Today.... I am needing to put up a new post.  I am slacking in the posting department lately, and I can hear part of the reason at this very moment.  Selah is in the back room crying.  She has a cold, a stuffy nose and dark circles under her eyes, also a low grade fever.  Poor baby.  We had her six month well baby check up last week.  She weighs in at 17 pounds! and she is 27 inches tall.   What a big girl.  Her clothes are 9-12 months.  The dress she is wearing right now is an eighteen month and it isn't too big!!  The sleeves to her blouse are a tad too long, but not enough to look silly!  She now has two teeth and seems to be working on the top two.  You know she isn't feeling well when I can have her sitting in my lap and still manage to type without her grabbing at the keyboard! :-) (in case you hadn't figured it out, I didn't leave her crying in the back room)

So, what's going on today?  Well, let's take a look.

Today I am wearing....a tan skirt with a black blouse, and yes, shoes (ugh!)

I am praying.....for friends, needing God's guidance in studies for ladies' retreat

Outside my window......the sun keeps peeking through the clouds, battling with the rain.  Wondering which one will win?

In the learning room....Worked on alphabet recognition with sounds and tracing/writing those letters. (preschoolers and kindergartener), corrected several math tests, working on typing with those 8 and up, memorizing Latin chants: amo amas amat amamus amatis amant, sum es est sumus estis sunt, also nouns, verbs and interjections, and derivatives: amicus, canis,caput, domus, mater, pater, puella, puer, vir, audio,cogito,laudo, sum, vivo,salve,valez, et, amo.  All very fun to see how our English language comes through! Reviewed with the middle grades nouns (latin nomen, meaning name),common and proper, and worked on verbs (latin verbum meaning word), penmanship and learning cursive for Julia, the rest is vague as the older grades don't need me quite as much, and some subjects vary such as history and logic.

I am reading....trying to finish, "Marriage to a Difficult Man"~ a book about Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. It's a great book and has been a real encouragement to me!

My always in the process of dirt vs. clean, laundry is backed up, but that's the worst of it. ;-) a hodge podge of things as we have a potluck every Wednesday Bible study.  Anna made taco soup and snicker doodles to bring.  Yum!

Well, that's all I can think of right now and, really, all I have time for for now.  Until later.......  Let the light of Christ shine through you.

Hats, hats, and more hats

While visiting Grandpa and Grandma, we had much fun exploring the hat shop in Seaside, OR! Notice that I'm NOT in any of these....I was boring and didn't try any hats on!!!  I just enjoyed watching them do it and taking pictures for all to see! ;-)

A Playroom and a Gym, The Transformation of a Basement!

Our basement has been transformed as of late.  What a blessing!!!!
The playroom side......
The gym side!

What Would Their Names have been?????

Babies, babies, babies...With so many babies around, we get talking about..what else? Baby Names!!!!  It's fun to think back to when I was expecting each baby and remember names we discussed, and names we might've used had they been the other gender.  Sometimes we even changed the same gender name after the birth or, in one instance, after announcing another name!!  So here are the names we thought of for each of our children as best as I can remember (I only don't remember one of them and that is what Daniel would've been had he been a girl)

Naomi Jean:  other girl names we discussed were Natalie and Victoria.  The boy name was Nathanael!

Anna-Renee Ruth:  We had Sarah picked out until my S-I-L gave birth to a girl 6 wks before me and used that name!  I wanted Abigail, Craig chose Anna.  He wanted Anna Ruth (Ruth is after Craig's grandma), I didn't think it flowed so well and wanted Anna Renee.  Craig decided to compromise and named her Anna-Renee Ruth (so her first name is actually Anna-Renee)  Had she been a boy she would've been Jared Ray (Ray was after Craig's grandpa)

Samuel Craig:  Moriah Faith.  (Moriah as in the land of Moriah and Faith for the Faith Abraham had to bring his son to Moriah as a sacrifice unto the Lord)  Why we never ended up using this name?  A: Everyone who heard the name asked if it was after MAriah Carey!!  No thanks.

