Our family

Our family

Monday, September 18, 2017

Just Doing "Life"!

Good Evening! Another week is about to begin, and we are entering week four of school! The days flew by during the summer break, but the days seem to be only picking up speed as we continue into the school year. The boys are adjusting to the routine of school days, a 7:30pm. bedtime, practicing piano lessons, and using their time at home wisely. Roger is still having some long days at work, but the days are slowly starting to be shorter.



We spent the last week doing school,  having music class, painting the school library, helping with hot lunch, playing for chapel, attending a birthday party, having supper with Roger at the airport, hosting a family for a dinner meal, and all the other things of life. It was a good week.

Monday was the first day of music classes, and it was a whole morning of teaching! I have five different music classes back to back on Monday mornings. There is no time in the schedule for a bathroom break, but it's intentionally done that way so that I can be done when Emma is done with preschool at eleven thirty. We had a good first week, but it was a reminder that time is fleeting quickly as the date for the Christmas program is right around the corner! I'm excited about working with this group of children, and I'm looking forward to a great year.

After music classes, I helped with lunch duty. Emma enjoys the days that I help out with lunch because she gets to have lunch with the boys and play outside some more. I'm also discovering that it makes more sense to not go home on Monday afternoons. By the time we are done with lunch, and have cleaned up the music room, there's enough time to go visit Roger at the airport and bring him some lunch. It makes for a bit of a long day, but it also saves on gas. It just means that I have a good reason to just drop of the kids on Tuesday morning and come home to give our house some attention!


On Tuesday Roger had the day off of work. We dropped the kids off at school and then ran a few errands. We spent most of the day at home, taking care of trash, cleaning and working on various projects, and I even got in short run. The boys enjoy having Roger pick them up from school, and it's nice to sit down all together at the dinner table as a complete family.

Wednesday was my shopping day for hot lunch at school on Friday. But first Allison and I went on a walk, visited and laughed the whole mile and one-half walk. It was great! Then I ran to get the groceries we would need for hot lunch, picked up Emma, stayed for lunch with the boys, and came home. By the time I arrived home, my eyes were so red from wearing my contacts. I want to wear my contact lenses as I enjoy wearing them, but not when they hurt my eyes. Maybe my age is catching up with me, and there will be no more contact lenses in my future. I don't know. I just know that my eyes were happy when I took them out! Roger was working in Wednesday, and he didn't get home until just after the boys were in bed. It was a long day for everyone.

Thursday was painting day at the school library. It was a project that had been started over the summer, and it needed to be finished. Roger had made plans several weeks ago to go with a pilot friend up to northern Maine. This pilot lives up there and has been asking Roger to come all summer. That meant that I had Emma...and a painting project! We had asked for other parents and friends to help also, but everyone is busy. When I first started painting, it was just Emma and I. Thankfully, Emma grew tired of painting really quickly and went in the music room to play with the bells and eat her snacks. Another couple came to help, and they brought their daughter, Ella. Ella is two, and she and Emma are good friends! I am so thankful that they played together so nicely while we painted. The three of us were able to finish the project before lunchtime, and I'm thankful it's behind us. Painting is not my favorite thing to do, but it's done! Emma and I were happy to go home! On the way home though, I started thinking about hot lunch the next day.  We were having baked mac n cheese, fruit, and dessert. Another mom had already made three big pans of mac n cheese, but I was worried that we wouldn't have quite enough. So I whipped up another pan of that just to be sure we'd have enough food. (I'm glad I did as we used half the pan the next day!)

Friday was a very full day...too full, but it was necessary. I played the piano for the chapel service,  got things set up for hot lunch, and then ran to do a few errands before hot lunch. I came back to help with hot lunch and clean up. We had a good group of ladies working on Friday because by 12:30 pm., the kitchen was clean, the tables were wiped down, and we were done! Emma and I went out the the airport to visit with Roger, and I also spent part of the afternoon in the music room working on some things for next week. After school, Chandler and Travis had their piano lessons. I took the other kids outside while they had lessons. Following piano lessons, we picked up pizza and brought supper out to Roger at the airport. It was good for us to enjoy some time together at the airport. We left the airport to head to a birthday party for one of the kid's classmates. The kids had a great time at the party playing with their friends, enjoying cake, and being outside. Roger and I had a good time fellowshipping with the adults. We were the first family to leave the party (as usual) and sometimes that makes me a little sad as the party is still going strong when we are leaving. But over the years, Roger and I have also learned to pay attention to each other's needs and our children's needs (I'm not always good at it, but I'm learning!) I recognized that our kids had had a long day, and that neither they nor Roger had been home all day. Although it was an early evening as in around 8:30 pm, it was time to go. I'm thankful we were invited, and it was a good time for our family.

Saturday was a rare day off for Roger,  not rare as in he had a day off, but rare as in he had off on a Saturday. We spent the day cleaning up the yard, fixing something on Rogers car, grocery shopping, and get ready to have company for dinner. It was a full day, but a good day. We had a family from school over for supper, and we enjoyed getting to know them better. I'm thankful for friendships that are growing both for Roger and I and our children. They brought us some lobsters that were already cooked and a recipe to make with the lobsters. I was thankful for the recipe as we haven't come across a way to eat lobster that we absolutely love. However, if it's given to us, we  are going to eat it!

Sunday...praise the Lord! We can worship together with other believers! Today was an enjoyable event for me as I sang special music with the pastor's daughter. Singing is something else I enjoy, and I haven't sung special music in a long time. After church we had the pastor's son over for the afternoon. The boys thought it was hot so they convinced us to take them to the lake. The water was way too cold in my opinion, but the five boys got in and even Emma got wet. We enjoyed soaking up the sunshine and spending time with our children. After Sunday night church, the pastor and his family took us to McDonalds for ice cream. That was a fun and special treat! We had a good time of visiting  together and getting to know them better. On the way home, Garett remarked about how tonight reminded him of the time in Arizona. That was an event where the pastor and his wife invited us out for ice cream after church, and Garett remembered it. I'm glad Garett remembers such events as they are a reminder of good events that are associated with church and fellowshipping with other believers.
A cruise ship that came into our town...it was a big ship! 


