October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Patch Fun

I know, I know... here they are. Pictures from the Patch. Melanie, Lacey, and Avery had a blast.

September 28, 2008

Lessons Learned During the Hurricane (very funny)

Lessons Learned During and After the Storm

The hurricane grouch quotient can be calculated by adding the number of children and pets in a home without power, multiplied by the number of days quoted on the Energy telephone recording, divided by the number of fans or portable air conditioners powered by your home generator, (however if you were last in line at Home Depot and have no generator then multiply by the daily high for that day), then add the number of trips to the washateria and the days left until school opens. Discount by the percentage of time spent at neighbors who have power.

Recalculate as often as necessary

No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without electricity.

Vienna sausages only appear on the food pyramid during hurricane season.

Gas mileage is recalculated based on miles per fume.

Lovebugs do not disappear in 80 mph wind gusts.

Despite protests, kids can re-live their parents' youth when there were only 3 tv channels!

Cats are even more irritating without power.

Houston without traffic lights resembles Mexico City , Rome , Los Angeles and New York City all rolled into a single snarl.

A 7 lb bag of ice will chill 6-12 oz beers to a drinkable temperature in 11 minutes, and still keep a 14 lb. turkey frozen for 8 more hours.

There are/were a lot of really big trees around here!

Just because you're 18 doesn't mean you can stay out as late as you want. They mean business when they say curfew.

People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for.

Calories consumed during a hurricane or power outage do not count.

Telemarketers function no matter what the weather is doing. New Delhi does not check the weather report on the Gulf Coast .

Most popular text message after September 12th: do u hve pwr

Twenty-seven of your neighbors are fed from a different transformer than you, and they are quick to point that out!

Crickets and cicadas can increase their volume to overcome the sound of 14 generators.

Dirty clothes in an unsupervised hamper multiply at an exponential rate.

Coffee, spaghetti and frozen pizzas can be made on a grill.

He who has the biggest generator wins.

Tree service companies are under-appreciated, except after hurricanes.

There are a lot more stars in the sky than most people thought.

If you owned a store that sold only ice, chain saws, gas and generators, you would be rich

September 23, 2008

Sad days

Today our beloved dog of 5 years, Jazz, was hit by a car. Well, at least we think it was her. She hasn't come home in 2 days and there is a dead black dog on the highway behind our house. Greg said it was pretty unrecognizable. Our whole family is upset, but the little ones are taking it the hardest. They don't seem to understand the finality of it. Tony keeps telling me that Jazz is sure to come home, but tonight in his prayer journal he wrote that he hoped God would keep her safe in Heaven. Isn't that precious? Please pray for my kiddos to have peace through all of this. Thanks.

September 22, 2008


I wish this were a deep conversation about my heroes but no, this is about the television show. I am absolutely addicted. This is absolutely the best written and acted show that has graced television. I have never claimed an addicition to anything, but I now must admit "My name is Amanda and I am a Heroes-holic"!

September 21, 2008

Something Bigger than Themselves

Our church meets in a school. Out of the ordinary, I know, but this is no ordinary church :-). Due to Hurricane Ike the school has remained closed and we have not had service the past two weeks. Last week my kiddos and I went to church in Temple with Jamie and Ariana (which was fabulous) and we were lost last night when we thought we were not going to have church today. We just do not miss church (unless we are sick). I had gotten an email that our church, in lieu of services, was holding a food drive for the community center that we support. There would be teams of people passing out fliers and collecting food at various Kroger and Chik fil a locations. I almost laughed as I thought of my brood running around driving everyone (including me) crazy while others were trying to accomplish this noble cause. Well, needless to say, when we woke up this morning I felt- deep in my heart- that we should go. So, everyone got dressed, filled our cooler with ice, and struck out. I explained to the kids when we pulled up what we were doing and refrained from threatening lives for bad behavior (I somehow felt is wasn't warranted). We assigned the kiddos to the 2 entrances and, though shy at first, they took their responsibility seriously and passed out a ton of fliers to Kroger shoppers. The shoppers responded in full force and we collected a ton of food. The kids were so proud of themselves. Then we made the decision to follow the caravan over to the community center to drop off the food. At first Greg and I thought that we would again be in the way with all the kids underfoot, but I thought it was important for them to see the whole process through. We got to the community center and the kids were eager to help load groceries into the center. It was so cute to see my little 5 year old carrying a 10 lb can of beans yelling, I won't drop it - I promise (he of course dropped it). On the way home all the kids could talk about was how much food they had helped the center get. They understood the big picture of what they had done and were extremely proud of themselves. I regret the fact that we almost did not do it because I thought the children would be a nuisance but instead they learned a valuable lesson in doing something that is bigger than themselves and I learned a valuable lesson- never underestimate what your children can do.

