Steve and Angie

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Sunday, December 25, 2011

New Year (part 2)

I'm starting to think of some things I would like to accomplish or improve in the new year.

1. Memorize chapters 3-5 of Ephesians.

2. Take pictures with my friends. In 2010 I lost two friends, and I realized I didn't have any pictures of myself alone with either of them. I decided last year I would try to get pictures of myself with my friends, but I didn't get a single picture last year, so it's going down as an official goal this year.

3. Start running again. The last day I ran was October 31st, so I'm sure it will be like starting all over again! :( I'd like to run a 5K in the 27-28 min range.

4. Start preschool with Joshua.

5. Do more individual discipleship with Nathan and Noah.

6. Do more personal Bible study - possibly make a study book for the kids on the book of Ephesians.

New Year

Time to evaluate my goals from last year:
1. The family is reading through the New Testament together this year. Seems a bit whimpy after reading the whole Bible last year, but this way we can work on other things as well.
We did it. Steve also did a little Old Testament reading toward the end of the year. He is reading in the morning during breakfast now as well as at night, so we can get through a lot more in a day.

2. Memorize the book of Ephesians with the kids. I only got through about two or three verses before our Christmas break from school, but I really want to try to memorize two or three verses a week.
Failed! :( Things were okay until Mary came, then summer break, and my mono . . . We learned two chapters and were starting on the third when I got sick. This will have to be a repeat goal for next year.

3. Well, this will have to wait a few months, but I'm really determined to get in shape after the baby is born and run a 5K. I've wanted to do the Raptor Run at the Creation Museum for several years now, so maybe this will be the year!
Completed! I finally got to run the Raptor Run this year. I would love to do it again next year with my little sister (as long as she promises not to beat me)!

4. I have got to do a better job of grading Hannah and Sarah's books! I grade as I go with the three little ones, but I am way too far behind on the older girls' work!
Well, I'm doing really well keeping up with what needs to be recorded for a high school transcript. I can't say I do well grading other things, but I'm okay with what we are doing now.

5. I'm trying to think of how I can incorporate an exercise program into our day (PACL memories abound- for my Cedarville friends). I haven't really figured out how I will find time for it yet!
We did really well running in the spring and summer. I haven't done anything with the kids since fall hit though.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A day in the life . . .

I can't imagine this will be very exciting for most people, unless the "large family" is something you find fascinating. I have an online friend that asked me months ago how we do what we do, and I figured this would be the best way to do that, just writing down my schedule. So, consider yourself warned if you are just here browsing! :)

7am - wake up call. I usually try to get a few of my chores done (I'll list those later) before I start breakfast around 7:40 or so. They rest of the kids work on their chores. I make breakfast on the weekdays; we usually have pancakes or waffles but sometimes cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, french toast, biscuits and gravy, or (my newest find) homemade hot pockets.

8am - breakfast / Bible reading by daddy - we catch up on our through the Bible reading or read from Proverbs

8:20 - Steve teaches geography to Hannah and Sarah. The rest of the kids diligently work on chores (hope that didn't sound TOO sarcastic).

8:45 - I nurse Mary and usually she goes to sleep (I just cry if she doesn't, jk, she joins us for school if she doesn't)

9:00 - School starts. I start with Bible memorization with all the kids (we are finally getting to the end of Eph. 2 - yes, I was hoping to memorize the whole book of Eph. this year, but it looks to be more of a two or three year project at our pace) as well as character study and catechism work.

I start individual schooling with Noah then work my way up through the kids. I usually only get about half way done with Nathan before it is time for lunch.

12:00 lunch - Steve makes it home most days, although his schedule is very erratic, so nothing is for sure around here.

1:00 naps - Yes, I'm a die hard nap momma! I've found that my kids require much more discipline in the evenings when they don't get naps. Early bed is not really an option with our schedule, so I'm serious about naps. I nurse Mary first, then read to Ruth and Josh. If Noah is too noisy, I even make him come in for nap time. The older kids can work on chores or do school work.

Whenever the young ones go to sleep! - more school. I try to work with Hannah and Sarah by this time, but they really end up doing most of their work on their own. I spend time on Spelling and Algebra mostly.

4:00-4:30 - I try to start supper around this time, but it all depends on the activities of the day.

Weekly activities (for this sports season anyway):

Monday: piano, volleyball

Tuesday: choir

Wednesday: flute, Word of Life clubs

Thursday: piano, volleyball

My chores:

1. I'm in charge of the baby.

2. I cook all of the meals, although lunch is usually leftovers or something very simple. I do a lot of from scratch cooking, which means I'm going through about 20 pounds of flour a week at this point.

3. I clean up the breakfast mess.

4. I put away all of my clothes as well as Steve's clothes.

Monday: laundry day - I do three or four loads of laundry

Okay, Steve is home, so I'll just have to continue another time. Don't hold your breath! :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I really try not to do this too often because I think it may overwhelm some dear friends, but I've had such a good day, and I'm just so thankful for the strength the Lord gives me to complete tasks that I want to share.

My day included these activities:
1. Getting seven of the kids ready for church (Steve always takes one of the olders out at 7:00am)
2. Teaching Sunday School
3. Worship service - almost got to sit through the whole sermon before Mary got chatty
4. Lunch and nap (short one)!
5. Running 3.1 miles - next Sat. is my race at the Creation Museum. I keep thinking that I ran 2.5 in high school in the 18-19 min range, so 25 min should be realistic. But the true reality is 20 years, 20 pounds and 8 kids in 13 years may make that UNrealistic.
6. Making supper for the youth group.
7. Making coloring sheets of China for Esther's International Night project (I'm just including that to see the "shock and awe" I get from my KASH friends.
8. Making a skirt with Esther (all but putting the elastic in the waistband because I don't have any).
9. Now I'm blogging . . . something I've wanted to do for months, but just haven't had a chance.

Now, here is a funny that I know I've already shared with several of you, but it just cracks me up every time I think of it! I have felt the last few weeks (well, since the start of school), that I'm running constantly and just not able to get everything done. This really isn't a new thing for me to feel; I have bouts of this quite often. But recently, it has just been every day for six weeks now. One day last week I had rushed around getting supper for Steve and the kids to take with them to a volleyball game and choir. After they left I was rushing around trying to get dishes ready for a Mom's Night Out that I had. As I often do when I'm rushing like that, I ask myself what I could eliminate in my life and why I'm so busy. I was going through the list of activities we are in compared to last fall. We had two girls playing volleyball last year as well, Steve was working on the construction at church last year (yes, it is the project that never ends), I'm doing a high school class with the girls, but it doesn't take much more time than 7th grade math did, I'm running, but I've compensated for that time by cutting back on facebook. So, I was going through all of this in my head while rushing to get out the door, and I bent over and picked up Mary in her carseat . . . Ever have one of those lightbulb moments?! :) Okay, I may be a semi-professional mom by now, but having a baby in the house still takes time! LOL! Just nursing her takes an hour of my day. And there we have it! The reason I just can't seem to get it all done this year . . .and that is why I was so glad to check a few things off my "need to do" list today.