Daniel Craig:  Originally had Jeremiah Douglas picked out.  Craig LOVED the name Daniel and I very much disliked that name! (you know when you know of someone that gives you the creeps, it becomes distasteful?) Douglas is Craig's middle name, but when we changed the first name to Daniel, I thought it might sound weird to have Daniel Douglas.  I don't know, I now think it sounds just fine! BTW, I love the name Daniel now!!!  for all who may be wondering! ;-)  And, I really don't remember a girl name.

Nathanael Craig:  Julia.  I was reading in my devotions while expecting him and read Romans 16.  Julia is in a list of believers names.  I loved it from that moment on!

Michael Craig:  I really wanted Joshua!  I was thinking that we didn't have any more rhyming names for boys, but Craig convinced me we should focus on the "el" ending....I'm soooo glad we did!!  As "el" means "of God"  Each of our boys' names have great meanings and they are so proud of them!  Girl name?  Julia (of course!)

Julia Katherine:  Gabriel.  But I really wasn't sold on it. (no offense to those who have a Gabriel, I just really didn't like it for a few years!)

Lydia Grace:  Gabriel.  Again, I still did NOT like it, but I knew Whatever Craig wanted, Craig would get! ;-)

Abigail Faith:  Actually was named Amelia for 3 hours!  We had even called our children and told them they had a new baby sister named Amelia Joy!  Three hours later, we called back and said we had changed our mind, her name was instead Abigail Faith! (Why not Joy?  Abigail means "my father's joy" so I didn't want a name that meant, "my father's joy joy")  Boy name:  Tossed between Gabriel, Lemuel, and Ezekiel.

Ezekiel Craig:  SELAH JOY!!!  Fell in love with the name from the beginning of this pregnancy!  Knew someone who had a Selah way back when we only had five kiddos, thought it was pretty, but kind of forgot about it until this time. Was so thrilled when we got the opportunity on the very next baby!

Selah Joy:  Lemuel.  Love the meaning of it!  "One who belongs to God" or "devoted to God"

There you have it, folks!  The story of each of my children's names!  A fun trip down memory lane for me.  And to answer anyone who may be wondering why Craig for all the boys' middle names????  No, it's not out of conceit, but with the name change after Daniel was born, we just thought that we didn't want any of our boys feeling left out of being a name sake of their daddy!  So, we gave their daddy's name to all of them!  And they are so proud of it!!!!

Almost there!

New niece #1, Grace
New niece #2, Amelia
New niece #3, Joanna
We are getting closer to being caught up!  After our crazy week, we had the chance to go and visit family!  The third week of February, we got to meet THREE new nieces!!! We have a new nephew as well but he lives in Utah, a bit far for a week's trip!

Aww, cousin time!
At Fultano's
More cousin time!
Julia and Zeke
Michael and a cousin in Seaside
Wearing Grandpa's reading glasses!
Dad and Daniel at the hat shop..and sporting that broken wrist!
We started the week out with Daniel falling and landing on his arm.  Yes, x-rays proved what my suspicions were.....a broken wrist.  Well, after spending hours at the doctors, we finally pulled out of our driveway all packed up and ready for a week off.  We drove to Astoria, OR where we had our "Christmas" with grandparents and aunties, uncles, and cousins...oh the fun to be had!  We of course went to our favorite spot, Fultano's Pizza twice!  And as we headed out of town we stopped at the bakery and got fresh from the oven cardamom rolls- YUM!!!  From there, we travelled to Idaho and spent the next three nights at a hotel.  The children got to swim, swim, swim!  I found out that Zekers is a bit of a fish!  We enjoyed fellowship with new friends and then travelled to Royal City, WA where Craig's sister and her family live. After a few hours there, we headed on back home.