September 20, 2008

We like Ike!

Okay, not really. But, for us Ike did not do too much harm. We got home around 2am Monday morning after spending hours in the Temple Walmart stocking up on supplies. Damage wasn't that bad. We lost our huge oak tree in the back yard (I think I mentioned that already) and it took out the back fence (I think I mentioned that also, but oh well). When I woke up Monday morning I was determined that this was going to be the most miserable week of my life. No electricity, no water, and no school to entertain 5 of my 6 kiddos. I could not have been more wrong.
My husband was out of work all last week so I got to have him to myself all week. It was such a blessing (we don't know if he's getting paid for this week, but we'll leave those worries for the Big Guy). Greg hasn't had a "vacation" in the 8 1/2 years we've been together. The weather could not have been more pleasant. We threw open every window in the house (which is a lot) and just let the breeze continue to blow through. We bar-b- qued with my family, we played games, we read books, we talked and most of all we were together. All week we hardly left the side of each other (which is comical when you consider there are 8 of us!). The kids found hours of entertainment climbing on the fallen tree and they even discovered this new game they call hide and seek. We counted the rings on the tree, we worked together cleaning up the limbs, and we even captured a new "pet" for the kids to watch (a black widow that I lovingly named Charlotte).
I cleaned my house (as best I could) and thought of creative things for lunch and dinner. Our hurricane menu included homemade pizzas (on the grill), Raviolis, sausage, peanut butter and jelly and loads of other fun stuff. My kids thought it was fabulous! I read three books and Greg pittered around the house (not accomplishing much of anything, but that's okay - he works hard every other time). It was great to see my kiddos playing and pretending, learning, laughing and living. No one yelled to watch tv, no fighting on who's turn it was to pick the dvd, no yelling from me that they've been playing video games too long. Although the hurricane was a horrible experience for a lot of people (and I continue to pray for those) it was a great lesson in life for me. I CAN live without the luxuries of life and, to be honest, I think these luxuries have gotten in the way of "life". Now I think I will go home, turn off the tv, and see which of my kids think they have what it takes to beat me at cards!

September 13, 2008

Hurricane News

Not too much to report. Stephanie and I took our families and ran after they strongly advised everyone in a manufactured homes leave. We ended up in Temple with Greg's ex and my beautiful step daughter. Though cramped a little we have had a wonderful stay (All total we had 6 adults and 9 kids). We completely missed Ike. Unfortunatly, Ike did not miss us and one of the huge trees in our backyard fell and took out our whole back fence (the one that faces the highway). Thank the Lord it fell towards the fence. If it had fallen the other way it would have landed in our living room! We are heading back tomorrow to access all of the damages, but I don't think it will be too bad. Plus, we rent. Therefor, we are not actually responsible for fixing the fence and such (although we most likely will) so no harm so far. I am NOT looking forward to having to entertain six kiddos without electricity, but if it worked for the 1800's it will work for me. Who knows, by the time we get running water and electricity we may not even want them! Yeah, I know. Not likely. I hope everyone reading this is safe with not too much damage. We love you all!

September 10, 2008

And the award for worst blogger...

Goes to me! I know, it's been a while. Therefore, I will spare everyone lengthy details of the past few weeks and just hit the highlights.

Highlight #1
The Brat Pack on the first day

The older girls thought pictures were ridiculous. Go figure! School is going well. We're on week three and everything is beginning to smooth out. Homework is getting easier to handle, behavior issues are under control, and everyone LOVES going. Yea for me. I couldn't imagine trying to deal with a child who hated to go to school. The older girls talk mostly about friends and boys but, hey, there talking. From what I hear about teenagers that's a good sign.

Highlight #2
Free Time

Yes, I have some of that now. Yea. Steff and I have headed back to the gym this week. We went all the time last year while the kids were in school and I was actually kind of missing it. Yesterday we actually debated taking a spin class. Then, when finally decided to go there was only one bike. A sure sign from God I told her. I am not meant to take spin. I mean, seriously, have you seen my butt? Have you seen those seats? 'Nuff said!

Highlight #3

We have started at our church our own mom's group. I am so excited. We've had a great response and I have such a postive feeling about it. I can't wait for it to start.

