Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fun with a New Train Set From Daddy!

In case I haven't said it recently, my husband is amazing. He spent all morning and afternoon setting up and playing with this Christmas train set with the kids. I'm the luckiest lady around.... :)


I hope your holiday season continues to be filled with light and goodness as ours have been. Thanks for listening!


Monday, December 26, 2011

High School Chorus.... What I do when I'm not changing diapers...

As you may have noticed, my blogging has decreased somewhat over the past month or so. As I explained a couple of weeks ago, I've been CRAZY busy preparing performances with various musical groups. My favorite group to work with, however, is our high school chorus, of which the 15-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl are a part. I'd like to share some photos. These were taken by a dear and beautiful friend as I played the piano during our Christmas concert... this friend, of whom there are over 6000 photos on Facebook, but this is one of my favorites...


{I love you, A~!}

Before we begin, however, let me express to ALL of the students, in addition to the soloists, how much I love each and every one of you and adore working with you. You ALL are amazing to me!

Let's begin.....

The 16-year-old girl, an alto, or soprano, whatever you want her to be, one of the hardest-working, most talented, morally courageous people know, one of my favorite people to spend time with, preparing to sing Phantom of the Opera's "All I Ask of You"...


....and now singing, with her bass counterpart....


...and here, singing The Beetle's "Let It Be"...


....and finally, here, singing Cats' "Memory". She was beautiful in her black dress with dry ice fog floating up around her ankles....


Here, a soprano, and one of my favorite girls in town, singing a gospel spiritual, "Oh Happy Day"...


And here, the afore-mentioned bass counterpart, a serious, responsible amazingly talented perfectionist (who can cut loose every so often), singing "Stars" from Les Miserables....


...and here, playing the bass during a performance of Elvis Presley's "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas"...


...with these tenors....


...and here, singing "I See the Light" from Tangled....


....with this alto, a beautiful girl, both inside and out, who hails from South Africa...


....and also dances...


....along with these other talented musicians....


...and here, singing "The Prayer"...


....with this tenor, who completely captures the hearts of everyone who hears him sing, and has a heart of gold himself...


And sing he, performing "O Sole Mio"...


...and here, cracking a rare smile....


I feel so honored and privileged to be able to work with these amazing, dedicated, hard-working, talented students. But mostly importantly, I need to thank our chorus director for the countless hours she spends working with us, poring over and choosing music, worrying and fighting for the rights of these kids to learn the arts, and being there for all of us. We love you, M~!

Thanks for listening! :)

Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday! I hope your Christmas day was filled with goodness and light. I am spending time with extended family this week, so I have no Homemaker Monday post, but for those of you who do, here is linky! Thank you so much for your links and visits and I truly hope the rest of your holiday season is bright!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fresh Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Add caption

This recipe was shared with me by a friend who posted about it on Facebook. It sounded so delicious, that I had to try it that very day. Thanks, Julie! And can I just tell you.... these are honestly some of the best cookies I have ever tried in my life. The fresh cranberries lend a crisp, cool tang, the white chocolate chips add a hearty texture, and the oatmeal base is completely satisfying! You'll be so glad you made these!

Fresh Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

<p>Fresh cranberries lend a delicious tang to this recipe! :)</p>

See Fresh Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies on Key Ingredient.

Okay, it's your turn! Can't wait to read your homemaking posts! Thank you so much for your links and visit and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday! :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Homemaker Monday: Patience

Welcome to the 163rd weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Cheryl over at "The Bz House"! Cheryl, a great friend I've met through the blogging world, posted a tip on how to keep water from boiling over a pot, and because this happens all too often in my house, I had to take a look. I can't believe how simple an idea this is and I can't wait to try it! To read Cheryl's tip, go HERE. Thanks so much for linking up, Cheryl! :)

MINE: Patience. John prays for it, and he says it comes in the form of a new (or two) little being we've co-created with God every, roughly, 22.5 months. People tell me that they would never have the patience to raise ten children, but I am no different than anyone else when it comes to patience. Patience came gradually, one child after another, one trial after another, and sometimes, one disappointment after another.

But having this many children is refining, to both John's character and mine, and we wouldn't trade it for anything. The ups definitely outweigh the downs and we feel so blessed we have been given this opportunity to raise and care for these special spirits of God He has sent to us. And here, I want to share a few photos of John doing his thing with the kids. This is entirely the norm, every week.... every day.... and sometimes every hour..... and John loves it, haha, most of the time!


I love these men in my life, both big and little. Thanks for your patience, John. I learn from you every day. :)

Thanks for listening! :)

OURS: Okay, now it's your turn! Can't wait to see what homemaking projects you've got going on. Thanks so much for your visits and links and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday! :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homemaker Monday: When a Digit is Severed

Welcome to the 162nd weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This portion is in progress. Thanks for your patience. :)

MINE: Homemaking isn't just cleaning and cooking. It's chauffeuring, party-planning, tutoring, playing therapist, nurse, and sometimes, like this week, emergency medical technician...

