Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Break Part 2

It is Saturday morning. Spring Break is coming to an end. Yesterday, I started feeling like it was time for these kids to go back to school. They were picking, fighting, bickering, teasing, and all around not getting along with each other. It makes me sad when they act like that. I grew up with one brother 10 years younger than me and think having siblings would have been fun. That is the extrovert in me. Even today I think, it would be nice to have a sister. That is a relationship I will never have in my life. I am sure if I had more siblings, I would have fought with them, too!

We finished off the second half of our week with some projects at home and some time with friends.

When we came home from the movies on Tuesday, I proclaimed it "everyone(including me) clean their rooms" time. We all got to work and ended up with a clean upstairs. I even tackled the hallway a bit!

On Wed., Sam had a playdate here at the house. I spent most of the day cleaning my laundry room. Let me just say, I do not have a big laundry room, but it was disgusting. I guess that is one of the downsides of the kids doing their own laundry. There was detergent, fabrics softener, and lint everywhere. Not to mention that this room had become my dumping ground for things I didn't have a place for. I cleaned this room thoroughly, cleaning the walls, the blinds, the curtain, the floor, the machines, etc. It took me about 5 hours, but it is done and it looks, oh, so good! I gave the kids a small tutorial on how to keep it clean as they do their laundry. We'll see how that goes.

In cleaning out the laundry room, I found some items that we had removed from the kids rooms when we were moving everyone around and redecorating. I called the girls in to see if they wanted to use the supplies for crafting. I had no idea at the time what a brilliant idea that was for Spring Break!

They spent the next 2 days painting and creating. It was perfect.
Some of the letters repainted. The "U" is being repaired.
Lauren made this African tree for me.
I have it at my desk so I can see it when I am at my computer.
Isaiah said this is Africa
A picture of Mommy picking flowers
(because I pick flowers all the time!)
Laila painted Swaziland
Sam had been saving up to purchase this treasure box at Hobby Lobby.
He painted it. He was so proud of his purchase and the work he did on it.
He even painted som rock for gold!
Love, love, love Abby's creation.
Cannot wait to take this girl to Africa!
We had a monumental event occur on Thursday! Isaiah lost his first tooth. It has been loose for a while, but popped right out in the middle of a wrestling match. He was so excited!
Isn't he a cutie?
I have no idea where the glasses came from!
Kind of reminds me of Urkel.
Friday started out with cleaning our truck out. It had become a mobile garbage can. Afterwards, I ran errands with Lauren and Abby and then got haircuts for Cody and Sam. It was a good wrap-up to the week. I have felt like our week has been a good balance of work and play.

Last night, Rick and I took Lauren to see "The Thorn" at the World Arena. Can I just say, "WOW!" It was one of the most powerful and moving live presentations of the Gospel I have ever seen. It was professional, entertaining, full of truth, and life impacting. I cried through most of it. You have to see it. We just took Lauren because she specifically asked us to, but next year, I will take the other older ones(it would be too scary and graphic for my 3 younger ones). It was worth EVERY PENNY it cost. I am so glad we did it. It was a perfect way to enter this Holy Week that is ahead of us.

I have something really fun planned for the kids tonight. I am so excited!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Break so far!

I have been so thankful for the warm weather this week. Rick and I took the Jeep out for the first ride without the top on for the year. I have to admit, it was still a bit chilly for my taste, but we did it.

The kids have played outside a lot this week. You know summer is close when they come in covered in dirt every night. Although, I truly hesitate to say summer is close. I have lived in CO long enough to know that we could still have some snows ahead. I can cross my fingers that this year we are having a real spring that will lead right into a real summer!!

