Friday, November 30, 2012

"I Look Awesome"

Isaiah's hair has been less of a challenge than Laila's hair.  Last year we tried dreads.  I got weary of them coming out and decided we could try that again when he could be more helpful with the process.  Up to this point, Rick has been shaving his head.  Isaiah really wanted to get his hair cut with the other kids at Kiddie Kutters(he calls it "Cookie Cutters).  We thought we would give it a try.  He was so excited.  
 I love this pic with Sam in the background
 While she was shaving his head, he kept saying, "I look awesome!  I love my tiny hair!"
After:  One Happy Boy
 While we are talking about this boy, I had to share some pics from our recent Sam's trip.
Isaiah with a tater tot pillow and bacon blanket
 With his eyes closed for dramatic effect
He asks me every day how long until his Birthday and how long until Christmas.  He has been talking all year about his Birthday and has changed his plans at least 20 times.  Every Friday when he is out of school(because Kindergarteners don't go to school on Fridays), he says, "It was so nice of Mrs. Hoyt to give us the day off."  Instead of saying "Nutcracker,"  he says, "Nicknacker."  He is a one-of-a-kind!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Catching up (sort of)

So, I had these big plans to catch my blog up today from our Thanksgiving Break.

Then, I went to upload the pics and got a message saying that I have used all the free space that is available.  If I want to upload more pics, I have to pay a monthly fee.


So, before I do anymore posts with pics, I have to sit down with Rick and figure this out (because I do not do computer stuff by myself).

Until then, I will share a few tidbits of info with you:

~I CANNOT keep this house clean.  It drives me crazy and puts me in a bad place.  I know logically all the things I should be thinking("someday I will miss the mess," "it is better to have the mess than not have my children,"  "mom's with sick children wish their children were healthy enough to make messes," etc.)  I get it, but I also don't get it.  I have lowered my standards more every year.  I will confess right here and now, we do not make our beds on a regular basis.  It is one those things that seems absolutely pointless to me and a battle I don't want to fight, especially since I don't want to make my bed anyway.  I do not expect my children's rooms to be clean every day.  One day a week, I ask that they clean it.  I just want to live in a house that feels relaxing like a home to me, and when it is cluttered and crumby(I literally mean crumbs everywhere, not "crummy"), then I cannot relax.  I just don't know which battles to fight and which ones to let go.  I can feel it rising in me when I am reaching my limit, and let me tell you, IT. IS. NOT. PRETTY!  I pretty much reached that limit last week.  It amazes me that everyone else in this house can totally overlook the messes.  I don't even think they see them.  How is that possible?

~Laila knows how to blow a bubble with gum.  She has been doing it for a while now, and for some reason, it is absolutely adorable to me.

~This week is kicking my butt and it is only Tuesday.  I have such a hard time functioning when I have to get up early in the mornings.  Why can't I live in a culture that values night owls???

~I filled 2 pages of a legal pad with all the "things"  I need to accomplish in the month of December.  Those things are on top of the millions of things I already do.  Let's just say, "I am a bit overwhelmed."

~I think I should start a Christmas ornament business.  Each of our kids gets an ornament each Christmas to represent something in their lives from that year.  I think I have some pretty creative ideas for ornaments and have the hardest time finding ones that I want.  Not to mention,  how painful it is to pay over $10 for an ornament.

~Laila has been approved for speech therapy services through the public school.  I am so excited to get her help in this area.  Don't get me wrong, the way she talks is absolutely adorable to me, but I know that it will not be so adorable when she is 10 years old and only about 30% of what she says can be understood by the general population.

~Even though I hate the process of decorating, I do have to admit, that I am liking my house all "decked out" for Christmas, especially in the afternoons when I am here alone and it is quiet and peaceful.  (Okay, Rick I admitted it!)

~I cannot stand for my microwave to be dirty.  Really, if I open it, and find it dirty, I have to immediately drop everything and clean it.  This happens almost daily.  I guess I have to be in control in one area of my life!

~Laundry is my absolute favorite household chore.  I love clean, fresh clothes.  I love hearing my washing machine run.  I love the sense of accomplishment I get when I have defeated an ugly stain!

~After reading back over this post, I really should get a life.  Welcome to My World!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts

~What a week it has been!!  I will share more details with pics on all this week included once I recover from all of the activity.

~I hit a wall today.  I was exhausted, even though I have slept in every day for the last week!