Well, Odyssey is over, so I need to go do Bible reading with the family!
BTW: Serene Lim, I have NOT forgotten about your request! Some day I will write that blog just for you!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vacation recap (part 1, I'm sure)

I'm trying to type with Mary on my lap, so I'm not sure how this is going to work out. :) This for everyone really interested in the Gollner's life, really bored, or just wanting to vacation vicariously through our family.

This wasn't a typical vacation for us because we didn't go very far this year, but as you will see, we still managed to do a lot of things, and the kids all had a really good time. We had planned to go to Colorado, but when the gas prices were so high in April / May, we just decided to stay close to home.

Sunday: We finally pulled out of town on Sunday afternoon around 3 and drove to McCormick's Creek State Park. We got a very nice campsite next to the playground and the restroom - two very important things for us! The kids spent a lot of time riding scooters and playing at the playground. We had a campfire with s'mores at night. :)

Monday: We took a hike down to a waterfall. The hike was labeled as moderate on one paper and hard on another paper. Hmmmm . . . it was only moderate until the last part when we had to go up 146 steps to the top. After Steve recovered, we went swimming at the pool in the park. The oldest four kids were very excited to see diving boards.

Tuesday: The kids used some of their vacation savings for horse and pony rides in the park. We went swimming at the pool again in the afternoon. Hannah finally got me to dive off the diving board at around 5:30, then she could do it too. Unfortunately, the pool closed at 6, so she didn't get too much diving practice.

Wednesday: We packed up and went to the George Rogers Clark memorial then to Lincoln State Park. They had a nice beach, so we went swimming at the beach in the evening.

4-H (a little delayed)

I really can't believe that it has been almost a month since 4-H season, and I'm just now posting about it. I have tried a few times, but the computer wasn't cooperating. As an introduction I'll just say that I love 4-H because it forces me to teach the kids things that I probably wouldn't otherwise teach them, but it does make for a chaotic week when things get turned in! This year I told Steve we were just going for completion, not champion, but I guess I have a hard time with that because we pushed forward and most things turned out pretty well.

1. shooting sports (archery) - safety poster = blue ribbon
2. make with a mix - totally minty chocolate pound cake *this is a project I made Hannah take because she doesn't enjoy most anything domestic = grand champion and trophy

1. shooting sports (archery) - safety poster = grand champion and is currently at the state fair
2. foods - yeast rolls = blue (although Nathan claims they deserve a champion)

1. shooting sports (rifle) - safety poster = honor
2. woodworking - napkin holder = blue
3. garden - we only had a head of broccoli for him to exhibit = grand champion

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mary's Dedication Letter

Dear Little Mary,

It is such a privilege for daddy and me to welcome you into our family and to stand before our family and friends and promise to bring you up in a godly way. It is with very grateful hearts that we acknowledge the Lord’s hand in the protection of your life during your birth, and we look forward with much anticipation to watching His hand on you as you grow in the years to come. You are most certainly a blessing to us, and we love you very much.

When I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, after whom you were named, I see some of the qualities daddy and I promise to train in you. First, Mary knew the word of God! In the sovereignty of God, you were born on your sister Hannah’s birthday, and how interesting it is to note that Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1 is quite a reflection of Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel. How honored I will be if one day you have such a deep understanding of God’s Word like these two godly women. Daddy and I promise to spend many hours teaching you God’s Word and teaching you to memorize and meditate on His Word. I can even guarantee you will hear many sermons (from a great pastor) that will teach you to think rightly about the Word of God. Our earnest desire is that you grow up to have the same love that we have for the Word of God.

Mary was also a very humble woman. Daddy and I want nothing more for you than that you will one day submit every aspect of your life to the Lord. That in humility you will surrender your will to the One whose mercy is on those who fear Him. That the Word of God will do its work in your life and grow you into a godly woman who seeks after God’s heart. We promise to teach you to humbly accept what God has in store for your life.

In her humility, Mary was obedient to the will of the Lord. Obedience is probably one of the biggest things that daddy and I need to promise to teach you. The greatest way to show love is to obey. It is the desire of our hearts that you will one day show your love to God by obeying His commandments. Not only do we want you to know what the Lord requires of you, but that you put that knowledge into practice in all of your life.

We sincerely hope that your siblings will play a vital role in helping you learn to be a godly woman (your brothers will teach patience and longsuffering for sure), but daddy and I know we are the ones responsible to God for the way we raise you. We promise to equip you to be a submissive wife, a loving mother, and above all, a woman that pleases the Lord in all that she does. Saying all this, we recognize that your decision to follow the Lord is not one we can make for you. We pray that by grace you will be saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We love you very much and know that our children are a heritage from the LORD and a reward from Him. We are very happy that you have joined our little quiver.

Mom and Dad

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In honor of Father's Day

Esther (my eight year old) had a funny yesterday that I thought Steve would really appreciate it in light of his special day coming up tomorrow. It reminds me of a T-shirt my friend Chad wears that has D.A.D.D. across the front (dads against daughters dating).

We (my girls and two of their friends) were hanging out last night. One of the friends explained that a boy had said some inappropriate things to the other girl yesterday, so they couldn't be friends anymore. Esther asked if he said the "D" word. Now, we really shelter our kids, so I'm sure Esther doesn't even know what the real "D" word is, so I asked her what she meant, but she didn't even want to say it out loud. So, I started guessing what "D" word would be so awful in her mind and asked if it was divorce. She shook her head and finally squeaked out "Date". What a sweeheart! At least we know she is safe around boys for a little while. You mention that "date" word and you are gone!

I'm so grateful for the wonderful husband I have, and for the great father that my children have! I hope he has a very special day tomorrow!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm a jealous wife

I woke up one morning last week really pondering this topic, but I just haven't had time to type it down yet.