Monday marked the start of another school week. We are working with the kids on so many school things like spelling lists, Bible memory verses, and other papers. Please pray that God will make  education a bit clearer for our children that are struggling. I taught music class today, and while the classes went really well, it is tiring! We are working on handbells (that sometimes produces a headache), various drama parts, and singing. It's a lot to cover in a short amount of time! I am enjoying the opportunity though I do appreciate your prayers as I continue on in this endeavor.

I must go as lunches need to be packed, laundry put away, devotions done, and children to get in bed! Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

School, Skunks, and Music!

Skunks! That's really what we did this week, we trapped and got rid of skunks. I realize that skunks help keep down on grubs, insects and mice; however, Roger is not a fan of tip-toeing to his car in order to not scare the skunk! We've seen a few hanging around our house, and Roger had a few close encounters with one this week. So the kids and Roger set a live trap for the skunk. In the morning, we had one in there. The boys were so excited that they had caught something, and I was wondering how we would get rid of it now! Roger is a great at marksmanship, and he did eliminate the skunk. Unfortunately, as with most dead things, when something dies, it releases it's body functions. Any guesses as to what our yard smells like?! We also had a short lesson on skunks as the boys were very interested. Did you know that a skunk sprays only a tablespoon of stench at a time? And they can spray up to six times before they run out of stink? Then it takes the skunk ten days to refill his scent gland, but you have no way of knowing which day he is on in refilling his stink!! Later this week, Chandler filled the trap again with some leftover food, and we caught another skunk. This time Roger had not placed the trap though, so getting a good shot was a bit more of a challenge! We actually hadn't realized that Chandler had set the trap, so when he came dashing into the house on Sunday morning, we didn't realize why he was so excited! Thankfully, he had snuck up on the skunk! Chandler had also had put a mouse trap in the live trap, so the mouse trap was stuck on the skunks nose! (Why did he put the mouse trap in the live trap? Um, we have no idea!!)  So, just a few days ago our yard smelled like skunk, and the stench was starting to wane. But now we are back to having a stinky yard! Oh well!!

Roger worked last Monday, which was also Labor Day. The kids and I just spent the day at home. It definitely wasn't the most exciting day ever, but I didn't feel up to going anywhere without Roger. Besides, the boys were completely content to stay at home and make trails with the dirt bike!    

Tuesday we returned to school! The boys are adjusting back into the routine, and this week seemed a    bit easier. Emma wants to go to school every day, but she also enjoys the more personal time with Dad and Mom! After we dropped the boys off at school, we visited with Pastor and Mrs. Welch. He is the pastor of a church near our home, and visited at their church several times. They are getting up in years, and they enjoy it when we stop by for a visit. The summer was so crazy that we didn't get over ther much, and I'm trying to do better now that school has resumed.
 


On Thursday we had our first Parents group meeting. I have been praying diligently for this group over the summer, and I know that God is going to do great things! I'm excited about working with these parents, and I'm praying for continued unity and spiritual growth. We could also use some physical growth, as in more parents to come and join us! I also spent part of the day prepping and preparing for hot lunch on Friday. We are attempting to have hot lunch every Friday, so we will see how it goes. Again, we need a few more sets of hands to lighten the load!
Friday was a long day for me! Emma had school in the morning, and I played the piano for chapel. It's an opportunity to serve the Lord and to refresh my own spirit. After chapel, I spent the morning getting ready for hot lunch. I wasn't able to be there for the actual hot lunch, as I had a meeting with a few of the teachers and some others to discuss one of our children. Definitely not one of my favorite meetings ever, but it was necessary as we seek wisdom and direction on how to help this child  succeed in school. Education isn't everything, but it is important. I want to know how I can best equip  myself to help our children succeed. I'm sure there will be more on that later. Suffice it to say, it was a difficult meeting, and when one of our teachers found be afterwards and offered a hug, I willingly  accepted!

After cleaning up from hot lunch, Emma and I went to visit a couple from our church. They've had a few health problems as of late, and I wanted to touch base and talk to them. I also realized as I sat on their couch, that I was tired! It was good for Emma and I to visit with them, and I'm glad we did it. Then we headed back to school to get the boys. Garett and Wyatt started piano lessons today (Friday)  so the other boys hung out on the playground at school. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day today and perfect outside weather! Another mom came down to the playground for a bit also, so I enjoyedtalked with her. However, we were all more than happy to go home once the boys were done with lessons! Since we aren't able to afford for all the boys to take piano lessons, they are going to rotate weeks. Garett and Wyatt had a lesson on Friday, so next Friday it will be Chandler and Travis' turn to have a lesson. This way we pay for lessons for two children, but all four boys get two lessons a month. It's not ideal, and I know that they will progress slower. However, I thought it was pretty creative of me to think that plan up!! Something is better than nothing!
  


Roger worked on Saturday, but Garett and Wyatt were able to spend part of the afternoon there at the airport. They really enjoy hanging out there, but it's definitely not Chandlers thing! It is a blessing that it's a way that the boys can spend some time with Roger as sometimes time together is hard to come by.

Sunday was another day to worship the Lord and to fellowship with the believers. I'm glad that we have a church that we can hear the Bible preached, sing unto the Lord, and fellowship with other people. Later in the afternoon, I came back to the church to work on preparing for music class on Monday. I will be teaching music at the school this year, and I am exited about the opportunity. It's a big challenge, and I don't have a whole lot of experience with this particular field of teaching. However, I feel like I am ready for tomorrow. I have a Christmas program picked out, and we will be hitting the ground running to get it together for our program in December. I'd also appreciate your prayers for wisdom, grace, and direction as I teach these students about music.

Our love to you,
Sarah

Monday, September 4, 2017

School! Anniversary! Birthdays and a Dirt Bike!

We have survived the first three days of going back to school, we celebrated Garett's eleventh birthday, and we also celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary!
 



We started off the week with a day taken as our family to celebrate Travis' birthday. His birthday was  on August 25, but with Roger working we just weren't able to celebrate it together. One of the things on the kids bucket list for this summer was to do mini-golf. Roger has been saving his tip money over the summer, and we had enough to go take the kids on a little adventure. We went up to Bangor to have lunch a chick-fil-a...yummy! Then we went to a family park that offered go-carts, mini golf, and batting cages. It was a bit of a bummer that Chandler wasn't quite tall enough to ride on the go carts, and Garett could not take a rider because he was too young. I ended up taking Wyatt (we won, btw!) and Roger took Travis, but Chandler and Emma had to sit by the gate and watch. That was a bit hard, but they handled it very well. Wyatt and I did win, but I'm pretty sure it's because Roger waited to make sure that Garett's car was not going to stall out on him again! It was fun, but it'll be a more fun experience in a few years when all the kids can do it. Then we did mini golf together. The boys really enjoyed that and they were all within a few points of each other. It was a fun day together, and we enjoyed our time together.

