Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pictures from this week

Papa Joe brought powdered sugar donuts

Super Stars

Jackson wearing Colton's shirt


Katie kept asking me to take her picture, and she would put her hand up by her face each time. I finally asked her what she was doing, and she told me she was making the "loser" sign.

"The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens." Proverbs 3: 19

Colton's Dummy

Tonight at Awana Colton's friend Michael gave him a necklace. It lights up, and Colton thinks it is very cool. After we were done admiring it, he decided to take it off and put it in his bedroom for safe-keeping. I unclasped it for him, then he commented to me, "Mama, we need to get a dummy just like me so I can keep this on him!".

"A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men." Proverbs 18:16

Friday, January 18, 2008

What Do You Think?

You Are An ESTJ

The Guardian

You're a natural leader and quick, logical decision maker.
Goals are important in your life, and you take many steps to acheive them.
You enjoy interacting with others, mostly through work related activities.
Your high energy level means you are great at getting things done!

In love, you tend to bring stability to relationships.
You feel comfortable being in charge, and you enjoy being a provider.

At work, you take charge. You thrive in structured environments and don't mind enforcing the rules.
You would make a great teacher, judge, or police detective.

How you see yourself: Realistic, stable, and pragmatic

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Rigid, bound to rules, and a bad listener

"To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice." Proverbs 21:3

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Baby Play

Hudson is at the stage where he LOVES to play in the kitchen cupboards. He is very good about obeying and staying out of the cupboard under the sink with all of the cleaning supplies and garbage. He will walk toward it, and stand next to it with his hand on the knob waiting for someone to say "No!". Then he'll smile and walk away.
His weakness is the corner cupboard. I've recently cleaned it out, and there's not much left inside--the perfect place for playing. I have some big pots and cake pans in it, which I occasionally let him play with while I'm cooking. He's not yet discerned "play time" from "school time", and today the boys had a difficult time being motivated into working diligently. They were instead encouraging Hudson in his playtime. In this picture he was playing peek-a-boo with the boys by opening and shutting the door.

Then they decided to form a percussion band.

Hudson loves to have his picture taken, and becomes ever so charming when he sees the flash. His big brothers encourage him.

"My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me." Proverbs 27:11

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nice and Toasty Warm

Last fall we decided that we needed some supplemental heat for our furnace. Our system is an electric heat pump, which is an efficient form of heat, but just isn't enough to heat our size house in this climate. When the temperatures get down to around zero, the old heat pump just can't keep us warm, and then kicks on an auxiliary electric heater that costs a fortune to run.
We decided to purchase a Europa corn/wood/wheat furnace, and installed it in the family room. We used it at the beginning of the cold season before turning the furnace on, and have used it sporadically since. The temps are due to get below zero this weekend, so Shannon cleaned out the pellet stove to get it running at it's most efficient. It was quite a messy, sooty job. It's up and running now, so bring on the cold weather!

We have chosen to burn wood pellets this winter rather than corn. It is easier to store, and apparently burns hotter and more efficiently. The stove produces more than enough heat to warm the family room, kitchen and entryway, the areas that were the coldest last winter.

We've been pleased with the results so far this winter.

"Like the cold of snow in time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him, for he refreshes the soul of his masters." Proverbs 25:13

Hudson's Birthday Party

Sunday afternoon we had some family over for Hudson's birthday party. He had the opportunity to eat his own cake and ice cream, and make as big a mess as he wanted. The results are shown here. He headed straight to the bathtub when he was finished.
"When I was my father's son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, He also taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart retain my words; Get wisdom! Get understanding! do not forget, nor turn away from the words o my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." Proverbs 4:3-7

Go Rebels!

Katie and Naomi are at the perfect age to be cheerleaders, princesses and anything girly. When basketball season started and we began attending several games a week, they noticed that there are no cheerleaders at JV or Middle School games, and we NEEDED cheerleaders.

They became the unofficial cheerleading squad for the G-R Rebels. We sewed up these outfits for them one afternoon, and there's no going back. The Rebel's cheerleading coach even gave them official Rebel pom-poms. They were delighted with them, and it made me very happy, too, because the cheapo ones I bought for them at Dollar General shed like crazy.

They're only young once!