~Everywhere I looked I saw work to do.

~Every thought that entered my head was of all of the things that have to be accomplished in the next month.  (Do you realize that Christmas Eve is one month from today?)

~It is during these times where I have to literally take things almost an hour at a time.  If I try to look too far ahead, I just can't bear the burden.  It makes me sad to say it is a burden.  When I think of it all at once, it feels that way.  Bite-sized pieces taste much better!

~I know this is going to sound a bit cliche', but I am realizing some things as I get older.  I find that I am able to see differences and preferences that people have as a positive thing rather than threatening.  My examples are going to sound a bit silly, but honestly, differences used to really irritate me.  The mentality of, "the way I do it is the best way," was very prideful.  Now, I can accept them and move on.

Here are my thoughts on Thanksgiving:

-I am a cornbread dressing fan all the way.  Stuffing gets a big thumbs down.  Guess what, we have both at our house, because Rick is a fan of stuffing.

-I like my pumpkin pie room temperature with Cool Whip on top.  Rick, on the other hand, likes it cold.  He says if it is room temperature, it feels like someone else has already eaten it.

-I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why it is fun to go running early on Thanksgiving morning.  So many people here do that.  I prefer sleeping in, a Starbucks drink in the fabulous red cup, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

-The idea of going into the forest to cut down a Christmas tree also sounds like a complete nightmare to me.  I have to admit that a real tree has never been for me.  I am allergic and so are many others in this house.  I do not have the energy to keep another thing alive, not to mention the mess.  I can hear my kids complaining and arguing as we walk for miles trying to find the perfect tree that no one can agree on.

-Cranberry sauce is so easy to make.  Why does anyone buy that canned stuff????

-We have celebrated Thanksgiving many different ways.  Some years, we go to KY to be with family.  Some years we have been invited to friends' houses.  Many years we just do it at home as a family.  There are things I like about all 3 ways.  This year, we were home, I cooked everything, it was relaxed, and we wore jammies and Cowboys' gear all day long.

-Black Friday shopping.  I love looking through the ads on Thanksgiving afternoon.  I actually also love that many of the sales begin on Thursday night rather than early Friday morning.  I am not a morning person.  Even more than all of that, I cannot stand the crowds, the lines, and the fighting over stuff in stores.  So, we went out Friday, midmorning, and we still got most of the deals we had hoped for.

-Christmas decorations are going up tomorrow.  I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas decorations.  This is the ONLY holiday or season that I decorate for.  I just don't have it in me to redecorate every season and store all of that stuff!  Thankfully, I have a husband who leads this process and the kids that like to participate.  I get into doing traditions way more than decorating!  Decorating is one of those things I would pay someone to do for me. : )

-More than anything, I am one blessed woman.  I have a husband that I love more today than I did the day I married him over 18 years ago.  I have 6, yes, sometimes I just can't believe that, kids that are so amazing, awesome, and keep me laughing.  I have a home with more things in it than I even need.  My husband has a job that is more than just a job to us.  It is our church family.  I have amazing friends all over the world.  We have extended family in KY.  My kids go are able to get a great education with teachers who truly care for them.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankful for the Little Things

This is the time of year that we all talk about what we are thankful for.  My list, today, looks different than many that I have been reading, but it is where I am today.  Let me preface this by saying that I have had some ugly moments today in relation to the condition of our house and some of the tasks I do day in and day out.  This is my attempt to bring my focus back to thankfulness rather than focusing on the things that frustrate me!!

1.  I am thankful that I wore my pajamas all day today.

2.  I am thankful that both the kids and Rick have the week off from school and work.

3.  I am thankful that we will have some time together away as a family for a few days.

4.  I am thankful that my wardrobe for those days will include pajamas, Pink pants, and sweatshirts.

5.  I am thankful that my shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner is complete!

6.  I am thankful for the fun package we got in the mail from my mom.  Thanks, Grammy, for the cute ornament and special Christmas book that you sent with your voice reading to the kids.  Now, if we could just see you some time soon!!

7.  I am thankful for Pioneer Woman's Smashed Potatoes recipe.  A yummy addition to our very weird dinner of hot dogs wrapped in cresent rolls, broccoli and cauliflower cooked in the oven, and fruit.  (I was trying to use up foods that were about to go bad.  The kids actually really liked it.)