Tuesday was our first day of school for the new school year! It seems like we never even missed a beat as we walked back to school that morning! The kids were excited about seeing their friends, the new year, and new adventures. Garett and Chandler have the same teacher, and it's just a reminder to me of how God takes care of us. Since Garett struggles so much with education, I was a bit concerned about who his new teacher would be. However, through a series of events, Garett and Chandlers teacher moved up in grades to teach fourth and fifth grade this year. Wyatt and Travis both have teachers that are new to them, but not new to the school or teaching! I'm excited about the new year. Roger had off on Tuesday and even though he had a bunch of things he needed to do, he took the   time to help me with a bulletin board. I know he loves me! We worked on the bulletin board and finished it up, I spent a few moments cleaning and tidying up a classroom, and then Roger and Emma went to do a few more errands. I got to do some grocery shopping...all by myself!! Yay! We went for a walk together before we needed to pick up the boys from school. They had a great first day. Travis told me that his teacher was nice and, "School was good today, mom. I think I'll go back tomorrow." Umm...yes, yes you will go back tomorrow!! Wyatt seems to be struggling a bit with the adjustment back to school, but I'm hoping it's just fatigue and adjustment to the routine again.
 


Wednesday was Garett's birthday! I can't believe that our oldest child is now eleven! I look back over the years, and it never ceases to amaze me how time has flown by! This boy struggles with learning, but he has a happy countenance. If you know Garett, you know that he loves to smile. He has a heart for aviation, and he wants to get his pilots license. He is sweet to his little sister, and plays nicely with other kids ( just not always his brothers!)  He asked if he could bring treats for his class, and I said yes. I told him that I could make cupcake, bring doughnuts, or make fruit cups for his class. He asked if I would make fruit cups for his class. So we cut up watermelon, grapes, blueberries, mangos, and cantaloupe to make treats for his class. Cupcakes would have been cheaper, and doughnuts would have been easier, but I'm thankful for the choice he made. His class enjoyed the treat, and it made his day a bit special. Garett's birthday was a bit of a dud (in my opinion) as he had school, I had a meeting after school so we didn't get home until late, his daddy was working, and there was prayer  meeting that night. I probably would've forgone going to prayer meeting, but it was one of my friends from college representing their ministry. Thankfully, Roger and I had talked with Garett about his birthday before it came around. We assured him that we would do something together to celebrate his  special day. My sister, Jen, had sent him a birthday present, so that was a highlight for him! Garett enjoys wearing his cowboy boots, and Aunt Jen sent him a cowboy hat! I fail this young boy so many times in my examples to him, how I respond to him, and pointing him to Jesus. I'm thankful that  Garett is quick to love and forgive, but how my heart yearns for him to grow up to love the Lord (which is also my prayer for the rest of my children!)

One of my highlights from Wednesday was spending some time with my friend, Allison. As the summer flew by, our coffee dates and time to spend together was about nil! Since Emma got to go to her preschooler class in Wednesday morning, Allison and I spent the morning solving the world's problems...well, not really. But we certainly discussed plenty of them! I am so thankful for her  friendship, and having a friend to share my burdens and concerns with as well. We spent some time praying for many things, and it's such a blessing to have a friend to pray with me.

Thursday was the third day of school and also the last day of school for this week. Since it's Labor Day weekend, we get to ease into school a bit. Emma and I took the morning to go visit a friend that recently had a new baby. Hannah has become a good friend to me, and since she has three littles in three years, we have many things in common! Emma and I took a meal out to them, visited for a bit, and enjoyed our morning together. I am trying to make sure that I keep Tuesday and Thursdays as my days away from the school. Not that I couldn't find opportunities to serve or be a blessing there, but I also have other people that need to be visited or encourage, a house to maintain, meals and laundry to stay on top of, and a husband and children who need me. It was a good morning.
 



Friday was a down day. Adjusting to school is hard work, and the kids were thankful to have the opportunity to putter around in their back yard. We have a skunk that's been seen several times around the yard, and the skunk sprayed sometime in the night. Roger and I woke up to the smell of skunk around three in the morning, and since the windows were open....well, the house smells a bit like skunk! Emma woke up in the morning and kept accusing the boys of passing gas! They thought it was quite funny, and told her that the skunk had passed gas. It was quite a strong smell for much of the day, but I think the smell is fading! Either that or we are getting used to it! We took Roger lunch today since he was working, but other than that, we had a very uneventful day. And we need uneventful days now and then!

Saturday was our twelfth anniversary! We celebrated twelve years that have flown by through various jobs, raising children, job training, a trip to Alaska, a baby girl, moving to Arizona, and settling in Maine. This year was probably the most unromantic anniversary we've had in twelve years, but it's another year to celebrate the fact that God's grace has been evident in our lives. Since Roger had the day off work, we took the time to celebrate Garett's birthday. A trampoline park was having their grand opening event, and it was a free day to the public. Hooray! It was something that Garett really wanted to do, we could all do it together, and it was free! We spent the morning doing that, and then came home for some rest time. I was able to squeeze in a little run, and then we decided to take a walk as a family. We went on a walk by one of the nearby lighthouses. It was a fun time together as  we watched the moon come up over the water. We closed the day by having ice cream at McDonald's. Although not the most adventurous or exciting day ever, I have much to rejoice in tonight. Roger was able to have the day off so we could celebrate Garett's birthday, we have been married happily for twelve years, and the day was well spent. I look forward to many, many more years of marriage. Roger works hard, loves me, loves his kids, spends time with us, loves the Lord, is committed to church, sacrifices daily of his time and energy  to make our marriage better, and I am so blessed!

Tonight, Sunday, wraps up another week for our family, and marks the beginning of a new week. We went to church this morning, and then the boys and Roger went to pick up the dirt bike. Remember how the boys had been given money early in the summer for a dirt bike? We've been looking and researching over the summer, and today we bought one. We were able to get one that was on sale for Labor Day, and it was in our budget. The boys and Roger spent the afternoon putting it together, and taking it for a drive around the yard. Of course, it happened to be pouring down rain this afternoon, but it certainly didn't bother the boys! They are excited about the adventures they can have, and we are looking forward to the memories they will create. Chandler wanted to know if we could ride it after the evening church service since it has a headlight. We had to disappoint him with a no for an answer. There will be opportunities to ride it and I don't think we need to start out by riding it in the dark and the rain!!

