Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Family Night- Groundhog Day

So... this Thursday, our curret Family Night night, is Groundhog Day. I have started to gather info for a Groundhog themed night and I thought I'd share with you all so you can join in the fun.

I don't have all the details worked out but will update this as I iron them out over the next couple days. Please share any ideas you have and if you decide to do something Groundhog Day themed be sure to link back here.

hot cocoa


Main dish-
individual chicken pot pies, I see a Groundhog Day connection here
hot dogs, cresent rolls and cheese: cut hot dog and have it sticking out of cresent roll with cheese sprinkled around the base, not sure yet but I will use something for eyes and ears on the hot dog

Groundhog Cupcakes
this groudhog dessert

Fun and Games-
Pop-up groundhog craft
groundhog finger puppets

Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Night- Bowling Night

Bowling Night!
Pretty easy to see what the theme was. I had fun with the food on this one. Since everyone loves fruit I made the appetizers from last weeks leftover fruit dip, grapes, bananas and peel apart Twizzlers. I cut small pieces of cardboard down for the lane and covered them with tin foil.

Since my niece was not here to help with the creative decor I made the sign greeting all who entered.
Here is what it said:

SB2 Bowling Alley, a combo of our last names, 1 "S" and 2 "B's", so it became SB squared.

Here is the "Snack Bar" area:

We ate at small tables, bowling alley style.
I wish I could say we all bowled and it was a blast; however it was a blast with only Taylor, Nik and I bowling. Steve held the baby and put her to sleep while Vaughan and Sarah gave Illana her bed and to bed. Justin didn't want to bowl (he is still embarrassed by my Family Night dinners, he says we should just sit at a table like a normal family-- life with a teenager??), and his friend ended up on the phone with his friend that is a girl.

We played some 80's Pop Music via Pandora to set the mood and in about and hour and a half we called it a wrap
So that was our Bowling Theme Family Night.
Now the clean-up is done, the house is back to being a house and all are sleeping in bed.
Come back next week to see another of our Family Nights; Lord willing we do one and please share your own family nights.
Enjoying the family-Michelle

root beer and cream soda in bottles with straws

cantaloupe balls with blueberries
grapes and banana sticks

Main dish-
sweet and sour meatballs, rice and carrots

bowling ball cupcakes
leftover sweets

Fun and Games-
real life play bowling in house
Wii bowling

areas of house labeled: snack bar, restrooms, lanes
signs that say: "no food beyond this point", "bowling shoes only"
signs hanging from ceiling above bar area "Snack Bar"
80's Pop music via Pandora

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Last Sunday

Steve and I were blessed to have the opportunity to get away this last weekend and head to the Bahamas. Crazy I know, but living in Florida means the Bahamas are not far away, making a weekend trip possible. We cruised out of Port Canaveral and this morning between doctors appointments and bottle feedings I have a moment to share what our Sunday looked like.

After sleeping in and having room service delivered to our room we made our way to Coco Cay and took our first nap here:

After eating lunch we went on a 1-mile Nature Trail hike...
...and ended up at the far end of the island here:
 On our way back we found ourselves taking another nap here:
 And finally back on the ship we took yet anther nap and then ordered room service.
I love room service.
 So now it is back to school, taxi cab driving, home work, school projects, dishes, cooking, cleaning, laundry, late night feedings, butt wipings and all that makes my day worth waking up to.

Now if I could only find a way to live on that island and nap every day with the beautiful waters of the Caribbean sparkling at me.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Family Night - Island Night

One night a week
to celebrate each other.
To celebrate our family.

This week we chose a island/beach theme.
I've listed the prep work below the post. My goal is to spend under $10, have yummy food, a fun game or two and most importantly to laugh and enjoy one another.
We all dressed the part, island clothing it was!

We ended our night with limbo fun and dancing to Cotton Eyed Joe!

 Join the fun, leave a comment and share your Family Night.
Celebrate the people in your life!

for those who care:
pink lemoade and tea with umbrellas

fruit kabobs: pineapple, blueberries, grape, watermelon, strawberry with coconut dip

Main dish-
chicken or pork teriyaki kabobs with green pepers, tomatos and lime rice

Blue "Ocean" jello with gummy fish and crushed graham cracker "sand"
pineapple cake

Fun and Games-
balloon volleyball

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesdays Are Rough

Wednesdays are rough.
As rough as Sundays? I don't know, but Wednesdays I know, are rough.
I've stayed away from the subject of visitation between the kids and their moms, but today I share.

It's hard.
It's hard to not blurt out why they are living in our home.
It's hard to see a pattern of behavior after visits with mom.
It's hard to not say mean things about mom when they walk through the door with a hand full of junk food and a pocket full of cash.
It's hard as they pass over the thresh hold of our home that the one hour of visitation digs in to their souls and the challenge of our boundaries sets in once again.