As I read advice over the internet, I find conflicting reports about how to care for a severed digit if you are planning on taking it to the hospital, along with the victim, to be reattached. Thus, this anecdote should not be used for medical advice, just entertainment. You should talk to someone who knows what they are doing if you really want to know what to do with a severed digit.

Anyways..... The 4 five and under, myself, my dear friend, and two of her kids were sitting outside, enjoying the warmth and a little bit of free time before it was time to start lunch. The kids weren't getting along so well, though, so after becoming weary of the continuous fighting and whining, I told the 5-year-old boy and Twin B that they needed to go inside and stay there for a while until they could get along. They went inside and I turned back to my friend to continue our conversation. Soon, however, I could hear them starting to argue again, then I heard the slamming of the wrought iron screen door, then a shriek, then saw my friend look over my shoulder, eyes wide, and heard her say, "Oh, no."

I turned towards the door and saw the 5-year-old boy crying, no, wailing, and holding his finger, which was dripping blood. I ran over to him, grabbed his good hand, and pulled him toward the sink to administer first aid. My friend stayed outside with the other kids.

Upon putting his finger under running water, I was shocked to see how damaged it was. After rinsing for a few seconds, I quickly wrapped it in a clean rag, then I froze and thought for a second. I didn't remember seeing any nail, and the finger seemed shorter than it should have been. It then hit me, like a lead brick, that a part of his finger was missing, and that I would need to go find it.

My first instinct was to simply pick him up and sit him on the island, next to where I had retrieved the clean rag, and to tell him to wait while I went to look for something. He obediently stayed. I then went back to the door and got on my hands and knees and began looking for a piece of finger. It was difficult, however, because there were a lot of wood chips and dry leaves the color of skin and I kept picking up things that weren't a finger portion. My friend soon saw me on my hands and knees and asked what I was doing. I told her that I thought part of the 5-year-old's finger came off and I was looking for it. She got down and started helping me. No sooner did she began, than I glanced over to the bottom of the door, and attached to it, by a thin line of blood, was what I was looking for. I pulled it off the door and put it in my hand, and when I looked at it, I gasped and nearly threw up because it was the entire top portion of the 5-year-old's finger, from about 1/4 inch below the base of his nail, cut off at about a 45-degree angle. I think what got to me the most was the fact that his little fingernail was dirty, just like it always was when it was attached to his body. I was holding a portion of my son's body in my hand, a part so familiar, and natural when it was attached, but so horrifying when dismembered! I let out a curse word, which I'm not proud of (I guess too many PG-13 movies), then I ran back to the kitchen, and I don't know if I got the 5-year-old boy off the island or put his severed finger portion in a bag of ice water first, but somehow, at some point, the 5-year-old boy ended up on the couch, with his severed finger in a Ziploc bag. I then called the local doctor to see if he was working in town, but there was no answer, so I told my friend I was going to have to go to the big town. Without hesitation she said that she would stay with the little kids and take care of lunch for my big kids.

When we got into the car, I wasn't sure exactly where to have him sit. I didn't want him on my lap, because it is dangerous to drive 15 miles on curvy roads with tiny shoulders with a child on your lap, but I wanted him where I could see him, so I decided to buckle him into the front seat. We started to drive, and his cries became whimpers and he said "Mom, I might die," and I said, "Son, no you won't, because your bleeding has stopped and you are going to be okay." He stopped crying then, and said he wanted to go to sleep, and I said I could understand that because then he wouldn't feel anything. And he asked if the doctors were going to be able to sew it back on, and I said yes, I think so, and then after a few moments of silence, he said in a soft voice, "I feel like I'm dying," and I looked over and he was reeling sideways, passing out. I grabbed his shoulder, and jerked him back up, and yelled "No, no, no! You can't go to sleep right now! You have to stay awake until we get to the hospital!"

He was deathly pale, I thought maybe he was going into shock, so I just tried to distract him from going to sleep and drove faster.

We finally arrived at the hospital after what seemed like hours, and I put my purse across my shoulder, and grabbed the ice bag with his severed finger portion in one hand, and picked him up and carried him like a baby into the hospital because he didn't have shoes on and because I didn't think he could walk without fainting.

I walked through the emergency room doors and up to the front desk, held up the Ziploc bag, and in my broken Spanish I said, "He cut his finger, and it is here in this bag."

I was quickly taken to a bed in a room with other beds divided by light blue curtains, and the 5-year-old boy was examined by two nurses, a doctor, then another doctor, an orthopedic surgeon, who was summoned from a nearby hospital. Having the 5-year-old boy examined by him made me feel reassured, because I knew he was an expert. After examining him, he spoke very fast Spanish words to me, and I thought I understood that he was going to take him into surgery, put him to sleep, and attempt to reattach the finger. I know he said much more than that, but that was all I got.

