Our family

Our family

Monday, September 19, 2016

Changes and Challenges, but Praises along the Way!

                                         Fun Moments

I blog so that I can try to grasp some of these fleeting memories, and I still feel like I'm failing half the time at keeping a journal of our lives!! Truth is that I thought I would have a bunch of spare time once the boys were in school, but the truth of the matter is that I do not have a bunch of spare time! I also thought that three weeks into the school year, I'd have a routine down pat. However, I find that a lot of the days I'm still coordinating my days schedule on the fly. A lot depends on Roger's work schedule, what I happening at school, grocery shopping, or if I get invited to visit with a mom after morning school drop off (that one is my favorite!). 

The boys are adjusting to school life, but we are still in transition mode! It's a new curriculum, a long school day, different teachers, and a whole new world. The older boys completely bombed (majorly failed) their first spelling test. One of the boys told me he only missed two words on the whole test, until I realized that actually he had only gotten two right! (That was a big disappointment for the child!) Needless to say, spelling is something we are working on more faithfully in the evenings. Garett did tell me, "Mom, we've been going to school for three weeks. I haven't had to go with you to Wal-mart or the grocery store yet. That's awesome!" Garett does not enjoy any type of shopping so that is one big benefit in his eyes that he has not had to come along on any  of those excursions. 

We had a family from the church over for dinner a little over a week ago. It was a good opportunity to get to know this family better and their kids also attend the Christian school. They have four kids and we have five, so we always have a crowd of kids when we are together! Also along those lines, Roger and I have committed to staying with the church associated with the school. We feel that this is the best choice for our family right now, and God has provided peace to go along with that decision. It's not a perfect church by any means, but since we are imperfect people, it's a good match. It's a body of believers committed to serving Christ, mentoring new believers, encouraging kids to follow Christ, and loving the Lord...it's a good fit for us. 

Also a little over a week ago, I was able to meet up with a college friend and her family. This was a special treat as I haven't seen Helaine in over ten years,  but the conversation was smooth and enjoyable. She and her husband, Phil, are on deputation to raise support for their journey to France as missionaries. God worked it out that they could come and spend an afternoon with us. Roger was able to take their family on a flight, they stayed for supper, and I'm hoping they will be back to Maine again sometime! 

This past week was the first meeting of the parents group for the school. Since the meeting takes place in the morning after school drop-off, it's mostly mamas and young ones. Emma is glad that the meeting takes place in the church nursery! Even though this was my first time attending the parents group, I can appreciate this group. They work hard at praying for the teachers and the school, doing various fund raisers, and helping strengthen the parent/teacher relationship. I'm excited about being involved with this group. I volunteered for several things that they needed help with even though I have no idea what I am doing! I will be helping out with Tuesday's lunch room and recess coverage. I am also a "room parent", which basically means that I just check in with the teachers from time to time to see if they have any classroom needs, I think. I am also helping with the auction in November. Apparently it's a really big fundraiser for the school, and they need an extra set of hands. Well, okay, I guess I can do that too! 😊 The parent group is another way that I can be involved with the school, meeting simple needs, and keeping my ear to the ground for my kids. I'm looking forward to it. 

Also this past week, Emma and I were invited to go on a walk with some other moms. Due to scheduling conflicts, it ended up just being myself and two other moms. Personally though, that's probably my favorite way right now. I don't really know anyone very well, so a smaller group gives me more of an opportunity to get to know someone. It was a beautiful day for a walk out to the lighthouse, and it provided an unexpected opportunity for fun in the middle of the week. I am thankful. 

Hannah and Josh took the kids for the day on Saturday so that Roger and I could celebrate our anniversary. The kids were thrilled to spend the day with Josh and Hannah, and I was glad to see them so excited to go. Roger and I had a good day together. A few mistakes along the way as we tried to combine business with pleasure, but it was a good day. We had decided to take out suburban and trailer to Portland as there was a  couch that we wanted to look at there. It was a couch off of Craigslist, and we ended up buying it for our house. The disadvantage was that we then decided to go visit downtown Portland. It's kinda a cute section down there by the water, but it was also Saturday, which meant not a lot of parking was available. We ended up not being able to find a parking space anywhere near the area, so we decided to forgo that idea. We decided that maybe we could stop at one of the other towns on our way back and do some window shopping and walking. Well, apparently, everyone else had the same idea...and parking for a suburban with a trailer was not happening. We ended up coming home to drop off the trailer, and then we headed back out. However, by that time, a good chunk of the day was already gone. Oh well, you live and learn! We did use a gift card to a nice restaurant in the area, and we spent lots of time talking. The day was not a complete disaster, just should the opportunity arise, we will plan differently! 