'A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance..." Proverbs 15:13

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Today Is The Day

We have an unwritten rule at our house that "A Child Is Not Allowed To Have His/Her Third Birthday Until He/She Is Potty Trained". Jackson cut it close, accomplishing the feat just a week before his birthday.

Naomi is about a month away from her birthday, and we've been warning her about this particular rule for quite some time, to no avail. I believe she is ready to be trained, just chooses not to. She's just a teeny weeny bit stubborn. For the past month we've told her about the "No Stinky Diapers Away From Home" rule, and she has complied without any problems.

Today we woke up and decided that today's the day to officially train her. She's worn big girl panties for 5 hours now, with no accidents. Keep it up, Naomi!

"Train up a child in the way he should go..." Proverbs 22:6

Pray for this family

I'm including a link to a blog that was brought to my attention on another list I belong to. It is the story of a little girl born last week at 25 weeks gestation. She weighed only 1 lb. 6 oz. They appear to be a strong Christian family involved in many ministries. The girls and I are keeping up to date on this amazing birth and tiny little one.

What a miracle!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Katie's Art

Katie was adamant that this original artwork needed to be on the internet for everyone to enjoy.

It is a portrait of Chase.

"Even a child is known by his doing, whether his work be pure and whether it be right." Proverbs 20:11

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Hudson!

Today was Hudson's first birthday. It's hard to believe that a year ago today we were holding a tiny little guy in our arms, getting to know him. He's been a joy to our family, and I can't remember life without him.

He's a happy guy, and always has a big wet grin on his face. He's walking everywhere these days, and has been going up and down the stairs for months. He adores his big brothers and sisters, and follows them around the house until they pay attention to him.

Happy Birthday Hudson Archer Clark!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Sunday, January 6, 2008

If you didn't get a Christmas picture from us and you're worried about it...

maybe this will help you understand why.

Okay kids. We're all dressed up from the
Christmas program, so let's try to get
a nice family picture.
Everyone sit still and look at the camera.
This won't take long.

Hudson, smile at the camera! Peek-a-boo! Smile!
Bryce, not such a big smile.
Look at Daddy. Let's try again.

Katie, look at the camera.
Naomi & Hudson, you need to smile.

Okay everyone, we can do better.
Everyone look up here and smile!
No fake smiles, give me REAL smiles.

Bryce, stand up straight.
Naomi, put your hands down.
Katie, smile nice!
Let's try again.

Katie, don't put the apple in front of your face.
Colton, put your hand down.
Naomi, don't play with your eyes.
Just one good picture and we can quit.

Alex, don't look at Hudson.
Colton, scooch back over. We can't see Naomi.
Let's put the apples down.
Okay, we'll do one crazy picture.

Just one more picture.
Everyone look at the camera and smile.
If you all cooperate, we can quit.

I said only ONE crazy picture.
No more funny faces.
I know, I'm tired too.
Just sit still and smile one more time.

Oh, let's just forget it!


"For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Silly Katie

This afternoon I was hiding out in my bedroom working on some new lesson plans for next week. Katie eventually noticed that I was missing, so came looking for me. As I typed, she jabbered away non-stop. I was only half listening to her. Pretty soon she came up to me, put her arms around me, and told me she loved me. I told her it makes me very happy when she tells me she loves me. She gave me a big smile, took my cheeks between her hands, and told me it makes HER happy when I do dishes. Gotta love 'em!

"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding." Proverbs 13:3

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

For the past several years we have gotten together with a group of friends at a hotel in Des Moines to swim and play on New Year's Eve. This year we decided to do things a little bit differently, and invited everyone to our home. After doing a little calculating and realizing there were going to be 21 children from 8 months to 15 years of age, we decided to reserve the middle school gym. We were there from 6-10pm, and had a really good time. The big kids (dads) were able to play basketball, football, and dodge ball. The little kids were able to play with the school equipment such as balls, scooters, tennis rackets, hockey sticks and jump ropes. The battery in my camera was nearly dead, so I didn't get many pictures. Here are just a couple.

Maci, Katie and Taylor dancing.
Jocee got a little sleepy and decided to take a rest on the scooters.