I had changed the 5-year-old boy into a hospital gown by this time, and one of the nurses started to pick him up and carry him out of the room. I followed her and offered to help, but she said she was fine. I followed the entourage into another room, then I saw the nurse handing the 5-year-old boy to someone else through a long, tall paneless window, which I thought was odd, because I didn't know why it wouldn't be a door. I then realized that this was where I was going to be separated from my son, and I asked if I could go in, knowing what their answer would be, and they said no. The 5-year-old boy started whimpering and I grabbed his hand and said he would be fine and that the doctors were going to fix his finger and that it wouldn't hurt at all.

And then they ushered me out and closed the door and told me where I could sit and I waited, and tried to call John, which was very difficult because I had forgotten my cell phone and he was 3 hours away at work, and I had to call many of my friends and family and ask them to try to reach him, but it took so long, and then when I finally was able to reach him, he was in a meeting and couldn't talk to me, so I had to face more silence alone and then I began to try to remember what the statistics were as far as deaths from anesthesia and I began praying really hard.

Soon, to my utter relief, my father-in-law and sister-in-law walked into the lobby and I felt like the world had been lifted off my shoulders. While they were there, the 5-year-old boy was finally wheeled out, and the doctor was able to tell them that he had successfully reattached the finger portion. My FIL and SIL were able to understand everything that was said and to my great relief, translated it for me. All the news was good, the instructions clear, and my family left promising to bring me something to eat and drink. I told them I couldn't eat, but they said that I would be there several more hours and at some point, I would probably be hungry. I agreed and accepted their offer.

After thanking them and wishing them good-bye, I went into the recovery room with the 5-year-old boy and waited for him to wake up. He was sleeping so soundly, and his previously ashen face was now peachy with rosy cheeks. He looked wonderful. I laid down on the sofa next to his bed and fell asleep for a few minutes until the nurse returned and said she needed to give him a shot of antibiotics. The act of pulling down his underwear brought him out of his sleep, and he began to whimper and cried when he got his shot, but quickly quieted when the nurse turned on a TV high in the corner of the room, flipped the channel to a cartoon, and gave the 5-year-old boy the remote. He would later tell his sister that this was his favorite part of being in the hospital. We don't have TV.

For the next three hours, we watched movies together, intermittently napping, and sipping on drinks. It was relaxing and pleasant and nice to spend time alone together, and to feed my boy the vegetable soup he was served.

Before being discharged, my FIL returned to help me check out. What a relief it was to have him there. He also kindly agreed to go to the pharmacy on the way home to pick up the 5-year-old's meds so I wouldn't have to stop. I owe him and my SIL a debt of gratitude for all they did for me, especially for the delicious sandwich they brought back to the hospital which I was eventually hungry enough to eat.

And I love living in a small town, because while at the hospital, the 5-year-old's kindergarten teacher called to see if we would still be in the hospital when she passed by on her way home, because she wanted to come visit. Unfortunately, we were about to be discharged. While we waited, another friend called to let me know he had heard what had happened and to see if there was anything he could do. These little gestures completely warmed my heart and made me want to be a better person. And upon arriving home, the 5-year-old boy was presented by his 6th-grade brother a poster his class had put together at school. In the center of the poster in block letters were the words "GET WELL SOON!" and surrounding that were sweet notes from each student in the class. Intermittently taped between the messages were pieces of wrapped hard candy and chocolate! It was adorable!

In conclusion, all's well that ends well. The 5-year-old boy plays like nothing happened and we will return to the hospital on Monday to see how the attachment is going. Wish us luck!

And thanks, as always, for listening!

OURS: Now it's your turn! Can't wait to read your homemaking tips! Thanks so much for your visits and links and have a great Homemaker Monday!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homemaker Monday: Images From An American Thanksgiving in Mexico

I've been a horrible blogger lately! The holiday season is a busy time for everyone and I'm no exception. My favorite part about the holidays, though, is Christmas music.... listening to it and making it. This season I am involved in no less than four musical groups who are all holding performances in December. And I absolutely love it! However, it doesn't leave a lot of time to write my thoughts, so thank you very much for your patience. :)

For today's post, I'd just like to share a few pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner. There were about 40 people in attendance, and the most amazing thing was that everything went smoothly and according to plan. I don't think I ever felt stressed out during the preparations at all.... and I don't think that's ever happened before. And I don't know why it happened, but it felt like a miracle. Even my mother commented how non-stressed I seemed and she was right. Even when someone in my family said something that hurt me, I let it go very quickly and cheerfully went right on with my preparations. I've been reading a lot of self-help books lately, so perhaps I can credit it to that.

Anyways, I have never seen so much food in any domestic residence, ever, in my life. There were at least 30 dishes of food, plus 21 pies. It was completely insane. And yes, there were leftovers, but the pies only lasted for 2 days on the counter, what with teenage boys coming in and out all day and night.

All in all, it was a wonderful day, and what made it extra-special was that my mother came into town to celebrate the holiday with us. I hope your day was, as the twins say it, "Weally, weally awe-yum!"

Thanks for listening! :)


(My mother is going to kill me for posting this picture.)


Okay, now it's your turn! What recipes, tips or homemaking how-tos do you have for us today? Can't wait to read! Thanks so much for your visits and links and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday! :)