All things considered, we are doing well. The loneliness and homesickness is starting to wane a bit, but at other moments the intensity of it threatens to overwhelm me. I'm enjoying my moments with Emma, but we both need to find some type of routines to our mornings. I want to use this time wisely, but at the same time I'm distracted by all the other things that are easier to do with only one child versus five! Roger is still working extremely long days; truthfully, I thought he would be slowing down a bit faster. It's okay though as these days ARE getting shorter! Fall is going to be beautiful here. The leaves are starting to change, and the mornings can be cool. I'm looking forward to fall, and exploring new adventures with the kids. I would like to take them to the apple farm, and there are several festivals coming up. Change can be hard, but it's necessary. It forces us out of our comfort zones. It causes me to depend more on my Saviour, and provided opportunities for me to point our children to Christ. 

Have a blessed day! 
                  Before and After Photo of the Kitchen...top is before :) 


Monday, September 5, 2016

Our First Week of School!

Since I last wrote, we attended the open house for the school, started and completed our first week, celebrated our second holiday in Maine, went to a country fair, and enjoyed a picnic with another family! 
                     
                            First day of school.                            Garett is ten!!! 

I really wanted to keep up with all the new experiences of last week, but Roger worked for six days straight. It was all I could do to keep my head on straight! We attended the open house on Travis's sixth birthday on the 25th. Roger wasn't sure that he would make it, but he was able to meet us there. It was a little bit of a challenge in the sense that we are completely new to the school, and I have no idea how things work out. And it's hard not to feel like an outsider when everyone else already knows everyone. However, it was a good experience by the end of the night. Since the weather was nice, the kids went outside. A bunch of other kids and parents eventually wandered out, and Roger and I were able to meet several other families. It gave me great peace of mind to know that on Monday, my kids would already know some of the other children in the school. 

On Sunday night, we spent some time trying to answer the kids questions and calm nerves. Honestly, they were all really excited to go except for Travis. While I have great peace in knowing that God's hand is in this, it is still a big step for us! Everyone had a hard time falling asleep, but the boys were up early and ready to go in the morning. Roger had to work, so I brought the kids to school on my own. Since we were there early, the kids played on the playground and I had a chance to visit with the teacher. I am confident the teachers are fully qualified and capable, I was just worried about how the kids previous education would hold up. 

Travis was very uncertain about school, and he was rather clingy when I dropped him off. He looked like he was about to cry, but he managed not too. Emma, on the other hand, was very upset that she couldn't stay at school! She wanted to go to school with Travis...and Travis would have gladly switched spots! Emma and I stayed in town for the morning, and picked up Travis at 11:30. He was quiet most of the way home, so I tried to engage him in conversation about the day. I asked if he learned anything, and he replied "no". He said that the teacher wanted to play some games, and the teacher said that the games would be fun. Travis said he didn't think the games were fun, and that the teacher was trying to get them to learn something. "But," Travis replied, "I already knew it." I am thankful that kindergarten is only half-days. Travis has enjoyed coming home in the afternoons and having the toys to himself! 

It was a good week, albeit a bit long for everyone. Garett celebrated his tenth birthday on Tuesday, and he took cupcakes for a treat for his class. I have a hard time believing that he is already ten! He's learned so much and has so much more to learn. He has a sweet spirit, gets along with everyone except his brothers, and I'm so thankful for him. 

Roger worked every.single.day. Last week, so that was a bit tough on everyone. The kids wanted to tell daddy about their day, but he often wasn't getting home until after their bed time. Sometimes mom just isn't all that exciting to tell stuff too, and they just wanted to talk to dad. The only problem is that so do I! I feel like I have to take a number and stand in line to tell him my story too! Oh well! Thankfully, the tourism season is almost over and the days are getting shorter. Less daylight means less time to fly to the islands, so we should start seeing more of Roger. I am reminded that God knows where I am in all of this too. After last week, I can see the Lord's hand very clear in providing the opportunity for the kids to attend school. It would've been challenging for me to be the mom, teacher, chauffeur, cook, referee, and everything else last week but thankfully having the kids in school did help my sanity...I hope! :) 

On Friday Roger and I celebrated our eleven years of marriage. It might be that we celebrated at the airport over cups of iced coffee and with Emma along, but we celebrated! I praise the Lord for Roger every day. We definitely don't see eye to eye on everything, but he loves me and I love him. He's a gifted pilot, a wonderful father, a considerate husband, and he prays for me and our children every day...I am blessed. Sometime later in the month, my sister, Hannah, and her husband, Josh, will be taking the kids for the day so that Roger and I can have some time by ourselves. I am more excited about that date than about Thanksgiving and Christmas! We are doing well, but miscommunication can happen easily when Roger is gone early in the morning and home in the later evening. I usually heat up supper, he talks to the boys for a few minutes, he eats supper, showers, and he's usually asleep before I finish cleaning up the supper table. It is what it is...but like I said, I'm looking forward to that date!! 

Saturday was a low-key day for the kids. After a full week of school, and a whole new schedule, I knew some down time was needed. They spent the day messing around in the fort, playing in the sand box, and helping me with chores around the house. We did go to the dump, but we still have a big pile for Roger to get rid of. It would be challenging for the kids and I to get rid of the broken hot tub, dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine. Good night...everything else better keep working!! 