The attitude,
the tears,
the meanness,
the anger,

The collapsing on the floor,
the bed
it's not collapasing
but silliness.
A release of the soul.

Time heals.
It takes a few hours and the kids settle back in to whatever kind of normal we have around here.
God is good like that.
He heals.
He binds up the brokenhearted,
He sets free the captives.

My heart breaks for all involved.
It doesn't have to be this way.

But sin has crept in.
Satan has gotten his foothold.
They swirl around this situation choking out anyone not aware of this trap set by the enemy of our soul.
May we stay aware Lord.
May we not slumber.

Our enemy is blood hungry.
A lion, looking to devour.

At times I think he is sitting their licking the bones of these mothers while they squirm around trying to escape; unwilling to reach out their hand to their Rescuer.

Their Savior, Hope and Abba Father.

My heart breaks.
Makes me ill.

I look up.
I have to.
I look to the joy in this bleak situation.
I look to the beauty in the red, orange and blue sun setting sky,
the flocks of birds scattered around the yard, enjoying the warmth.
I see joy in the sounds of giggling,
I see joy in the feet of my mother and 10-year-old dancing, while granddaughter watches in awe.

A crying baby,
the joy of breath.

Dirty feet, messy hair, paint smudged clothing and chocolate mustaches; at those moments what could be better? Life has just been lived.

So Wednesdays are hard,
but I don't mind them.

God knows what He's doing and I am to be obedient in what He does along this path of mine.
As I walk with Him.
For now.
For this Wednesday,
it is visitation,
it is hard.
It is joy.
I rejoice.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Head Knowledge to Heart Knowledge

So it all started with a wet jack-in-the-box in Illana's room.
Then it spread to a wet package of diapers,
wet carpet,
soaked carpet padding,
next it moved into the bathroom.
Tile removed,
more tile removed,
the caulking came out and now there is talk of dry wall being removed.
I hate to hear that.

Especially since we recently, last week, spent our" extra" money on a fun getaway for Steve and I; and then this morning the car "Check Engine Soon" light came on. Oh and did I mention the emergency fund has already been spent on, well emergencies.

How thankful I am to be married to a carpenter.

As this evenings events began to unfold I began to pray.
Steve doesn't have a bunch of work lined up right now so my prayers were for financial provision. With all the extra kids we've had lots of money going out and not much coming in. While state aid and child support is suppose to happen, it hasn't.

My first prayers were also for the problem to be minor, for Steve to locate the source and for the rest of the family to be at peace.

Then began the small struggle in my head between worry and peace.

As I was talking to Vaughan we recalled that God has never allowed us to go without a vehicle and how blessed we are to have 2 bathrooms.

Christ says He will provide for us.
He is our peace.
The waves of this current situation can seem big and monstrous
they can be what they are:
just the right size.

This is what God has for us right now.
So who am I to worry?
Who am I to be frustrated or bummed?

No, I will be at peace.
I will trust Jesus.
I will allow the truth of Christ to travel from my head to my heart.

2011 Survey- I don't think it's too late

Half way through January 2012, is it too late to do a 2011 survey?
I saw this on Rage Against the Minivan and thought it was such a great idea. Thanks, Kristen.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
saw the Pacific Ocean, visited Alaska, hiked in Yosemite NP, the giant sequoias

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't really have any

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law had a baby in November

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the USA and a lot of it

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A more faithful prayer life

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 23, 2011- a personal, life changing night
11-11-11 it was the day my niece was born and I was given the opportunity to care for her (which I chose to do)

8. What was your biggest achievement for the year?
Steve and I coming to a new place in our marriage and relationship

9. What was your biggest failure?
opening my mouth when I should have just listened

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I did not but Steve broke his ribs and Vaughan dislocated his shoulder

11. What was the best thing you bought?

12. Where did most of your money go?

13. What did you get really excited about?
visiting my cousin in Alaska and seeing Yosemite with Steve

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
"The Time" -Black Eyed Peas

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
-Happier or sadder?
-Thinner or fatter?
fatter, by just a little
-Richer or poorer?

16. What do you wish you'd done more of?
gardening, praying

17. What do you wish you'd done less of?

18. How did you spend Christmas?
home with our new extended temporary family, opened presents, ate pancakes and then went to see The Chipmunks

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Storage Wars and Burn Notice- both on Netflix

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
True Grit was the only book I read, sad

21. What was your favorite music this year?
Carlos Whittaker

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
True Grit, Sherlock Holmes

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37, Steve and I went to Bush Gardens and ate dinner at the hard Rock

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
hmm.. a more faithful prayer life

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
jeans and brown boots

26. What kept you sane?
God's Word, my friend Katie

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
I learned that God is not only in control of everything but that all things happen in His time. That prayer and giving hearts desires up to God will produce results in His time. I learned that even when I think I have found peace in my current life situation it may not be the place I will remain. I was also reminded that focusing on my marriage is by far the most important relationship to focus on.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Struggle of Balance

OK, so I survived this last week;
and without a whole lot of headaches,
no major bumps.

