Friday, August 20, 2010

Photo Friday XII, 10:26

It's 10:26 at my house.  We just finished breakfast and chores.  Now we are about to do school.  Before I called the troops, I walked around the house to find out what they were doing.

Well, it's not too exciting, folks.  But that is a moment of a day in the life of us.  It's these little peaceful moments that make life sweet, isn't it?

Monday, August 16, 2010


Well, we are home.  Yesterday when I loaded up the kids to head for Costco, Jopie started to break down, "no Mommy, it's too far to Costco."  All his little brain could process is that every time we get in the car, we don't get out for another 10 hours.  Poor guy!

We had an AMAZING week at camp.  Hooray for Kanakuk!  I was not a "kamper" there, or a staffer, so this was my first experience, and it was a fantastic one.  It really exceeded my expectations.  I expected it to be great because it was 6 days of no cooking, swimming, activities, and mornings when ALL the kids were in childcare.  What I wasn't expecting is that this wasn't really childcare.  This was no church nursery.  You dropped them off into a room of college students who were ready to love on them.  And as I walked through camp, you would see them out doing activites all over the camp.  And for the older ones, they were hanging out with a gang of really great students who took them to do amazing things, things I never would have done when I was their age.  They came back with great stories of things they had done, fears they had conquered, and truths they had learned.  As a mother, I feel like I can tell when people tolerate your kids with a smile, and when people truly love hanging out with your kids.  Well, these students went above and beyond.

Did I mention that we got to experience camp with the families that introduced Chris and I?  That was icing on the cake of the whole experience.  The Boldmans, along with their TWELVE children, and the Thompsons, with their NINE children were there.  We got no props for having five this week.  We were amateurs.  I only wish I would have tried to organize a picture with all the kids, but it just didn't happen.  Maybe next year...

Doing the ropes course on the first day.  I thought I was so cool for being brave, until my 7 and 8 year old did it later that week.

We verbally agreed to be guardians of their 12 children if that cable gave way.  The "Screamer Swing" is named for obvious reasons.

Trading silly bands.  'Cuz everyone was doing it.

Techie night (Is it bad that we could wear our regular clothes and throw on a pair of glasses?)

Graham participating in a game during Ninja night.

He is a very scary ninja.

Date night.  Including Mrs. Merrill (Lori's mom), 31 kids were birthed from these people, well, from the women.  The guys had their part too, but I don't need to mention the details of that here.

What these two do a lot of.

Two of my favorite mothers here.  Niki (in the middle) is my dearest friend from Moody.  When I first met her, she really bothered me, which is a sure sign that we were to be the best of friends.  Southern girls used to bother me too, and now I just love them.  I also used to make fun of home schooling.  Is there a pattern here?

A father/son talk before jumping off a 31 foot tower.  I would be crying too.  Did I mention that the water they are jumping into is about 50 degrees?

'Cuz I'm free, free falling.

Graham after his jump.  I somehow didn't get a photo.  Sorry Graham!

Rebecca, we miss you!  This taken on Christmas night... so festive.

A typical late night at the Bambo Bean.  Love those dollar ice cream cones!

Asher on the zipline.  I was so proud of him.  He found his bravery this week.  He recently overcame his fear of car washes, and now he is jumping off towers and ziplines.

That sweet smile.  Love him.

He was barely big enough to do the zipline but he wanted to be "big," like his brothers, and do something really daring.  He doesn't look too happy about it here.  He didn't cry, just very stoic . . .  all the way down.  

Go Samuel!

Maybe they have a future together.  Watch out Samuel.  She has 8 brothers and one overprotective father!

Watch out, Mr. Boldman.  I will grow up to be irresistible to your daughter.

This is why we get along.  So many common interests.  Except it's not fair when a mother of 12 kids is skinnier, tanner, and more fit than me.  Michelle Duggar has nothing on you, Lori, except denim jumpers and 7 more kids.

Quote from a laughing Jopie:  "Mommy, I love Becca more than you."

Poor Cry Cry, he got the stomach flu mid-week.  He wanted to swim so badly, but just didn't feel so good!


More water.

Best of friends.

The last morning.  The boys with some of their favorite girls.

It was a great week.  It was a great vacation.  But I was ready to get home, ready to sleep in my own bed.

And I think he felt the same way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Photo Friday, I mean Monday, XI: Cousin Photo Shoot

I tried to get this out Friday, but the internet access at my parent's house was not quite successful.  I now write this from Kanakuk Family Camp.  It has been fabulous.  I will update and show pics about that later, but for now, here are the last group of pictures from Minnesota.  My parents live in a little town called Northfield.  When you drive in, there is a sign that says, "Northfield, Town of Cows, Colleges, and Contentment."  It is a dreamy little town, full of, well, cows, colleges, and contentment.  We tried to capture some of that in these photos.

These are the cooperative children.

