Thursday, August 12, 2010


This is a really big year for us!

We have:

A birth
A 13th birthday
A 16th birthday
An 18th birthday
A High School Graduation
A 21st Birthday
A 60th Birthday (Paw-Paw)

We can't afford, and don't see the necessity of, a big birthday party each year, for each child.  We ARE a party in and of ourselves, and we do try to make each birthday special.

However, milestone birthdays are special, and we try to have special celebrations for those.  So, just adding to my busyness this year :)

We've been through half the list, so pictures will follow...

Catching up...

Well, that's what I get for saying "busiest week of the year, right?"  I've commented to several friends - I think this is the busiest summer I've ever had.  My dad had cataract surgery, so I worked at the restaurant for him for a few days.  My dad got sick, so I worked at the restaurant for him for a few days.  We found and bought a car for my grandmother.  We found and bought a car for my oldest son - he hasn't even had the opportunity to see or drive it yet, as he hasn't yet been able to come home.  Eye doctor appointments, dentist appointments, my oldest daughter's 18th birthday, and on and on it goes.

So, I have lots of pictures of some of the recent events and happenings here, and I'll make new posts for each.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What a week!

Well, the busiest week of the year has finally passed.  My oldest son, R, slipped in from Indiana to be here for his sister's graduation party - what a sweetheart.  We had VBS all week, and I was trying to get the house in order for the party, so I didn't have nearly enough time with my boy, but I'll take what I can get these days.

I was determined to get a current family picture while he was in - the last one is two years old.  I also did not get a picture of the children at Christmas, so I wanted that, as well.

Finally, on Saturday night, before he left out on Sunday morning, I made everyone sit for a picture.  It was 10pm, we were all tired.  No one was dressed for a picture, the girls' hadn't had their hair brushed or fixed, and neither E nor I had a drop of makeup on.  I didn't care - I wanted a picture.

So, after much coaxing, this is what I have:

One big, happy family :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pictures, pictures, pictures

It's amazing how many pictures we take - thousands.  Unfortunately, getting them printed is another story, altogether.  So yesterday, I ordered 110 pictures.

When I did that, I got three codes from three different companies, offering me free or reduced price prints.  So today, I'm once again going through digital photos, choosing those that we will have printed - I need 270 today, so that's my goal - find 270 photos to have printed.

I'm so excited to get these, and begin making collage frames to hang on my bare walls.  I'm hoping to have this done BEFORE the big graduation party next Saturday.  Of course, the party will provide even more pictures that need to be printed...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Yesterday was spent with the oldest daughter, who graduates next Saturday...

Husband was off work, so he offered to watch the children.  We went with a friend to a Talbot's Clearance Outlet, and she was able to find some beautiful things!  She's so tiny, it's difficult to find her size at most stores, but not at Talbot's.  They sell size 0 - disgusting, I know. After shopping, we had lunch at Panera Bread - they have a new Poppyseed Strawberry Salad that is amazing!!!  I wish I'd had three...

Back home, it was time to make dinner and catch up for the day.  Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's Birthday Season

Here in our home, we celebrate at least one birthday every month, except for February and April.  The birthdays fall somewhere between 2 weeks and 6 weeks apart, and began this year in March, when D was born.

We are now in full-birthday mode, having celebrated A's 4th birthday two weeks ago, and preparing for L's 7th birthday tomorrow, followed by H's birthday in two more weeks.

Add to that the fact that we have a graduation celebration on June 19, and this mama is up to her elbows in cake.

I also make cakes at my dad's restaurant at least a couple of times each week.  Too bad someone didn't start a tradition of Birthday Broccoli instead...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day

 On this Memorial Day Weekend, let us remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.  Let us most of all remember Him who gave His life for our eternal freedom.

