, I guess my work is done. I am so proud!

From 15 years to 15 loads

I shared that Rick and I went to CA for our 15th anniversary last weekend. Well, not doing laundry for a week has brought me to where I am today, 15 loads. You see, laundry USED to be my favorite household chore. I did it one day a week, finished and waited until the following week. It was so easy. You just switch out loads and do other things. Then, when it is all done, it feels complete. I don't have many areas that feel complete in my life because right after I do them, they usually get messed up within minutes. Laundry WAS different. That system no longer works for me.

Now, with the addition of 2 more little people, I basically have to do laundry every day or every other day. It has been quite the adjustment for me. I am trying various "systems" and still haven't settled on one. I have done laundry according to bedrooms, according to sex, according to colors. I still haven't quite figured out what I will do. I also really struggle with running a load that is not full. I feel like I am wasting money by doing that.

I did some calculations and figured out that my 4 school kids wear about 100 outfits a week. This is due to wearing pajamas, school uniforms, regular clothes, play clothes, soccer clothes, and church clothes. I have also found that sometimes they will try something on and decide not to wear it. Instead of putting it back in the closet, they just slip it into the hamper. This doesn't count the 2 little ones, Rick, and me. I do have the older 4 children put their own laundry away. I only put away Isaiah's, Laila's and mine(Rick puts his own away, too).

My kids are getting old enough to do their own laundry, but I am kind of picky about how I like to see the laundry done. First, I am functioning with the mentality that these clothes must last through 3 boys and 3 girls. I am very picky about treating stains and have found a method of stain removal that works well for me. If I leave the laundry up to the kids, I suspect there will be no stain removal going on. Also, I like to separate according to colors. This is how I was taught and it is hard for me to deviate from that. I also don't dry everything in the dryer(like school uniforms) in an effort to make them last a little longer. I am very much a creature of habit and perfection. This creates problems in a lot of areas, but right now, we are just focusing on laundry. I do have the older 4 children put their own laundry away. I only put away Isaiah's, Laila's and mine(Rick puts his own away, too).

Today, none of this really matters. What matters is that I have 15 loads of laundry that need to be done. Below you will see the piles that I have created. Usually, I can fit my piles in the laundry room with only a little bleeding out into the hallway. Today, the laundry room is full, the hallway is covered, and I had to put the school uniforms on Cody's and Sam's floor because I ran out of room.


Laundry Room
School Uniforms
Pray for my poor washer and dryer. They are getting a workout today!!
My favorite stain remover!! Works every time.
Maybe I will be done by Saturday!! All the while, more dirty laundry is being created in this house of mine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My African Babies

I just had to get some pictures of Isaiah and Laila together while they are still little. They have a special bond, one that will never be broken. They have been through a lot together and for Laila, Isaiah has been the one consistent person in her life from the beginning.

Getting these pictures made was not very glamorous. Laila was not a happy camper. She was crying and crawling to me. Finally, I decided we would leave and come back another day. Then I broke out the Goldfish for a snack. Laila was excited and happy eating her little snack. As I was leaving the store fuming in my mind over the idea of having to go through this again on another day, I decided to turn back around and try one more time. I just needed one good picture. So, we did it. I was happy to get a couple of pictures where they are smiling, and I am very happy not to have to do this again for a while.

Laila does not look too thrilled about this kiss!!
In all of the pictures, Laila has this section of hair that is sticking straight up. Oh, well.

Hip, Hip Hooray, a smile!A little teary-eyed, but smiling.
Isaiah was a total trooper. He posed and smiled and made the photographers laugh. He absolutely loves getting his picture made.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

15 years

Rick and I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary this weekend. We were able to go to CA(my first time to be there) from Thurs. - Sun. It was amazing, relaxing, and refreshing! We spent most of our time on the beach and I am already missing it. Hopefully I will have some pics to post soon. There is much to share, but as you can imagine, there is also much to do in order to tackle this week properly. So, for now, I will just say I am thankful for all of the people that made it possible for us to take this trip and for those who have made our transition back easier. We are blessed!! I will share more later. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Trials of Kindergarten according to Sam

Sam, formerly the baby of the family, started Kindergarten this Fall. I have been excited for him because I felt like it would be good for him with all the adjustments of the last few months. It would put him the category with the big kids rather than the little kids. It will help him "grow up"

The cool thing about Sam is that he is very interactive. He has shared more with me about his day than any of my kids have ever done. Each day he comes home with a new rhyme that he has learned like "Jack and Jill" or "Humpty Dumpty". It is very cute. Now that he has completed 2 weeks of school, he has decided it is not all it is cracked up to be.