Roger was able to come home in time for us to all have supper together on Saturday night, so that was a good blessing. The kids shared about the joys and struggles, and we had a good time visiting with them. 

On Sunday afternoon, we went to a fair. It was a fairly large fair with harness racing, various vendors, a museum, the midway, lots of animals, a yoked oxen competition, as well as draft horses pulling lots of weight. Hannah was able to meet us at the fair, and all my kids enjoy her company. The harness racing was interesting, and I would've enjoyed watching more of that. We watched them warm up the horses for the race, and then Travis announced he needed to go to the bathroom. We were gone for two minutes, and we missed the actual racing part! Oh, the joys of parenting! Oh well, there is always next year. Hannah, Emma, and I came home earlier in the evening, but the boys wanted to stay for the monster truck competion. They had a wonderful  time watching the monster trucks and getting covered in dust! An older couple found them to be delightful and bought them two huge bags of cotton candy! The boys thought that they had died and went to heaven. :) I'm thankful that Roger was willing to stay with them for that event as I wasn't too interested in a monster truck competion. 

Labor Day: 
God provided exactly what we needed....fellowship. The pastor of the church we attended on Sunday as well as a few other times, invited our family out to their camp on a lake. The pastor and his wife have a son about the age of Chandler, and our children have enjoyed getting to know him. We arrived down at their camp about two and we stayed until about seven pm. The hours flew by! Another family from the church was there with their children, and it was a delightful time of fellowship. We learned so much about the pastor and his family, the church, their vision for the future, and their love for the people. I enjoyed visiting both with the pastor's wife and the other family from the church. It's been a long time since we've had several hours of Godly company and fellowship, and it was truly a balm to my soul. The rest of the Pastor's children came down later in the afternoon, and it was such a sweet time of visiting. Roger mentioned on the way home how he really wasn't all that excited to go, but the conversation was easy going and relaxing. While Roger gets to interact with people at work, he too has been missing Christian fellowship. We both came away feeling blessed and encouraged. God is good. 

On Tuesday, Roger and I dropped the kids off at school. We decided to take a drive down the coast a bit. Maine is beautiful and there is so much to see. Emma came along too, of course, but Roger and I were still able to finish several conversations that we started last week. It was a good morning. It's much easier to get everyone dropped off and picked up with Roger home. He was able to pick up the older boys, and I was delighted to not have to wake Emma up from her nap. It just works out a lot smoother with Roger able to help. 

                         
                                           Enjoying the memories!

We are in our second week of school, and it is going better than last week. Although Travis would still like for Emma to go to school instead of him, he is warming up to his teacher and classmates. Who knows? Maybe he will learn something this week! :) Chandler had a very rough first day last week, but he seems to be transitioning well. He and Garett are in the same class, which has both pros and cons. :) Garett is good at many things, but school is hard for him. I'm thankful that the teacher/parent communication seems to be good, and I will work to keep it that way. 

Emma would like to go to school, so I think we might start learning our alphabet at home. She likes to be read to, so we will have to plan some trips to the library. I've also dug out some of my old piano books and started to play the piano again. Emma likes to hear the music, and she's rarely critical. I know it's not going well when she puts her hands over her ears! The boys have expressed an interest in learning the piano, and since we are counting pennies, I think I will try to teach them myself.  I just have to be disciplined to sticking with their lesson time and making it work! :) We will see. We are still so very new into the school year that I don't want to rush any decisions right now. It's definitely one that needs more prayer and thought. 

Well, this post became a bit long and wordy, but oh well. If you made it to the end on reading it, I offer my congratulations!! :) Hope you all have a wonderful week. God bless. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bloom Where Planted

                                 
                                      Even in black and white, it is beautiful! 




We are preparing to enter a big week in our lives. Travis will turn six on Thursday, school will start on Monday, Garett will turn ten on Tuesday, and Roger and I will celebrate our eleventh anniversary next Friday! 

The past week was a rough one for me. I found myself short on patience, lacking grace with our children, and just generally struggling with discouragement. I'm sure my children probably thought I was losing my mind on several occasions. As often happens, after a mountain top experience such as having the blessing of having some of the boys eduction paid for, the devil hurls darts at every corner. To mention just a few things: the wash machine quit working, the pantry door accidently got locked from the inside so we couldn't get into the pantry, the dishwasher broke, our insurance cards managed to get lost in the mail, Roger worked many long hours, and my children looked for every opportunity to annoy each other! However...by the grace of God, we did survive! 

I was texting with a friend about some of my struggles this past week, and she reminded me that God would help me bloom where He planted me. I thought about that, and I think my blooms are in a drought. I can see a few buds forming, and maybe the blooms are coming. I know that reaching out to our neighbors, the pastor of the local church here, and those around me is a good start. My heart longs for fellowship of another mom in my season of life, but I know that God does have a plan. I pray often for my kids to develop Godly friendships in school, to be a Godly testimony, and to seek Him with their whole heart. It just recently occurred to me to start praying for those same things in me. 