Anyways, that is the conclusion of our week. We are excited about another week of school, and we would appreciate your prayers as we continue forward. Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Grins and Giggles

Do you ever come to the end of a week and look back in amazement at all the blessings you've experienced? Truth be known, we should live our lives being thankful for so many things, but it's easy to get bogged down by the cares of life. However, this was a full week of many blessings and memories. My heart is full. We've been blessed by friendships, family time, memories, birthdays, and several laughs along the way this week.


I started off the week with the blessing of playing the piano for Sunday church services. As usual playing the piano blessed my soul and prepared my heart for worship. It was a blessing to me. As a family, we started off the week by getting away to a cabin.  Some friends of ours have a cabin on a lake about an hour away, and they offered to let us use it. We've been trying to coordinate this all summer, but with Roger's work schedule it's been impossible to make it work. We had wanted to stay for two nights, but that wouldn't work as Roger needed to be back at work on Tuesday morning. Instead we left after church on Sunday afternoon. Before heading up to the cabin though we made a visit to a local farm market. This farm market was hosting their annual neighbor night which included a free meal! Whoo hoo! We went with another family that we've become friends with recently. We had a great time enjoying each other's company, watching our kids play, and feasting on a delicious meal that I didn't cook!


We had beautiful weather for our overnight stay at the cabin. It's a beautiful spot on a lake in Maine, and we had such a good time together. The boys slept out on the screened in porch...even though  there were plenty of beds in the cabin! We had told the boys that they couldn't go outside in the morning without one of us as we wanted to be aware of where they were at and what they were  doing. A few minutes after six am, Garett comes into our room and whispers (loudly) "Dad, we need to go fishing. Can you come outside?" No time to waste sleeping, the boys had things to do! Roger  went outside with the boys to go fishing. Within ten minutes a lure was stuck on a rock in the water,  and the fishing quickly escalated to swimming! The boys didn't catch any fish that day, but we did enjoy swimming, boating, water tubing, and the three older boys tried water skiing. The boat motor was a little small to pull Garett, but he did attempt the water skiing. Chandler managed to get up on the skis on his second attempt. He was so excited about that! Then Wyatt wanted to try. Wyatt is quite  competitive against his older two brothers, and it doesn't seem to phase him that he's quite a bit smaller and younger! Oh well! He tried hard a water skiiing, but after seeing him swallow a bunch of lake water, he thought he would be done with that! It was a fun day with lots of memories. I'm thankful that we had the opportunity to go up to the cabin as I knew the rest of the week would be busy for Roger.
      

 


On Tuesday Roger went back to work, and life went back to normal. Actually, I have no idea what normal is so I just go with whatever the day brings! We needed to do grocery shopping, and that's always exciting with five kids. I've learned to try not to go grocery shopping when someone is hungry, needs a nap, or take all the kids. However, usually I don't manage to meet all three of those criteria, so I just deal with it. We managed to stay on budget at least so I'm considering that a win!

We hosted a family get together on Tuesday night as well. We invited several families, and ended up with two extra families joining us for supper. We had eleven kids and six adults, so it was one of our smaller supper gatherings. When you get families with a bunch of kids, that's when the numbers  escalate quickly. I'm happy to have people in our home though, and we had a great time of fellowship together. The kids played together nicely outside and inside, and Roger was able to get home to eat   supper together with us. We've really come to enjoy fellowship with this family from New York City that is here for the summer. They have four boys, so they will be missed when they return home after Labor Day.

Wednesday was lake day with the Philbrook's at their cabin. The boys enjoy the water, Emma enjoys playing with different toys, and I enjoy the visiting. The Biddy family the family with four boys, also came to the lake. Allison also had other family members at the lake, so we had fifteen kids at the lake. Just another day of fun and memories as well as lots of craziness and food!

Thursday was the open house at the school. Emma had an open house for her preschool class in the morning, and the boys had an open house in the evening. So between the two, we spent quite a bit of the day at the school. Emma is very excited to go to school, and she waltzed into her classroom, gave  the teachers hugs, and immediately put on some dress up clothes! She would've spent the whole day there, but I needed to work on a bulletin board. The boys helped a bit with the bulletin board, and cleaning up a few things, but after a couple of hours, it was time to go. I didn't finish everything I needed to do, and I could've certainly made the kids stay and endure the time there. But sometimes it's better just to go and come back later. I had kids that were getting hungry, and that is a volcano waiting to happen. Do you get tired or irritated when hungry? Well, that is about one hundred times worse in growing boys! It was time to go home.

After everyone was fed, it made the afternoon a bit better. The boys had a rough day together today, and no one had a good rest time. It was just one of those afternoons where there just isn't enough coffee to make it all better! We survived it. The boys were excited to go to their open house, visit with their teachers, and see their classrooms. Roger was unable to get to the open house, but that's just the way it is right now. Roger called me shortly after we left the school to say that he was wrapping up work and would be home soon. Since we were already in the area, I decided to drive out  to the airport. At least that way some of the boys could ride home with dad. I know the boys love me, but it's probably tiring for them to have mom parenting them a lot! It's goo to have time with dad too, so we try to figure out ways to make that happen. Sometimes it means being creative and driving out to the airport at 8:00 on, so the boys can spend time with Roger. Roger's boss was still at work also, and we had a good visit with him as well. Long hours are hard on everyone, but it's just one of the  ways of the summer. In the winter the hours will lessen, and we will be thankful for that too.

Travis turned seven on Friday. How is that even possible?! I remember the day he was born and thinking, "Another boy?" We had the four boys in four years, so when Travis was born Garett was still three. We had three kids in diapers and one in pull-ups! It was a crazy adventure for a few years,  and it's hard to believe that those years passed so quickly even though the days were long. Travis is a fun loving, sweet boy. He delights in annoying his little sister, and he is just to quick to love her the next moment. He struggles with school, but he is all about outdoor play! And in the picture below he has on blue gloves...why? It's what he picked out at the dollar store and he has been delighted with all ten pairs! He's filled some with soap, made a few balloons, and has had a wonderful time playing with those. Sometimes it's the simple things in life that are the funnest!