Baby Cry Cry really did not want to stand in a line for any longer than 5 seconds, so this is the best we have.

Then it became the Cry Cry show.

And the rest followed his bad example.  A bad apple spoils the whole bunch.  Or a bad corn cob spoils the whole field.

My five guys (get it, anyone ever been?  I love the fries!)

My nieces.  Aren't they gorgeous?

That wraps it up.  Camp recap to come soon!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Palms

I am sort of nervous writing this entry, because I am just not sure if I can communicate the fullness of what I am feeling.  Does that make you want to read more?  I hope so.

Meet Tarrah and Jayson.  Aren't they cute?

Tarrah and I met during the summer of 1997.  We were both working for our church in the Student Ministries department, and happened to be stuck in the same cubicle together.  She was the junior high intern, and I was the senior high intern.  We both loved to talk about things that are Eternal.  We bonded.  I don't really remember how we became close friends.  We just did.  It was natural.  Later, we were roommates for a short season.  It was a sweet season, right after I met Chris, and we were on the phone ALWAYS.  And I am sure it was annoying to Tarrah, as she was not dating anyone at the time.  But I remember feeling that she was so sincerely happy for me.  She was, of course, one of my bridesmaids.  Just a year later, she met her husband, and came down to Texas to visit us (are you beginning to notice that she is a faithful friend?)  Jayson asked Tarrah to marry him in a sweet little chapel in Fort Worth, and we were thrilled to be a part of that happy part in their relationship.

Jayson and Tarrah are an amazing couple.  Everyone who has known them can attest to that.  Through the last 10 years, most of which we were in Texas, and they were in Minnesota, we stayed close.  But we really got to bond again when Chris and I moved back to Minnesota.  I was so excited to be back in the land of the Palms.  We had similar lives.  We were raising scores of little kids.  We love Keens.  We could walk through REI for hours.  We could pick up right where we left off.  During a lonely season in Minnesota, the Palms were a listening ear.

Then it came time to make a decision.  And the Palms were open to God's calling on their life to help out Freedom Firm in Ooty, India.  They went forward, and did not turn back.  I distinctly remember thinking when they told us what they were thinking of doing, that this was NOT a good idea.  Dragging 4 little kids to a very non-Western country is a huge of sacrifice.  Was it worth it?  Was this the right timing?  I got to watch Tarrah support her husband, and take a risk for that which is heavy on God's heart, the sexual slavery of girls in India.  I watched her sell belongings and leave for India with all they own in some suitcases and boxes.  I watched her gracefully say good-bye to friends she has lived life with for years, knowing that there is much she will miss.  I watched her put faith in the Lord that her kids would be all the better for this journey in their life.  Let me just admit something.  I have always had a immense personal pride of my non-girlyness.  I can sleep in a tent.  I can eat weird food.  I spent a summer in Africa.  I am not afraid in big cities.  I can live on just a little bit of money.  I (well, I used to be) am very independent.  But let me just say with a little shame, because of some fear issues in my life that I have had to work through, that what the Palms have done over  this past 18 months, I am not sure I could have done.  They have been amazing... enduring through the emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges of being in Ooty, India with their kids (the oldest was 5 when they left).  They have been honest and faithful.  They have worked hard.  They have really given nearly all of their comforts over to the Lord.  I have been in awe, really.  Daily, when I face feelings of self-pity or discouragement, I remind myself that Tarrah and Jayson are doing all that I am doing, but with none of the resources that I have.  It challenges me, my attitudes, and my faith.

We were able to spend a couple of days up in Bemidji with the Palms during our time here (Tarrah's parents were our gracious hosts).  It was refreshing.  We laughed, like always.  We tried to arrange some marriages between our children.  We had heartfelt conversation in the evening.  It was wonderful.  We love you, Palms, and will continue to be impressed, for all the right reasons, with your faith, endurance, and joy.

Please check out their blog, The Palm Six.  You will be blessed,  And you will laugh out loud.  And now, what would a blog entry be without some photos...

Our kids were able to catch their first fish.

Don't they make a cute couple?  Look at the way she is admiring his fish.  I think she is in love.

Meet Jovie, the most perfect child ever.  The antethesis of Baby Cry Cry.

And her big sis, Sydney, who looks so cute sucking her fingers on the boat.

Mother and daughter enjoying the boat ride.

How do I look with all these girls?

James, who is normally surrounded by 3 sisters, was loving having so many boys to play with.

A Minnesota moment.

Another Minnesota moment.

All the Palm/Wolfe kids minus Baby Cry Cry who was stayed with the grandparents.

This picture was taken by 7 year-old Ani.  Pretty good, eh?

Did I mentioned that we laughed?

Thank you for a great couple of days.  A special thank you to the Saufferers for so graciously hosting us in your home.  We continue to give thanks for you, remembering you in our prayers (Ephesians 1:16).