Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Army Boy...AKA A Lesson In Listening To God!

Owen is an Army Boy! Those are his words! In fact he's already told us he's going to sign over 4 years of his life once he's 18. He also thinks he's going to kill German's, but we have sometime to work on that one. Anyways Owen wants everything army related. The other day I went through his closet getting it ready for the school year. Figuring out what he had and what he needed. Two things he really needed were jeans and a hoodie. I thought it would be so much fun if we could find an Army hoodie. I looked at Target, Old Navy and Fred Meyer's with no luck. I even went online and wasn't having much luck. Money has been sort of tight since I stopped watching Logan so I knew we couldn't spend a lot. Then on Monday morning after we dropped Jack off at therapy we were on our way to Fred Meyer's to get gas when I had a feeling deep inside of me that I should stop at Value Village. There was in fact a Value Village on the way to Fred Meyer's from therapy so I pulled in. We went straight back to the kids section and in less than 5 minutes I found it! 


An Army hoodie that fit Owen perfectly...and it was only $2.99!!!!


I also found two pairs of Crazy 8 Jeans size 7 both with adjustable waist bands for $4.99 each! 


Silly camo boy! 


Owen was so excited! Plus it was a wonderful way for me to explain how to listen to God's leading. He knew that this was something that Owen needed and something that he wanted. He doesn't just care about the things we require he also wants to put a smile on our face and lift us up! What a mighty God we serve!!! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why I'm Not Doing The Ice Bucket Challenge!

First off let me say that this is for personal reasons and I am in no way looking down on anyone that has taken part in the challenge. ALS is a horrible disease and finding a cure would be amazing!!! 

Ok...now let me back up to December 2003...that is when Michael and I started our journey with infertility. Technically we had already been trying for over 2 years, but this was when we first visited a fertility specialist. This time in my life is really just a blur. It's seems like from 2003 to 2006 I wasn't actually living my life it was more like watching it. There were so many appointments, prescriptions and procedures it's mind boggling. After 4 unsuccessful attempts at IUI (artificial insemination using Michael's sperm) our only other option was IVF.

IVF was scary to me, but in order to obtain my goal of being a mother and giving my parents grandchildren I thought this was it! More drugs, more procedures and in all 20 of my eggs were harvested from my ovaries. Out of those 20 eggs 12 made it to the next phase. The first round of IVF was unsuccessful so we were down to 10 eggs. On the second round we used 2 more eggs and I did get pregnant, but that resulted in a miscarriage. After that procedure I was done....I just couldn't put my mind, body or spirit through anymore at that point. So we took a break! Three months later I got pregnant with Owen...all naturally! 

Here was the dilemma...we still had 8 embryos frozen at the clinic. 8 babies! Now I know that not all of them would end up taking and growing to full term, but there was a chance. We had decided early on that we would never discard them....they aren't just tissue! So we paid the banking fee for a year and waited to see what might happen. Then when Owen was 8 months old I got pregnant with Jack. That's when I knew that those 8 embryos would never grow in my womb. First off I could not put my body through that again, second off I was getting pregnant naturally and third we couldn't afford to do IVF again. 

After thinking long and hard we gave our 8 embryos up for adoption. To this day I have no idea what has happened to them. They could have been adopted and used and resulted in babies. Babies that are biologically ours. They could still be frozen waiting to be adopted. I don't know and that bothers me, but that's the choice we made. 

Back to the ice bucket challenge...I had been seeing it on FB for weeks now and I just knew eventually I would get challenged. The whole time though I felt something was not right. Of course donating to a foundation and spreading word about finding a cure for a horrible disease is a great thing, but like I said something felt wrong for me. Then a friend of mine posted this article on FB about why she wasn't doing the challenge. The article is here.

As you read the article you'll see that the foundation that is being donated to participates in embryonic stem cell research. Because of my personal experiences this is something I can't participate in. The thought of my 8 embryos being used for scientific experiments is awful....let alone any embryos! Not to say that donating to find a cure is a bad thing, but you have no control over where your money goes and that I'm not okay with. In the article he also lists an ethical research program that you can donate too instead. Click here for that. 

Again let me reiterate...I'm not judging anyone that has participated and passed on the challenge to others. I'm flattered that I was challenged! This is solely for personal reasons! 

Updated On Duct Tape Bracelets!

I thought I should update my Duct Tape Bracelet post...