We had some friends over on Friday morning also, so the boys were excited about that. Wes and Levi won't be returning to school with the boys, so we will have to be consistent in maintaining that friendship. The boys had a great morning repelling out of trees, jumping on the trampoline, eating, and enjoying ice cream cake in honor of Travis' birthday. I enjoyed visiting with Bethany, and it was a fun morning.

I had made an appointment for Chandler with the doctors office that morning. They were able to get him in at 4:15pm. He has a toe that seems to be infected, and it's been getting worse. I was able to take the other three boys to the airport, where Roger's boss graciously allowed them to stay there while Chandler, Emma, and I went to the appointment. Chandler has a toe that has the beginnings of a staff infection, and it is painful to walk on. However, it also hasn't stopped him from climbing trees or being adventurous, so it can't be that bad! We did get a prescription to prevent further infection, and  he should feel improvement soon. After the appointment we went back to the airport to get the other boys, went to get the prescription filled, and snagged a quick snack.

 We had plans to meet up with a few other families at a church activity at one of the local churches. The boys were excited because their friends where coming, but I don't think I realized all that this activity was going to be! The announcement had said that the doors would open at 5:30 pm, and the event would start at six pm. I took that to mean that we should be there early to get a seat. I arrived with the kids at about 5:45 pm. We were greeted at the door and told to sit anywhere and someone would be by to take our order for refreshments. (Yay for food, right?!) There were plenty...plenty...of open seats, so we picked a table  and waited for our friends to arrive and for someone to take our refreshment order. This was a "coffeehouse" event that a local church was hosting. The idea is to give a commmunity event and invite them to hear gospel singing, enjoy refreshments, and get to know people.  After sitting there for over twenty minutes and still waiting for our friends and for refreshments, I was wondering what we had got ourselves into. The first hour was the "open mic" event where the church people are invited to sing, play instruments, etc. Then at seven pm., there was a main event singer who is a professional singer. Our first friends arrived at about 6:15 so that helped the children enjoy it a bit more. The waitress also arrived to take our refreshment order...hooray! Unfortunately, she just asked our friends what they wanted, and I had to ask her if we could also get something. (At the beginning of this event, the host had announced that refreshments were free and to enjoy as much as you'd like.) She told us that there was nachos, popcorn, root beer floats, and various other drinks. Now take in mind that the waitress was a sweet older lady, so it was probably a bit confusing with those orders! She came back with three root beer floats, but we had seven children at the table. Oh dear! Chandler and Travis were among those that didn't get a root beer float. We received some nachos to share and bowls of popcorn, but we were still missing a few root beer floats. We asked the waitress about the root beer floats to which she replied, "oh, we are getting more ice cream." (Like out of the freezer or at the grocery store?) Meanwhile another of our friends arrives  with their four children. The waitress comes back and the kids are multiplying! While all of this is going on, various church people are singing in the front. So we are trying to manage small amounts of food, eleven children, and be quiet!     As well as having children whisper in my ear, "mom, where is the rest of the food?" "Mom, they said we could eat all we wanted to, and I'd like some more." "Mom, is this it? This is what we came to do?"



And all things considered, I thought the eleven children we had there did very well for being in an environment that wasn't their favorite! (And I can be pretty picky about good behavior!) Around seven, the host event announced that the serving of food would stop when the main singer was singing, and they would serve food during intermission. It was then that we realized that this event actually was scheduled until nine pm!  I politely stayed for several of the main singers songs, which she did a great job at singing, and then excused myself to take our tribe outside. I had eleven delighted children outside, and I was also thankful to be out of confinement. I don't think I do a terrible job at single parenting, but it's not my favorite,  and I miss Roger at events like these. The  adults stayed inside a few more minutes, but then they came outside to join us. Another family had planned to come to the event, but they were delayed by an activity at their own church. By the time they arrived with their four kids, we were already outside! But now we were up to fifteen kids, so it was time for a walk. We walked towards the harbor which meant walking through downtown. I can't imagine what the tourists were thinking as fifteen kids,  all 12 and under, and seven adults paraded down the sidewalk towards the harbor! It was a good chuckle, and the kids were delighted to play in the harbor for a bit. All things considered, it was a great evening. Much of that was due to the laughs and giggles as memories were created with our friends and family. Poor Travis was a bit disappointed about his birthday evening, but he said that was mostly because, "Mom, the food was good. I just wish they had given us more!" As usual with the boys, it's not the event they remember, it's the food that went with the event! We have plans to do something as a family when Roger has a day off of work again to celebrate Travis' birthday.

On Saturday we enjoyed the morning at home and then attended a birthday party in the afternoon. The party was at a lake, so the boys enjoyed swimming with their friends. I'm glad that we've made friendships over the last year that provide opportunities such as this one to get together with our friends. This has been a very busy week for Roger, so I'm looking forward to enjoying his days off next week.

Today marked the beginning of yet another week. Since the pastor's family was away on their vacation, I had the privilege of playing for the church services. Roger and the three older boys went to a local air show this afternoon. Travis and Emma stayed with me, and although Travis was disappointed at first, we had a good day together. We were invited to have lunch with our friends from New York City, the Biddy family. We enjoyed lunch and fellowship together. Travis, Emma and I spent some time just being together as the three of us, and it was a good opportunity for me to interact with them on a more one-to-one level. Roger and the three boys had a great time at the air show and it was a good time for Roger to spend time with the boys...they've missed him!

Tomorrow marks the last day of summer break! School resumes on Tuesday, and everyone seems ready to get back at it. I'm looking forward to seeing God at work in the lives of our children as well as our lives this school year. God is so good and faithful, and we are so blessed.

Our love,
Sarah

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Back to Normal?

We left Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon about three pm. The boys were a bit sad to be leaving Nana and Papa, and Aunt Jen. I think that they were ready to return home though as it has been almost two weeks. Chandler was a bit more emotional about it than the other boys, but that tends to be more his personality. Travis acted silly and hyper, but once we were in the vehicle he started shedding a few tears. I asked him why and he said, "Why does Maine have to be so far away?" Well, I'm pretty sure that Maine has not moved in its geographical location, and it's always going be a long ways from Wisconsin! I was excited that Roger was able to drive back with us as that would relieve much of the driving responsibility off my shoulders. I'm thankful for my parents hospitality and for the memories they made with our children. My dad has slept in the little camper with the boys every night for the past two weeks, so he's probably ready to sleep in his own bed! Papa has taken them camping several times, fishing, four-wheeling, and numerous other outdoor activities. It's been a good two weeks of memory making and fun for our children. However, home is calling. It's time to say good by to our Wisconsin friends and head back to Maine.

