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Laura
Follower of Christ. Wife to Adam. Mama to Joshua (9), Abigail (8), Esther (7), Hannah (6), Noah (5), Joseph (3), Peter (2), James (9 months), and Blessing #9 due late August. Soli Deo Gloria!
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Adam and Laura

Adam and Laura

Joshua Addison

Joshua Addison

Abigail Lauren

Abigail Lauren

Esther Rebecca

Esther Rebecca

Hannah Ralene

Hannah Ralene

Noah Evans

Noah Evans

Joseph Patrick

Joseph Patrick

Peter Edwin

Peter Edwin

James Emil Robert

James Emil Robert

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Say What?!?

Thanks to Ellajac for the link to this article. You've got to read it. This has to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I read it two days ago and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Toni Vernelli, one of the women of whom the article speaks, says this:

Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet.

I didn't like having a termination, but it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world.


Immoral to give birth to a child who was already conceived, but not immoral to murder that child by aborting it? I don't get it. How disgusting. Since I read this I've felt compelled to pray against this sort of mentality and to pray for these folks...that God would change their hearts. How incredibly sad.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Recipes

I told myself that I was going to try to come up with some healthier alternatives to our traditional Thanksgiving recipes this year. Maybe next year. :-) Here are two of our favorites...an old and a new!

Sour Cream Noodles
3 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 stick butter
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream

Cook noodles and drain. Stir hot noodles and butter until butter is melted. Stir in remaining ingredients. Put in a 9x9-inch baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.


Frozen Pumpkin Pie
1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together gingersnaps and 1 Tbsp sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, 1 cup sugar, salt and spices. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Fold in whipped topping. Spread ice cream in bottom of crust. Pour pumpkin mixture over ice cream. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped topping and crushed gingersnaps if desired.


Pumpkin pie is not one of my favorite things, but this recipe is really good! Adam says it's a keeper too! Okay, now that Thanksgiving is over we're back to our lentil soup and whole wheat bread. :-)

We have some really pretty trees in our front yard right now. Bradford Pear...

















...and Dogwood


















A wild Indian on her horse























Esther giving cousin Graeme some Thanksgiving love. :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have SO MANY things to be thankful for today. Here are just a few.

1) I'm thankful that Jesus died on the cross and that He has given me new life!
2) I'm thankful for my husband. He's the best one in the whole entire wide world!!
3) I'm thankful for my children. They bring so much joy and happiness into our lives and I can't even imagine what life would be like without our sweeties!
4) I'm thankful for my Mom and that she is here and doing well! (She was diagnosed with breast cancer the week before Hannah was born.)
5) I'm thankful for the good health that God has blessed us with. Really, what's a little stomach virus in the grand scheme of things!

Last night before bed I asked Joshua, Abigail, and Esther what they are thankful for. Here's what they said!

Take 1: Good, except Joshua wasn't so cooperative
video


Take 2: That's better
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Take 3: Abigail
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Take 4: Funny little Esther (Mama was having a hard time controlling herself!)
video

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Girl With a Plan

Esther and I had a conversation yesterday morning.

Mama: "Esther, what do you want to do today?"
Esther: "Home-cool"
Mama: "What else do you want to do today?"
Esther: "Home-cool"
Mama: "Oh. Do you want to do homeschool all day long?"
Esther: "Uh-huh"
Mama: "Do you want to go somewhere?"
Esther: "Uh-huh"
Mama: "Where do you want to go?"
Esther: "Mah-Maht" (aka Walmart)

Silly little girl. :-)

I don't have a picture of her to post right now, so I'll just post one of my Happy Hannah!

Monday, November 19, 2007

All Done!?!

I thought that I might get away with avoiding the yucky stomach bug that's been going around our house for a month now. Not so. I came down with it Saturday night. Thankfully, it seems to only last for 24 hours...at least for adults. Joshua, Abigail, and Esther have all been throwing up at random times during the past four weeks. Every time I think we're over it someone else gets sick. Hopefully my case is the grand finale!

I'm off to get my Thanksgiving recipes together and make my list! I'll share some of our favorite recipes later.

Joshua taking the girls for a ride



















My little lunch helpers...getting ready to make peanut butter and honey sandwiches



















Hannah likes to suck on her bottom lip!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finally!!

I've been trying to figure out how to post videos for some time now. I sat down this afternoon and tried everything I knew to try, and it finally worked!! I'll probably go nuts posting videos over the next few weeks. :-)

video

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Think He Loves Us...