On Monday, my friend, Jessica and I took the kids to the zoo. Cody opted out and Lauren went to a friend's house because of her hurt toe. (Update on the toe: It is still a bit swollen and very purple all around it, but I do not think it will need medical attention. She has been able to walk more easily for the last two days.) It was a weird weather day. It would be sunny and then cloud over and have major winds. It did this off and on all day.
Isaiah LOVED feeding the giraffes
Sam was very concerned that someone was going to lose a hand.
He was so upset, I thought he might have a panic attack.
Our zoo crew
These two were big wagon helpers!
My babies who aren't really babies anymore, but we aren't talking about that!
The hippos are our favorite!
We got to see some of the show where they feed them whole heads of lettuce!
This truly was an enjoyable day. The zoo can be a challenge, especially with all the mountain climbing involved, but today was easy. The kids did great. They got along well. The weather was fine. I came away from the experience glad that we went! That is not always the case.

On Tuesday, we went to see "Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" at the dollar theater. Yes, I got all 7 of us in for $7. Now that is a deal! It was a cute movie. I love hearing the Chipmunks sing all the popular songs in their little squeaky voices.

I made these yummy Orange Julius type smoothies today. They are so easy and the kids loved them. Here is the recipe:
60z. orange juice concentrate(frozen)
1 c. water
1 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
8-10 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients and blend until frothy. This recipe makes 4 servings.

It tasted like we were drinking an orange dreamsicle!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Immigration Day

Last Friday, Sam had Immigration Day. This is probably my favorite day that is part of the school's curriculum. The kids reenact what it would have been like to be an immigrant at Ellis Island. They each must choose an identity(either that of a relative or make one up) to use during the process. Some of Rick's family came over from Italy so Sam went with that, but he made up the rest. He was Tony Ferrari, a woodworker from Italy.
Medical check-up
If they were sick, the got medicine(skittles)
Coordination Test
Citizenship test(Sam passed it with flying colors!)
Reading and Writing test
Green card
They also had a snack station that had milk and bananas. They were checked for lice and were given a psych evaluation. He got deported once for not having enough money and had to skip around the gym to earn the money he needed to come into the U. S.

Afterwards, they went back to the class to share a bit about their families' histories. Some of the students brought in pictures and had elaborate stories about their relatives who came over. They shared items that their relative made and talked about the special foods they eat from their relatives' cultures. Then, there was Sam. He got up and said, "My great grandfather came over from Italy." Then, he sat down. Gotta love that boy. Straight and to the point. I enjoyed getting to be a part of this day with him.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Random Thoughts

~I am loving the spring break life! Summer can't come soon enough for me. We have had unusually warm weather, and I have slept past 8:00 every morning so far!!

~I do believe Lauren has injured her foot again. Yesterday she fell. I think she broke her little toe. It is very swollen and very bruised. I have a call in to the Dr. I so hope we don't have to do the cast thing again!!

~Why is it that when I am in the shower, I am so motivated to spring clean? The tasks seem manageable. I plan a strategy that I am going to put in action. I am feeling so good about it and envisioning my soon-to-be spotless clutter-free house. By the time I get dressed, I have lost all motivation and am pretty much incapable of conquering any of the messes/projects that await me!

~Isaiah's behavior is so much more intense when he is on breathing treatments. Don't get me wrong, I want the kid to breathe, but dealing with the outcome is exhausting.

~I am working really hard this week on planning some fun things for the kids. We have been to the zoo, the dollar theater, I took Cody to see "Hunger Games," they are having playdates(sorry, "hang out time") with friends, and sleepovers, playing outside a lot, and later bedtimes. Pics to follow.

~All of that has to be balanced with getting some things done around here. They are all in their rooms right now cleaning. We also have to tackle the basement and my truck. Some days I wish I could just move to an empty house and start over!!

~One minute, they are playing nicely together and the next, World War 3 has broken out. These kids should be so prepared for conflict resolution when they are older. They get to practice this skill multiple times a day.

~Tonight, we are going to be eating enchiladas and guacamole that I won in the World Water Day raffle. I am pretty sure those are going to be the best enchiladas I have ever tasted because I don't have to cook!!