Highlight #4
Poor service at restaurants

My sister touched on this in her blog so I spare all of the details. But, for the first time in forever, we actually had great service at a restaurant. The Cheesecake Factory has redeemed itself since Joy's frozen cake fiasco. Our waiter was friendly and attentive. Our food came out in proper order, on time, brought by our own waiter (no food auction- you know, what you have to go through when someone other than your waiter brings your food and they're all... "now, who had the mahi mahi with brown rice, who had the white rice, etc. I HATE the food auction!) Anyway, I was beginning to wonder if quality service had gone by the wayside. (If you want a funny story about poor service go read Tanni's story under The Gerwick Family. It's hilarious!)

Highlight #5
New Job

My husband has had 2 interviews for new jobs this week. One for the Walmart Distribution Center and one for UPS. With both jobs together he will barely be making more than he is now but the perks far out way that. The WDC is right down the street, has set hours, and pays more than he's making now (and comes with a Walmart Discount) and UPS is only part time, but it gets his foot in the door for a career job there. Yea for us. Things are starting to look up!

Well, that's about it in a nutshell. I will try and stay more current, but we all know how that goes.

August 19, 2008

Registering for school

I have come to the conclusion that I would rather be poked in the eye repeatedly than to have to register another child for school. I have been to the Jr. High 4 times and have finally "completed" registering Stacy for school. The school has done absolutely nothing to aid me in the process except to simply tell me that until her other school sent her files I could not turn in all the necessary paperwork I had on her. Why not? The elementary and intermediate schools had no problem with it. So, here I am a week from school starting and Stacy is finally registered *sigh of relief*, only to discover that I have to go back up to the school for her to pick out her classes. Unless, of course, I want to show up super early the first day of school and let her get stuck in some random classes that we'll have the opportunity to switch the first week. Can I take it home and fill it out, e-mail it to them, fax it, whatever. No, it has to be done in person. So, tomorrow I get to waste another half a tank of gas so that Stacy can go to school. Now I remember why I homeschooled.. But, it will all be worth it next week when I kick up my feet and look around at my finally clean house and drink a soda (without having to share it with anyone)!

August 18, 2008

#1 Song the Day You Were Born

A friend sent this to me and it's really cool. It will tell you the number one song on the day you were born, or the day you were married, etc. Pretty fun.

Go here http://www.joshhosler.biz/NumberOneInHistory/SelectMonth.htm

Amusing fact: The #1 song the day I was married ... "Foolish" by Ashanti.

How do you know your doing God's work?

That was a question I asked myself all the time for all different things. How do I know if what I am doing is what God wants me to do. There are many different ways and a biblical checklist on what to look for... is it in line with Godly principals, etc. The best advice I ever got, though, was from an older lady at our previous church. She said that you can tell your doing God's will when you can feel him holding your hand while the devil is kicking you in the behind! That being said, I certainly feel as if I'm being kicked lately. The last time the children came to live with us, 2 days after, Kamryn nearly drowned in a pool, then we were sued by their ex-stepfather for custody of the kids (and had to spend 5000 we didn't have on a lawyer), followed by behavior issues with TJ, losing our house, etc. Through it all I felt God's hand guiding us and caring for us and I never once regretted having the kids live with us- trying as it may have been. Especially when I considered the alternative. Now that they're here again I feel as if we've given Satan one more black eye and for that he's giving us a swift kick in the behind. Things are getting tougher and tougher with all the rain and Greg's hours being cut back. I think and begin to doubt, "are we doing the right thing?". Then little things begin to happen. Stacy tells me how much she loves going to church with us, Siarah thanks me for a home cooked meal and family dinner time at the table, and TJ comes to me and tells me how much he loves me and I feel God's hand in mine saying "the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him" and I am reminded that is my job. To keep the children safe and that no matter what, the kids (ours included) may not have everything they ever wanted but they will know what a Godly, loving family looks and feels like and will understand the comfort and peace of a stable environment. God will take care of the rest.

August 17, 2008

Late night boredom

Steff's out of town and my kiddos are asleep, so here I am being bored at her nice quiet (clean) house. Here's a few of the fun things I found while roaming the Information Super Highway:

I don't type nearly as fast as I thought I did (but, it is late...)
56 words


The best comeback ever for having a large family:

I may have PMDD- or at least that's what the commercial on t.v. told me, so I thought I'd check it out (and even if I don't - that's what I'm telling my husband)

There is actually a lady who dresses as a fairy and convinces your children to clean their rooms:

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder (WOW- all I can say is WOW)


August 14, 2008

My Sisters

My sisters are my absolute best friends. They are two of the greatest people I have ever known. I could never write enough about much I love them. Here are a few pictures of us for those who don't know my sisters.

