Blog Archives

HAPPY 7TH BIRTHDAY, SETH!!

seths-7th-birthday
Born February 10, 2010
8:25 am
7lb. 13 oz.
20 in. long
Happy birthday to Seth who turns seven today. Mama is having a hard time with this one, folks. The youngest of 12 kids. I was pregnant or nursing for over two decades and this lil guy isn’t a baby anymore. He was born the same year we opened our business (because we are a “special” kind of crazy) and started his life in a commercial kitchen. (Okay, he wasn’t born there but he’s spent a heck of a lot of time there…and loves it!) He is small for his age but his vocabulary is huge, although he still says “OsmOs” for “almost” and “Mousegeeowski” for Mike Wazowski. Some folks are critical of our having a large family; some are simply taken aback but all I have to say is the world is a better place because I was willing to go through labor one more time. God has huge plans for this little guy. He is an absolute delight and ready to take on the world!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SETH!! LOVE YOU BUNCHES!
What’s not shared is lost,
Michelle
Advertisements

Happy Birthday, Benjamin!

Happy 21st Birthday, Benjamin!

I miss having you around, mister. I can’t believe the tot that used to spin as fast as he could in the exersaucer, believed that Santa flew around in a rocket ship throwing out presents, and coined the term “ice pickles” is 21. I’m waiting in anticipation to see what amazing things God has in store for you, young man.

I’m so proud of you and love you! Have a fantabulous day!!

benjamins-21st-birthday

I’m Up Already

This blog has been yelling at me to sit down and include it in my morning routine. Alright already! I’m up. I’m here. I have a morning routine….when the heck did I become a morning person?! I keep giving myself excuses as to why I don’t have time to post but, truth be told, I just haven’t had it at the top of my priority list. Our family was involved with a play at the local theatre, business has picked up for our little catering business, school, nuff said. We’ve been swamped and I’ve been tired. I’m extra tired because, since opening our business, this night owl has been evolving into a morning person. I’m still getting acclimated to this thing called “moving” before the sun shines it’s face.

Unless I stay up late, I, typically, get up between 4 and 5:30. How stupid is that? If, IF, this very light sleeper has not been startled out of sleep by a five-year-old staring at me or whispering to me, “I need to go potty,” and/or the loathsome cat decides to meow incessantly and jolts me out of sleep and/or….fill in the blank….IF I’m permitted to wake up on my own, I get up around 6am. I get up, start coffee and the laundry, fold a couple loads, get dressed, Bible, blitzes and emails, oh my.  When did this happen? Part of me misses being a night owl but I am pretty zonked in the evening and am not very productive. I sat down with this post and 4:45am and realized that I *like* being up before everyone else. I’m still not completely converted…I want to go back to bed. I feel sleepy but if I lay down now, I will sleep all morning and I have to pack for my birthday get away.  I have only scrapbooked once since starting our business. I am WAY behind and need to get back to it for my family’s sake and for therapy. I’m looking forward to solitude but, by golly, I’m chugging a Rockstar and staying up late and (crosses fingers) sleeping in to my heart’s content in the morning.

I might even write a blog post while I’m there! Will wonders never cease?!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

My M.O.P.S Days are Over

My last day as a Mother of a PreSchooler was Monday. I haven’t attended a MOPS meeting in several years but, if we still had a group in our area, I could still be attending. I have been the mother of a baby and/or toddlers since 1988. It’s not complicated math; that’s 27 years.  Almost 30 years of mothering babies and toddlers. Now that I just put those words in print, I’m flabbergasted! Time flies, they say, when you’re having fun. Time flies faster with each child added to the family. My head is spinning! I cried a few times Tuesday as I saw my baby boy grin from ear to ear each time we referred to his being 5, now. Yesterday, he was playing the GeoSafari and exclaimed, “I’m FIVE, now, and this is so easy for me!” Ha! He’s loving being a big boy.

10-DSC01241-001

 

In the meantime, I was feeling so very sad. Bittersweet was the mood of the day. I’m sentimental. I cherish the memories with my kiddos. It didn’t help at all that I went looking for baby pics to post but most of them were lost when my laptop AND my backup external crashed right about the same time. Most of my Seth baby pics are gone. That’s a tad heart-wrenching to this Katy Kodak. But I did find some, thank you, Facebook….