And in the midst of struggles and trials, God gave blessings in the form of distractions and people. I'm very thankful for my sister, Hannah. We went to her house on Thursday, and then we went and picked wild blueberries. That was such fun for the kids and myself! I had never used a blueberry rake and neither had my sister. The boys amazed me with how fast they caught on to using the blueberry rake efficiently. We picked fifteen quarts of blueberries in about forty minutes. Hannah needed ten as she was planning on freezing some. I knew that the boys would probably want to come again, so I just picked five quarts. By Friday afternoon, I had about three cups of blueberries left...and I didn't make anything with them! My children received a hefty dose of antioxidants from the blueberries, and I guess I shouldn't complain about it. They are very, very small berries, but they are deliciously sweet. When I made muffins with the remaining few cups of berries, I cut down on the sugar simply because of the sweetness of the berries. It was another fun Maine adventure. 

                       Blueberry Adventures! 


We also had our first family over for dinner last week. The pastor and his wife, from a local church,  came over for supper on Tuesday of last week. We had such a good time of fellowship. They both are from Maine and have lived in this state all of their lives. They conversations hold such a wealth of information about the state and area. It really was a sweet evening of conversation. They left our house with plans to do something again in the future. The pastor's wife called me on Thursday to thank me for the good time, and to invite us over to their house sometime in the next few weeks. I am looking forward to that. 

Roger finally had off on Saturday, and he spent much of the day trying to fix the wash machine and the dishwasher of which neither was successful. In between that he was busy trying to take the boys on individual dates. The boys are getting older, and we try to catch molehill problems before they become mountains of problems. He needed to spend some one-on-one time with them. I appreciate the fact with in the middle of everything that he needed to get done, he spent time with them. Also on Saturday, we had a small birthday celebration for all of our August birthdays! Hannah and Josh came down for the evening, and we had cake, birthday presents, and fun. Since Emma, Travis, and Garett all have birthdays this month, we combined everything into one event. It was fun for the kids even though I know they missed having friends to invite. 

On Sunday we visited yet another church. I can see why people like to see our family come...who wouldn't want a bunch of kids to come to church?! However, although it seems like more people attend church than in Wisconsin the majority are older folks. This was a church that had the liveliest pastor and music group but the most senior citizens in the congregation. I think we noticed a total of two children in the  group that was there on Sunday. Do I think we could be a blessing to that church? Absolutely! And there were some things that we really liked about the church family. However, not only would there be a lack of common age friends  for our children, there would also be a lack of common age friends for Roger and I. Now don't get me wrong...I love older people! I can learn so much from them, but Roger and I are both praying for a church that has a variety of ages of people in the congregation. Like I said in an earlier post, we've seen opportunities to serve at every church we've visited. And we pray daily, sometimes hourly, for peace about a church. It may seem like we are picky or taking too long, but since this is a place we are looking to invest in the lives of others as well as the place for our children to grow in their relationships with the Lord, we aren't going to be rushed into this.

We attended another local free event on Sunday afternoon. This one was held at a local farm stand and orchard. They hosted a neighbor night, and invited everyone in the area for a free meal on their property. Like most Maine events that we've gone to, this one was alcohol-free and family friendly.  And it was free food! The kids had a great time playing on the tractors and swings. It's been fun to experience different events around here, and to see the kids reactions to the activities offered such as the lobster crate race, the Moxie chugging challenge (a Maine soda drinking contest), and harness racing. I'm thankful for the life experiences that they are enjoying first hand. 

                
                                                   Memories! 
 
We rejoice in God's sovereignty  and thank Him for his goodness to us. We are blessed. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A BIG Blessing and a Birthday!


               
                                            Lobster Festival!! 




The big, big blessing and praise is at the bottom of the page, so be sure to read that part! 
 

This is a link to photos from the Lobster Festival: 

Since August has begun, we've celebrated Emma's third birthday, met with Wyatt's teacher, and participated in our first ever Lobster Festival! 

It's hard to believe that Emma has turned three! She's fully potty trained, even at night, knows most of her alphabet, and is becoming fiercely independent! She's keeps her brothers busy as she has figured out how to open drawers, closets, boxes, and other things that the boys use to store their treasures in. Emma's favorite color is pink, she doesn't like being dirty or wet, and her brothers are her best friends and worst enemies. It was a quiet birthday, as Hannah and Josh were working. They are coming down later in the month for a family celebration. Emma was happy with her birthday present of a pink back pack from Nana and Papa, a new toothbrush set and clothes from aunt Jen, and five dollars from Grandpa and Grandma. Emma celebrated her second birthday in Arizona, and she had her third birthday in Maine! 

                           Happy Birthday Emma!! 