~Rick changed to the soft top on his Jeep over the weekend. My favorite quote from Sam when Rick let him play on the Jeep with his shirt off:
"Now this is what I call Spring Break!"
~I have stalled long enough. I am now going to go clean or organize something!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Isaiah, the Teacher

On Thursday, Rick, Laila and I headed to school to be taught by Isaiah. His preschool does "student-led" parent/teacher conferences. We knew there would not be a dull moment, and were really looking forward to seeing Isaiah in action.
Our time started with Isaiah looking at the schedule for our time
We directed us to sit on the "circle time" rug together.
He read the book "Not-A-Box" to us for storytime
Next up, Mystery Box.
He counted, sorted, and measured
reminding us that we needed to raise our hands if we had a question!
Then, he led us in counting with the pointer stick
Writing and teaching
The Big Finale was the presentation of his "not-a-box" creation:
A Robot Rocketship!
He explained every detail and the purpose of each part of it.
That is the best robot rocket ship I have ever seen!
It was confirmed for us again that he is a leader. He is articulate. He is charming. He is creative. He is magnetic. He loves school and is liked by all of his classmates.

It also confirms for me how essential it is that we keep this boy on track. He will either lead well or not so much. I pray every day, we can teach him and set the example of how to be a godly leader. We have our work cut out for us!! I can't wait to see what God does with this son of ours!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Oh, Yeah!!

So, those of you that joined me yesterday in World Water Day are so epic(as Cody would say)!

As a collective group of people we had the opportunity to be a part of something BIG and because of your sacrifice, 450,000 people will now have clean water.


Not to mention the empowerment of over 100 mechanics. These people now have jobs. They can support their families and serve their communities.

Obviously, if you missed it, you can still support this cause. Go here if you would like to do that! I am proud of my friend, Mandy. She chose to give of her time, efforts, and resources, and she has led us all to support 4 mechanics!! Mandy, you rock!!

Hey, and I won enchiladas and guacamole out of the deal. Does it get any better than that???

I just had to share this pic with you. This is what happens when I send Isaiah and Sam up to their room to do laundry. I give up!
Next time I guess I need to be more specific. Hang up the clothes that you are NOT wearing!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

World Water Day!!

Today is a special day.

I think you should be a part of it.

I joined my friend, Mandy in her work with The Adventure Project.

By hiring 1 mechanic to repair wells, we can give clean water to 5,000 people!!!

I am proud to say that I am a part of hiring 3 mechanics giving 15,000 people clean water through Mandy's campaign.

I really think you should join us. You can also win some really cool prizes, and you will be invited to the coolest party ever to celebrate!

Every donation given today will be matched! Don't miss this opportunity to change lives!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What a week!!

I realized this afternoon that is has been almost a week since I have posted. As I have said before, when that happens it means I must be REALLY busy.

In the last week we have:
~had 6 different medical/dental visits.
~piano lessons, 2 wrestling practices, 1 all day wrestling tournament, and 1 "turn in your equipment, the season is over" wrestling event, 1 going away party for our youth pastor, and a music concert at school.
~I spoke at MOPs about (chores, allowances, and finding refreshment as a mom)
~Lauren got her cast off. Abby got a palate expander on. Cody had his wires and bands changed on his braces. Sam had some fillings. Isaiah injured his face.
~I have made 41 jars of strawberry jam(Hey, strawberries were on sale and we were on our last jar!)
~Rick and I have gotten together with 2 different couples at 2 different times and we met with our life group.

That's just the unusual stuff. Add in dropping off and picking up kids from 3 different schools, feeding everyone, doing laundry, blah, blah, blah. I could go on and on.