I'm sure some of you have heard this story before, but one of my favorite professors at Cedarville once told the story of how he memorized his vows for his wedding and recommended we never do that. Well, Steve and I decided we liked the idea of writing and memorizing our own vows, so that is just what we did. Really what we (meaning mostly Steve with me sitting beside him nodding) did was make scripture passages about marriage into vows. One of the passages was I Cor. 13 - the love passage. Interestingly enough, the phrase that I have had to repeat to myself the most over the last 15 years has been "love does not envy". I remember a few years ago sitting at a wedding where a pastor was being wed. The officiating pastor spoke to the bride about sharing her husband with the church, and I saw two or three heads nodding in agreement. It almost broke my heart! It is really hard to explain just how much "sharing" of their husband/father a pastor's family does. There have been weeks when Steve has something at church every night, sometimes even two or three weeks in a row, and when I am tempted to feel self-pity, I remind myself that love does not envy.

But the other day Steve and I were talking and I told him that I was a jealous wife, and I think it is okay. What I have decided is that there is an ungodly jealousy but also a godly jealousy. The ungodly jealousy examples would not be hard to find; that is just what we think of when we think of jealousy: Joseph's brothers, King Saul of David, laborers in the vineyard.

But the jealousy I have is in regard to my husband's heart, similar to the jealousy the Lord has for His people. I will never forget the lightbulb moment I had when I memorized the Exodus passage of the 10 commandments years ago with my daughters. God is a jealous God! He refuses to share our loyalty with any other gods. And that is how I am with my husband.

Proverbs 6:32-34 says "Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away. For jealousy is a husband's fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance." Well, I'm not a husband, but I think there is an issue we wives have to deal with today that should drives us to jealousy. I absolutely hate, and yes, I'm even jealous for my husband concerning the immodesty in our society. It is sickening that someone can't even walk through some department stores without viewing a full size poster of another woman's body.

I love the work of Dannah Gresh (and not just because she is a Cedarville grad). I once heard her say, "Some people call it cleavage, but I call it getting a view of someones breasts." I am jealous for my husband in this area! Certainly it is my husband's responsibiliy to avoid lust in his heart, but how hard our society has made purity of mind for our men! And need I even mention how easy the internet has made this sin? I recently chatted with someone that works at a video store. She shared that their adult video business has diminished because of the availability on the internet.

Now, I know most everyone that reads my blog is very like-mided with me. I won't have models that pose for the purpose of lust reading my blog. So the encouragement I would give is to my friends trying to teach modesty to their girls. Don't give up is what I keep telling myself. Honestly, I tire of this issue with my girls. I'm so busy just trying to make sure my little boys are dressed and match, and maybe even clean, before we leave the house, that I don't always take time to examine my 12 and 13 year old's clothing to make sure it is appropriate. Afterall, I've established standards with them. They know I don't want anyone getting a view of their breasts. But they are so concerned about "the look" that sometimes their judgement is clouded. Don't let your daughters grow up taking another woman's job for her husband, she just might be a jealous wife.

June 5th - for Steve

Well, Steve came home from church today and told me he had brought his computer home so I could blog about our day yesterday because he wanted to read about it. Curious for sure, but I won't argue with a chance to blog and regain some sanity. So here you go sweetheart . ..

I knew yesterday was going to be a busy day, but I still didn't get myself up and going like I should have in the morning. I started feeling really yucky Friday night (fighting off mastitis . . . again), so a 6 am start, which would have been wise, just didn't happen. Steve was officiating his first ever "church wedding" and Josh was the ring bearer. They both needed to leave a little after 10 for pictures. We were also having a KASH picnic in the evening that I needed to prepare a few things for.
So basically the morning involved, bathing Josh and Mary and gettting them dressed, making 3 batches of breadsticks and a cake, making and printing a wedding card, finding money to put in the card :), asking the kids to clean the living room, feeding the kids, sewing up a dress Hannah picked out for Ruth to wear, making sure the remaining seven kids were properly attired (modest, matching and clean - harder than you might think), asking the kids to clean the living room - again, loading the van, answering phone calls, packing clothes to change into for the picnic, oh, and getting myself dressed. Finally, we headed out around 11:45. Whew!

The wedding was very nice. I noticed that I'm viewing weddings from the mother of the bride perspective now. :) I'm still trying to figure out how Steve is going to walk the girls down the aisle and officiate the wedding as well, but we probably have a while to figure that out (eight years if Hannah marries at the same age I did)! Of course, I was holding Mary and Ruth decided to be "a pill" (as grandma Alexander would have said), which is usually the job her brothers cover. So, it was a bit high stress trying to keep all eight kids in a good mood for the whole wedding.

After the wedding I took seven of the kids to the reception while Steve and Josh did more pictures. I will admit that by this point in the day I had a few regretable lapses in my gentle and quiet spirit. Kids not understanding directions, fussy due to lack of naps, hovering over and tugging on Mary to give her kisses, and pulling on my arm while I'm holding a baby in the other arm and balancing in heels brought my sin nature to the front! About the time we got our plates, it was time to head out to pick up the chicken for the picnic.

Praise the Lord for a kind husband that kept the boys with him while I took the girls to the picnic. Unfortunately, I took the van that did NOT have the cups for the picnic, but that really was the last thing on my mind at the time. So, we picked up the chicken and headed to the park. We unloaded everything and changed in the bathroom. This is when I realized the one thing I had not done all day was to check the weather report. My how interesting . . . for the third year in a row, weather has been an issue with our end of the year KASH picnic. It has now been renamed the end of the year KASH thunderstorm picnic. We all gathered under the shelter for the first two cells to pass by, but when the third was coming, we invited everyone to our house. It seemed like a really good idea at the time, I just lacked the omniscience to realize our power was going to go out.

Steve brought the kids home as quickly as he could to do some emergency cleaning, and now you understand the foreshadowing in the first paragraph about asking the kids to clean the living room several times before we left! So, we had about 50 people in our house when we heard the siren going off in the heights. Then the power goes off, and doesn't come back on. In fact, it didn't come back on until around 7:00 am, just as Steve was leaving for church.

So that was our day. Understandably, we have five people sleeping right now!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The good old summer time!

This is a picture of Steve and Nathan working on a truss for the deck. S

teve wanted to get a tarp roof on before our Memorial Day picnic. We also added a tether ball post to the back yard for this year's picnic. Steve really enjoys having people over. I'm glad I have a husband that is "given to hospitality".

Before summer gets underway completely, I'm trying to get a major clothes sorting project done. I've had donated and outgrown/unwanted clothes starting to make a huge pile in my attic. I've had a really hard time finding time to tackle this project, but I'm hoping to finish the girls pile tonight. I've already had kids destroy my stacks twice, so I need to finish up before it happens again.