Zoom in and see my tooth!
Look at the new space in my mouth!
Since getting home, we had couples' retreat and this last week we have worked on getting a routine back to somewhat "normal", whatever that is! ;-) And while one little girl lost her first tooth and is working on losing a second, another little girl got her first tooth and likewise is working on her second!  Milestones everywhere!  So this concludes our February and gets us all caught up on the happenings at the Houston household.
Here's my tooth!

A Continuation...

Continuing with the catching up theme, the second week of February flew by with extreme busyness!  The first part of the week was spent in prepping for the days to follow and recovering from my birthday get away.  Early Wednesday morning, the Houston family rolled out of the sack, got dressed,  loaded into the van, and headed down to our state's capitol, Olympia.  Craig was asked to speak for the Christian Homeschooler's day at the Capitol.  What an opportunity!  There were several hundred homeschooling families that attend every year.  These families bring home made apple pies and the children, 12 and older, deliver them to our Representatives and Senators.  My children's group was even selected to deliver pies to the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor!  Craig spoke on being "salt and light" as Christian's in our nation.  Little did we know beforehand, but the House chose that particular day to vote on the bill for same sex marriage.  We had the opportunity to truly be salt and light that day!  Craig also was asked to give a short speech in the Rotunda, under the dome.  This is a very public part of the Capitol building where onlookers stopped to listen to what was going on.  He was asked to pray over Representatives and Senators that came to address our group.  It was a full day that ended with registering for a speech tournament that my four oldest children participated in.....

Getting serious about giving speeches! ;-)
Soooo, everyday through Saturday, the older children got up at 5 am to prepare for and travel to Olympia to the tournament.  They each gave speeches in front of judges.  Naomi and Anna performed duos with friends, and all of them did biographical narratives.  Naomi's bio. narrative was about William Wilberforce, Anna did hers on Nate Saint, Samuel's was on Winston Churchill, and Daniel's was on Christopher Columbus.  This time in speech club has been very educational and an all around great experience!  Much work was done, but not at the expense of fun!!!!
What else do you do while waiting for your turn?

Naomi and her duo partner
Anna and her duo partner being silly!

On Thursday, my husband had to have an emergency root canal.  His tooth had been hurting so bad, and the sensitivity to cold, hot, and sweet was intense.  It turned out that his tooth was practically hollow on the inside although nothing was visible on the outside!!!  He finished up at the dentist and went on down to Olympia where he helped in judging speeches.  We are thankful for those who also gave of their time that week to help out!  This would include, Russell Smith, Mark Howe, Brigitte and Derek Hase, the entire Green family (Brian, Sheri, and David), and Erich Heinz. 

During the tournament, I stayed home with the little ones and tackled the humongous job of switching bedrooms.  I took out all of the boys' stuff, bringing it downstairs to put into the green room, which meant taking the little girls' things out of the green room and putting it upstairs to incorporate into the older girls' room.  This was quite a task!  The boys' old room is currently being occupied by a family of 8!!!  This has been quite an adjustment, but is working well.  We are slowly but surely getting settled.  Again, thank you to those who have helped with repairs and "donations" of bunk beds ;-), and the putting together of bunk beds, and the help in moving large pieces of furniture!!! (R.J., Russell, Braylan)

PHEW!  That was quite a week!  Makes me tired just remembering it!  It is amazing how much one can get done in a short amount of time! :-)

Catching Up A Bit.......

Turning back the clock about a month brings us to the beginning of February.  My husband, sweet and romantic as he is, whisked me away for my 35th birthday.  He took me to get a pedicure and then took me to the Inn at Port Ludlow where we stayed for the night.  At home, we had a wonderful cake bought for me by a very sweet friend...thank you, Stephanie!!! ;-)

On our way!
on our balcony ;-)
So, I am officially at my mid-life....I look at my older children and feel old, then I look at my younger children and feel young.  I know that one day, I may look at my little children and still feel old...hopefully not anytime soon!! Lol!
The beautiful Inn
Sunset on my birthday
Beautiful WASHINGTON!!!
Tuxedo cake.....YUM!!!