Here are his complaints(in his words):

1. Going to the "meeting place" hurts because I have to sit criss cross applesauce. Criss cross applesauce is painful. (The meeting place is an area in their room where they gather for group activities.)

2. Mommy, I just really miss you when I am at school. I am never going to move away from home.

3. I am tired every day. I just yawn the minute I get into the room. Even when I start to work, I yawn.

4. I don't get to use my watercolor set. Today I had to use the teacher's paints in art. (He was very excited when we bought the watercolor set. He is very disappointed that he hasn't gotten to use it yet.)

5. When I put 1 finger up to go to the bathroom, the teacher always puts her hand up to say, "no."

6. We can't even touch our nose even if it itches or we have to go wash our hands. They just think it is germs.

7. Even when my teacher is talking she says, "don't talk Sam." She thinks I am talking when I am really just yawning. That hurts my feelings.

So, as you can see, Kindergarten is tough. Sam says he could really use your prayers.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Marshmallow Thief

How in the world does a 14 month old know to only eat the marshmallows in Lucky Charms.

Seriously, it cracks me up to watch her pick them out of the little pile.

Look at that beady little smile. What kind of mother am I basically feeding my baby marshmallows for breakfast you might ask? I am a mother of six, and hey, it is a weekeend, right? She knows exactly what she is doing. And of course she has me wrapped around her little finger.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Surprised by Grief

I had a moment today that took me off guard. It came out of seemingly nowhere. I went to a women's event at church. It was good to have a day away to interact with other women and be encouraged in my spiritual walk. During one of the worship sessions, I was overwhelmed by a sense of grief. I was thinking about Isaiah and Laila and how amazing their personalities are. And all of a sudden it hit me, I was not there to witness their births. I will never know what they looked like on those first days of life. I didn't see their first smiles or change those first diapers(although they have gone above and beyond to make up for that one. :) ) I didn't comfort them when they were crying or feed them their milk. For Isaiah, I will never know what he looked like as a baby. I missed out on his first steps and his first words. At least for Laila, I have pictures of her beginning at 7 months old. Even that doesn't seem sufficient. It seems so wrong that I didn't have that time with them, and I have no idea what that time was like for them. It made me really sad. I wonder what I was doing during those milestones in their lives. I can look back at my calendar to see what I was doing on the days they were born. I can also gain comfort in the fact that the very time that God first laid Africa on my heart was the very time period when Isaiah was conceived. When he was almost 18 months old, I looked down a church row at my family on mothers' day and felt in my heart that a little African boy was missing. I was in the very country on the day that my daughter was born and had no idea what a pivotal day that was or what lifechanging event was occurring just across town.

Don't get me wrong. This thought has crossed my mind before today. It was especially strong once we got news of them and waited those 4 months to meet them and bring them into our family. It was excruciating knowing that someone else was caring for them. It was even harder imagining them living over 2 years for Isaiah and 9 months for Laila without us. The grief I felt today was deeper, more painful.

Without going into a lot of detail, the last year of their little lives was pretty traumatic. They have experienced a lot of loss and a lot of transition. We are approaching the completion of our 5th month at homewith them. I am thankful that this has been a time of stability for them. I am thankful that despite all of their transitions and unknowns that they are now a part of our family forever. They have adjusted so well. When we arrived home from our vacation in July after introducing them to our extended families, Rick and I agreed that phase 1 of our adjustment process was complete. As a whole our family is functioning as a family. The siblings all interact as siblings do. They love each other, and they fight with each other. They are my babies and I am their mom. Nothing will ever change that. I pray that God continues to give me a heart for their loss and pain. I desire to walk with them through this loss and pain as they grow old enough to grasp it on their own. Until then, I plan to record those milestones and give them a sense of who they are and the amazing plan that God has for each of them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cutest Boy in the World!!