After I posted it I let the kids wear them around the house for a while and the marker did eventually start rubbing off. So my fix for that was to print out our names and phone numbers tiny enough where they could be cut into strips and then just taped onto the duct tape bracelet with Scotch tape. It's clear so you can see the numbers and hopefully it won't fall off after they've been worn a while. I did make each child two bracelets so if one gets messed up or lost we have a back up. I'm not going to make the kids wear these the whole trip most likely only in Disneyland where it's super crowded. I also did some research and there has never been a child abducted from Disneyland so that makes me feel good. I know they have workers that are specifically looking out for lost kids...not that I'm planning on losing my kids, but still it's good to know. We also have one adult per child going on this trip so we should be good. I just feel better having something in place just in case! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Homemade Blackberry Syrup!

A few weeks ago the kids and I went to the blackberry patch to pick a ton of blackberries. I wanted to make syrup! 


Look at all those yummy berries! 


First I cooked them with some sugar and mushed as many of the berries as I could. Then they went into the blender in batches. 

This was the messy part since it was hot and the blender is fast. It was a yummy sticky mess! 


After blending I still pressed them through my fine strainer to get out most of the pulp and seeds. 


I ended up with two and half bottles. It tastes fantastic! I gave these two bottles to Michael's co-workers. It's so thick that you have to run it under hot water to loosen it up enough to use. It's worth it though. Click here for the recipe I used! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Anatomy Of A Fit!

Like I've mentioned before Zeke doesn't like to walk....lazy boy! He also hates to walk down the stairs...heaven forbid he uses his muscles! 


He made it part way and then decided to start squealing like a little pig! 


Then he thought throwing himself backwards....


and stretching himself flat as a board would do the trick! 


Eeeeeee! Mommy I'm so mad at you for taking my picture! 


Fine I guess I'll have to walk, but I'm not happy about it! 


Oh whatever...she's not gonna help me! Then he got to the bottom and was completely fine! Faker!!! 


And here it is step by step! Ornery boy! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Travel Binders!

After searching Pinterest for hours, going to the library a number of time to print things out and organizing into separate days for each child I am finally finished with the kids travel binders! Praise the Lord!!! 


I'm using the same travel binders we used last summer when we took our trip down to Oregon. I did have to make one for Zeke since he was too little to need one last year. 


I printed lots of things for all the kids and then some things for just Owen and Jack since they can read and write. 


There is car bingo games, mazes, tic tac toe, color by numbers, math sheets, word searches, dots and boxes and all sorts of other things. 


The front of their binders are decorated with their names and then a map of where we are traveling that day. For example the first day we are traveling from home to the military museum at Fort Lewis. When we leave I'll take each of their binders and draw our journey to that location with a red marker. Then when we leave for our next destination I'll do the same thing. I always loved knowing where we were going. 


I bought this Ninjago LEGO container a while ago, but we never really used it for LEGOS. It works perfectly to put all the separate days worth of goodies for each child into. The mistake I made when we went to Oregon last year was giving the kids all their papers that first day. They went through them that first day! So this time around I have each day separated starting with the map they will need for the front of their folder for that day. This was a ton of work, but like I've said before it's all in the prep work! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nature Scavenger Hunt!

This has been one of the things on our Summer Bucket List that I haven't really been looking forward to. First off I kept forgetting to print out pictures of nature things at the library and we have no ink at home. The other day we just happen to have an empty egg carton so I thought it's now or never. 


I decided that my artistic interpretation of nature things was going to have to suffice. I have the kids sit next to me while I drew them to see if they knew what I was drawing. I also wrote the names down too. 


All ready for their scavenger hunt! 


Heading down to the backyard to find a pine cone. 


They found lots of big pine cones, but none of them would fit in the egg carton until Jack found this little bitty one! 


Gotta put it in the right compartment! 


Looking for the perfect rock! 


Starting to fill up! 


Trying to find a twig. 


Ella was taking notes! 


When it was time to find a bug the boys were way more enthusiastic about it then I thought they'd be. This summer Owen has become a bit fearful of bugs. They went over to this huge rock and were able to find a beetle. 
  

Ella got to be the one to go to the blackberry patch and find a juicy blackberry! 


The neighbor who's house is right next to the blackberry patch mowed this section of the patch down so the kids could easily walk to the berries! 


This is when we realized the beetle wasn't really dead....only stunned and he had crawled into the flower compartment. Jack tried to kill him with the pine cone...


but he climb inside the pine cone. Jack prevailed though....the beetle died! They also collected a bee that was just walking on the ground. He died too! 