Right now I'm sitting on my beautiful deck watching the kids play on the swingset and eat freezer pops. I'm so glad it is summer! It is nice to have their energy bouncing off the grass instead of the walls in my house.

I've been thinking about a Bible study for myself for the summer. I know most Bible study groups take off the summer, but it seems to be the time when I'm a little more flexible (as flexible as a mom with 8 kids can be, I guess). I asked Steve today if he would just give us homework from Bible study at church, but I'm not sure he was going for that idea. I know I should just make the decision to study something on my own, but I thought the accountablility in a group Bible study would be really good for me right now.

Well, I know this will shock you, but some of the kids are complaining about a sibling, so I better go play mom.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Steve is having a marathon reading session with the kids tonight, and Mary is asleep. Wierd . . . very, very wierd to type with two hands. :)

We officially have five days of school left, but Hannah asked me to make out assignment sheets for the last five days so she can work ahead. She is a bit jealous that some schools are finished and she isn't yet. Of course, Esther has already been working on her third grade books since the day they arrived in the mail. I think she may have her mother's "overachiever" gene . . . none of the other kids seem to have that quite yet.

For those of you curious about the cruise debate in the Gollner home (and I will say Steve was quite amused at the conversation it stirred up on facebook), Steve did not book the cruise he was looking at, but he is still looking. I do feel better about having mixed emotions about the whole thing, because there sure were a lot of opinions on the issue. Steve read the comments and concluded that more people suggested that we go . . . funny, because I thought for sure more were saying not to go. :) He also gave anyone in full-time Christian ministry more voting power (I'm sure you can guess how those people voted). We also received more money back from taxes than we (meaning a one flesh "we" - I only sign the papers when Steve is done) were expecting, so of course Steve said that could be interpreted as a sign from God. :) So, I have no idea what he will decide, but I'll be okay with it either way.

I am happy to say that we have been more than a week in our house without any pulled muscles, fever, nerve problems, infections, vomitting, or any other mysterious illnesses! It has been at least a few months since I could say that! Of course, I did yard work today, so I may not be able to say that tomorrow.

I started running again a few weeks ago, but Steve grounded me from running because I had a mysterious sharp pain near my incision site. I think I may try to run again this week. The kids start Coyote Kids on Thursday, so maybe I can run then. The oldest four kids will be running the mile. I think I could keep up with Nathan and Sarah, but I'm not so sure about Esther and Hannah. My little Noah is running a half mile, and I know for sure I couldn't keep up with him! Taylor may want to look into allowing homeschoolers to play sports so he can run track for them. :) Josh and Ruth are both running little races too,but mostly just for the treat at the end!

It is 4-H season around here, so we are eating lots of good yeast rolls and chocolate pound cakes. Yum! Not what I need to lose all my pregnancy weight, so I really need to get back to running!

I have been thinking a lot this year about one of my main goals in homeschooling. I don't know that I have ever heard anyone say this before, but I hope to help my children have good marriages by homeschooling them. I've been thinking through some actions I want to take toward that goal. The pastor that spoke at the graduation tonight stated a statistic something like 90% of what you accomplish in the future depends on who you will marry. This would be a good time to say how thankful I am for my husband! I'm so thankful that he loves the Lord, me and our children.

Speaking of . . . I think he is done reading to the kids, so I better post!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The saga of my recovery

I had a visit with my OB today, and I think we got good news. I've been thinking for a few days that my gall bladder has been giving me trouble, but her diagnoses was much simpler. She said that my pain was too close to the surface to be appendix or gall bladder, etc. I have quite a bit of bruising (okay, that is putting it mildly, I look like I was a punching bag - as a nurser told me, "They aren't quite as careful with the stretchers in an emergency c-section.") that is very near the pain site. She explained that the inner incision actually extends further than the outer incision, and she believes there could be a pool of blood where I have my pain. She encouraged me to continue on the pain meds. She got me there. I haven't taken any pain meds for about three days. It is true that I can sit up better and move around better when I take them, but I just HATE taking medicine. She also recommended otc meds for the diarrhea I've had since being at the hospital. She did mention c-diff (don't even know if that is how it is written out), but I'm not even going to think that quite yet. So, the diagnosis was good, but I'm still not sure why I would have had my "attack" Saturday night that rendered me immobile for about 30 minutes because of what amounts to a bruise. But we will go with what she said (which means Steve will be feeding me my pills for a few days), and hope I heal in the next few days while the kids are gone. But I'm afraid if I have another "attack", Steve will be hauling me to the ER in a hurry this time. Now, on to a much happier topic: Baby Mary! I've been telling people for years that Hannah was such a good baby, but I didn't fully appreciate her since she was my first. Well, Mary is turning out to be a very good baby, and let me just tell you that I fully appreciate her!! I'm sure the Lord knew how little I would feel like caring for a fussy baby those first few days! She is a very loved and much held little girl. We were on the couch the other day when Ruth heard Mary make a noise in my room. Ruth jumped off the couch and said, "Hold baby, hold baby." She knows you have to be quick if you want to hold the baby around here. My mom was pretty excited when the kids left yesterday because now she only has to fight with me over holding Mary. Well, the little princess is starting to stir . . . thank you all for your prayers for us!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The whole story of Mary's birth

Mary’s Birth Story

The last few weeks of Mary’s pregnancy were getting pretty miserable for me. It is awfully hard to tell what is acceptable “miserable” and what isn’t at the end of a pregnancy though. I had a few things that I had never experienced before, but that every diligent reader of pregnancy books would know to be true “end of pregnancy” symptoms. I was having a hard time breathing at times, and not just from the exercise of going to the bathroom every hour. I was having a hard time breathing while just sitting on the couch. I was also swelling more than I ever remember swelling with my other pregnancies. I was looking my normal “huge” self and expecting another big Gollner baby. Looking back, those could have been some signs of having too much amniotic fluid, but who knew?

Hannah was really praying that Mary would arrive on her birthday, which was Saturday, March 19th. She even asked if I could be induced so that she would come at the right time. I was also due for Esther on a Sunday, the 20th and had an appointment on the Thursday before she was born on the 19th. So I was pretty excited when they scheduled my appointment for Thursday. She checked me at the appointment and I was about 2 cm. Considering my miserable state, and the desire to have the baby on Saturday, we decided to try some “natural” induction tricks to see if I was ready for labor. I bought a few pineapples to eat, Balsamic vinaigrette dressing, Evening Primrose Oil gel caps and castor oil. I have also gone into labor twice after eating Gabe’s Pizza, so we, of course, had to try that. It was about three or four days worth of grocery money to buy it, but Steve seemed happy to try.