I just had to tell you all what a sweet, thoughtful husband I have. Esther threw up at 1:00am on Saturday night...and then every thirty minutes for the rest of the night. Adam slept on the floor in the childrens' room and cuddled her so that he could comfort her and help her to sleep. And that's not all! Since I play the organ for our church, I had to be there morning and evening yesterday. Adam stayed home with Esther and did all of the laundry for me! Every last bit...from Esther's nasty laundry all the way down to the diapers! And that's just a tiny example of the sacrifices he makes for us every day. Joshua, Abigail, Esther, Hannah and I are very blessed! We love you Papa. :-)



Earth Fare

I'm really excited about the Earth Fare that is opening near us this week! They have all kinds of good, healthy things. You can also get a lot of free recipes off of their website.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Babies, Babies Everywhere!

Ellajac recently left a comment with this question, and I decided to make a post out of it!

I've often wondered about families who make it a priority to embrace God's gift of (many!) children and longed to ask a question. I'll ask it of you, but if you prefer not to answer that is ok too (but please don't take this as questioning your motives at all). Is your decision to have as many children as God allows (he seems to have blessed you a lot so far!) based on anything other than faith? That is, would disability, handicap, serious financial problems, mental illness, etc, change your conviction in any way? Is there a point at which you would say, "I'd rather raise these (#) kids well than have (larger #) and not be able to raise them properly"?

Let me start by saying that I believe this is an extremely important issue, and one that is very controversial. I'm amazed at how many folks have an opinion about the number of children we should or shouldn't have and how we should raise them. (I'm not saying that Ellajac is one of those people...she's just asking an honest question and I'm more than happy to share my thoughts!) We've gotten so many strange looks and comments, and we only have four children. I can only imagine what kind of looks and comments the Duggars get! We've heard everything from "Wow" to "You have your hands full" to "Are they all yours?" to "You're very blessed" (my favorite!) to "Don't you realize where babies come from?". And this is the kicker...Adam was working with a patient at the dental school last week. She asked him how many children he had, and then how old they were. When he told her, she looked at him in shock and said "Are you on drugs? Or have you been on drugs?" The nerve! :-)

There are about as many opinions as there are people when it comes to birth control. We have very strong convictions against using it, but it is not our desire or our motive to judge anyone who does not share our convictions. This is a very serious decision and the only people that matter in the making of it are you, your spouse, and God. I also believe that it is vital for us wives to submit to our husbands in this case, as in any other. (I don't say this because I've got the submission thing down pat...not exactly. I've got a LONG way to go.) If Adam thought that we should use birth control, it would be my duty to submit to him and go along with his decision, hard as that may be. Of course there is nothing wrong with discussion, but I would ultimately still need to submit. When a wife submits to her husband she is obeying God, and He will bless that. Even if your husband's decision is wrong, God will not allow that to "mess up" your life. When I was in high school I met a couple that had eight children in eight years...and she was on birth control the entire time! That being said, I am SO thankful that Adam and I agree on this. And we are both very thankful for his parents and my parents, all of whom are very supportive and encouraging to us.

So why do we want to have as many children as God wants to send us? I'll break it down into several points.

1) According to Deuteronomy 28, a fruitful womb is the first blessing that God will bestow upon us if we walk according to His commandments. Children are an unbelievable blessing!!! I have yet to come across a passage in Scripture that talks about God giving people children because they were rebellious and disobedient. Rather, He rewards us with children. I must admit that this is a little hard for me to understand. I feel very unworthy of receiving these blessings, and I know several people who I consider to be a lot more worthy than myself who are unable to have children. However, my understanding of it does not change the fact that it is true.

Since the Bible so clearly states that children are blessings from God, I see no good reason not to eagerly accept as many as He chooses to give me. If He were trying to bless me with money, or a bigger house, or a new vehicle would I readily accept them? Of course! So why not children?

2) God told us to be fruitful and multiply. It was the first command that he gave to mankind. He didn't say to be fruitful and multiply when you feel like it, or when it is convenient for you. He just said to do it! One of the biggest things that bothers me about birth control is that I see no Biblical basis for it whatsoever. Doug Phillips (Vision Forum Ministries) uses some pretty strong language when he talks about this.