How in the world did I get the cutest boy in all of Africa? I am amazed at God's goodness.

We also call him Captain Destructo!! He is destroying everything in his path.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Moment in My Life

I am chuckling right now. I just have to write the things that are happening in my house right now:

- There is the weekly weeping and gnashing of teeth coming from Sam's room as he puts his laundry away. He has been "working" (and I use that term very loosely) on this chore all afternoon.

- Laila started freaking out and was scared to death when she saw Lauren in her shinguards for soccer practice. She is afraid of some really weird things. Who knows what that is all about.

- Isaiah may just starve before I am able to get his dinner to him.

- Abby is being a big helper.

- Cody, Lauren and Rick are at their soccer practices

- I am trying to empty the dishwasher and get some dinner for the kids. What's on the menu tonight? Frozen Pizza. I am quite the chef these days. I do plan to cook it before I give it to them.

Too Cute for His Own Good

Isaiah has quite the personality. He lights up any room he enters. He is intense and passionate. This means, when he is happy, he is REALLY happy and everyone knows it. Unfortunately the same is true when he is unhappy. He keeps me on my toes and after a day of keeping up with him, I am ready for bed at night.
What a cutie!!
Don't you just love these catalog poses?

What kind of mischief is he thinking of in this picture?

Sweet boy!

I love him, I really really do.

You are a little man who has changed my life. I can't wait to see what big plans God has for you Isaiah Sanele!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

3 Hours and 50 Miles

This is the time I spend
and the amount of miles I drive each day
doing school drop offs and pick ups!!


I am so frustrated right now. I find myself in this state quite often these days. I think I need to vent a bit and completely understand if some of you don't desire to read this post. Writing is becoming therapeutic for me. So, here it goes.

I approach every day with a list and an idea of what I hope to get done. Believe me, the expectations and even the list have gotten shorter and shorter with each kid. I feel like my expectations are pretty reasonable right now, but I still NEVER seem to meet them. Today is the perfect example.

I had hopes to run a few errands this morning, to get home in time to put everything away and maybe switch out a load of laundry before picking up Sam at school. Then my plan was to set aside the whole afternoon to work on kids' clothes. It is that time of year when I need to put away clothes that are too small, and get out the bigger ones. This is very important with multiple children. I save their clothes and reuse them with the younger siblings. This is one way I save money for our family. Let me tell you, with 6 of them it is quite the task. It can take me 2 weeks to complete. That doesn't count the clothing organizing we just did with school uniforms (which, by the way, has doubled my laundry!!).

So, it is now 12:30. Here is what my morning has been like. I dropped everyone off, shopped at 2 grocery stores for the sales this week and went to get some bloodwork done. While waiting at the lab(I had to wait for an hour with Isaiah and Laila in a tiny, crowded waiting room. If you know Isaiah, he is loud. I have accepted this about him, but it can be frustrating at times. I probably asked him to use his quiet voice at least 100 times during that hour.) While we were waiting at the lab, I got a call from Lauren at school saying she left her glasses at home this morning. I told her I would bring them when I picked Sam up from Kindergarten. So, I go there early, unloaded the little ones, ran the glasses in, loaded them back up and got in the carpool line. While I was in the carpool line, I got another call from the school saying Abby was sick. So, I got out of the carpool line, parked and went in to get her. I had to drag Isaiah and Laila all over the school because she wasn't at the nurse's station or in her class. She was at lunch. All the while, Isaiah has decided he wants to run through the halls, which is a big no-no at our school. So, I am dragging him down the hall screaming because he doesn't want to hold my hand. Eventually I end up carrying both he and Laila which are a combined total of 60lbs.

After getting Abby, I get Sam who is the last one in his class waiting for me. I call the dr. office on the way home and they say they need to see her today. So, I have to rush home and get everyone fed so we can be at the dr. office by 1:30. They are "fitting us in" for our appt. so I suspect we will be there until time to then drive across town again to pick the other two up from school.

I look at my day and I still haven't gotten to the clothes that need to be organized. If you see my kids wearing shorts in November, you will know why.