We went to bed around 11:00, and although I can’t remember for sure, I probably took about an hour to get to sleep. Around 1:30 am I woke up with contractions. As per my tradition, I got up and started cleaning the house. I was trying to be very quiet because Steve really likes to go to the hospital as soon as he knows I’m in labor, but unfortunately, he woke up and came to check on me. I wasn’t completely sure it was the real thing quite yet, but he wanted know what percentage “sure” I was so he could go get some work done at church if we were going to the hospital. I went to the bathroom again and told him I was 75% sure I was in labor. So, around 2:00 he headed out to church expecting me to call when things started getting closer. I kept cleaning and soon realized that it was going to be another slow labor like Ruth’s had turned out to be. I’m sure Steve was very disappointed to find, when he returned around 4:30 am, that my contractions were still quite manageable; I was just tired of cleaning the house! I prefer to wait until I think I’m about 5 cm before going to the hospital, but we decided to go ahead and wake Esther up and head that way. I was assuming it would be like Ruth’s birth and would require a bit of pitocin to get my labor progressing.

When we checked into the ER, there were several EMT trainees that were anxious to see me give birth before 7:00 am as a requirement for their training. We tried to explain to them that things were progressing slowly, but I think most people assume a mom that have given birth 7 times will automatically have a quick labor. It isn’t true, don’t ever assume that!

The check in procress was slow, and we found out that Dr. Redmond, a doctor I had never met, would be on call for my doctor. They also took three tries to get my IV started, which I guess was a sign of things to come. When they checked me I was only 3-4 cm. After I had been on the monitor for an hour, they let me walk around for an hour, then I had to go back on the monitor for another hour. They checked me again, and I was still only around 4 cm. They were happy with some change, but ½ cm in two hours was less than exciting for me! The contractions seemed to be even less intense then when we had arrived at the hospital, so after another hour of walking with very little progress, I told the nurse that I might need a little pitocin to get my contractions going again. Now, I’m a very natural birther at heart, but I was very discouraged and probably impatient at this point, ironic since my good friend Bobbi called during this time and encouraged me to be patient. I didn’t realize that the doctor was planning to visit, but she popped in (in her Saturday attire, of course) around 9:15ish. She asked if it would be okay if she broke my water. It seemed like a pretty simple request at the time . . . I’ve had my water broken with several other births in an effort to “speed things along”. I honestly thought pitocin would have worked better, but I agreed to have the doctor break my water.

Well, the way the doctor described the amount of water I had was “a flood”. She asked if I had a third trimester ultrasound to check size of baby or water levels, but I had not. I was so very thankful that she stayed right there after breaking my water. I had soaked through three of the blue pad / mats they use and they were getting a fourth pad when the doctor said, “We have a cord.” As I mentioned before, I’ve read a lot of material on birth, so I knew right away what was going on. Poor Steve was probably a bit shocked when she said I was headed to surgery. He asked if she could just move the cord out of the way. She didn’t answer right away because of the situation, but eventually explained that a foot or hand could be moved, but not a cord. Now, this is when things went very quickly and got rather exciting!

I think it was around 9:45 am when the cord prolapse was diagnosed. Remember that Mary was born at 10:21 am, and St. Joe does not have an anesthesiologist or surgery nurse on staff full time, so they had to be called in. I have nothing but respect for the way the hospital pulled it all off in such a hurry! They immediately began prepping me for surgery, which meant I had an oxygen mask put on. I think that is probably what scared Esther the most. She told me later that she put a pillow over her head and prayed. Right before they ran me down the hall, Steve called Esther over and they had a prayer for me. Then we all (every nurse in the department, I believe), headed down the hall. One of the nurses had traded places with the doctor so she could get dressed for surgery. This may be TMI for most people, so beware. Someone had to be responsible for holding the babies head up off of the cord until the baby was out of the womb, so that nurse and I were very close for a while. They were still throwing gowns, masks and hair nets on everybody as we were getting ready to enter the OR. They had me all draped and ready when the anesthesiologist and nurse arrived. He told me I would go to sleep, and I sure did. Steve and Esther cleaned our stuff out of the birthing room and waited for Mary outside of the OR.

So Mary’s stats were 8lbs. 7 oz. (my third smallest baby) and 21 in. long. She seems soooooo tiny! I can’t figure out what made her so small, other than that is just the way God wanted her. I obviously didn’t get to see her placenta, but I suppose they would have said something if there had been an issue with that. So, pretty much everything about her birth was a unique experience for me.

I have learned over the last few days that surgery just doesn’t seem to agree with me. I’ve had a lot of trouble getting my bowels to work again, and it has caused more discomfort than the surgery incision. I also ran a fever while in the hospital and did a lot of vomiting, and now I have quite a bit of swelling in my legs and feet. I finally seem to be on the mend today, but I’m still not “thinking about the next baby” quite yet. J

Right after the baby was born I kept thinking of all those nights during family worship when the kids would pray that Mary and mommy would be safe when Mary came out. For all of my other pregnancies it has seemed that the kids prayed that the baby would grow big and strong. I never really directed their prayers, those were just the thoughts they shared with the Lord. I’m so very thankful God chose to keep us both safe and we have a very healthy little girl to raise for His glory!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A week of a little of this and a little of that

Steve told me Monday that he thought this would be a week we would look back on and say, "What a week!" I think he was right (as if there was any doubt that my wise husband would ever be wrong)! :) A little fever, vomiting, sewing, schooling, birthday partying, exhaustion, and contractions. That was the quick version; here is the long version.

At the end of last week Hannah and Sarah started showing some signs of "things to come". We dragged Hannah out shopping Friday night to pick out material and a pattern for their Easter dresses, but it was obvious she wasn't feeling well. She slept most of the day on Saturday, and Sarah was coughing and feeling run-down as well. Sunday morning everyone seemed to be doing okay until we got to church. Ruth was very clingy and Esther told me during the service that she didn't feel well. Ahh, sharing our germs once again with our church family.

Anyway, I stayed home from the Superbowl party Sunday night, we canceled Noah's party on Monday, I missed church on Wed and Thursday night, and I still have one that vomitted this morning and is in bed right now, so I'm not sure I'll be out much next week either.

On the bright side, because I stayed home so much this week, I was able to make a big dent in my sewing projects. I made two practice dresses (because I did some major "alterations" with the patterns) and got four of the Easter dresses for the girls finished. I still have Esther's dress and my dress to make, but I'm out of material (ah, that's why I'm blogging). I have more on order, but it hasn't come in yet.