We also met with Wyatt's teachers this week. She also gave Travis a kindergarten screening test. She has been teaching for many years, and I can tell that she is comfortable around children. Travis did not excel at the screening test as I thought he would. He's had half a year of kindergarten, but he apparently forgot all he learned! Oh well, he did pass and he is ready for kindergarten. As inconvenient as it might be to drive back and pick him up from half-day kindergarten, I'm looking forward to having him home in the afternoon. Wyatt also did a bit of screening and he is a little behind where he should be for second grade. It's hard to know though how much of that is actually behind, and how much of that is ten weeks of summer break! I am reviewing with him over the next several weeks though, just to try to help him along. Wyatt seems to like his teacher, and I think she will be a good teacher for him. We are two and one-half weeks out from starting a big change in our lives. Our children are excited, and I am looking forward to seeing how God uses this experience in their lives. 

The Lobster Festival was this past weekend. It was all things Lobster!! It's a five day festival that is held at a local town near here, it costs money to go on Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday is reserved for family fun day, and it is free. There was a big parade on Saturday that was free as well, and the kids received enough candy for a year! The parade was one and one-half hours long, with various bands, lobster floats, candy throwers, fire trucks, and did I mention lobster floats?! Oh, and also a float for hosting the woman who earned the title "Maine's fastest knitter" at the festival on Wednesday. Roger was working, so I took the kids to the parade. Roger has been working a lot, and I find myself praying for rain just so that he will get to come home early! I had a good time with our kids though, and it was a good introduction to something that occurs every year in the first week of August around here. 

On Sunday, the festival offers a kids fun run, a 5k race, and a 10k race. Garett and Chandler both wanted to participate in the kids fun run, and I decided to run the 10k. My policy with race events on Sunday has always been that I have to be done in time for church. The race started fairly early in the morning, and I finished before church! It was a good reminder that I can push my body harder, and it was a good reminder on Monday that I'm not 23 years old any more!! 😚

We spent the afternoon at the festival, watching the lobster crate races, the family events, and eating unhealthy food. It was a good time as a family, and the boys have decided that they would like to participate in a few other events next year. I am thankful that Roger had off so that we could enjoy the day together. 

And, I've found someone to come to our house for supper! We ran into the Pastor and his wife of one of the churches that we visited at Walmart, and I invited them to supper. We are having dinner with them on Tuesday evening. I'm looking forward to having dinner and fellowship with them. God is good. 

Rogers brother, Nate, is coming to visit for a few days. I know that Roger is looking forward to having his brother around, and I'm thankful that the Lord worked it out for him to come. 

Now...for a really big blessing!!! Did I mention that God is good?! So, the director of the school board sent me an e-mail this morning. She mentioned that someone had sent in a check to cover the boys registration fees of $225.00 each, and enough extra to cover almost two months of tuition! How awesome is that?! I have been praying for God to show himself strong in this school decision, and He is doing exactly that. While I cried tears of joy, I was rejoicing that God continues to show himself strong. I don't know who sent in the money, but it was used to bless my heart more than words can express. 

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3: 20-21


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Our First Full Month!

July 31, 2016

Our first whole month in Maine has been completed. It's not been without challenges and struggles, but moments of fun and new experiences have been enjoyed also. 
                       
                                               "Fun with Friends"

This past week was a week of new experiences, re-United friendships, and fun memories. The past week has been hot, so last Monday we took a little field trip. We went out to Pemaquid beach and light house. Pemaquid beach is one of the rare naturally sandy beaches in Maine. The water was still too cold for me to get in, but our kids certainly enjoyed it. Maybe it's those Canadian summer experiences with an early morning swim with the campers, but I'm instantly refreshed as soon as my toes hit the water! There is no need for me to do much more than wade, as it is cold water! I did enjoy the sunshine, warm sand, and the walk on the beach as well as making memories with our family. We visited the lighthouse after the beach, and that was a fun experience also. There are many, many, lighthouses in Maine...obviously...and most of them with a deep and interesting history behind them. 

On Tuesday Roger worked while I cleaned the house and got ready for our guests. The boys also went to Vacation Bible School in the morning at another of the local Baptist churches. They enjoyed it, and it helps them grow in their walk with the Lord. This one is at the same church affiliated with the school, so they were interested in going and finding out if any of the kids also go to the school there. 

We cleaned, organized, cleaned, and waiting anxiously all day for our guests to arrive. Our friends, Tim and Star, along with their five boys were coming for a visit for a few days. In preparation for a visit from their friends, the boys found all their nerf bullets and guns, and invested in extra nerf bullets. And oh how the nerf guns shot and the bullets flew! They arrived about 6:30 pm, and Roger was home from work around 7:30, so we were all able to eat supper together. We introduced them to pink hotdogs and Moxie. (Yes, the hotdogs are really pink. And moxie is a soda made in Maine.) Even though it's often a very late supper on the days Roger works, I try to make it work for us to all eat together as a family. Tim and Star's boys were more than willing to play outside and have nerf gun wars with the boys, and it was wonderful to see how they all played together. Our kids were very glad for the companionship of friends, and I have to admit, I was also very thankful. Star and I had many long conversations about life, parenting, marriage, relationships, and everything under the sun. I was happy to pick her brain on a few topics, and our friendship is stronger as the result of their visit. 