If you are still reading this, you are really patient. This is how all of my days feel lately. I have to remind myself that I stay home in order to be with my kids. I just feel like I can't get ahead and am always coming up for breaths just to sink again. I chose this, and I don't regret it. I just need God to help me cope with it and give me the wisdom to do the things that need to be done and accept it when things don't get done. Can I get an "amen"?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dishwasher Delight

I just know that all of you have been hanging on the edge of your seats waiting for this post. Well, you can now enjoy your weekend because here it is. Rick installed the new dishwasher yesterday. We decided to really put it to the test last night. We took our dishes from dinner and did not rinse any of them. There was a bowl that had guacamole in it, a pot with dried rice all in it, and many plates of dried on food.
When we woke up this morning, it was like Christmas morning. We couldn't wait to get up and look in the dishwasher to see how the dishes were. Much to our excitement, they were all clean!! I am amazed. This will revolutionize my life. Not only does the dishwasher use less water and energy, but I will be able to use less water and energy in loading it. We have entered a new dispensation.
Goodbye old dishwasher, you served us well.
Hello, new dishwasher my special friend.

It is so pretty on the inside

Lowe's has 20% off of their appliances this weekend so we got a smokin' deal. If you had told me years ago that I would get this excited about an appliance I would have thought, "what a sad life." Not anymore. I am one happy lady today. Now, I must go load my dishwasher with our very dirty breakfast dishes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Big Day

There it is. The anticipation is killing me. I can't believe how excited I am about a new dishwasher. Washing and drying dishes by hand stinks. I am all done with that.

I am so proud of my hubby. He researched to find the best dishwasher and the best value. He even found a video on YouTube that shows how to install it. So, it is sitting in our garage. He is going to install it this afternoon. I have a load of dishes waiting to be loaded and cleaned.


Sweetness to my day

I just have to say, Dark Chocolate Lindor Truffles make my day a little sweeter. If you haven't tried them, you really should.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Crumbs on the Floor

I just looked at my kitchen floor. I think there might be enough food on it to feed a meal to our whole family. Yum!!

I should probably go sweep, now.

No Dishwasher - Day 2

Dishwasher still is not working. If you look at my kitchen, it is very obvious. I realize I can wash dishes by hand, but this messes with my system that I have developed with the kids of loading and unloading and keeping up with the dishes.

I tried to run the dishwasher again just to see if our issue was a fluke. No such luck. It still has a ton of water in the bottom. We are hoping to get a new one this weekend. Until then, I am going to tackle the dishes the old fashioned way.

Anybody have any dishwasher shopping tips? I have never shopped for one so I want to make sure I get a good one!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dishwasher Distress

If you have been reading my blog, you might remember an entry a while back about loading and unloading the dishwasher. Our dishwasher is OLD. As far as we know, it is original to the house(house was built in '93, I think). So, we woke up this morning to our dishwasher, that was supposed to run while we are sleeping(by the way, that is the only time my husband will allow me to run it because it is so loud) with 3 inches of water in the bottom of it. I believe it has finally died or it is at least protesting. So, looks like we may be making a purchase. It's one of those things that you have to spend your money on, but don't really want to. I kind of feel like that dishwasher some days, overworked, old, and unable to continue.

I don't know about you, but I can't go very long without a dishwasher. I run it 1-2 times every day. On the bright side, with a new dishwasher, I might not have to "clean" my dishes before I load them. Maybe I can actually leave some food smears without having to worry about them being dirty when I open it to unload.

I will keep you posted. If I do get a dishwasher, it will be my first ever new dishwasher!! Exciting stuff, people. I know you are all on the edges of your seats as you read about my life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day Success

I just love this little guy. I picked him up from school today for his first "official" day of Kindergarten. Yesterday was just meeting his teacher and dropping off his supplies.

Here is the conversation we had:
Me: How was your first day of school?

Sam: It was great! I didn't get sent to the principal's office, not even once.

So, there you have it. I wasn't really concerned about that, but obviously he was.

How could you not love this face?

Sam, you bring me so much joy!!

A Proclamation

Yesterday, I was driving in the truck with Isaiah, Laila, and Sam. From the back, where he sits, Sam proclaimed to me, "Mom, I like my brother now." This is a huge deal. He has always been drawn to Laila, but he and Isaiah have had their moments. It was touch and go for a while there, but I am glad to announce that Sam has decided he likes having a little brother. For that I am thankful.