On Monday, Lauren got her cast off:
Sawing it off
Opening it up
Yucky leg and foot
It has been a lot harder to walk than she expected. She is not allowed to run or jump for 2 more weeks. As a result, she has decided to skip spring soccer and allow it time to heal. I think she made a good decision.
I just had to share this. Laila is the little comforter of the family. She is at almost every appointment every kid has. She can always be seen holding their hands and telling them it is going to be okay. I love that about her!!
Africa sighting: Cody's popcorn chicken
Circle time at Chick-fil-a.
It really is a beautiful thing.
The kids are occupied, and Mommy gets to talk to a friend while drinking sweet tea!!
Isaiah created a catapult and was launching rocks.
He launched one right into his eye.
It is kind of hard to see, but it is his left eye.
It was bleeding and swollen.
Both Lauren and Abby have big projects for school. Lauren's is a diorama of a lion habitat. We were being silly one night and created this:
(That is a picture of her in Africa with some children)
I don't think she would get a good grade on this. She is in process with the real one.
Abby's orangutan puppet
She made this all by herself. I did not do one bit of it. She is so creative and artsy. This picture really doesn't do it justice.

So, as you can see, we have been doing a lot even though I haven't written much. Now, I must go wake Laila up from her nap, and go pick the 5 kids up at their 3 different schools. Spring break is almost here!! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Visual Lesson

So, I talked yesterday about waiting. I mentioned how hard it is for me and how impatient I am in the midst.

Today, God chose to give me a little lesson on how I handle waiting.

I needed it. It has centered me. It has made me realize how much I don't trust in the waiting.

Isaiah is a challenging little guy. I love him. I wouldn't trade him. He challenges me.


This morning is the perfect example. From the minute he saw me, he began asking for breakfast.

I kept telling him to wait. You see, he didn't know that I was planning to meet a friend at Chick-fil-a and that we would have breakfast there.

I didn't want to tell him because I hadn't confirmed the meeting.

I have learned to NEVER tell him something unless I am absolutely sure that it will happen. If plans he is counting on fall apart, he falls apart. It is not pretty or enjoyable.

So, between the time I saw him and got downstairs to the kitchen, he had asked at least 5 times about breakfast.

The fifth time I said to him,"Isaiah, I. just. need. you. to. wait!" it hit me.

He didn't know what I had planned. He didn't know that I had a better breakfast for him than the cereal he was asking for. He wasn't trusting me.

That is totally how I am with God. I have no idea what He is up to. I don't know the big picture for my life. I just know what I want, and I want it now!

I couldn't reveal my plan to Isaiah until I confirmed it. I didn't want to tease him by telling him we were going to Chick-fil-a and then say, "Oh, wait, never mind. It is not going to work today."

I know the analogy breaks down a bit here because God is not surprised by anything, but He does know the whole plan. He knows the right timing for everything. He has my best interest in mind.

I have to trust. I have to relinquish control. I have to WAIT on Him.

How can I wait in such a way that is glorifying to God? That is what I am trying to do today.

I put this verse on our marker board for the kids last week, and now I am realizing it is just as much for me:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
Lean not on your own understanding,
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will direct your path.
Proverbs 3:5-6

That is what I am choosing to do today.

Trusting and acknowledging HIM!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


God has told us "wait" a lot over the last 18 months.

Do you know how much I hate waiting?

I really like control. I like to plan. I like to know what is happening. I like to be prepared. It brings comfort to me.

I am having to give that over to God on almost a minute-by-minute basis this week.

We have been told to wait for lots of different reasons over the last 18 months.

Some of the waiting is over, and I can totally see God's Hand in it all.

Some things are not complete.

This weekend at the retreat, this is what He said to me:

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Guess what I am doing today?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Women's Retreat and Reentry

My weekend away was really good. Instead of staying at the women's retreat and risking not getting good sleep and coming back home exhausted, I found a deal at my favorite little getaway hotel and stayed there instead. So, for only a few dollars more, I was able to be a part of the women's retreat but also rest, and have some much needed alone time. The hotel was only 10 minutes away. It really was perfect for me!