The Carpenter family was here for two whole days, and we fit a lot into two days! We visited the lighthouse in Rockland; we visited the beach near us; we took in the local farmers market, showed them were Roger worked, and Tim managed to squeeze in an afternoon with Roger in the airplane! We took all the kids to the park and everyone had a fun time in the creek. We ate delicious pie from a local farm stand, as well as enjoyed long conversations and fellowship. Between our families, we had nine boys and one girl. Their youngest boy is younger than Emma, and she certainly enjoyed trying to feed him and nurture him.

The Carpenter family left on Friday morning, and Roger had to work. It was a bit of a long day for myself and the kids, but we survived it. We took Roger lunch to get out of the house, and I made a grocery list for Sam's club and other places we go in Augusta. 

Saturday was a full day for everyone. Roger was working, so I took the kids with me to Augusta. We went to seven different stores, and they did great. It wasn't without its moments of craziness, but overall I was pleased with how they did for a long day of errands. It's almost an hour to go to Augusta, so it's not an every week trip. However, they have many stores that we don't have around here, so I try to go to as many as I need to in a trip. I will admit that we were all happy to be home again on Saturday night! 

Sunday...well, it was Sunday. I wish I was more excited about it than I was but, we did go to church. It's much harder to go to church when really no one is going to notice whether you are there or not. I'm not try to complain, for real, it's just different than back in Wisconsin where I had lots of fellowship. I think it would help if one of the churches we have visited would reach out to us. By that I mean, a follow up visit would go a long ways towards extending the hand of friendship. Okay, as I re-read that I realize that all sounds very close to whining. That is not my intent and you will just have to trust my heart on that. 

                        

                                               "Family Memories"
  

Anyways, we spent the rest of the day resting and spending some much needed time as a family. The boys miss  Roger during the week, and I look forward to not eating at eight pm. On the days that he is home! 

This week the local town near us is gearing up for the Maine Lobster Festival. You know you are in Maine when there is a festival for five days centered around lobster! I'm looking forward to it though as it's something that is mostly free and something we haven't done before. 

Hannah came down yesterday afternoon to spend time with us. We hung out talking around our kitchen table and making plans for future events with our families. I'm so thankful to have her around. Even at an hour away, she's still lives close to me! 


                    "Raspberry picking with the boys"


At the end of the day I have much to be thankful for, and I am choosing joy and contentment. Roger is thriving at his job, and he excels at it. We have a lovely home to live in, and I am praying for opportunities to be hospitable. I love my children, and I am praying that God will bless them with good, Godly friends soon. I am thankful for friends that keep up with my via long distance through emails, texts, and the occasional phone call. I'm thankful that God seems to be opening up the doors for the boys to attend the Christian school here. I love my husband and I choose to love him and follow him anywhere...obviously. 

A few prayer requests:
1) the boys have testing for the school this week, and I am a little nervous. Please pray that it will be a good reflection of where they are in school.

2) we need a church. Please pray that we will stick with this church hunting until God gives us such peace we can't miss it. Honestly, we probably have about twenty more churches within a twenty mile radius that we could visit. It's a little overwhelming, so please pray for peace and direction.

3) We need to hear back about our insurance plan. I did complete the final leg of paperwork, had a phone interview, mailed in more papers, and we are waiting to hear back. Pray that this will happen smoothly.

4) Roger has two days off this week, Wednesday and Sunday. Please pray that he will get the rest he needs, that the boys will get the daddy time that they need, and that we will make good use of our time. 

I have a few unspoken, as I'm sure do many of you. Isn't it wonderful to know that God knows our hearts?

Our love to you, 
Sarah

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Maine Residents...The Good and the Not-So-Good News

   
                        This is the largest rotating globe in the world. It's three stories tall and quite impressive. 
We saw it in Yarmouth, Maine, last week. 
 
I am way behind on this blog post and because of that, I know I'm going to forget some things that I wanted to write down to remember years down the road. I need to make myself write a little bit every day, but at the end of the day I just want to climb in bed and close my eyes! 

Good news: Both Roger and I are official Maine residents!! So far I only have a piece of paper stating that fact but the DMV said that they are mailing my official one soon. With Roger working...a lot...and long hours, I ended up taking the kids to the DMV with me. I deserve a medal for that in and of itself! The paperwork wasn't too hard to navigate through, but the wait was longer than five kids and one mama wanted it to be. Thankfully, we did survive, and as a treat we all got donuts afterwards. (I got coffee!) I have mixed feelings on being a resident. I'm excited as this is where God has put us, and it's another sign of putting down roots. I'm sad because it closes a chapter in our lives that will never be the same again. I'm relieved to have it behind us as we can't get a library card, file for insurance paperwork, or register our vehicles (another story) until we were residents. All in all, it's a good thing, just sometimes the changes seem so overwhelming. However, did I mention that God is good? He certainly is! 

Other news: I have applied for Maine care for our children. We qualified for state insurance in Wisconsin due to our income, and we may or may not qualify for it here. We will see. The application was pages and pages and pages long, but it is necessary. We need to have insurance for our children, so we will see. However, please be in prayer with us over this matter. It's a big deal. 