A Soldier and the Cross

Proudly they serve with honor, so brave
To protect Old Glory, that so freely waves
Giving their time, their bodies, their minds
And often, too often, even their lives.
Forgotten with time, are the men that give
So that you and I might freely live.
A mother, a wife, a child will cry
Yet never known to you and I
He served his land, and served her well
He fought for freedom, and there he fell.
A hero, deserving of honor and praise
Is quietly lowered into a grave.
For many years people will come
To reap the harvest for which he’s sown.
Never stopping to wonder or ever think
The great price paid, for freedom to ring.
How great a debt we owe these men
A debt to repay, we couldn’t begin
Let’s stop to remember, and thank God for
These heroes, these men, who have gone before.
With grateful hearts, let it be said
That we’ll remember our honored dead.
Humbly he came, with love to earth
To offer life eternal through his birth.
He gave his time, his body, his mind
And in the end, he gave his life
Forgotten with time, this man that came
A world in which to seek and to save.
A mother one day would stand and cry
As she watched this man, her son, crucified.
He walked this land, he taught and served
Without the glory and honor he deserved.
A hero, deserving of honor and praise
Quietly died and was placed in a grave.
Though risen again, a great price he paid
So that all mankind might be saved.
For many years people will come
And reap the harvest for which he’s sown.
How great a debt we owe this man
A debt to repay, we couldn’t begin
Let’s stop to remember, and thank God for
This hero, this man, who has gone before.
With grateful hearts, let it be said
Our Saviour’s death was not in vain.
Mary-Belle © 2001

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dental Season

I do not like dentists.  Oh, I'm sure they are fine people.  Outside of the office.  I'm just a baby and I don't like going.  The chair isn't comfortable, my mouth just doesn't open THAT wide, naturally, and I am always thinking of what I could be doing instead.

It's Dental Season here.  Meaning time for all of the children to have their checkup.  One. at. a. time.  Can't schedule too many, in case we cancel, you see - the dentist would have to take the day off.  So finally, today, I have the final appointment of this season.  Then we'll start it back up again in 4 months. Yes, they go every 6 months, but it takes so long to get finished, that we're already well on our way to the next...

Did I mention I don't like dentists?  At least he doesn't have teeth :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

And baby makes 12...

Daniel Joseph was born into this world on March 15, 2010, at 12:40 pm.  He was a scrawny little thing, weighing in at 11 pounds, and being 22 1/2 inches long.  We had some complications at birth, so he spent 11 days in NICU, with mommy making her way there every three hours round the clock for feedings, even though he chose to sleep through many of them.

Meanwhile, back at home, my oldest daughter was holding down the fort - she did an amazing job! I got so many compliments on her - I've said all along that she can run our home as well as I, probably better - but she was awesome!  I'm not sure what God is preparing her for, in having her go through this time, but I believe that whatever it is, she'll be successful.

We've been home for a month now, and things have pretty much returned to normal - as normal as it gets with a newborn, anyway.  He's a fantastic baby!  A little colicky in the evenings, but sleeps through the night at least half of the time - in ten children, he's the first baby I've had to do that - I sure hope it lasts.

I've had so much going on, with catching up on Facebook, household items, grocery shopping, and trying to get my business up and running, there just hasn't been time for blogging.  Hopefully, I can begin to carve out a little time for that, at least weekly.

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Day in the Life of...

We are Nine and Counting…
We live in rural North Carolina.  My husband and I have nine children, with our tenth scheduled to appear in March.  With a family that size, we certainly do get some interesting questions from folks.  I’ll try and answer some of those here, as well as give you a tiny look inside my life.
I have one brother.  That’s it.  My husband has two brothers.  That’s it.
Neither of us started our marriage with the goal of having a large family.  We had one son, and then a daughter.  The “perfect” family, right?  Then I really wanted another.  Once he got a little older, I thought we needed one more, but hubby wasn’t on board…yet.  Then he thought we needed one more baby.  After that, the rest is history – we decided to stop trying to control our family size, and leave it in the hands of God, who supplies our needs, anyway.
My husband had been a diesel mechanic for 27 years.  He’s a Lead mechanic now, but we certainly don’t have a large income.
I am an independent Travel Planner, specializing in Disney trips of all sorts, but certainly not limited.  
Disney is my passion – we are all true Disney fans.

Cruising is another passion – my husband and I LOVE cruising. When pregnancy or a nursling doesn’t prohibit it, we try to take at least two a year.  But again, not a lot of money in what I do at home.  I just enjoy planning dream vacations for families, and make enough to pay for my own vacations.