12-101

04-20040_1300950897858_1138601_n-001

03-20040_1300950857857_3328875_n-001

02-18374_1126846029691_3030730_n-001

 

05-20040_1300950937859_1261413_n-001

It was a blessing to babysit my newest grandbaby and her big sister the same day Seth turned 5. I got my baby fix. 🙂

But, alas, it’s a new season and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Unlike most tales of terror about “the baby of the family,” our younger kids are the best behaved ones of the bunch. Seth is one of the most, obedient, sweet-natured, self-controlled youngins I’ve ever met. His big brother, Isaiah, too. They still act like children and throw the occasional fit but they have been well-trained by mom, dad and a team of well-trained siblings. We’ve learned a “few” things having so many like “learn from your mistakes.” It seems like common sense but common sense is sparse these days. We’ve been learning the whole 27 years and we’re still learning. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, I’m here to tell ya, you don’t. There’s always somebody you can learn  from. On the other hand, to those young moms who have 6 month old and a 2 1/2 half-year old and want to share their wisdom with me, shut up. Close your mouth and listen for a change. We all know them. They’ve read the latest books on parenting and are enthusiastic, zealous and, yes, I was one of them at one time, usually wrong. Not about everything but a lot. I realized early on that I didn’t know what I was doing and sought out moms with older kids that I saw as well-trained, happy, well-behaved, etc. and started taking notes. I wouldn’t trust an expert that wrote a book unless you’ve seen how their kids turned out…as young adults. Okay, my two cents….end of rant. Back to the birthday boy and being a mommy of many….

I have some regrets but I will NEVER regret having so many children.  As I posted on FB on Seth’s birthday, “People say they can’t imagine having so many kids.We can’t imagine life without Seth.”  Is it hard work? Heck yea. Anything worthwhile is hard work and there is nothing more worthwhile than children.  And, oh. my. wurd, do we have fun together…

So…my youngest is five…I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it. We’re having a Minecraft Birthday Bash Sunday but we celebrate the “official” day with a menu planned by the birthday child and they get out of chores for the day. Seth chose donuts for breakfast, something we don’t eat a lot.

06-DSC01619-001

 

08-DSC01633-001

 

07-DSC01628-001

 

The sugar buzz helped him get through a grueling day of unlimited Minecraft time. We had his Pizza Rolls and other health food while watching a movie then he opened his cards and a gift I picked up at the local children’s consignment shop, Cradle and All. I’d like to take a moment and pat myself of the back for spotting said gift. I looked it up on Amazon. I need you click on that link so you can see how much that piece of plastic costs new! $12.50, baby. Thank you very much.

09-DSC01689-001

Yes, it’s another piece of furniture to take up space but Seth loves Batman and he was delighted. He’s still delighted; he told me today how much he “weally likes the Batman toy I got him.”  So much fun!

And so begins, yet another, NEW season of life. Every time I turn around, I get hit upside the head with a new season! My babies are growing but there are still babies and toddlers in the house! And the grandbabies are so much fun!

Happy Birthday, little man!

Me: "Why are you holding your fist up?" Seth: "I'm Batman getting ready to punch somebody."  Yep...that cute face with the Minion hat is SO intimidating! LOL!

Me: “Why are you holding your fist up?”
Seth: “I’m Batman getting ready to punch somebody.”
Yep…that cute face with the Minion hat is SO intimidating! LOL!

 

 

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Music Monday – Friend Fest 2013

WOOHOO!!! Friend Fest at Amish Acres in Nappanee, IN is awesomesauce! I know there are LOTS of music festivals out there but the folks at WFRN did their homework and have created the most family-friendly Christian music event I have been to or read about.  That this was just their second year is even more impressive. “What makes it so family-friendly?” you are wondering (I just know you are). Money, for one thing. Families want to take their families to worship with these A-MA-ZING bands but not everyone can afford all that a music festival entails, especially big families. You are usually nickeled and dimed for any and all amenities.

1-IMG_0815

First, the biggie for us was food, if you want to call that an amenity. Friend Fest allows food to be brought in! I’ve not been to a festival that allowed you to bring food in.  A friend just informed this weekend that another popular festival recently banned even eating in the parking lot. Say wha? No tailgating? Good grief…  Food was available for purchase at Friend Fest, there was a water tent at the back of the field (only a buck a bottle!), snow cones and ice cream on a hot day were perfect (they even had vendors walking through the crowd selling ice cream out of a cooler). There was no lack of sweet, cold stuff. BUT we brought 9 kids with us.  Purchasing food for 11 people is not cheap…even when buying cheap food. It adds up, dontcha know?  We were able to keep our crew hydrated and nourished all day without paying out the wazoo. That we didn’t purchase food from Amish Acres didn’t seem to hurt their business; the food lines stayed busy and we saw plenty of folks munching on their yums.  Meanwhile, our clan kept busy snacking on Capri Suns, strawberries, Cloud Cakes and a variety of other items we rarely indulge in then we dined on Pulled BBQ Pork, BBQ Beans and Sweet n Sour Broccoli Slaw. It’s nice having catering equipment to keep our vittles hot. 🙂 Did we make folks around us jealous? Maybe just a little. 🙂 That being said, we saved a fortune!