I'm enjoying getting to see my sister, Hannah, more often. We were able to meet for coffee and supper last Sunday evening together, and she has come down to see us a few times. In the midst of feeling lonely and overwhelmed, God has allowed her to be in my life on a more regular basis. I like that. 

Church: Well, I don't enjoy church shopping. We have visited several, and while I don't think we are a picky family, none of them seemed to be a good match. I have no problem singing the hymns of the faith and older songs; however, it seems to be a common thread among conservative churches to sing them without life or enthusiasm. If we are singing, "And the Lord shall descend and the trump shall resound...", I kinda feel like we should be excited about that thought! I am under no illusions that we will find an absolutely perfect church. After all, imperfect people attend them, myself being one of them. However, God has a church that will be a good fit for our family, and one in which we can grow in our faith and hopefully be a blessing. I'm praying that we will find the church for our family soon. 


Work: Roger does a lot of this! I knew that we were moving during the busy season for flying. I just didn't realize the full ramifications of that. I'm not complaining, or I'm trying not to, but Roger is gone from sunup to sundown on the days that he works. That is not an exaggeration. When the weather is good, and the sun is up, the planes are flying. I know it will slow down in the winter giving us more time as a family, but it's hard right now. I take the boys and Emma with me EVERYWHERE. To the DMV, grocery shopping, errands, or wherever we need to go. They're good kids. I like them. But every once in a while, we like to be apart. However, it has meant that I've spent more time reading to them, taking them to the park, playing games, and finding jobs for them around the house. We have fun adventures like the farmers market and swimming in the creek. We have not fun ones like waiting in line, or traveling an hour to go to Sam's Club or hauling trash to the dump. But all in all, it's just another adjustment, and we are surviving it. I wouldn't say we are to the thriving part yet, but we are adjusting and coping. 

Play: Its been warm here the last few days. It's been warm enough that the boys think that they would like to go swimming, but not hot enough that I want to try it! Our house is about three minutes from a nice park with a creek. The water is about two feet deep in some parts near the park, but it's enough to to get wet in. That park has been a special blessing to me. It's nice to have a place to go where the kids can play and get wet, and I don't have a whole lot to worry about. 

                      
                                            I am very thankful for this little park and creek. 
  
We visited the library in Rockland last week. It was a very nice library. However, I discovered that you have to get a library card in the town you are a resident in. Since our district is Warren, we have to get a library card to the Warren library. We will have to visit there soon. It looks like a small building from the outside, but sometimes good things can come in small packages. 

School: I have filled out the boys applications for the Christian school near hear. We are prayerfully moving forward with the decision to enroll them in school. This will be a great blessing to me, but if we can't afford the financial strain than I will teach them myself. It's definitely a matter of strong prayer on our hearts. I feel like this would be good for the boys as they need some extra stability in their lives, and  I'm trusting  that God can provide them with good friends. 

And the not so good news....anyone want to buy a suburban? So the state of Maine requires a vehicle inspection once a year. They are fairly picky about it...and they do not allow rust on the vehicles. Our suburban has survived a trip to Alaska, three years in Wisconsin winters, a trip to Arizona, several trips to South Dakota, several trips to North Carolina, uncountable trips to Oshkosh, and now Maine. It looks like Maine doesn't want it. We took it to a vehicle inspection place just to see what they would say about it, and to find out how picky they are about vehicle inspections. It wasn't good. The inspector said we are looking at about $2500.00 of rust repair on the vehicle. He said that underneath looks fairly good other than the rust (as it should since we've maintained the brains of the vehicle just not the body). He told Roger that he had never seen a vehicle with that much rust on it and someone still driving it. Roger just chuckled and said "You've  never been to Wisconsin, have you?" People drive around vehicles with far more rust than ours and don't even think twice about it. We are currently praying about what to do. It looks like we can get Roger's car to pass inspection without a whole lot of extra money, but the truck is a different matter entirely. Anyone want to buy a truck that has 230,000 miles on it, doesn't look pretty, but runs good?! 

We are settling in to life here. I am enjoying the water, the walks along the coast, the beauty and simplicity of nature, and our home. However, along with the newness wearing off comes a sense of loneliness. It's deeper right now as Roger is so busy, but I know the kids are struggling with adjusting and loneliness in their own ways. It flushes out differently with every child, but their struggles are real. They have their own list of specific requests that they are asking God for, and I am going to enjoy seeing how He answers their prayers. 

"The law of the Lord is perfect,  converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure,  making wise the simple." Psalm 19:7 


Friday, July 8, 2016

Happy Birthday, America!

So many, many things have happened in two weeks that it would be impossible to describe them all! We enjoyed having Aunt Jen visit, we celebrated the Fourth of July, we hosted a dear family from our church in Wisconsin, Emma potty trained herself, we looked into a Christian school, and lots of other minor news. 

                       
   

From a readers perspective, I often wonder what information I would be interested in reading. But since it's my life journey, it is all interesting from my perspective! 