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.- Marion C. Garretty
Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~Louisa May Alcott

There can be no situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not administer some comfort to me. ~Mary Montagu

I love you guys!

Tropical Storm Edouard...

During the storm our electricity inevitably went out. This, however, did not deter the ice cream man. I can imagine he was banking that night since everyone was out on their lawn enjoying the cool weather... (and, of course, it wasn't raining!)

August 13, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed

Actually the "eagles" landed a week ago thanks to some very generous people at church. Here are few pics from the airport...

The Tightie Wightie Monster

Melanie's favorite past time is "helping" me with laundry. It mainly consists of her undoing what I just folded. But, it's well worth it when she's this cute...

Hills and Clouds

I don't know about everyone else, but when I think of clouds and hills it all seems pretty peaceful. So, with that said, I am anticipating a very peaceful school year with Mrs. Hill (Tony's teacher) and Mrs. Cloud (Kamryn's teacher) YEA for me!

August 12, 2008

Birthday Verses

A friend of mine (thanks Tanni) turned me onto this and think it is absolutely fantastic. The theory is that there is a specific verse in the Bible which correlates to your birthday. Here's ours...

Greg- March 2
1 John 3:2 NIV
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Amanda- August 19
Romans 8:19 NIV
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

Stacy- May 14
1 John 5:14 NIV
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Siarah- July 17
1 Corinthians 7:17 NIV
Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him . . .

TJ and Melanie- June 15 (Yes, they share a birthday)
Ephesians 6:15 NIV
...with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Kamryn- July 21
Matthew 7:21 NIV
“Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Tony- April 9
1 John 4:9 NIV
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

It amazes me how inspirational the verses are, especially to each individual child. Each one seems almost handpicked for my kiddos. God is great!

August 10, 2008

Eight is Enough?

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.- Albert Einstein

I look back to the day when our first daughter was born, the look in my husbands eyes, when he looked up and said " I think I want seven". "Seven children?" ask the nurse diapering my baby. "Sure, seven. A nice even number"- complete silence in the room as the nurse tries to figure out if he is serious. Now, anyone who knows my husband knows that this was his attempt at humor. However, over the past seven years he has slowly been trying to reach the goal. Recently, we regained custody of my husband's younger cousins. Three wonderful children who not only compliment my family but seem as if they complete it. For those of you keeping tally, that's 3 of my own, 1 step-daughter, and 3 custodial. That makes my husbands "nice even number". Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

July 9, 2008

This Message Will Self Destruct

Actually, the title should read "This message will destruct self". Let's start at the beginning. Yesterday I received an email from our pastor. A very innocuous email I am sure he thought. However, due to the very nature of emails being completely void of any emotion, I promptly misinterpreted the whole thing. After sending a not so pleasant reply (my feelings had been extremely hurt by my misinterpretation) I received the kindest letter in response explaining my misconception. This was above and beyond a simple open mouth-insert foot fiasco. I was so completely embarrassed by my reaction I actually cried (and I just do not do that). So, from now on, I will not shoot off an email upon my immediate reaction. I will take a day or so to mull over the intent if it is not clear to me. Pray over it and then calmly and rationally, with guidance, respond. So, if you send me a message and I do not respond, know that I am thinking it over and trying to keep my message, and myself, from destructing.

July 7, 2008

My Baby Turned 1!

Actually, she's been 1 for almost a month now, but I just now have gotten around to getting pictures. It's crazy how much time flies. My little Mel-Belle is practically a little toddler now. I know everyone thinks their children are special, and they are, but my little Melanie Rose is truly a gift from God. When I found out that I was pregnant with Melanie it could not have come at a worse time in my life. However, she was absolutely perfect from day 1. She is a shining example, and a daily reminder, of how God's plan may not always be our plan- but it is certainly a perfect plan!

June 23, 2008


"There is nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends."
-- Hilaire Belloc

Okay, I'll admit it! I'm a friend hoarder. I love my friends and I hate to give them up. I still keep in touch with people I went to school with ten years ago. Every time I get together with them it's like we've never been apart. I also love to make new friends. I find myself very blessed, no, extremely blessed with all the friends, old and new, that I have. God sends the absolute most wonderful people into my life. These pics are just an inkling of how blessed I am.

