Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Fall is here

Yep, it's official. Fall has found it's way to Northern Indiana. We didn't get above 60 degrees yesterday and it rained most of the day. Last night we got down to 38 degrees. Time to put away the sandals and drag out the sweaters.

I love this time of the year. Everything is so pretty. The air is crisp. The mosquitos and bugs go away!
There is only one thing that makes me take pause. Socks. Yes, socks. I have a real problem with socks, in all forms. Now that we have to start wearing socks, my feelings for them are a problem. I buy plenty of white socks for everyone.
They are gone in no time flat. Where do they go? I don't know. The socks that do stick around are missing a partner or stretched out from small hands yanking on them constantly. I've tried to buy the super cheap socks, figuring I might as well since we go through so many. It doesn't work. The cheap socks are just that, cheap. They end up ripped or completely out of shape after one wear. I've talked with other mothers, particularly mothers to many children. We all hold the same disdain for socks.
Thumbs Down

We have ballet, violin and co-op this afternoon. I also have a meeting with the Health Department for Mama Rocketts. I am trying to move into a bigger kitchen (at our church) but once again, I am bogged down with red tape. I pray this works out. The current kitchen at the cafe is just too small.

With that, I better get the day started. Best wishes to all.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Praises for Him

What a day.

Em spent the night with a friend last night. We were invited to go down for lunch this afternoon. This is the neatest family. They have seven children, homeschool and go to our church. Obviously, we have a lot in common.
Wakka Wakka

As we were getting ready to get down there, the phone rang. Jeff was called into work. There was an emergency in the Blood Bank. He left for work while the kids and I headed down to our friend's home. He was going to meet us there later.

I drive the 20 minutes to their house (on the highway) and pull into their driveway. I am there not 10 minutes and one of their boys says to me, "Mrs R, you have a flat tire." I go outside to check it out. Sure enough -- major flat tire on the front driver side. Ugh.
Oh Jeez
However, my frustration turned to gratefulness almost immediately. This was a major flat tire. Not a soft mushy tire. Not a "Oh, get to the station quickly" tire -- but a full blown, all out, very bad tire. Had this happened on the highway, well I don't even want to think about it too much.
Plus, I realized I had left my cell phone at home. Not good.

Our Heavenly Father got us to their home safely. Thank you!

I was about to call AAA, but Mike (dad of the house) rounded up his 4 boys and said, "Come on boys -- time to learn how to change a tire." I so appreciated his kindness. I called Jeff who was still at work and he was worried and relieved all in one breath.

We made it home with the temporary tire in place. We will take the van into the shop tomorrow. This isn't the ideal way to spend our weekend, but you know? It could have been a lot worse.

So, I will choose the silver lining in this day. It just feels better Cool
I urge everyone reading this -- to choose the silver lining. I bet you will feel better too.

Love and hugs,

Friday, September 24, 2004

Pickles, parks and pancakes

Did the title catch your eye?

We had a wonderful day today. Jeff surprised us by staying home today. What a blessing.

We went out to Sechlers pickle factory on a fieldtrip with our homeschool group. Who would have thought we could have such a fun time at a pickle factory, but we did. The kids didn't much care for the pungent vinegar smell in certain buildings, but the greenGreen on their face faded quickly once outside.

I am happy to report that we found the best salsa in the area while at Sechlers. I tell ya, here in Hoosier-ville, the salsa isn't all that wonderful. Yeh, sure, you have the varieties in the market, but we all know they don't measure up to *real* salsa either.
I will make the 30 minute drive to Sechlers for our salsa fix. It is that good!

From the pickle factory, we went to a local park with everyone and had a picnic. The kids had so much fun. Seesaw We left the park with one less child too! No, not on accident.
Emily went home for a sleep over with a friend. We will see her tomorrow morning.

Once home, the boys passed out on the couch and Jeff did some yard work. The girls and I went to Target to assist Grace in spending her birthday loot. She pulled us all over that store trying to make up her mind. I was nearly ready to lose my mind Buggin and I LOVE Target.

For dinner we had an old favorite. German Apple Pancake with maple sausage. It went perfectly with the day...easy going and fall like. By the way, I love this time of year. The trees are changing more with every passing minute. Glorious.
Raking Leaves

I have a ton of paperwork to get out of the way. I've tried wishing it away, but it is sitting here, taunting me. It wins.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Wild and Wooly

That sums up our Wednesdays. I don't know how it happened, but it did.