8.  I am thankful that I got to sleep in the last two days.

9.  I am thankful for "Duck Dynasty."  It makes me laugh EVERY TIME!

10.  Last, but not least, I am thankful for the time to sit and read a book to Isaiah and Laila.  I really need to do that more often.

I feel much better now!  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We are alive

It has been a week since I have posted.  We are doing well.  A lot has been going on.
I spent a few days last week getting Laila's hair ready to be braided.
 It was 4 hours of pure torture for both of us, but we are both very happy with the end result!
 Rick sent these to me while he was in Africa.
He is a keeper!!

Sam got  a palate expander.
We know have 4 children with orthodontics going on.  UGH!
 Rick arrived home safe and sound on Saturday night
I saw Africa in my kitchen cleaning rag.
Just another week in the Clapp Family

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Missing Swaziland

My heart and my husband are in Swaziland today.  Rick left a week and a half ago. I have missed him.  Our whole family has missed him.  Just yesterday, Laila said, "Mommy, big breakfast doesn't act the same without Daddy."  I just smiled and said, "You are so right, sweetie."  She feels it.  We ALL feel it.  I have been excited for the opportunity he has had to go to Zimbabwe for the first time.  I can't wait to hear all about that part of his trip.  But, for the first time since he left,  my heart is aching.   

He arrived in Swaziland on Tuesday.  That ups the ante for me.  I am sure Zimbabwe is great, but I have never been there.  Swaziland is a whole different story.  My heart is there.  I have friends there.  There are children there who don't have families, but I have watched them grow over the last 6 years.  There are churches there that I miss.  There are Swazi Gogos that inspire me every time I am with them.    There are missionaries there sacrificing everything for this calling.  There are young Swazi men and women that are changing the course of history for their country by investing in the children.  I spent 5 weeks of my life fighting to bring my youngest 2 children home from there.  Everything in me wants to hear every detail of Rick's trip.  I NEED to know what is going on.  
 Rick speaking in Zimbabwe
 It doesn't help that he is seeing these while he is there
 and drinking this
Caribbean Mocha(my favorite drink ever from Mugg & Bean)

I am praying for him that God will reveal the next steps for Beyond Survival.  This trip feels so monumental to me.  It really is the beginning of the new work that God wants to do.  We just want to be obedient and follow His leadership.  Will you pray with us? 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween was interesting this year.  It was our first Halloween without Rick here.  Doing our festivities without him felt weird.  I woke up that morning feeling like something was stuck in my throat.  It didn't hurt, just felt weird.  When I looked in the mirror, my tonsils had white spots on them.  I thought it was weird because that usually means strep, but I didn't have any of the usual symptoms.  I had been having headaches for a couple of days and felt really rundown, but I thought that was because I was parenting alone.  Well, by mid-afternoon, the symptoms had started.  I was wondering how in the world I was going to make it through the very long, very eventful night ahead.  Thankfully, we were continuing our tradition of going trick-or-treating with friends.  That made it so much easier.  

I used to buy Halloween costumes for the kids each year when we had less children.  As we have added children, that has become really expensive.  I also have struggled with spending that kind of money for just one evening.  This year, at the beginning of Oct., I told the kids that they were going to have to come up with costumes on their own this year.  They could choose from the container of costumes that we already had, or they could put together their own.  I felt a little guilty, but also decided that this would be a good exercise for them.  I was really afraid that Halloween would come and I would have a kid crumpled in the floor in tears because they didn't have a costume.  That didn't happen at all.  They did it, and I am so proud of them.  

Laila got to dress up twice on Halloween.  First, at preschool, her class had a party.  She chose her Cinderella dress for this event.
 Trick-or-Treating at school
 I love how her tongue is sticking out as she paints glue on the balloon.
 Her pumpkin craft
 Throwing bean bags into this pumpkin was her favorite part of the party.
 Laila in the pumpkin patch in her classroom imagination station.
 After school, we rushed home to get everyone in their costumes, take pics, and head out to a special dinner.  Here are my little and not-so-little trick-or-treaters:
Lauren as a Pirate
 Isaiah as Spiderman
 Sam as Venom
 Abby as a Ninja
 Laila as a Pegasus, Unicorn, Pony Thing
 Cody has aged out of trick-or-treating so he went to a bball game after school with some friends and joined us later.
Our pumpkins
 Chipotle had a deal this year that we took full advantage of.  If you came in a costume, you got a burrito for $2.  I fed everyone(including me as a Cowgirl) for $12.  The really beautiful part is that almost everyone had leftovers making this an even better deal.  We got there just in time and didn't even have to wait in line.  It was perfect!
 For at least 5 years, we have been going to our friends', the Fowlers, to trick-or-treat.  It has become a tradition that our whole family enjoys.  This year, the Houles joined us.
Some of the girls
 Some of the boys
 The sunset as we were preparing to go out
 I just had to include these:

 The whole crew, ready to go!
 It turned out that Dave and Chris took the boys and Laura, Mandy, and I took the girls.  It was perfect. As always, the kids' favorite house was the house that gives out sodas.
This was my favorite house!
 My handy dandy tip for the night was that I had Laila and Isaiah wear their jammies under their costumes.  Then, when we were done, they were ready for bed.  
Laila and her loot
I didn't get pics of everyone's candy, but just imagine all of this times 5.  Yes, we have enough candy to  last a LONG time!  (Another handy dandy tip, I will take some of the mini candy bars, chop them up and add them to cookie dough or brownies.  There are also lots of Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes that call for candies like these turkeys or these mice or this new one that I think is so cute!  We use some of our candy for those.)  The kids loved pouring it all out and trading with each other.

I survived the evening and had a really rough night ahead of me.  I was up most of the night with an excruciatingly sore throat, fever, headache, nausea, and achy body.  I was miserable.  The really cool part about Rick being 8 hours ahead is that he and I were able to talk on the phone at 4 AM.  It was good to hear his voice, but oh, how I wished he was home the next day!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pumpkins, Birthdays and Sports

I am a bit behind.  I started this blogpost on Wed. so that I would be ready to post about that evenings festivities on Thursday.  And then, it hit me!!  Strep throat RUDELY interrupted my very busy life.  I woke up Wed. morning feeling like something was stuck in my throat.  It didn't hurt, just annoyed me.  When I looked in the mirror, I had white spots all over my tonsils.  That afternoon, the rest of the symptoms hit me like a Mack truck, sore throat, fever, achy body, headache, nausea.  Not a very good combination for a Halloween evening ahead.  I will share more about our Halloween fun in the next post.  For now, I feel human again today.  It is amazing how 3 doses of antibiotics can bring life back.  I should be able to fully recover over the weekend. 

Do you remember our "pumpkin patch" experience? 
 As a result, we did our pumpkin picking at Wal-mart.  

Last week, Laila's class did a Pops and Pumpkins event.  The Dads(Pops) came in with a pumpkin to carve with their children.  It was a very special time for Rick and Laila.
Laila and her classmates made pizza and cookies for the Pops
Here is the pumpkin that she and Daddy made
On Friday, Sam had Roman day.  
He said he felt like Jesus in his costume.

They had lots of fun activities.  They each were given a real Roman coin!!
They made a Roman Road Snack Mix and a Mt. Vesuvius craft.
Sam working on his Mosaic
The day ended with a Roman Feast
The cheese and bread were Sam's favorites.  
I couldn't get him to try the olives or figs!
Since Rick was going to be gone on the date of our House Birthday, we celebrated over the weekend with our traditional Old Chicago Dinner.  Our waitress treated us with a free big cookie for dessert!  She even brought Abby an ice cream sundae since she is gluten free.
After Old Chicago, we finished our evening with our annual pumpkin carving.  
The boys carved a pumpkin together:
The girls had a pumpkin to carve, too:

Laila fell asleep in the middle of the pumpkin carving
It isn't Halloween without some "Mummy Munch"
We added a new element this year, a Halloween Dance Party.  We found a Halloween playlist on Spotify and everyone rocked it out!
The boys' creation:
The boys' creation lit up:
The girls' creation:
On Saturday, Sam had his last football game.  He is #50 kneeling down on the sideline.
I love how the sun rays are shining down in this pic.
It was a COLD day.  Isaiah and Laila were trying to soak in some of those rays
Cody thought he would be warm enough in shorts.  That is him on the ground.
The season is complete!  
They ended the season with no wins.  That was a bit discouraging.
Lauren had her last soccer game, too.  The temperatures dropped significantly and I was incapable of taking a good picture.  I was literally praying the whole game that it would just end so we could be out of our misery.  They won!!  That was a bonus.  Their team ended the season with 4 wins.