"The Bible is enthusiastically pro-childbirth, and what it does say of relevance to the issue of conception control is comprehensively negative. There are no clear patterns, precepts, or principles found in the Bible which seem to give any leeway to the idea that couples should alter their bodies and cut off their seed. Until recently, this was the universally accepted principle of Christian culture. This is why Christians who advocate conception control have a whopping task: The burden of proof rests on them (not those of us who argue for the normative and plain teaching of Scripture) to prove from Scripture alone that God is pleased with us altering our bodies and thwarting children from coming into the world. It is not enough to argue from the 'penumbras and emanations' of the Scripture, or to hope that there is a stewardship principle which would support the practice of cutting off the seed. One must actively prove from clear patterns, precepts, and principles of Scripture that child prevention is part of the jurisdiction over which man may lawfully exercise stewardship. This is an important point because all sorts of wrongs can be argued on the basis of 'stewardship.' The relevant question is this: 'do we have the jurisdiction and authority to thwart children?'"

That quote was taken from Nancy Campbell's book Be Fruitful and Multiply, which is one of the best resources that I've read on the issue. I highly recommend it. (It can be purchased from Vision Forum, or directly from the Above Rubies website.)

3) God is the One who opens and closes the womb. Fertility is ultimately in His hands, not ours. As Crystal said in this post, it is very freeing to not have to worry about birth control. If we find out tomorrow that we're expecting another baby, we will be thrilled and we will rejoice in knowing that God has chosen to bless us again. On the other hand, if twenty years goes by and we don't have another child, we can be assured God has chosen not to bless us in that way. We won't have any regrets or guilt about the fact that we may have prevented children from being born.

There are other reasons that we would like to have a large family. One is that we just love kids! We would also like to adopt at some point...maybe when our biological children are grown, maybe before that.

We recently listened to Voddie Baucham give a lecture called "The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship". It is excellent and I think that all parents should listen to it. It includes some very startling statistics. For example, he says that 1) 75 to 88 percent of Christian young people (who have grown up in the church and who call themselves "born-again evangelicals") forsake their faith by the end of their freshman year in college. 2) The current birth rate in America is 1.8 children per couple. So if you're generous and say that the birth rate is 2 children per couple and that we're only losing 75% of our young people, then it takes 2 Christian families (4 people) in one generation to get 1 Christian into the next. Baucham says that in order to make up for what we're losing...to just break even...we would have to be reaching 3 lost people for every 1 Christian. But according to the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, we are actually reaching 1 lost person for every 43 Christians. So we are basically extinguishing ourselves.

I know that just because we have, say, ten children, does not mean that none of those children will forsake their faith. By God's grace they won't. We most definitely have a monumental responsibility in raising our children, and these kinds of facts remind me that I constantly need to be humbly before God in prayer for my children, my husband, and myself as we raise them.

As far as caring for a large family goes, I definitely can't do it in my own strength. I have to ask God for wisdom, grace, patience, humility, etc every single day. But I don't believe that He will give me more than I can handle with His help (including children with disabilities). I cannot raise one child properly without His aid and guidance, but if I am just a vessel ready and willing for Him to use, then He can use me to accomplish an awful lot! God gives life and He is able to provide for that life...physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in every other way. The hard part is to remember to rely on Him and not to try to control everything myself...something that I need to work on.

There is so much more that could be said, but this is already quite lengthy. Feel free to comment or ask questions. I definitely don't have all of the answers (far from it!), but discussion is good and I would enjoy hearing your viewpoints.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Yikes!

Thanks to Crystal for the link to this article about more toy recalls. We don't have any of these, but it makes me wonder what will be next. One of these toys has parts that, if swallowed, "can turn toxic and cause unconsciousness, respiratory depression, or seizures." This is getting quite ridiculous.

Laundry Soap

I've been using homemade laundry soap for several months now, and I've decided that I really like it! The recipe is very easy:

1 bar of plain Ivory soap, finely grated (I use a cheese grater)
1 cup of washing soda
1 cup of borax

The washing soda (Arm and Hammer) and the borax (20 Mule Team) are hard to find, but I found them on the laundry aisle at Kroger, and I've heard that Publix carries them too. You only need to use a tablespoon per load, and it's a lot cheaper than store-bought detergent. It works out to be around 3 cents per load, whereas the Purex (one of the cheaper brands) that I was using before is around 13 cents per load. It doesn't seem like much at first, but we do around 10 loads of laundry per week, so that's a savings of $1.00 every week...or $52.00 every year. It adds up!

The only thing I don't like about it is that the laundry comes out smelling like nothing. I kind of like a fresh scent, so I usually toss a dryer sheet in. But I read a few days ago that you can add about 10 drops of an essential oil to make it smell good, so I decided to try that in the batch that I made this morning. I used lavender essential oil. We'll see how it turns out!