IMG_0757

IMG_0760

IMG_0762

Secondly, there was no additional charge for the Kids Zone. There was even a Children’s Stage that featured juggling, an illusionist, illusions, music, puppetry and clowning around. Of course, the Bounc House area is a kid’s favorite part of the festival. I was a little disturbed, though, by the Gator Hide-and-Slide. The kids climb up into the gator’s mouth,

IMG_0639

bounce around inside

IMG_0665

then come out the back end.

When I went to take pics of my lovely children exiting the inflatable reptile, I didn’t find a slide as expected, I found a slit. I said, “Oh, unt uh…” Craig said, “Yep. That’s where they come out.” No no no…that’s messed up. I told my Lenae that the designer of said gator must not have liked kids. She quickly replied, “Or really likes them and knows how kids think. What kid wouldn’t love to say they were pooped out of an alligator?” She has a point.

IMG_0647

Thirdly, free parking. Nuff said.

Fourthly, the Coffee House Stage. If you had attended Friend Fest and  wanted to hear some other musicians and Break-Out Sessions with some of the Main Stage artists while using the, again, FREE Wi-Fi and drinking your gourmet coffee, this was the place for you.

#5 The Venue: Amish Acres is a fantastic location for an event like this! It’s clean, it’s lovely, it’s big! It’s also just 5 minutes away from Play-Mor Campground which means a lot to those of us who prefer “roughing it” in an air-conditioned camper.  Primitive camping is available at Fountain Acres but that’s not roughing it to me. That’s dying a slow death of humidity and allergies. The only thing I would change is placing a canopy section in the rear for those who don’t want to melt especially those with children, “older” folks and those wearing walking casts whose legs get over heated…not that I know anyone like that.

Observe the hot children covered in 3 bottles of sunblock.

Observe the hot children covered in 3 bottles of sunblock.

Sixthly, yes there’s more…The staff and volunteers were incredible friendly from the time you pull in to park. Some of the crazy antics of those directing parking had us smiling from ear to ear. Everyone was eager to assist, hospitable and, you could tell, happy to be there serving.

SEVEN: stewardship.  I was tickled to read the following in the program: “It takes 3-4 years for a festival of this magnitude to sustain itself. Currently, ticket sales, sponsors and partners cover just 80% of the festival’s total expenses. We are almost there, yet it is still not quite enough.” 80% and it’s just the second year! They accomplished this without charging for parking, the Kids Zone, and every other little thing and without forcing folks to purchase their food. Kudos! As soon as I’m able, I hope to become a Friend Fest Partner. We need to sell more cheesecake.

Eight: Enough space for Ultimate Frisbee. The kids did mention that Frisbee to Building 429 made them feel like they were in a movie or a music video, LOL! They rawked, incidentally.

IMG_0786

IMG_0795

IMG_0799

Nine: Friends. We drove 4 hours from home and ran into several friends. Many hugs were shared and, of course, Frisbee.  It really was a Friend Fest! (Cheesy, I know).

IMG_0897

IMG_0725

IMG_0723

And last, but not least, the music.  We went Friday to see some of our favorites: Carrollton, Rhett Walker Band, For King and Country, Big Daddy Weave, Building 429 and Matthew West. If we had gone Saturday, we would have enjoyed OBB, Hyland, Moriah Peters, Finding Favour, Chris August, Kari Jobe, Jamie Grace, the Peter Furler Band and TobyMac. We opted for some R&R with the kiddos at the campground. That aside, the weekend held a high-caliber line-up that did not disappoint. I CANNOT wait to hear next year’s line-up!!!

(What? No pics from the bands?! That’s another post….;) )

www.WFRNFriendFest.com

Have you been to a music festival that was as family/pocketbook-friendly as this one? Let us all know!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

IMG_0764

39.95 plus shipping and handling

“I have decided that I am not a 40 something. I am 39.95, plus shipping and handling.” That was one of my tweets today on this, my 45th birthday.  It’s also Thursday which anyone on social media should know is Throw Back Thursday #tbt.  SO, having  a birthday that ushers me further away from 40 and closer to, gulp, 50 ON Throw Back Thursday is just asking for sentimental notions, denial and a midlife crisis.  We see our kids turn 10 and we say, “Oh, they grow so fast!”  I see me turn 45 and I’m thinking, “Where did the time go?”

baby me

TODDLER me

Holy cow.