Aunt Jen arrived last Wednesday, June 29, and we had a great time. A friend from Roger's work was able to get our family tickets to a rope obstacle course, so we did that on Thursday. Emma did a great job with Roger's help and she seemed to enjoy it. The boys couldn't get enough of the climbing and zip lines, and they would've stayed for a much longer time. I'm thankful that we were able to get free passes, and it was a fun time. 

Roger stayed home with the kids on Thursday night so I could spend some time with my sisters. We enjoyed a night out together with dinner and shopping...which was not very much shopping as everything closes around nine pm. We enjoyed a lot of laughter and discussion, and I am very thankful for my family. 

Our good friends, Gretchen and Sean, along with their four children, arrived very early on Sunday morning. It was about 1 am., and I was so excited to see them! I had known that they were coming for about two weeks, but I had managed to keep it a surprise from the kids. The kids were amazed when they woke up on Sunday morning that their friends from Wisconsin were at their house! It was a fun surprise! 

The week flew by entirely too quickly with many memories many, new experiences, and fun times with friends. Monday was the Fourth of July, and the town near us was hosting a kids fun run as well as a 5k race. Gretchen offered to keep the kids that were still sleeping so that I could go do the 5k race. Roger had to work, and I wasn't even sure if I could run a 5k race...it's been a long time since I've gotten in a longer run! It ended up that only Garett and Chandler were up early enough to participate in the fun run. They both received free t-shirts for running, and they had a great time. Chandler ran a mile in about 7:18 and Garett ran it in about 8:10. The official results were published in the paper, but I have no idea what paper that is going to be! Oh well, it was a great memory for them and they are already looking forward to next year. The boys waited for me while I ran in the 5k race. I may not have trained as well as I should, but I can certainly still do my very best and push myself hard (leftover memories from my college days!) I ran it in 25:17 and I placed third in my age division. I was pretty happy with that, but I'd love to actually train for it and run next year. So, I guess we all have things to look forward to for next year! 

                  
   

We watched the parade with the Schilders, and it was an experience for all of us. We saw a huge Democratic Party, a small vehicle representing the Republican Party, the Lobster queen, the wild blueberry princess and Queen, and a re-enactment of the revolutionary war period during the parade. I was amazed at all the people that were there, and apparently it's a very popular parade. 

My sisters came up in the afternoon for a cook out, so that was fun. Roger did not get done with work until about 7:30pm, but he was able to watch the fireworks with us. Wow! What a firework display! It went on and on and on. It was about a forty-five minute firework display, and it was quite impressive. I guess we know where to go for fireworks in the upcoming years! 

Towards the end of last week, before Jen came to visit,  Emma decided to potty train herself. I knew that she was getting ready to be potty trained, but with moving to Maine, and all our transitions, I wanted to wait. A friend had given her some pink underwear, and she was excited about those. She woke up one morning last week, put on underwear, had one accident, and she's potty trained! It's really quite wonderful when a child does that, and she has been accident free for over a week. That definitely has not been the case with all of our children, but she did it. It's just another reminder that our children are growing up quickly.  Gretchen asked me how I was doing with not having any children in diapers, and it's a first in almost ten years. I'm not sure how I'm doing with it, so I'll have to think about it! 

The Schidlers had to leave on Thursday morning, which was way too soon in my opinion! We stayed up late talking, drank lots of coffee, and supervised nine children. My heart is full with blessings and gratitude at the friendships we share. 

We also toured a Christian school on Thursday. There is a Christian school about twenty minutes from our house, and Jen, my sister, decided to see if she could set up a tour. It worked out for Thursday. Roger had to work, but he was able to get off to tour the school with us. We took our kids, Jen and Hannah, so it was a family affair! We were very impressed with the school. Although they only have about 25 students, each of their teachers are Maine state certified teachers. They also have art classes, Spanish classes, music, and they get special classes in tennis and ice skating from the local YMCA. Of course, the big factor is the cost of the school. The first child is full price at $3,200, the second child receives a 25% discount, and the consecutive children are free. Yes, you read that right. I had to hear it a few times myself to believe it. Apparently, it's their policy and they believe strongly in Christian education. We aren't sure if we will be able to afford it this year, but we will see what God will do. I can certainly homeschool them, and I will if that's what God wants, but it is definitely not my cup of tea! I appreciate the fact that the school has only half day kindergarten, so Travis wouldn't have to be in school all day. Of course, that also means that I need to pick him up at 11:15. Oh, the decisions to be made are quite overwhelming, but I know that God will give us clear direction. 

Our friends have gone home, Aunt Jen has flown out, and we are back to life as normal. Since I'm not exactly sure what "normal" looks like yet, I'll just say that we are all struggling a bit with depression at missing friends and family. However, we have many things to get done in the next few days, and Roger has off for three days. We are needing to get Maine drivers licenses, vehicles registered, and a whole host of other paperwork...ugh! But, I won't be bored! 

We appreciate your prayers as we seek God's clear direction for schooling decisions, vehicles, and other choices to be made. God is so good, and I am so thankful for His timely interventions in my life.