After returning home, we played Wii until just before midnight, then switched the channel to watch the ball drop in Times Square. A couple of the families were planning to stay at Troy & Theresa's, so a little before 1:oo they headed out for Hudson. Just a few minutes later, Jeff's phone rang. Andy and Julie had gone into the ditch as they tried to turn around and help another vehicle that was upside down in the ditch. The big guys bundled up and headed out to help them. They were only a couple miles from our home. They were unable to dig them out, but we were able to get a towing chain from the Schildroth's, and got the little kids and Julie back to our house where it was warm. In no time, the big strong guys had the Suburban out of the ditch and back to our house. We had hot chocolate and tea waiting to warm them up when they got back. We are very thankful that no one was hurt and that we were able to get to them in a hurry.

As Shannon and I laid in bed that night, we made sure we tallied up how many people were in the house, just in case of fire. The final count was 25. Chase had gone to spend the night at Troy & Theresa's house.

We all went to Troy & Theresa's for soup and snacks on Tuesday. We spent the afternoon watching football and consuming way too many calories. When we got home, there was a strange breeze blowing the garage door shut as I was trying to come in. Some time throughout the day, the west door to the basement had blown open. It was 45 degrees in our house. We fired up the Europa corn/wood/wheat stove, and had it toasty warm in no time.

We really enjoyed the time spent with friends. We don't get together very often outside of IRBC where we spend a week together every summer. I think one of my New Year's resolutions is going to be to spend more time visiting and fellowshipping throughout the year.


"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

Christmas 2007

We began our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. Grandma Shirley and Papa Ken arrived at our house about 2:15pm to open gifts, eat dinner, and go to the Christmas Eve service at church.
Papa Ken
Grandma Shirley

On Christmas morning at 3:31 am, Katie came running up to our bedroom exclaiming, "Santa was here!!!!". We assured her that everything would still be there when the sun came up, and she should just go back to sleep. Fortunately, she did. Unfortunately, I was unable to get back sleep, so had a very early start to my day. I got up and chopped the veggies for the turkey and stuffing, and by the time Shannon got up at 5:30 we were ready to get the bird in the oven. We debated about waking the kids up, then decided to just play Wii without them. Within about 10 minutes they were all awake and ready to open gifts. We all took turns opening gifts, and then spent some time playing together.

When the turkey was finished cooking, we loaded everyone up and headed to Papa Joe's house. We spent the afternoon there, then came home and rested and played the remainder of the evening.
The nice thing about having two little girls so close in age is that they think they are getting twice as many toys!
Katie looks a little freaked out by the Barbie head.

Colton loves Moon Sand and anything he can create things with.

Bryce was the only one to receive a Bionicle this year.

Chase received Wii accessories, too.
Jackson received mostly Wii and XBox 360 components.

Same for Alex.

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

"Many entreat the favor of the nobility, and every man is a friend to one who gives gifts." Proverbs 19:6

Mr. Fix It

When we moved into our home four years ago, the kitchen was not set up to allow a family of (then) 7 to function adequately. The day after we signed the papers, we began tearing the old cabinets out of the house in preparation for the new ones that were due to arrive the following day. We installed the cabinets in record time, but because of a snafu with the company, there was a delay getting the counter tops. We went five weeks without a kitchen sink. The sink we chose was a black granite sink--supposedly indestructible! Obviously they never invited the Clarks to their test kitchens! Our sink developed a crack in the bottom of it several months ago. The crack didn't to all the way through, so I didn't give it much thought. It wasn't until there was water in the Christmas decorations in the basement that we realized that the crack had eventually gone all the way through the sink, dripped through the base of the cabinet and made it's way downstairs. We immediately caulked the crack from the bottom of the sink, which only lasted a couple days. Then we resorted to caulking the inside of the sink, which wasn't very beautiful, but was functional. We talked to the sink guy at Lowe's, and he said there's no way one of these sinks should crack. He was recently at a seminar, and the reps were banging on them with hammers and screwdrivers. Like I said, they should have had the Clarks do their testing!

I emailed the company, and they immediately responded and said if I could produce a receipt and a picture of my sink, they would replace it. I dug through my files upstairs, and came up with the receipt. Within a week I had a new kitchen sink in my entryway waiting for installation. Apparently they forgot to ship the installer along with the sink.

This is a picture of Shannon, taken as he was lying under the sink tearing all of the old plumbing off. He's become quite the handyman, mainly by necessity!

My new sink is installed and working beautifully. Hopefully next December I won't be hanging soggy decorations on the tree!

"Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well." Proverbs 5:15