Photo from www.fulcrumgallery.com

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Frustration

Does anyone else's 3 1/2 year old not know how to put his underpants on? This is a constant struggle at our house and it's really starting to try my patience. Am I expecting too much? The thing is that he CAN put them on properly. He's done it many times...too often to be a fluke, I think. I'm suspecting laziness and rebellion. Here are my reasons:

1) It seems that he consistently does it right when he feels like it.
2) We have the biggest struggle after he uses the potty right before naptime...which he doesn't like.
3) Often I'll tell him that he gets one more try, and if he doesn't do it properly then he's going to get a spanking. Lo and behold, the big boy pants somehow end up on the right way!
4) If we're in a hurry to do something that he really wants to do...like go outside to play...there's no problem.

I know you're not supposed to compare your children's abilities and all that, but it's really hard not to notice that #2 can take her underpants off and put them back on three times (plus change her baby doll's clothes) in the time that it takes #1 to get his back on once. And they'll still be inside out and backwards!

As I'm typing this post it seems like a no-brainer. It's definitely a case of laziness and rebellion. But then there's this little part of me that is afraid I'm pushing too hard. Maybe he should be 4 before I expect him to do these sorts of things. I suspect that that "little part of me" is the same lazy part of me that I have to fight often. The one that tells me that it would be so much easier to skip the consistent discipline and just do things myself. Hmmm...any comments, suggestions, ideas? Help!?!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Baking Day

We usually do most of our baking on Mondays, but I've been under the weather since Sunday night, so we postponed it until today. We ate all of our muffins out of the freezer, so we made 48 whole wheat muffins and a batch of bread. We made 2 batches of chocolate chip muffins (my favorite and the kind that gets eaten the fastest...probably faster than they should!), a batch of millet muffins (Adam's favorite and the kind that I should be eating instead of the chocolate chip!) and a batch of cheese and herb muffins (I've never tried these before, but they smell good!). I use the muffin recipe that is in the Bread Beckers cookbook. It's a quick and easy recipe and they always turn out well.

Here is our big bowl of muffins...


















Minus a few :-)

Back to the Drawing Board

We've been trying for three months now to get a good family picture. This one would be perfect (click to enlarge)...



















except that Hannah is missing! (I think she was asleep on Grandma's shoulder.) And there's a glare on Adam's glasses. And we're dressed in our go-to-the-fair clothes. And Joshua is not looking at the camera. Hmmm. Maybe we'll try again on Sunday when we're all dressed up. It's hard to get a good picture with toddlers and babies!

I just had to include these pictures that we took the other day of Abigail climbing a tree in the backyard...with much help from Papa!



































Friday, November 02, 2007

If at first you don't succeed...

Well, I didn't win Kim's drawing the first time around, but she's graciously doing it again! This time it's for $250 worth of Vision Forum products!!! Here is my updated list.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Baby Hannah















Hannah is three months old today! She's really starting to get a little personality and she's so much fun. Her brother and sisters just light up when she smiles at them and they try their hardest to get her to laugh. It can get pretty comical! She's a great eater and a great sleeper and we are so thankful for our baby Hannah.

Enjoying a picnic at the park

















She loves to look at herself in the mirror












Happy Baby















She's taken to sucking her two middle fingers















Waking up from her nap














Watching Abigail help Mama fold the laundry

















Sitting in the Bumbo

Funny Girl

Abigail was leaning against the bathroom wall watching me put my makeup on the other day. She looked up at me and said "Oh Mama, what happened to your tummy? Why is it sticking out like that?" I don't remember what I said...I think I just laughed and changed the subject. But I wanted to say "YOU happened to my tummy, Abigail!" Nothing like a two year-old to keep you humble!

Abigail has been feeling pretty yucky the past few days. She and Joshua and Esther have been sharing a little bit of a stomach virus and it's hit her the hardest. She's a real trooper though, and she doesn't seem to mind getting sick at her stomach. A few nights ago she ate her dinner and very promptly and calmly deposited it right back onto her plate. Then she looked down and said "Ooh, I did a good job spitting up"! She said that since she "spit up" she needed to go to the doctor and get some shots (I think she really had lollipops on her mind!). Joshua (who is an expert at "spitting up" since he was doing it last week) said "No Abigail. You don't get shots when you spit up. You only get shots when you breath fire." Don't ask me where he got that from!

Adam and I were up at 1am last night giving Abigail a bath and cleaning barf off of her bed and the walls. Poor girl. Joshua and Esther are in the same room, so of course they were wide awake and ready to party after that. I'm sure am glad everyone is not all sick at once!

Here are a couple pictures of Abigail helping me fold laundry. She felt pretty yucky, but she still wanted to help. She folded the baby wipes all by herself. I didn't even tell her how!