It was lots of fun watching the kids run around and find things. I think I might try to do an indoor one on a rainy day. In all they collected everything on the list....blackberry, pine cone, rock, grass, flower, bug, plum, leaf, moss, twig, dandelion and litter!  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day Trip & Ferry Ride!

Two Saturdays ago we had an unexpected opening in our schedule and we took full advantage of it. We had wanted to head over to Bremerton sometime this summer, but were having a hard time figuring out when we could go...perfect! 

I looked online and researched to see what might be fun over there for the kids, we packed a picnic lunch and then we set off. 


After driving all that way to Mount Rainier the drive to Bremerton was a cake walk! Our first stop was this park that was dedicated to our servicemen.


We sat down and had our picnic lunch there. 


The kiddos had a bit too much energy so they just wanted to run around and play. 


Climbing rocks and eating oranges at the same time are totally acceptable! 


And yes...Ella is carrying around the bag of Chicago Mix from Costco! 


Here I goooooooo! 


We must follow in our big brothers footsteps...or should I say jumps! 


He thinks he's hot stuff! 


Pretty girl! 


Big muscles!!! 


As we walked or jumped down closer to the ferry terminal we saw the sign for the actual park I had found online. It's called Harborside Fountain Park. It's a cool spray/wading pool park. 


Unfortunately this is as close as we got! See the golf cart on the left....right after this picture that guy informed us that the park was closed for the day due to a wine festival! Of all the days!!! And I have no idea why Owen is making that face....he probably feels slighted in someway by Jack! 

To make the best of a bummer situation we took the kids into the free Navy Museum. I wasn't sure how much fun they were going to have, but it was great.  


They had this whole section devoted to kids. 


You could climb in the submarine and use the underwater sea animal puppets and put on show. 


They even had this projector that made the wall look like it was moving water. 


Deep sea diver! 


He's a bit vertically challenged so Daddy had to help! 


They even had a ship galley for the kids to play in. Owen got all dressed up to be a chef and then he was too embarrassed to play. 


Ella and Zeke were having fun as long as the kid in the red shirt wasn't stealing their food! 


They also had a lot of coloring pages with aircraft carriers or fighter jets. 


Ella had so much fun cooking! 


Zeke really like turning the knobs! 


Daddy and the boys hard at work. At one point while Michael was coloring a kid came up right next to him and said, "This is my favorite color and I'm gonna put it right here" then he promptly drew all over the bottom of Michael's paper. Of course the Dad was so embarrassed! Kids do the darnedest things! 


Time put dinner in the oven! 


Close the door...be careful! 


At another part in the museum there were bunk beds set up just like they are on an aircraft carrier. Jack got in one and he even he couldn't sit up without bonking his head. 


He wanted to Ella to join him. I would seriously never be able to sleep in one of these I'm too claustrophobic! 


Speaking of claustrophobic....there were also lockers right next to the beds showing you how much space each person had. Leave it to my kids to see how many Martins can fit in the locker! Zeke was first in...


Then Owen! 


And the door shut! 


Ella also got a turn and I think Jack is behind her. Silly kids! 


After all that fun we went over to Cold Stone and got a thing of ice cream to go! I'm going to order my ice cream like that from now on. They will make it with all your mix ins and 32 oz of ice cream cost $8.65. It was the size of two Gotta Have It's and only a couple dollars more than one! 


Right next to Cold Stone is the fountain that we had fun viewing when Ella was a baby, but I think parts of it aren't working anymore, because it wasn't nearly as fun! 


Not sure why Zeke felt the need to cross his arms, but he's super cute! 


After walking down the pier and exploring a bit more it was time to head for Seattle! 


I know my kids and I know that the moment we get on the ferry and see there's a cafeteria they are going to ask for food. Enter suckers! I stock up on suckers at Winco in the bulk section and they are super cheap. Suckers solve anything! 


It was really hot! 


Let's go outside and feel the breeze!


Can you see our van???


This handsome boy stayed outside the longest with me! 


Owen was too cold so he would say out for a few minutes and then run back in to be with Daddy! 


It was a gorgeous day to be on the water! 


Ella finally came out and spent some time with me when we rounded the corner and could see the city! 


We really do live in a beautiful country! 


Once we could see the city the air got significantly cooler so I decided to head in. Daddy and the kids were sitting just inside the door. He said that in the time span they had been sitting there at least 3 other groups had sat behind them and then moved. Yeah my kids are those kids! 


Maybe suckers weren't such a good idea! :) 


Heading down the van!


One last picture...forgot to turn the flash on! Oops! 

It was such a nice impromptu family day! Another thing on our Summer Bucket List checked off!