I just finished up the school planning for next week, although I have two students that are right now trying to finish up this week's school. I really need to go do some major house cleaning because I've been taking it slow this week . . .oh yes, I forgot to mention that Monday night I was up with contractions much of the night. Steve had me time them from 9 to 10 am, and I had nine in that hour, but they weren't regular or even in intensity . . .just enough to thoroughly wear me out. So, with my taking it easy and kids being too sick to get chores done . . .well, you will just have to use your imagination, but I'm betting you can picture what a house with nine people looks like after a week like this!

I'm also hoping to make some valentines with the kids and make some Valentine cookies at some point today. Hmmm, don't know if I should go ahead and make noodles for Noah's party we rescheduled for Tuesday or not. I'm thinking it isn't going to happen. We need to get it in sometime next week though because we are having Hannah's birthday on the 25th because I didn't want to wait until too close to my due date.

LOL! This all reminds me of a post I read years ago from a mom with lots of kids that had a daughter getting married. Some of the younger kids were sick in the days leading up to the wedding. I thought that would just be horrible and I couldn't imagine myself in that situation. I can very well imagine what that would be like now! The Lord has changed me a lot over the years (having a tribe of kids helps with that). I don't think I would even be phased too much by that anymore. The Lord is sovereign, and I trust Him through sickness and health!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My facebook isn't working this week, so I'm back to talking to myself in my blog again. :) It has only been a few days since my last blog, but with the quick pace of our lives, that is certainly enough to make a nice, long, boring blog!

Yesterday morning began early since we were sending Hannah off to a basketball tournament in Ft. Wayne. I got up about 6:45 to put a blueberry coffee cake in the oven, and the day started from there. As soon as I finished school planning for the week and got the remaining six kids ready, I took off for six stores with six kids. I got some good deals at CVS ($4 Huggies and $2 - 12 packs of Coke for Steve) to start off the day.

When we were checking out at the Dollar Store, the cashier complimented me on the kids' behavior. She said she couldn't believe there were so many kids in the store because sometimes one or two kids come in and drive her nuts. Let me just take a minute to thank EVERYONE that takes time to praise mothers (especially if they have lots of children) in public for their children's behavior. I usually can't see beyond all the trees around me to realize the forest big picture that my children are making strides toward godly behavior. I once heard of a mother that would treat her kids to ice cream when they would get compliments in public. My kids just have to be satified with a thank you from mommy! :)

Steve wants me to make matching Easter dresses for the five girls and myself this year, so we stopped by Jo-Ann. We found a material the girls liked, but even with my 50% off coupon, I couldn't bring myself to spend $100 on clothes. That would pretty much wipe out the clothing budget for the whole year.

We also stopped by Aldi, where I had just been scratching out a list through the week of things I ran out of. Steve had just gone to Aldi for me the week before with a thorough list, so I only took $70 (of my new-found money). Dumb! I guess I'm one of those old people now, but things have gone up sooo much over the past few years, and I'm still calculating things at their cheaper prices. My total came to $74, so I asked the cashier to take a few things off. A sweet lady behind me that had been talking to a few of the kids gave the cashier the money for me to get the items I couldn't pay for. I thought that was so sweet! We also found a cart in the parking lot, so we made $.25 off the extra cart. :)

After our shopping we headed to a birthday party then home to make cake and corn bread for the chili supper. I also need to share that the kids put the groceries away while I was getting the two little ones down for a nap. I must admit that I was pretty tired after baths and Bible reading last night!

Today we had a nice church service - Steve is doing a series on the family then a birthday party in the afternoon. Now I have a cake in the oven for our chili supper for tonight. Hmmm . . . does this sound familiar to anyone else? :)

I'm 33 weeks today!! We are starting to really look forward to Mary's arrival. I spent some of my new-found money on shelves/hanging bars for the girls' closet since four of them will be sharing the space now. Hopefully that will get completed this week and Ruth will be oficially moved upstairs. Then I have to get all the baby girl stuff ready in the nursery. I fell down a few stairs this week lugging drawers downstairs, so I'll be very happy to have all this done before the bump in front of me gets any larger!

The Lord has so greatly blessed me! I have a precious family, a wonderful church family, and so many godly friends! In our quiet time reading this week we read of the Mary and Martha story. It was a good reminder to choose what is better in life, serving the Lord, then being worried and troubled about many things, which is way to easy to do with seven kids in the house!

Well, the cake just beeped, so it is time to end!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blessing of the week

I often find myself looking at the mountain of work and sin issues that need to be dealt with in my home. Just today I was cleaning a room and took a minute to deliver some items to the girls' room, and I was quite discouraged to see the need for more decluttering in their room. So, I've decided to remind myself of some of the blessings of this week. By the Lord's mercy we are not consumed; great is His faithfulness!

These are in no particular order; just how my silly brain pulled them from the memory bank.
1. In the midst of cleaning off my bookshelf, I opened a box of Bible verses I had memorized years ago. Amazing! The $155 I lost 3.5 years ago. As far as I can remember, I put it in there just a few hours before Noah (just 6 months after his neurosurgery) split his head open and had to get staples and a CT scan, etc. I think through the events of the day, I had just forgotten where I put it.

2. Ruth spent her first night upstairs in the girls' room. Not exactly in her own bed, but we are making progress!

3. Ruth went potty on the potty chair for the first time this morning! I'm still holding out hope (her middle name, btw) for an easy trainer.

4. I have gotten a lot of things cleaned out this week. I know I won't feel much like cleaning in a few weeks, so I'm thankful for the energy to do it now. The boys closet is clean, and I think I should take a picture . . . well, at least it was clean yesterday; can't really say for sure about what it looks like tonight!

5. We were in dire need of dressers around here. Steve built me some "poor man's dressers" with rubbermaid containers and shelves; although, I'm not really sure they were that cheap in the end. But, the boys can now, in theory, put away their clothes and not just throw them on the floor because "they couldn't get the drawers open.

6. Steve is also working on putting up cabinets and shelves in my mud room, but it is still a work in progress.

7. The kids have had a great week getting chores done. Of course, it is because we have determined that if a child will not work, he will not eat around here and chores must be done before lunch. But the house functions so much better with dilligent kids!