However; I did have a moment when I thought: this is out of control.
We are not,
I mean I am not staying on top of my duties.

I've been slacking.
Sleeping a little too much,
relaxing a little too much,
neglecting my household duties a little too much.

Then I remember how much I prefer to focus on relationships over dishes and vacuuming,
how reading and laughing,
playing and coloring
always trump laundry folding and sweeping.

Yet I still feel like I need to bump up on my game here at home.
Get a little more scheduled.
Follow some FlyLady,
participate in some Meal Planning
and set up some daily habits.

I'd also like to add some fun Family Nights to the mix, the kind I use to see on Whittaker Woman's blog. She no longer had her posts up so I will have to come up with ideas from memory.

Do you have any websites to help me in any of the above?
Any ideas you may have?

Oh and thanks for the baby advice a few days back- she kind of naturally began to settle in to a routine and fuss a little less, poop a little more and sleep a little longer- although 3 hours is still a short time for me at night.
Keep your ideas coming.

Friday, January 13, 2012

End of Week

Really just a picture update.
We finished the new room and Nik is officially moved in. Bed, dresser, toys and workout equipment.
Next is Lexi's room.
She'll have a cute little hideaway, small and cozy.
Her own space.
I will post pictures soon.

In the meantime here I am with Baby Aubry, aka Little One- I think it's safe to use her real name now; and Illana.

Until Nik had his own room we set up the old TV in the laundry room so he could have a place to get away and be quiet. Sometimes it was TV, other times it was toys. Illana loved to be out there- she really was fascinated with the TV.

And then there is this picture.
The only thing better than a picture of your granddaughter with her parent, is a picture of her with her Uncle. I love that girl to pieces- the love for a grandchild is amazing, I am so blessed to have this little cutie living under my roof.
God is good.
Happy weekend to all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Baby Help Please

We go from this:

to this:

And back to this pretty quickly and some days pretty often.

My Justin was prety fussy but I don't remember this amount of fussiness.
 Gonna see about changing her formula-- yucky stuff, but thankful for it.
Any tips from moms of fussy, unpredictable babies.
Personal experience,

I haven't done much beside love her but it's time to get serious.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Mondays Are For Smiling

Mondays.A new start to a week.
School is back in session and I am finding some quiet time with a baby on my lap and my laptop by my side.

It's been a while since I've just sat.

Sat with no "mom" or "Aunt Michelle".
I've spent my morning
drinking coffee,
checking on summer vacation info,
downloading and using this new app,
drinking more coffee
and chatting on FB.

I love relaxing days.

The new bedroom should be done by weeks end.
The stucco guy comes today to plaster the inside walls,
carpet should be laid tomorrow or the next day.
I've purchased a curtain rod and now have curtains to make.
New bed has arrived
and the blessings that God has poured out on our family during this time
outweigh the negative press.

So I will leave you smiling today.
What better day to smile than Monday.
I am alive,

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hi There

Little One and I on a typical day
So I feel like there is some sort of normalcy settling in over the Span Ranch.
The kids all started back to school yesterday leaving me and the 2 little ones home until the 4 year old goes to pre-school.
A quiet descends on the house now that the holiday parties and visits have all passed.
We celebrated a 10 year birthday yesterday!!

4 of the 5 girls in the house
Illana is growing so fast. What a joy it is to have my granddaughter living under the same roof as me. With the busyness of the holidays I've seen her more in passing and I long again for the day when we can play in the living room together. She blows kisses, loves her daddy and is so cute around the baby- one day she was ever so sweet and gentle to help burp her.

bedroom addition
With the extra people living here and the slow time at work for Steve we've begun to transform rooms. The back porch has been "winterized" to become a 5th bedroom and within a few days/weeks my spacious laundry room will be split to make room for a cozy little 6th bedroom.

Love this picture
I have adjusted to not working and have been reminded how it warms my heart to be the "tender" of the home. I still feel like I am tending a Tetris game at the house but soon enough I know this place will seem empty; unless of course the Lord leads us into foster care or adoption. Who knows? For now we are waking each day counting our blessing and choosing to enjoy the moment.

The Cool Kids- we heart Instagram
Currently some of us are in time-out, while another of us is enjoying some out-of-the-house time snuggled on my friends sofa I'm sure.

So life is good in this new year.
The coffee is tasty as always and my days are shaping up to have some sort of routine and normalcy, although I think we all know normalcy is relative.

Tonight's Family Night so I'm off.

Who doesn't love Hulk hands?


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