Our morning started out well. Everyone woke up in a reasonably good mood. High Five
We got our chores out of the way and hit the books.
You should hear Gracie read! It is really clicking with her. I must say, there is no better feeling to see the switch turn over and witness our efforts pay off.
Speaking of school, Em is entering into some major math lessons. She is facing them with grace and determination. We are proud of her.

This afternoon we headed over to ballet. Paige's class was first. While she was there, Emily went her to violin class. She really loves this outlet. It is so relaxing for her.
The other girls do quiet reading and/or drawing. After Paige's class, Gracie runs in.
Paige works on her science while the older girls memorize scripture and listen to worship music. The boys play blocks, dominoes, color and play outside.
When Gracie is done, Em and Sarah go into ballet. At this time, another mom comes in and she takes all of the under 4 kids outside or into the other room to watch a video/play. The kids (ages 4 to 3rd grade) stay with me. We are doing a Swiss Family Robinson unit study. Talk about wild and fun. It is awesome!! All in all, we are gone from 12-4 on Wednesdays.

On days like this, may I just say, "I Circle Of Hearts my crockpot!" We had dinner and Jeff took the girls to church. The girls enjoy Wednesday services. It is a nice time for worship music and fellowship. Jeff is involved in a class called Sermon on the Mount.

I found out today that Mama Rockett's candy business will be moving to a bigger kitchen. This is so exciting! I can have more room to expand my product base and stock. I will be using the kitchen in our church. I am grateful for their love and grace.

It is time to get the boys off to bed. Poor little guys didn't get a nap today and they are
Crying Crying.

I hope all is well for you and yours? Love and hugs.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

She is *how* old?

The strangest thing happened on September 19, 2004. I don't know why I am still shocked -- I knew it would happen -- but wow, it has now come and gone.

My baby girl, Gracie is now six. I don't believe it. I think it is a cruel joke on my tender heart.
Jeff hugs me and confirms that, yes, our sweet princess is getting older (and continues to drag me with her).

The day was wonderful. We spent the morning in church. When we got home, she dived into her presents. She received a new and improved Cabbage Patch Doll (named Chloe), some new pj's, a video and a bike! Oh, she loves this new bike. It is pretty cool, I must admit.

I remember when I went into labor with Gracie. We were at the Main Place Mall in California. I was enjoying myself, despite the nuisance of back pains. We went to Chili's for dinner. During a wonderful burger, the first contraction hit. I ignored it. I mean, come on! I was eating here! Better timing would have worked for me. The ignore technique didn't work. Jeff thought we should head home, being that this was #4 and time could go quickly. I insisted that I finish my meal. I have priorities!
Burger Joint

All went well. I spent the rest of the evening at home, trying to relax. She was born the next morning at 9:30. I will never forget the doctor coming in and recognizing Jeff. Here I am ready to deliver and they are off to the side talking about work/golf/life. The nurse finally said, "Doctor, can you please catch this baby?" Yeh, it really did go like that!

Six years. Wow. Six years?! Do you have any idea how much has changed in six years? We were in California six years ago! Since then, we have lived in Idaho, had twins, went through a nightmare to get them home, survived job changes, moved to Indiana and continued to live life. Whew. Suddenly, I am tired.

Jesus Fish If not for our sweet Jesus, I don't know how we would have made our way through the maze. His grace and love is abundant. Sometimes, when I want to talk to the Lord and can't find the words - I simply start with, "Thank you." It works.

It is late out in Hoosier land. The sun will rise soon -- the boys even sooner.

Alarm Clock

Oh, before I sign off -- a big RAVE for Sam's (just like Costco) birthday cake services. Gracie requested one of their round double layer chocolate cakes with whipped topping. It was decorated in a princess theme. They did an awesome job and made a little girl *very* happy!
Speaking of a princess, it has been requested by the new six year old that if you wish to speak with her, please address her as Princess Gracie.
She would be most tickled by that. A curtsy is not necessary, though she does give lessons in proper techniques.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Johnny Appleseed was here....

Yes, he was. No, not in the recent past -- but he did walk these parts years ago. He left many wonderful apple trees in his path. Johnny is gone now. His burial site is downtown, in a beautiful park. Many people visit his burial plot and leave apples. Yeh, kinda strange especially when those symbolic apples quickly rot - but hey, it's the thought that counts, right?