8. Most of the kids can pretty well quote Ephesians 1:1-13. Mommy is still struggling with the last few verses, but I'm just memory challenged these days. In fact, I was playing memory with Noah and Esther the other day (we found some memory cards while cleaning the boys closet). After I was soundly defeated twice, Noah told me he was going to be on my team for the next game. I told him he didn't have to do that to which he responded, "I need to be on your team because you are not a good player." I couldn't argue with that!

9. Hannah and Sarah are making some progress on their research papers. I still think 7th grade seems young to be writing a research paper, but I thought I'd try it again (it didn't work well last year). Hannah wanted to write about what made George Washington a great man and Sarah wanted to write about the parallels between Narnian characters and Biblical characters.

So that has been the blessing side of my week! This weekend should be exciting with small group, two birthday parties, and two chili suppers. Next week the carpet will be laid (or is it layed - don't tell my kids that I can never remember this one) in the big room of the church addition - just in time for our first family-integrated Sunday School.

Thank you so much to those of you that think of our family and pray for us! It is very humbling to think of the wonderful people the Lord has placed in our lives, and we appreciate you all!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Christmas Letter - 2010

I've given up! I normally send out about 150 Christmas cards, but I only got about half done this year. I thought about doing New Year cards, but it didn't happen. I'm pretty sure Valentine cards won't happen either. So, I'm posting the Christmas letter here to make myself feel a little better. This was our year in a nutshell (a rather large nut I realize, but it is getting harder and harder to boil a year of our life down to a one page Christmas letter).


The family began a "through the Bible in a year" reading program.

Hannah finished up her basketball season.

Angie's sub license expired.

Hannah and Sarah participated in a calcium study for three weekends at Purdue

Hannah, Sarah, and Nathan participated in Drama Camp with the homeschool group.

Nathan played baseball for Mac's Express.

Hannah and Sarah earned the Steadfast Award for achieving gold level in Olympians six years in a row.

The kids attended VBS at First Landmark Baptist Church.

Esther and Hannah participated in the Kokomo Kids Try-athlon again this year.

The six oldest kids ran in the Coyote Kids races in the park on Thursday nights.

We camped out with Angie's family at the Grayless house over the July 4th weekend (using our new pop-up camper--a gift from Steve's parents).

Another 4-H season is completed!

The family went to Twin Lakes Camp - Steve was camp pastor for the week and Nathan was a camper.

Angie's roommate from Cedarville, Jolyn, and her family visited from New Hampshire.

We redeemed some reading certificates for a "free" trip to Six Flags near Chicago.

Esther attended Squirt Camp at Twin Lakes.

Hannah and Sarah attended Jr. High camp at Twin Lakes.

After a 9-month battle, Dana Browning (a good friend from church) went to heaven.

Hannah and Sarah attended Word of Life Camp in Schroon Lake, New York.


Hannah played Jr. High KASH volleyball and Sarah played Elementary KASH volleyball. Sarah won the award for best server, and Hannah's team came in second in the homeschool tournament.

Hannah and Sarah started flute lessons again.

Steve's college friend, Brian, visited with his family.

Sarah's choir traveled to Lafayette for a special training and performance.

2010 Family Vacation This year's vacation was at the end of August and first of September. We started by picking up Hannah and Sarah at Word of Life Camp in New York, camping with Angie's aunt, uncle and cousins along the way. Two days in Philadelphia (Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross house, Franklin Square)Two days in New York City (Staten Island Ferry, Wall Street, China Town, Central Park, Rockefeller Plaza, Grant's Tomb & Time Square--during the day and later at night!) The kids all loved the NYC MTA--the subway & bus-- and Angie was just thrilled to make it out of the city with all 7 kids!We spent three nights camping near the ocean in New Jersey at Sea-Pirate Campground.We visited 3 Civil War Battle Fields (Antietam, Harper's Ferry & Gettysburg) and Valley Forge. Just for Angie, Steve took us to Hershey, PA for the "chocolate" tour.

2010 at the Gollner House

Steve *Daddy's schedule has picked up even more this year as the building project at church has demanded a lot more of his time. He still volunteers at the Kokomo Rescue Mission on Friday mornings and preaches in the chapel service once a month. He also spends every free Saturday working on the church addition. During the week, he teaches the lessons on Wed. night to both the Olympians and the teens, leads a Thursday night Bible study, and teaches the teen class in Sunday School, and helps with youth group on Sunday nights . . . oh, and preaches too! He is also the treasurer for our KASH (home school) group. This year he is reading the Left Behind series to Hannah and Sarah and leading the family in our reading through the Bible.

Angie *I'm sure it goes without saying that mommy is very busy, but I'll say it anyway! Mommy is extremely busy! Most days are filled with teaching her five students, cleaning, disciplining, managing the home, cooking, and running kids to various activities. She still teaches a 3rd and 4th grade Sunday School class but only helps with the Gopher Buddies on Wed. nights now instead of being the administrator. The family hosts youth group, church activities, and KASH events regularly, which adds a little extra excitement to the schedule. Her hobbies include facebook, reading, cooking, sewing and crocheting . . . NOT mudding drywall.

Hannah *In three short months, Hannah will be a teenager, and she is growing and changing almost every day. This year we have noticed a big change in her desire to "be cool" in all she does. She still loves to be active and plays basketball and volleyball. She really wishes she could run cross-country, but IN doesn't allow home schoolers to play IHSAA sports, so Coyote Kids and the Try-althlon fill that slot right now. Not only did she win first place in the Try-athlon this year, but she was first in all three (swimming, biking, running) categories. She has played piano for almost four years (although she is ready to end this phase of her life) and has kinda played the flute for two years. She still has spelling and reading issues, but she has made tremendous progress over the last few years. In 4-H this year she took the following projects and received the following awards: shooting sports - trophy for rifle and honor for poster, personality - grand champion and blue at state fair, sewing - blue, bicycle - honor, garden - champion

Sarah *Our little singer is also growing up way too quickly. She is now in her second year with the Kokomo Children's Choir and enjoys it very much. She sings a lot at church and at home (just ask Hannah). She has played piano for almost three years and the flute for two years. She still loves to read and cook, but isn't crazy about getting her school done. In 4-H this year she received the following: crochet- honor, foods - blue, microwave cooking - honor, make with a mix - blue , sewing - blue. She enjoyed an almost perfect season in volleyball again this year and will move up to junior high volleyball next year.

Nathan *He has taken on "man's" work this year in helping daddy with chores and on the church addition. He completed his 3rd season of baseball playing third base quite a bit for his team this year (which was mommy's base for those with really good memories). He has played piano for almost two years and is plugging his way (reluctantly) through the third grade this year. He is Hannah's little "project" as far as being cool goes, but he's a stubborn Gollner boy and just prefers to dress the way he wants to dress! He practiced with the elementary boys basketball team just a bit in the summer, and is looking forward to playing next year.