We built a very large house 4 years ago At the time we had seven children.  We had lived in a three-bedroom singlewide mobile home up until we built the house.  It always makes me laugh when someone with two children wants a bigger house because there isn’t enough room.  Ha.
We are Christians, not Catholic or Mormon.  We have been together for 24 years, married for 21 years – they are all ours.  No, I do not run a daycare.  No we are not crazy.  Yes, we do know what “causes” that.
Folks can sure ask some nosy questions, but I guess we do pique curiosity, LOL
I home school our children.  My oldest son is in his second year of Bible College in Indiana.  My oldest daughter is such a great homemaker that she can run my house in my absence and probably do a better job.  She graduates this year. :(
One last thing before I tell you about my day – I’m a couponer.  Not just someone who clips a coupon here and there, and sticks it somewhere, planning to use it.  

My friends call me the coupon queen. I know many ladies who have this title, and I don’t use it.  But, my pantries are so well stocked that if I don’t feel like going grocery shopping for a month, I don’t.  We get fresh milk, and I can make bread if we need it (though I DO buy bread), so we’re good.  When we have a grocery store that doubles or triples coupons, look out.  I’ll be there, with my coupon boxes (yes, plural), and I’ll be there a lot.  During a triples event, I average a 90% savings.  During regular doubles, 85%.  I never spend more than I save, no matter what.  My best trip ever? $1,514 in groceries and I was paid $163.  Long story, but true.  I get everything that’s free and lots of things that are nearly free – the things I can’t use, SOMEONE can.
I am considered strange by my friends and family, because of our eating habits.  We don’t eat fast food.  We rarely eat out at all.  We don’t eat foods from a box, can or other packages.  We only use real butter, lard, or coconut oil.  I make our ketchup, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, jam, desserts, kraut, applesauce, soups, and a host of other things.  We peel and cook real potatoes, from the ground.  We do have a garden, and I can and freeze from that.  I buy local, grass-fed meats, and eggs from free-range chickens.  And like I said, we drink fresh milk, so I make our own sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, eggnog, etc.  I do let the children have occasional treats, if I have a coupon, and if there are no forbidden ingredients (MSG & High Fructose Corn Syrup being the two absolutes), which is why I buy Malt-o-Meal cereal, and how I found them on Facebook.
So, my day starts early, and goes late.  I’m up at 5, making breakfast for the husband, who has this insane love of running – so he’s out jogging, while I’m making coffee…I get him fed, pack his lunch, and he’s out the door at 6:30.  I have my quiet time until 7:30, because no child is allowed downstairs before that time.  
The children are to be dressed, groomed and downstairs by 8:30, when they have breakfast.  After breakfast, the older children have chores, the younger have school.  Late morning is snack time, and then the older children get started on their school, as well.  The older children rarely need my help, but the younger, of course, do.  I enlist the help of my oldest daughter for reading lessons.  And everyone takes turns entertaining a toddler.
When it’s lunchtime, we eat.  The toddlers then go down for a nap, and the older children can work on projects (daughter enjoys sewing, scrapbooking, reading, drawing and writing, sons enjoy drawing, building, painting, woodworking).  When the little ones awake, everyone wants a snack.  After that, if weather permits, everyone goes outside to play and get some fresh air.  Basketball, football, swings, seesaw, go-carts, leaf piles, etc., depending upon the time of year.  During the summer, it’s gardening time for me, as well.  Late afternoon, back inside, there’s schoolwork to finish and chores to be completed.  I start dinner, if it isn’t in a crockpot already.  Husband comes in late evening, so we sometimes eat without him.  Then there’s dessert – a staple in our home.  Everyone expects it, but it must be earned.  Chores must be done, behavior must have been good, and Bible verses, memorized from today’s reading, must be recited at dinner.  The rest of the evening, we play board games or have Wii tournaments, until bedtime, which is staggered.  That’s pretty much my day, in a tiny nutshell.  Not much excitement, thankfully, but lot’s of lap time, hugs and kisses.