We made a quick coffee stop on the outskirts of Milwaukee, and we also met up with our friends, the Longsines. Beka and Jared had picked up frosties from Wendy's for the kids, and the adults enjoyed coffee. We met a spot where our children could stretch their legs for a bit. It was a bit of a longer stop, but this was our opportunity to catch up with their lives in person. I am so thankful for their friendships, the power of prayer, and our desire to bear each other's burdens.

However, as much as we would've loved to visit longer, the nineteen hours remaining were calling our name! We drove another few hours and stopped in Mishawaka, Indiana, for the night. The boys were excited to go swimming, but then we realized that the time change had occurred! The kids only had about twenty minutes to swim before the pool closed but it was better than nothing. The kids didn't even start stirring the next morning until after eight. Roger and I had decided that we would get a later start on the road so that the kids could swim again in the morning. We knew it meant we wouldn't get home until Tuesday, but also that life would be a bit crazy once we got home. We didn't get on the road until about ten, by then Roger was chomping at the bit. However, the boys did eat  breakfast twice, so everyone was full! They ate some before going swimming, and after swimming, they ate again. At least we got our money's worth on the breakfast!
 


And on we went as we headed across the rest of Indiana, across Ohio, into Pennsylvania, and on to New York! The kids do fairly well at traveling, so every stretch we did was at least 150 miles. We decided to stop for the night in New York around 7:30 pm. The hotel was a newer one, and it was directly across from a park. This park was actually built in memory for heroes and patriots in America. There were several displays honoring heroes in our land. It was actually a really neat park to walk through and see history displayed...for free! We had wanted to stop at Niagra Falls, but time was not on our side for this trip. I'm sure we will have more trips across these miles, and we can probably do it another time. We took the kids swimming, but warned them that we would need to get on the road earlier the next morning, so no swimming in the morning! We also wanted to make sure that we didn't miss out on the free breakfast offered, so we wouldn't be leaving before everyone was fed! In our traveling adventures, I've come to realize that it is better for us to choose a hotel that's a bit more pricey, but has a pool and offers a good breakfast. Both hotels we stayed at offered fresh fruit, sausage, eggs, pastries, yogurts, and other such breakfast foods. As many mouths as we need to feed, it pays to look for the hotels that offer a good breakfast! We managed to get on the road by about 7:15am, and those first few hours were rather quiet! I'm glad Roger was driving as it was very quiet in the car, and sometimes that makes it harder to stay awake! It was a long day of driving, but it was uneventful. We arrived home about 7:30, and it was so wonderful to be home! The Lord had allowed another family we know to use our house for a few days, and Jessica left it in such nice condition! It's so nice to come home to clean sheets, no dirty dishes, stove cleaned off and everything tidy! This family has come to Maine for the summer  while Andy takes a woodworking craftsmanship class. They were between rentals for a few days and needed a place to stay. It just happened that our house was available to them as we traveling home. God gave us our house as a way to minister to people and this opportunity to be a blessing was dropped in our laps. This family has four boys so we have a lot in common!

Our week felt just a bit off as we arrived home on a Tuesday, so it was mid week before we were even at home. Wednesday was spent puttering around the house, putting things away, and enjoying being back in our  own space. The kids were invited to a local Vacation Bible School by some school friends, so I took them to that on Wednesday night. Emma was technically too young, but the pastor's wife graciously invited Emma to stay. That made Emma happy and mama happy too! I was able to do grocery shopping by myself! Hooray!! Roger was back at work on Wednesday morning and it's been a week of late nights for him. Generally this week I was arriving back from Bible school with the kids around 8:30 pm , and Roger was just pulling in the driveway behind us. It makes our week a bit crazy and long, but I am thankful for the days off and the shorter daylight hours that will be coming!

On Thursday we had our New York friends over for a play date. Although this family is only in our lives for a short little bit, I've enjoyed getting to know this family better. Jessica and I don't run out of topics to discuss, and life is exciting with eight boys between us and one girl. And those nine kids run in ages between two and ten...yes, it's exciting!! We spent part of the afternoon down at the lake with Allison and her girls. The boys have missed time at the lake the last two weeks, and I've missed visiting with Allison. The afternoon passed too quickly, but everyone was eager to head back to Bible school. I dropped the kids off and drove out to the airport to visit Roger. He was out on a flight, so I managed to squeeze in one of my sporadic runs around the airport. I'm not as faithful at running as I'd like to be, but it's just where I am at in life right now. God's been teaching me to be content at this stage also. It was a good and enjoyable day.

Friday was another day of work for Roger. It was work and play for mama and the kids. We got the grass mowed, reading done, yard picked up, and even a quiet afternoon of rest time. It was a bit of a dreary day with rain in the afternoon, but that didn't stop the boys from putting on rubber boots and stomping around out in the yard. I am thankful though that they are willing to be outside, and I got to take a little rest with Emma! Tonight was the last night of Bible school, and the kids were disappointed about that. They would like Vacation Bible School to run all summer long! But school is resuming in just a few days, so we need to treasure and savor these last few days of break time.

Saturday was spent with making a meal for the pilots at Roger's work, visiting with Allison for a few minutes, and working at the church. I made a blueberry coffee cake and egg casserole for lunch for  the pilots. I also had cut up some fruit to go along with it, but I forgot to tell the boys not to eat it all! They left one single piece of cantaloupe in the bowl, so I didn't bother to bring that along! After dropping off lunch, we stopped by Allison's house to borrow a key to the church building. The kids got out to play with their friends, and Allison and I got so busy talking, that I almost forgot the key! However, we did remember to get the key! We went to the church building to work on a few projects, and the boys had a good time playing outside and inside. Jessica came by with her boys to help for a bit, and we did make good progress on cleaning out a few things. It's nice to have everything nice  and clean for the start of a new school year.

