Sunday, August 31, 2008

Much Ado about a Castle and a Tournament

JT had a travel soccer tournament this weekend in the Poconos. We used it as an opportunity for some guy time and Tad took the three eldest boys on a weekend camping outing, to include 3 soccer games, sleeping in tents and a white water rafting trip for JT with his team. Whilst they were away, I planned some adventures for the rest of the gang beginning with a day at Dutch Wonderland. The kids had proffered their birthday money for the outing and had been looking forward to it for a month. It turned out great for all parties.

On the ride into PA Dutch country we passed a couple of horse and buggy rigs like this one. Fortunately, I had Adora along to help and Nate and Miah were able to get on nearly as many rides as their older counterparts. The park is designed for the younger set with the biggest two rides being a couple of rather small scale coasters. While my camera is still on the fritz, I did manage to get some pretty good shots with my cell phone. As a bonus, Tad phoned in his pics to my cell phone as well. There are some perks to living in the 21st century...

JT's team played their first game as we headed up the road listening to Beowulf on CD. They won that first game, hung out for an hour and were on to their next game. Just about the time we were wandering into the park and getting our bearings, JT's team was tying up the score of their second game. Meanwhile, we got to meet the Princess, jump around like frogs (Miriam has the best ribbit!) whip around in circles and live the Monster Truck dream while Tad and the boys wandered the mall in between games.

Things got pretty hot and, while I was hoping to avoid it, I did concede to going to the water park portion of the park. Adora and I even had a chance to go down the big water slides. Nate especially loved the fountains but Miah wasn't too sure what to make of it all.
We ran around to a few last rides and then piled into the van to head home. Somewhere in there, JT's team played their final game and lost to the 3rd place team in a close match. They went home to start a fire with wet wood while we drove a few miles down the road to our dinner destination....which was quite a bit more...civilized than theirs.

Un-Tied Tongue Tie

Tali is no longer tongue tied. We had this rather simple procedure done last Thursday by the family ENT and all went just fine (except for the rather opportunistic yeast infection which settled into her mouth as thrush - ew!). Thanks for all those who left comments and even bothered to email me personally and make long-distance phone calls to friends "in the know". Your support is special to our family and Tali is now happily testing the limits of her newly released tongue and nursing like a champ.

Old McDonald Gets Holy in the ??? Tone

I overheard 2 year old Nathan the other evening lying his bed and chanting:

Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia!


Alleluia! Alleluia Alleluia


I'm not sure what tone he was shooting for....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We Have a Winner!!

The winner of our chicken naming raffle is Mr. Mike. UnNamed chicken has officially been dubbed with her new nomenclature, Kurka. Mike happens to find it hysterically funny that this Slovenian/Chinese/Korean/African family has found ourselves in a Ukrainian Orthodox Church so, Kurka being the Anglicized version of the Ukrainian word for chicken, this gal will now be a strutting, pecking, clucking reminder of God's absurdity in our lives.
Congratulations Mike! We'll be sure to introduce you to Kurka when you come visit! Hopefully there will be lots of opportunity for photo ops as well.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Name That Chicken!

The kids have decided to have a little contest to name the last of the chickens. I'm not sure just how broad my readership is here so it may not be much of a contest - well, a raffle really. We are offering the chance to name UnNamed. For $1.00 a chance you can enter a name for UnNamed Chicken. Payment can be made via non-credit card paypal to When you make your payment, be sure to put Chicken Raffle in the Subject and the name you'd like chosen in the comments box along with your email address. On August 23rd we will put all the names in a nesting box and pick out a winner. What do you get? The coveted opportunity to name a chicken who is wandering around somewhere in the suburbs of Baltimore. What do the chickens get? A little cache for their chicken feed fund. (Yes, I know, this is absolutely shameless but as a mother of 10 children I am sometimes reduced to such measures...pray for me please!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tongue-tied Tali

I never thought I would see the day but I do actually have a child now who is tongue-tied...literally. Our visit to the pediatrician the other day confirmed my suspicions that the little bit of stuff under her tongue is attached a bit too far towards the front. Technically speaking, she has a tight frenulum. There is a minor procedure that can be done to correct this within the first year - it just involves snipping it back. As she grows a little older the same surgery will involve stitches. I'm a bit torn about what to do about this. After dealing with major speech issues in this household I'd like to just do the procedure now and hope for the best with her nursing and speech issues. She nurses well enough to get plenty of nourishment but I had noticed that her nursing habits are a bit...different and occasionally frustrating for me, although she's never complained. Now I know why. Anyone else have any experience with this? I'd sure appreciate hearing about it!