June 21, 2008

Things We Take for Granted

This morning I woke up with a startling revelation. My husband was at work (yes, on Saturday), the kids were up and already looking for something to do, and... I had a car! Yea. Since I have had children I have never been without a car. However, since October I have been wheel-less. My sister has been kind enough to let Greg "use" her old car, but it being a standard, has been rendered useless for me. So, for the past months I have been at the mercy of others for last minute diaper runs, or rides to school, or waiting until Greg gets home so that I can load all the children up to go get groceries. But, those days are gone. I woke up this morning, got my children fed and dressed and proceeded to drive myself wherever I needed to go. I felt like a sixteen year old again- with the world at my disposal once more. Tonight I looked at Greg and told him I really wanted a soda. Then, I realized, I could go get one if I wanted. I took for granted so long having a car that I remember actually complaining that I had so much running around to do. Now, I relish in getting behind the wheel and going wherever I need to.
This got me thinking (of course)- what else in my life do I take for granted. I think about my day I had with my unruly children and wonder- how would today have been different if I had enjoyed my children and little more today (even during their antics) instead of worrying about how much I had to do. What about that Bible? When is the last time I dove into that and really appreciated it's holiness. What about God? When is the last time that I sat down and marveled at how truly blessed I really am- how truly awesome God really is. It took a simple thing as a poor second hand car to make me appreciate the glory of the universe- from this day on I have a whole new perspective to go with my "new" car.

June 18, 2008

A "Beachy" Day

One of the things I loved as a child was going to the beach with my family. Our whole extended family would go for a few days and camp out on the beach. So, once my children were old enough I wanted them to experience the same thing. Today we went for a "trial" run. One day with one cousin. After dropping off the baby we headed out. Today was the perfect day for the beach. No one there, light breeze, and tiny "tot sized" waves. It was quite a relaxing and enjoyable day. The only problem, actually, was with me. I LOVE the beach, the ocean, everything but I absolutely cannot stand sand on my skin. In the water I'm fine- out I am very cautious not to get any on me. My sister, of course, knows this. So therefor took the opportunity to put a handful of mud in my bathing suit. As I am - of course- wigging out Kamryn looks at me reassuringly and gives me the kid quote of the day..." Don't worry Mommy, one day you'll laugh at this"! And I did.

June 11, 2008

He Will Provide

So, a month since I posted anything. Not a very good start, but I'm sure things will get better from here. This past month has been trying to say the least. Greg's job has taken a turn with the economy - not good news. However, God has continued to provide. It's hard to see sometimes when all of my wants are not met, but God has taken care of the needs. He always has. This week has been a prime example. Friday Greg's check was less than ample. We debated heavily on whether we could afford to buy the things for church that I had already committed to. I prayed, we talked, and came to the conclusion that 1) this church wouldn't work unless everyone came together and made similar sacrifices (which I know others have made bigger ones than our $50.00) 2) if this is where God wanted our money then who are we to argue. We are accustomed to tithing therefore this idea is not foreign to us - just hard to do sometimes. So, setting out to the store we frugally purchased everything we needed. The kids didn't understand why this week we couldn't get go-gurts and cheesesticks, etc for snacks but all in all I thought we were doing okay. I have been more creative in the kitchen, to say the least, and trust me- it's not gonna hurt me to miss a few mid-morning snacks. Besides, Greg gets paid every Friday. What's one week without a Dr. Pepper? However, when my grandmother caught wind off our "situation" she appeared on our doorstep with bags of groceries that were "just sitting in her cabinet not being used". As well as newly bought snacks and Popsicles for the kids. My grandmother cannot stand to see the kiddos go without their daily snacks! Hence, the provision of God. My grandmother brought more food than I probably would have bought at the store and a lot of different things I probably would never had tried. Lately I have been having a hard time seeing "The Big Guy" in my daily life and have questioned it. He used a situation that I thought was not even that big of a deal to not only remind me that he will provide for me but that he still cares about the little things in my life. Our God is an awesome God!

May 16, 2008

Just the beginning...

First, I'll introduce myself. My name is Amanda. I have three beautiful children, 1 lovely stepdaughter, 1 wonderful husband, 2 extremely lovable but dumb dogs, and one snobby cat. I am a daughter of the King- a princess, in the true sense, of my Godly father. I enjoy reading, playing with my children, spending time with my husband, and hanging out with my friends and my wonderful family. My God, my family and my friends are the focus of everything I do. I live my life day to day, I never worry about things that are to come. My life is a never ending wonderful journey and I would love for you to walk along with me through it. This is only the beginning...