We are excited about the upcoming school year, and I would appreciate your continued prayers for the school. The school board did hire a teacher that we needed to have for the new school year. I am asking God to specifically bless the school with unity and harmony this year. I am asking God to give me wisdom about what to be involved with and what He wants me to do. I am asking that my children develop more of the Christian character traits that they need and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ this school year. Chandler would like to make the honor roll this year, so I am praying that he will do his very best. Garett struggles with school so I am asking prayer that he will work at it the best that he can, and that God will bless his efforts. Wyatt: to continue to grasp the concepts presented to him, and that he will develop the character traits that he needs to strengthen this year. Travis: education is hard for this boy also. I'm asking for prayer that he will work his hardest, and that I will have wisdom about how to help him. I am asking God to give his teacher wisdom and patience as she interacts with him.

Thank you for your love and prayers,
Sarah

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Heading Home!

We are getting ready to go home! It's been a good week and very, very full. We have full hearts, lots of memories, and have treasured our time here. However, it's good to return back to the place that holds our hearts for now and that is Maine.


We visited our church family last Sunday, and it was good to reconnect and see so many familiar faces. There were also a lot of faces that I missed seeing and that have left the church for various reasons. I also  feel a renewed passion to be committed to our local fellowship of believers in Maine. We are so blessed to have the freedom to worship in public in our nation, and I am so thankful!

Also last Sunday we enjoyed lunch at the park with our friends, the Hammond family. It was good to  catch up with their news and to sit and fellowship together. So much can change in a year, and I'm not always the best at communicating through the long miles apart!

On Monday we spent some time visiting some older folks that my parents wanted us to visit. The kids did very well with the various visits, although they were very thankful to come home and play outside. Later in the afternoon we went to visit at the Schilder's house. It's so wonderful for our kids to reconnect with their friends as well, and I've certainly treasured the moments of catching up with my mama friends. I was able to get away to spent some time with my pastors wife, Heather, and the two hours flew by! How time passes so quickly amazes me!!


Tuesday was Emma's fourth birthday! Now that's craziness! We've been so blessed by our little girl, and we are so thankful that God blessed us with her. My dad took the boys fishing in the morning, while my mom and I ran a few errands to prepare for Emma's birthday party. I had invited a few close friends to come over for supper and cake, and Emma was so excited all day! We had decided on sub sandwiches for supper, and my mom made homemade rolls. We quickly realized that we would need to make two batches, as the boys certainly enjoyed the warm rolls right out of the oven! Travis ate  four of them with lots of butter...yum! My mom makes delicious dinner rolls, and the boys will definitely attest to that! It was a good time of fellowship, lots of little kids, and laughter that evening as we celebrated Emma's birthday. We were missing Roger, of course, but it was a blessing to share Emma's birthday with many friends here in Wisconsin.

Wednesday was another beautiful day. My dad filled up the old baptistry and the boys enjoyed "swimming" in it. It's been under the trees for a while. It came out of the old church building years ago, and there is not room in the current building for it. The baptistery was put to good use for the past several days! I took the kids over to visit my friend, Renee, in the afternoon. She's had a lot of health struggles in the past year, and it was good to reconnect with her. We went to prayer meeting at church, and then we planned to have a sleepover at the Schilder's house. The kids were excited about  having a sleepover, and they didn't even mind that Mom and Emma came along to the sleepover! Gretchen and I stayed up way too late talking, but it was a good use of my time. It's sometimes during those late night conversations that the deeper burdens are shared and the urgent prayer requests are made known. Gretchen has loved my children as her own, and she is always willing to have me drop by and interrupt her day. It probably does help that I usually bring coffee!

Although Wednesday was a short night on sleep, the kids were still eager beavers in the morning! They jumped on the trampoline, chased each other around the yard, and played hard. Meanwhile, I drank several cups of coffee! Jenna came over to join us for coffee that morning, and we were good company for each other since her night was short on sleep also!(Babies tend to interrupt a good nights rest!) Her little boy, Roko, has completely enjoyed playing with our boys this week. I think Wyatt is his favorite though as he always seeks out his company. I hope many if the friendships that our children have in Wisconsin will last over the years...especially as I dearly love these mama friends!

On Thursday my dad took the boys camping again. This is the third time in the two weeks we've been here! My dad takes the camper down to one of his farms friends and the boys enjoy campfires, four wheeling, building forts, fishing, and whatever else they find to do in the great outdoors! I love the fact that my dad is so willing to invest in their lives, point them to Godliness, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We are blessed. I know my dad is tired, but he is enjoying theses days also. However, going back to work will probably seem like a bit of a vacation for him!

Also on Thursday, the mechanic called to say that the truck was fixed! Oh, praise Jesus! My mom drove me out to pick up the truck and pay the bill. It wasn't as cheap as I would've liked but it never is, is it?! However, it could've been a lot more expensive! I'm thankful to have lure vehicle back as it is necessary for us to get home!


Friday was a full day. My sister, Jen, came in from South Dakota, Roger flew in from Maine, and we  had a dinner with many of our friends from the area. Garett went with me to Milwaukee to pick up Roger. Roger had flown into Chicago, but his friend, Jared, graciously agreed to pick him up in Milwaukee. That saved me some time driving, and it meant I could squeeze in a visit with my friend, Beka. Garett wanted to come with me, so I had a date on the way down. It was another reminder that my young son is quickly becoming a young man. He practically looks me in the eyes these days! I had a good time with him, and I treasure these memories. It was good to see Beka again, and we were able to get in a short walk before Jared arrived with Roger. It's easy to lose my fervency to pray for some of the needs of my friends when I'm not around, but it was refreshing to hear Beka's heart and to be reminded of the need to continue to pray for her requests.

We had planned a dinner with some of Rogers friends at the Schilder's house. Gretchen graciously opened up her home, and we filled it with people! My parents came along with my sister. Rogers brother, Mark, and his wife came. And several other friends came also. It was my moms birthday so we also celebrated with ice cream cake. It was a long day for Roger as he had been up since four am, but I am thankful we made the effort to get together with some of the families that we are so close to. We enjoyed the evening, and we were all very thankful to go to bed that night!
 



Saturday was our last full day here in Wisconsin. Roger went to visit some older  friends of  ours, while Jen and I went to get food to feed the piranhas on the way back...I mean, our children! I find it much better to buy snacks and food before getting on the road, as food on the tollway is expensive! I think we have enough snacks and fruit to get us back...I hope! We also had supper with some of Roger's family. I'm thankful that Roger was able to see his brothers while he was here as family is important.