In honor of Mr Appleseed, our town throws a huge festival in September. We love our Johnny man! We love this festival. It is period authentic, meaning very pioneer themed, both in food and dress. If you want to sell something at this festival, you better being wearing the grubs to prove it! In fact, look for me (Mama Rockett) to be donning a bonnet and long calico dress next year as I join the ranks of vendors. And no, there will be no pictures to share! Bug Eyed

So, why am I telling you about Mr Appleseed and this festival? Well, because you care about us and want to know our lives, remember? I mean, that is why you are reading this journal, right?

We spent the afternoon at the festival. We had caramel apples, apple cider, apple butter, apple chips, cornbread (yeh, I know -- we are rebels) and apple pie. We also purchased 5 pounds of Courtland apples -- the best darn apples around these parts! Apple

On the way home we stopped at Kohl's to buy Miss Gracie a new ballet leotard and birthday dress. There were no cute, age appropriate dresses -- so we settled on a nice skirt and top. What is with some of these clothes makers?! I want my little girl to actually *look* like a little girl, not a mini adult! Geesh.

And hey, don't ever doubt the excitement to be had at Kohl's ! I nearly killed myself on the escalator. Oh okay, I didn't almost die -- but almost broke my leg. Yes, really! You had to see me, I must have been a site. Not a pretty site, but a site nonetheless.
Wanna hear the story? No? Too bad. I'm the one typing, so I get to share!Computing

We had the boys in the double stroller, chomping on some crackers - slurping on juice (what a life!). We head over to the elevator because we are dependable, responsible adults -- we follow signs and rules. No stroller on the escalator. Remember that has you continue to read.
We come to another sign. On the elevator. Seems it is not working today. Wires and cables are showing. It looks like a deathtrap. Little did I know I was to find out the real deathtrap in my path....
We try to find another way upstairs but aren't real successful. Instead of wasting more time we decide to take the boys OUT of the stroller and use the escalator. First scary thing occurs. The boys are now out of the stroller -- not buckled up -- in a large store -- with lots of clothing racks -- with sticky hands and crumbs on their bodies. Afraid We continue. We are brave.
Jeff has the boys. I have the stroller. The stroller barely fits, but I am determined. We manage. All goes well until it is time to come back down stairs.....
We take the boys back out of the stroller (see, we are consistent in our efforts) and resume our taks with the boys and stroller. I get the stroller on the moving deathtrap with little effort. We are moving down, down, down (I should have seen a pattern here) and when the time comes to get the stroller OFF the moving steps -- the stroller declares it's independence and REFUSES to move. The stairs however continue to move. I am pinned. I am not moving. People behind me are pushing into me, I am panicking and Jeff is scrambling to help me. He yanks on the stroller and I am set free. All is fine. I have a sore ankle and skinned foot. The stroller is banged up by one of the wheels, but still works well. Honestly, I was more concerned with the stroller. A twin momma NEEDS her stroller!!
I plan on documenting this lesson in movement/force as a homeschool lesson. Laugh

Are you still reading? Are you shaking your head at me? Oh come on, I know you are. Admit it. This family is full of goofballs and today, I am Chief Goofball. Goofy

It is now almost 11 o'clock at night. The house is quiet. I am heading off to bed in a few minutes. Before I sign off for the night, let me reflect on my sweet Gracie. She will be 6 tomorrow. It is a cliche', but I find myself wondering *how* she turned 6 when I was just kissing her little baby fingers yesterday. Sigh.

Best wishes and lots of love to all of you.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Survivor starts tonight

Survivor Yea, it's true. We are slaves to Survivor. We have faithfully watched from Season 1. It is the only reality show we cave to and watch....

I got to thinking though -- my life is just like Survivor. No, really. I dare any of the past winners to live in my world for a week. They would pay *me* to get back to their world.

This morning started with a bang. Literally. Mr. Jacob thought it would be lovely to wake me up by slamming the alarm clock on the head board. Not a fun way to wake up. Of course as I jolt awake, he is sitting there looking sweet and says, "Shh mama, bubba sleeping." Translation: Mom, chill. Caleb is still sleeping. Don't wake him up. I want you all to myself for a little while.
With that said -- we snuggle and watch Dora the Explorer. Dora rocks in this house. She is one cool chica.