By the way, since my camera is still on the fritz, that is *not* Tali's tongue - I lifted that photo from

Friday, August 15, 2008

Baby's First Circus

Did you know you can get a free ticket to the Ringling Brother's Circus for your baby? The circus will issue you a certificate good for one free ticket to Ringling Brother's Circus for any time in the life of your child. The only catch is you have to register your child before he/she turns 12 months old (there is a provision for adoptions and multiple births too!). I just remembered to register Tali for her's when I came across Betsy's and JM's certificates in my lock box. You can register by clicking here. (image lifted from Barnum and Baily website)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

For a Good Cause

One way we walk out our pro-life convictions is to deny vaccines which incubate in fetal cell tissue. We didn't become aware of this issue until after the older kids had already been through their paces. The two biggest problem vaccines for us are MMR and Chicken Pox. The Measles and Mumps portion of the MMR are fine, it is the Rubella portion which trips up the ethically minded. Fortunately, we have a wonderful pediatrician (see number three) who obliges us in this - I'm not sure if it's out of her own convictions or a serious commitment to serving her patients' needs. At any rate, this wonderful woman actually went through the trouble of ordering the measles and mumps vaccines as separate dosages to administer to our youngest children. Today was the day. Tali had her 2 month check up and everyone from Betsy on down reported to the office for 2 shots - their own contribution to the Pro-life cause being the fear and pain of those needles. To assuage their misgivings, I promised sno-balls as a treat afterwards. Since we are not able to consume the artificial colors and flavors, I had prepared to simply buy cups of shaved ice to take home and add our own flavorings. Waldo, of Waldo's sno-balls was kind enough to give me 12 cups of sno-ball beginnings for $3.00. What a deal! He also said he is working on some all-natural flavors - we'll have to go test those out.

I wanted to take some fun pics of the band-aids and sno-ball consumption (mine was chocolate mango with marshmellow - yum!) but my camera isn't working (boo hoo!!) so you'll just have to imagine the small contribution we all made today to one of our favorite causes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Three In One!

On Sunday Tali experienced three sacraments in one glorious service. She was baptized, which in the Orthodox church also includes Chrismation and the reception of her first Holy Communion. I am still working on getting the pictures sorted out and up on the blog (along with David's birthday party) but here's a little teaser (yep, that would be a butt naked babe)...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Davey!

David celebrated his 4th! Many years Davey!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Meet the Girls

We have 5 new additions to our family. We've adopted a sib group of girl....hens. I can't remember ever not wanting chickens and my own passion was re-fueled after Ben came home from his friends' farm and had fallen in love with their feathered critters. He passed the passion on to his sisters and thus began a years-long prayer and beg campaign to get their dad on board. Since The Dad wasn't budging it just never happened.

A couple of weeks ago we were visiting another Orthodox church we've visited before. Tad was talking with his friend Peter when a Russian woman approached me and announced, "You have a large family. You need chickens. I have chickens I am going to give you. You will have 4, maybe I give you 5 of them." She then proceeded to go on about how to care for them, their age (3 weeks), their temperament and the need for large families to be somewhat self-sustaining. I told her we'd been hoping and praying for chickens for years and Tad simply looked at JT and said "Well, JT I guess we'll be building a chicken tractor as our next project."

Peter turned to Tad in amazement and asked, "Does this happen to you often?" We thought a moment and realized that, yes, it really isn't all that uncommon for perfect strangers to approach us with some sort of odd proposition (someday I'll get around to posting all of our adoption stories...). Peter went on, "I mean, no one ever walked up to me and asked me if I wanted some chickens. But here you've been praying for chickens and someone gives you chickens. How cool is that?!"