I did not take many pictures. I just wanted to fully enjoy the weekend. One of the really great things about the retreat was getting some time with some of my life group friends. My hotel deal came with a dinner voucher. So, 3 of us met before the retreat for a yummy dinner.
Elaina did such an amazing job leading worship all weekend.
She is so talented and led us straight to God in worship.
Comfy couch talk
That's it. That's all the pics I took. I don't regret it. I just needed to rest this weekend. (Resting was actually the theme of the retreat.) There are quite a few pics on Facebook that others have taken. You have to check out the videos of Melissa Janish doing her stand-up comedy routine. She was so funny.

Jen, the speaker, was really good about giving us tools to really soak in God's Word. It was good, so good.

Now, I am home. I went to bed at 7:30(it was really 6:30) last night. I feel like my sickness is over. Laila is not feeling well today, and Cody came home early from school. I went to the grocery, and now I am working on getting our house back in order.

We have been without cable for a little over a month. I must admit, I miss it, deeply. I love being able to watch shows while I am working in the kitchen. I spend a lot of time in there. Having the TV makes it much more bearable. TV is one of my favorite ways to relax. Rick and I have several shows we like to watch after the kids go to bed at night.

While I was gone this weekend, Rick signed us up for Netflix. Isaiah, Laila, and I have loved watching some of the older VeggieTales today. We watched "Rack, Shack, and Benny," "Madame Blueberry," and "Dave and the Giant Pickle." They haven't seen these because we don't have them on DVD. They are from our VHS days. I am bit discouraged about my efforts with Isaiah's character after watching the first two.

First, let me say, they changed "The Bunny Song." It's not nearly as powerful as it used to be. I do understand they didn't want kids saying, "I won't love my mom or my dad, just the bunny." Now it says, "I won't eat my soup or my bread." When it came time to sing the song in the movie, I asked Isaiah, "What do you think they should do?" He said, "I think they should sing the song." Really? I tried to explain to him why they shouldn't, but he didn't see any reason to risk being thrown in the fire over a little song about eating certain foods.

Then, during "Madame Blueberry" I said, "She thinks all that stuff is going to make her happy." Isaiah said, "Stuff makes me happy." I said, "We should find our happiness in God." Isaiah's response was, "No, God doesn't make me happy like stuff does."

Wow, I have a lot of work to do. We are now watching "Dave and the Giant Pickle." Hopefully he will grasp the lesson that "little guys can do big things, too." I need a victory today with at least one of these lessons.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wasn't Sure If I Would Make It!

On Sunday, when I looked at this week and all that was planned leading to today, I just wanted to hide under the covers and not come out until today!!

Little did I know then, that I would end up with a child in a cast, being sick myself with a nasty cold that has settled in my sinues and another child fighting to breathe before the week's end on top of everything else I was already overwhelmed by.

I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

But, guess what? I did. I REALLY DID!!

Lauren has met the challenges and figured out how to function with her cast.

Isaiah seems to be out of the woods with his breathing. I feel like he turned a corner in the middle of the night last night. I was trying to get him past that point before I leave for this retreat!

The last thing Rick needs this weekend is to have to take him to the ER while also caring for the other 5 children.

I feel like I have turned a corner, too with my sickness. It is not over, but knowing that I will get some really good rest this weekend encourages me.

This verse has been a source of great comfort this week since I read it from my friend, Courtney's blog. God is up to something. It has been an 18-month process, but He is still working. This verse reminded me of that:
"Watch closely, I am preparing something new;
it's happening now, even as I speak,
and you're about to see it. I am preparing a way
through the desert;
Waters will flow where there had been none."
Isaiah 43:19

Today, I am getting ready for a women's retreat. It is going to be the perfect balance for me of teaching/interacting/seeking God time. I will be getting some really good time with other women but also some really lengthy time alone with God. I am so excited!!

For now, I am finishing up a few things around the house and packing. The kids have a half day at school. When I pick them up, we are going to get cupcakes!! Then, after I drop Cody off at wrestling practice, I will have almost 48 glorious hours(wait, make that 47, I am getting robbed of one with the time change) away to rest, refresh, and relate to others and God.