Esther *She is really enjoying second grade this year. She often works ahead and will probably complete her books early in May (and certainly start those third grade books right away). She started piano lessons in January and has made great progress. She really likes to cook with mommy and thinks everything mommy makes is wonderful. She worked really hard on her swimming this summer so she could complete her try-athlon with no life jacket. She has really taken grandma and grandpa's divorce really hard and talks about it a lot.

Noah *He started Kindergarten this year, took his school books on vacation, and is almost done with his books for the year. He is our little "flipper" who hardly ever just walks across a room without jumping, rolling or running. He is reading pretty well, but he would probably be reading even better if learning to read didn't require sitting in one place for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Joshua *This big guy finally potty trained this year. He loves to read books and play with swords (or anything remotely resembling the shape of a sword like sticks, wood, metal bars, etc.). He finally moved up to the boys room this fall.

Ruth *Our little baby isn't a baby any more! She tries to do everything her siblings do. She talks quite a bit (when strangers aren't around) and is very much loved by all her brothers and sisters!

Mary *Due to arrive on March 20th, but Hannah really wants her to be born at exactly the same time she was, which would be March 19th at 8:25am.

Quotable Quotes

Joshua after mommy called him pumpkin pie: "I not your pumpkin [pause] I not your watermelon"

Joshua after mommy ran the garbage disposal: "I not like that song."

Noah: "You need to ask the daddy because he knows more than the mommy."

Angie: "Why is that?"

Noah: "The bigger you get, the more you know, so the daddy knows more."

Noah (after mommy told him not to cook a hot dog in the microwave because she was cooking one on the stove): "What is a stove?"

Anonymous (to protect the not so innocent): "Grandmas are known for not so good fashions."

Hannah (after Angie said Nathan lookedlike Opie Taylor): "NO! Opie doesn't wear his pants up to his chest."

Esther: "Noah, God didn't have to send His word in a Bible. He could have sent a notebook, or a highchair, or a desk with His words on it, but He sent a book."

Sarah: "Mom, dad is singing out of tune again."

30 week update

3/4 the way through a pregnancy would sound pretty exciting if it weren't for the fact that I know how hard the last 10 weeks can be! I told my friends at church Thursday night that I feel like I packed all my energy away with the Christmas decorations. The third trimester exhaustion really seemed to hit last week!

A few things may be contributing to the sudden exhaustion. First, I think I was purely running on adrenaline through Christmas; a necessity with all I had to accomplish. When Christmas was over, my body decided to catch up with sleep.

Also, I think the baby moved from transverse to, oh, I can't remember the technical term but head down, in utero last week. I've been feeling a lot of pelvic pressure, which is something I really don't remember ever feeling before. However, my last four or five babies were still very high until . . . well, until I pushed, pretty much! :) Wouldn't it be something if this baby actually "dropped" before I was 7 cm dilated? I measured 30 cm at the doctor two weeks ago and measured 29 cm yesterday, so I'm pretty sure the baby significantly changed postitions.

I've also started to have a lot of contractions, which isn't anything new with me. I went to the doctor when I had early contractions with #4, but I've learned that it is just normal, at least for me, to have a lot of contractions leading up to the "birth" day. They aren't strong, so I can ignore them pretty well, but I think they do wear me out some.

Esther made our countdown chain to keep track of how many days until the due date. I still have to add some black chains on the end though because chances are I'll go past my date. Although babies #2, 4, and 6 were a day or two early, so maybe #8 will keep up the even number trend!

As much as I would love to continue chatting about pregnancy and birth, my break should really end, so I can clean the boys room. Ewww! I feel sorry for Nathan because he got all of his chores done all week, but he went to work at church with Steve today, so he probably won't have time to get his "Super Saturday" today - which is when all the chores for the week are done. It was actually a very good week for chores, and I may have five kids that get a Super Saturday. What a help that would be if they all did that every week until the baby comes!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The New Year

Well, it is just that time once again. Time for a new start. Time to think about goals for the new year. Here are a few things I / we are going to try to accomplish.
1. The family is reading through the New Testament together this year. Seems a bit whimpy after reading the whole Bible last year, but this way we can work on other things as well.
2. Memorize the book of Ephesians with the kids. I only got through about two or three verses before our Christmas break from school, but I really want to try to memorize two or three verses a week.
3. Well, this will have to wait a few months, but I'm really determined to get in shape after the baby is born and run a 5K. I've wanted to do the Raptor Run at the Creation Museum for several years now, so maybe this will be the year!
4. I have got to do a better job of grading Hannah and Sarah's books! I grade as I go with the three little ones, but I am way too far behind on the older girls' work!
5. I'm trying to think of how I can incorporate an exercise program into our day (PACL memories abound- for my Cedarville friends). I haven't really figured out how I will find time for it yet!

That's all I've really thought of so far. There are always a million other things I would like to do, but these are the most important to me.

Steve started the new year by finishing up the financial books from 2010. Once again I'm grateful I don't have that headache! It wasn't a banner year for our budget, nor for my food portion of the budget. In fact, something about the color red was mentioned for the first time in our marriage, but I didn't ask too many questions. Steve and I were listening to the radio the other day and learned that the government doesn't consider food or fuel when they determine inflation. However, unlike the federal government, food for our nine hungry mouths and fuel for our two full sized vans are making quite an impact on our budget. We are continuing to test Steve's ability to stretch our dollars! But I have all the confidence in the world in my budget king husband!

Steve took me out tonight to use a Christmas gift card for Ruby Tuesday. I almost laughed when they brought the A-1 and ketchup in little silver cups. Uh, where is the bottle? I had to pretend like I belonged there. But hey, I didn't pass out, and I really enjoyed the meal! A good way to start the new year, and we still have two gift cards left. Yes, I got one for Steve, so it was a selfish gift. However, I've determined that we (meaning each other) are really the only hobby each of us has, so I thought it was a rational decision.

This afternoon I did the school planning for next week. Friday we should be half-way through the school year. Taking three weeks off for when the baby arrives, we should finish up June 3rd. Then the summer craziness begins! Funny how quickly the calendar fills up!

Well, tomorrow I'm teaching Sunday School and Children's Worship, so I really should go prepare. No special music though (I got a music book with accompaniment CD for Christmas, and I already tried it out last week). May the Lord guide you as you seek to serve Him throughout the next year!