We put off taking the chickens home that day and exchanged phone numbers instead. Last Friday I got a call that the couple is moving and the chickens had to go so I packed all the kids in the van and headed to their home south of DC.

We got there and got led out back to the chicken coop where a lot of nearly full grown chickens were wandering. I wondered where the little 4 week old chicks were when we were told this was it. I guess our benefactor's Russian lost a few months in translation...We gathered up 5 chickens and forced them into two cardboard boxes. Then we were invited in for kvass and oatmeal cookies. I really liked the kvass but the kids were not so crazy about it. After a prayer for the health and safety of our chickens we piled into the van, surrounded Nathan with boxes of poultry and then proceeded to sit in dead traffic for the next hour.We got them home but were without any place to keep them. I had the idea of keeping them in the garage for the night but after watching them roost on the lawn mowers and poop all over the place I decided to run out to Home Depot and board up the kids' playhouse with chicken wire so they had a more appropriate place to stay. Ben, JT and I stood in the dark with a flashlight and a staple gun stapling chicken wire to the windows of the playhouse and that night they spent their first night in their new home.

We have since built them a bit of a run, gotten them some cedar shavings to poop on and put them on a regular feeding schedule. They have yet to lay any eggs but we expect those to come along any day now.'s our girls (Ben assures me these names are correct. I have no idea how they tell some of them apart):

Girly (being observed through the window by our Girly)
and UnNamedCan anyone tell me a breed for these little sweeties? And if you see anything we're doing wrong - feel free to comment! We are very new at this chicken thing.

UnNamed will be named by one of our lucky readers - look for the next post for details!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Day at the creek

We had a great time today at the creek with our good friends. I always love doing things with Jenifer because even though she only has 3 children, my 10 don't seem to faze her a bit. She has entertained our brood, cooked for them, gone on vacation with them and she still comes back for more! Today we had 3 adults and 17 children (I had 2 extras and she had 1) along at the creek for a picnic and fun in the water.

The big kids spent a lot of time rerouting this stream passage and damming up the sides to make it go faster. This involved a lot of rock hauling and when they were done they had a great little fast track for their inner tube (and don't tell them that they happened to learn some things about Physics along the way).

They also enjoyed catching fishies
swimming like a fishy
playing on the playground
floatingand exploring

Jr. Soccer Dude

JM had his first ever soccer practice last night. He was so excited he slept in his shin guards the night before. He's looked up to JT forever and now he gets to have a real soccer practice with a real team - what fun! He looks so cute in his soccer socks and cleats!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The End of the World

I have a wipe-off calendar that I fill in each month with our family activities. I started it for Philip who really needed to be able to see what was coming up each day and the family has grown to love and depend upon it. It hangs in a central location where they can all see it and each child studies it each day for their own personal reasons. Today we were looking at it and counting days until David's, JM's and Betsy's birthdays. When we were done counting, JM looked at me and said, "Mom if you ever stop making the calendar that will be the End of Days. There will be no more time for the world." He just informed me he's off now making a paper calendar just in case.

I Am Wonder Woman

But only 63% so. I suppose someone as odd as I am can't hit the right Super Hero dead on. Take the test and let me know who you are! Thanks to Single Dad for today's fun!

I am WonderWoman

You are a beautiful princess
with great strength of character.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Farm Fair

We made it to the farm fair on Sunday. It's been a year or two since we've attempted to take the whole crew but they all love it so much and where else can we get a day's entertainment for our whole family for under $40? That included snowballs for everyone which we just ordered without flavor and let everyone cool down on the plain ice. I wish I'd remembered that little perk - I would have brought some soda along to put in them! They always have a tent set up with kids games. The kids had a good time running around playing all the games and winning little plastic prizes. Philip and Ben collected a whole team's worth of plastic baseball players which Ben then used to devise his own baseball role playing game. The girls all got their faces painted but I was too busy running around with kids and strollers to get a whole lot of pictures. There were a bunch of inflatable fun things. Nate had a blast on the Moon Bounce and the big boys enjoyed this Bungee Cord Thingy. We had Nicholas along for the fun. They all watched the pig races while I nursed the baby and we checked out our friends' produce entries. All told, it was a fun (but tiring) day.