I am excited to hear from God. I am excited to seek Him. I am excited to get away. I am excited to rest!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So Much To Say, So Little Time To Say It

What a week it has been . It is only Wednesday, but I feel like it should be Sunday of next week. My days have been full with some expected stuff, but several unexpected things. I think I should declare last week and this week "Hair Weeks" for the Clapp family. As you know, Laila had her hair rebraided. Then on Sunday, Cody decided he was ready to go short again. He has had longer hair for at least 3 years, maybe longer. I was nervous because I didn't know how he would respond if he didn't like it. This boy's hair is thick like nobody's business. I knew it would make it easier on him during wrestling season and this summer when it is warm. Here are the before pics:
Front View
Back View
Here are the after pics: (He looks very unhappy, but he isn't. He just wants to look older, and I think he does!)
Front View
Back View
He is loving the wash and wear, wake up and wear, low-maintenance hairstyle. I am so glad he is happy with it!!

Next on the hair agenda was Isaiah. Earlier in the week, in reference to his hair, he said, "I thought it was a good idea, but now I don't think it is such a good idea." He and I were both weary of the process of locking his dreads. I think also at this age, he is too rough on it. It was fuzzy and coming out all the time. I also couldn't stand letting it look so bad which is kind of a necessary part of the process from what I have been told. So, on Sunday, Rick shaved it off.

He is so much happier with it this way, and so am I!! Now, I don't have to spend 1 1/2 hours every Saturday working on his hair. He looks good! On Thursday, I am scheduled for a haircut and highlights! Rick also got a cut this week.

On Saturday, the girls decided to make a beach for me. They know how weary I get this time of year with the snow and cold weather. They brought the beach to me. They set up the ocean with a blue blanket and the sand with a brown one. They gave me a "palm" tree to lay under, brought in the ocean sounds with a sound machine, shined the light on me for the sun, and made me a refreshing drink with a lemon on the glass.
Here I am laying out on the sand under my blanket(our house was cold)
with flip flops on and wearing my sunglasses!
Lauren swimming in the ocean
Lauren surfing
Abby surfing
I was having a picnic lunch while Laila swam in the ocean
Laila and Isaiah surfing
The kids had a blast pretending. When I was typing this blog post, Laila saw the pictures and said, "When can we do that again? That was fun!"

Monday brought more adventures and challenges to our family. About a week ago, Lauren hurt her foot, but she doesn't remember how. She just started complaining of her big toe hurting. Well, over about a week's time, the pain began to worsen and move up her foot. After a weekend of much hurting and complaining, we decided I should take her in to see a doctor. I got her in on Monday. Who knew that adding that one element to my schedule would result in about 10 phone calls to get everyone else where they needed to be after school that day. Let me just say, it does take a village to raise a child, or least to raise 6 kids. I could not have done it without the help of friends!!

It was not fractured, thankfully, but the doctor could feel some ligament damage that needs time to heal. This is what happened next:
I think she is a little bit excited about having a cast!
Laila was so sweet to her the whole time.
She said, "I know it hurts, sweetie."
Sawing to give her toes breathing room
Laila does not like the noise of the saw
Soccer cast with a lovely walking boot
Did I mention that soccer season started this week?
Not sure about that one.
Walking Cast for 2 weeks, then we will see how it is doing.
We will make the soccer call at that point!
That only gets us through Monday. I don't even want to tell you how traumatized I was about trying to get to Cody's wrestling match at Ft. Carson yesterday. Let's just say, both of my GPS's were wrong multiple times. They led me to a college, a shooting range, and a KFC. I had 5 children in the vehicle with me trying to give me directions, needing to go to the bathroom and feeling hungry. We arrived at the match an hour late. All of that, but we didn't miss Cody's duel!! He didn't win, but he also didn't get pinned. He fought well through the whole 3 minutes. I was so proud of him!!

Oh, and I have yucky cold. This weekend can't get here soon enough. Did I mention I am going on a women's retreat?!? Oh, yes, I am!