Roger's boss had also sent along ten lobsters to my parents house. We made a few deliveries to various friends that would enjoy some East coast seafood. It was fun to share with our friends, and we wish them all the best in cooking the lobsters! Our first experience with cooking lobster was a bit rough, but we've gotten much better at it. The first time we had lobster Chandler was asked "how does it taste?" He replied, "It's not terrible, but it's kinda like chewing on a bouncy ball!" We've been living and learning!

We are heading back tomorrow afternoon. We would appreciate your prayers as we trek the 21 hours back across the country to home. We are blessed by good friends, great family, and wonderful memories!

Blessings, Sarah

Saturday, August 5, 2017

WISCONSIN!!

After we dropped off my sister, Jen, at the Boston Airport on Sunday morning, we continued on our way. I punched the address into the gps and it said that we had 17 hours and 51 minutes to go until our destination. Our destination was Wisconsin! It's been a year since we've seen many of our family and friends. We are excited to see as many as we can in a short visit. We dropped off Jen at 3:30 am., and I kept driving. Since Roger is working and can't get away during this busy season, this was a mom and the kids adventure! It was a LOOOONG drive, but by God's grace and mercies we survived!


We made it to the west side of Cleveland, Ohio before stopping for the night. It was a long day, but the kids did great. They traveled well, minimal arguments, and the vehicle ran well. However, we were all glad to stop for the night! I took the kids swimming, fed everyone supper, and we were all in our beds by 8:15pm. We stayed at a hotel that had two queen bed and a pull-out sofa, which meant there was plenty of room for all of us. Wyatt felt like it was his turn to sleep with mama, and Emma insisted that she wanted to sleep with mama too.  Chandler was in the bed with Travis, but then he climbed out declaring that Travis wouldn't stay in his own space! So we ended up with three in one  bed, Garett and Chandler in the pull out sofa, and Travis had a whole queen bed to himself! I ended   up climbing in with Travis around 2:30 as my bed was crowded. Then Emma woke up at 4:30am.,  and realized that mama wasn't in her bed. She came and found me in Travis's bed...it was a night a bit shorter on sleep than I wanted, but God is good. We were up and on the road at 8:00 am, and we had eight hours to go to Wisconsin. We traveled along with minimal delays, and arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin around 3:00 pm. We have some long time dear friends that live in Wisconsin, so we decided to stop in and surprise them. Jared and Beka weren't at home at the time, but we had a good time visiting with their neighbors and playing in their yard. I sent Beka a picture of the kids in her  yard, and said, "Where are you?" She made good time getting home from errands!  It was a short visit with their family as they had places they needed to be, and we needed to be getting on up to my parents house. As we were leaving the Milwaukee area, I had to stop to put gas in the truck. I also felt like the truck wasn't running as well as it had been for the last 1,100 miles. The brakes felt a little squishy, and I didn't feel like they were responding well. However, I asked the boys to pray for safety and that we would make it to Nana and Papa's house. Chandler willingly prayed but then replied, "You know, mom, God already knows what's going to happen. So we will be okay." Yes, we will. But it's still a good idea to pray and ask God for his protection!


And we did arrive...around 7:00 pm., at my parents house. I am so thankful for traveling mercies and God's grace! The kids said hello, and immediately went outside to play. They had a good time revisiting all their favorite places in the yard and playing hard. It was such a blessing to get into bed that night! We are missing Roger, but we are looking forward to our time in Wisconsin.

On Tuesday morning, my dad got out the four-wheeler. It has been going non-stop for several days now! It stops when it runs out of gas or the kids go bed! My dad organized the kids for a fishing trip, and I made plans to head into Oshkosh and surprise my friends. I hadn't told any of my friends that I was coming, because I wasn't sure how our time here would play out and I want to make sure the kids are available to spend time with their grandparents. My dad told me I could drive the Jetta, since the suburban shouldn't go anywhere except to the car shop for repairs! I headed into Oshkosh, and I was almost there when the Jetta started making funny noises. I'm not a mechanic by any means, but something didn't seem right. I immediately turned into a parking lot and parked the car. Oil was streaming out from under the car...uh, that does not seem good! Now what? My dad had taken the boys fishing, our suburban was broken, now the Jetta was broken, what to do? I called my dad who had just arrived at the fishing hole with the boys. He said to just leave it there and see if one of my friends could come get me and Emma. Well, that wasn't how I planned my surprise to go! However, I called my friend, Gretchen, (the same one I called when my basement flooded at my house), and told her I was in trouble. She said, "okay, but I don't know if I can help you so far away." I then  announced that I was in Wisconsin, but not just Wisconsin, I was about ten minutes from her house! She immediately asked where I was, how many car seats she needed, and that she was on her way! Oh, thank you! So, my surprise to show up at my friends house took a different direction as I needed help! I'm thankful for friends that are willing to come to my aid even when I show up unannounced! My dad ended up dropping off the boys at her house so that they could have something fun while he trailered the car to the mechanic shop. So, the moral of the story is that I am not having very good luck with vehicles!

We had a good visit with Gretchen and her family. I was reminded of how much I've missed her as  we sat and visited about so many things over the afternoon. Things change in a year, and not all change is bad, but it's different. It was good to reconnect.

I've been able to reconnect with a few other friends while we've been here over the last few days. It's exciting to see how we've all experienced joys and challenges, but God has been faithful in every situation. Some of my friendships have changed and matured into deeper, stronger friendships. I've enjoyed the moments of fellowship and reconnecting with a few friends. I'm hoping to touch base with many more over the next few days, but time is flying by! I need to be a good steward of my time, and my children's time also. Their relationship with their grandparents is important, and I want to help them continue to have a deep and lasting relationship with their nana and papa.

Roger will be flying in in Friday, August 11, Lord willing. He will be only staying a few short days and then we will begin the trek back to Maine. It's been wonderful to visit, and I'm soaking it up. I also realize that Maine is home for the Robertson family now, and I miss my church family. But I'm thankful for where I am, and we will enjoy the memories we can make here in Wisconsin over the next few days.

The boys have been camping with my dad, fishing,  camping again, a trip up to Wausau to see my grandma, four wheeling, biking, to the fair,  and everyday activities. I'm thankful that my parents want to invest in their lives, and we are so blessed. We'd appreciate your prayers as we need to get the truck looked at, and we just need a lot of wisdom! Thank you!