We had homeschool gym this morning. I love this Thursday ritual. It is such an awesome group of people. The fellow moms have become friends, mentors and sisters in many ways. We are up to 119 kids, with about 105 showing up consistently. We range all the way from a 3 week old to a 17 year old who graduates in May. It warms my heart to see all of these kids, from different backgrounds and various ages get along together. The big teen boys watch over the toddlers who wander into their basketball game. The pre-teen girls are silly and cute without attacking one another. It is wonderful. And the moms?! Fantastic. I couldn't ask for a better group of ladies to call friends. I am blessed.

Emily and Sarah's group (4-12th grade) went up to the local park to learn tennis and golf by the coaches up that way. The K-3 graders played dodgeball and learned double dutch jump roping.
The little folks (infant to 4) played in the newly built Tot Town. Man, it is cool! I worked in the TT today. It went well except it was loud. Very loud. We have 4 four year old boys and 5 excitable 3 year olds that were exerting their power. The 2 year olds and infants were cute and cuddly.

We came home, had lunch and put the boys down for a nap. They were so tired. While the boys napped, the girls worked on their lessons. We are studying the election process. What an adventure. Emily also had to write a current events report about the presidential candidates. She had some very thought provoking questions. I love her age!

Sarah had gymnastics at 4:00. We were almost late because I have been battling with my Internet server to switch my business site. What a pain. I was on the phone with them and lost track of time.
I didn't lose any mommy points because she got there just as the coach called them out to the floor. Whew. Sarah did an awesome job on the beam today. She is looking great out there. We are proud of her hard work.
Balance Beam

While she was out on the floor, Em worked on science. This program we are using is very challenging. I am learning a lot, right along with her. We worked on science vocab with the trusty index cards. The rest of the kids watched cartoons and played with the other kids.

We rushed home. I had forgotten to put dinner in the crockpot before leaving. I hate not having dinned planned! Fortunately, Jeff made it home before we did and started everything for us. Bless my man! While dinner finished cooking, he took the kids for a walk while I had some quiet time. Bless my man!
In Love

It is 8:30 now. Jeff is at a men's Bible study. The boys are asleep. Gracie is just about asleep on the couch. The rest of the girls are eating ice cream and watching Survivor, cheering on the ladies teams. I have to share Sarah indignation over the treatment the ladies received at the beginning tribe ceremony. She stood there saying, "Why are they treating the women like that? What is their problem? The ladies can play this game too!" HA. A fired up Sarah is a sight not to miss. No No No

With that, I will sign off for the night. God Bless you.


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Trying something new

I got to thinking. Wouldn't it be nice to have a central place for family and friends to keep up to date with our family? Sure, phone calls are super -- but let's face it, sometimes it is more convenient to jump online and read a few lines. This is especially true while at work!

So, for those that received a link to this site -- use it often.

I guess I'll just start with today? Might as well since I don't remember much from yesterday.

Wednesdays are busy for us. The kids and I were up and running by 8 this morning. We did our chores and did our math and Bible lessons. While the girls worked on lessons, the boys took much delight in building towers with books, videos and CD's. Forget the Rubbermaid container of blocks over in the corner. Apparently multi-media goods work better. Spread the world. During a brief quiet moment I worked on some Mama Rockett paperwork, made some phone calls and planned our afternoon.

Fast forward to 12 noon. Lunch was early. We are now in the van, on our way to ballet, violin and co-op classes. Paige dances from 12:15-1:15. Grace from 1:15-2:00. Emily and Sarah from 2:00-3:15. Em's violin class is from 12:30-1:15. Thankfully, this all takes places at our church.
While the kids are going to and fro -- I stay in one room with a couple other moms. We coordinate different subjects for the kids left waiting for siblings. Today we did art, poetry and math drills.

After several hours of erasing the chalkboard and removing dripping paintbrush from toddler hands - we came home. The fun was over.
The boys laid down while watching Blues Clues. The girls had quiet reading and chores.
I did nothing but sit at the table and zone out for 10 minutes. I needed it.

Once Jeff got home, we had dinner and squabbled with a pre-adolescent Emily over her attitude. That *was* fun. (no!)
Jeff took the girls to church this evening. They should be home soon. The boys just went down to bed and I have used my time wisely while sitting here typing away.

With that, I will say good-bye for today. Check back tomorrow for more from our world!