There’s a saying that goes “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.”  Add that to one of my responses to inquiries about the number of children we have, “They keep me young,” and we have a formula for a fountain of youth.  Now that grandbabies have entered the scene, there will be no end to my shenanigans!

It’s been through being a mom that I have, quite serendipitously, re-discovered my “inner youth” and have tried to get it right this go ‘round. For example, when I was a school-girl, I would bring home those arts and crafts books from the school library, look at all the cool projects I wanted to tackle then promptly NOT make a single one of them.

school girl me

This school girl here. The 70s, the height of fashion….

 I believe that was due to my serious lack of self confidence…among other things. Then comes along the Fecher kids

267361_2153861660094_8945_n

who don’t know they’re supposed to be intimidated by trying new things, have creativity and talent oozing out of their ears and I’m a new woman…girl. They have been contagious.  Now, when I get on Pinterest, I see a project I want to attack, make a supply list and the next thing we know,  the kids are asking each other, “Why is Mom painting clothespins?” (True story).  I have a refreshed appetite for adventure, travel, friends, creativity and play.

I also have a constant reminder of what child-like faith looks like.  I get stressed out.  But something has been reprogrammed in me that keeps the worry at bay. Like a kid, I see and feel God taking care of me and I know that even when there’s absolutely no money available for business bills, God will come through somehow and I watch and wait for it. I get antsy when bills are past due or I don’t get a much-needed catering job. I fret when a child is injured or sick or when the youth of our household make less-than-ideal decisions (we’ve had open discussions about how people are all stupid, us included, and this expected). But each time I venture into “worry-land,” the “que sera sera” comes over me like a wave.  Kids love anticipation. I do, too. Something the kids have taught me is that the problems that normally cause worry should create anticipation for what God will do.  I wish I could remember which Christian speaker it was that I heard talk about problems. (If you know who this is, let me know). He said, “All God’s people got problems. If you don’t have a problem, you come forward and we’ll lay hands on you and pray God gives you a problem. Because if you want to see a miracle, first you gotta have a problem! You can’t have a miracle without a problem!”

One of my mantras is “Never a dull moment!”  Big family + new season of grandbabies +a business = problems-a-plenty or, what we affectionately call them, “growth opportunities.” Also opportunities for miracles. Never a dull moment.

I’m looking forward, with anticipation, to another year of growth opportunities…and miracles. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

This day in 1988

It’s not just Lenae Michelle’s 24th birthday, it’s the 24th anniversary of our lives being turned upside down. Just like anyone else who becomes a parent, everything changed overnight. Literally. She was born just after midnight (12:22 to be exact). From March 29, 1988 on, things that didn’t matter that much before took on a whole new meaning. Politics mattered, who was on the school board was of most importance, nutrition, child training, making a home, being a better person, the list goes on. Most importantly, things eternal trump all things because of the life-changing event of becoming a parent. Thank you, Lenae, for being the catalyst for all the changes that matter. Yes, I know this was God’s idea – I thank and praise Him first and foremost for each and every life-change known as a baby He has given us. I love being a mom.

I was told throughout high school that “these are the best days of your life.”

1. Thank God that’s not true because my teen years were tumultuous at best. (I often wondered, “If these are the best days then what is there to look forward to?”)

2. The years I’m in right now are the best days of my life. They lied. “They” just wanted to sell lots of memory books, yearbooks, and class rings.

I am the mom of toddlers, youngers, middlers, olders, and young adults. It’s a new season having young adults and I’m still a little nervous as a mom as how to “mom” at this stage but it is such a privilege to see all the years we’ve muddled through together come to fruition. Lenae is a blessing and I am so thankful as I watch God work in her life. I am grateful God placed her in our family.

Happy Birthday Lenae!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Happy Birthday, Jillian! The mall threw an expo just for you!

Jillian is 20 today! To celebrate, we got up early, headed over to the kitchen to prep the BBQ Meatballs and load the van. After a car wash to make our van presentable, we headed over to the mall to set up for the KICKS 96/ 101.7/Hoppe Jewelers Bridal Extravaganza.

We work well as a team and it doesn’t take us long to set up. We had to be set up by 11:30 and didn’t get there until 10:30. Most everyone was already there and setting up. Of course, we prefer to keep it simple and we don’t have an elaborate display. There was an award for best decorated booth but we decided at the last expo to just go with a color them (chocolate, teal & gold) and napkins, food display pieces, a simple bouquet, our attire and even cake pops decorated in our theme colors pulled the whole booth together, I think.

Cake pop flavors: Lemon, White, Caramel Cappuccino & Chocolate

Cupcakes: Lemon Dream, Sour Cream White, Chocolatetown Special, Sour Cream Yellow, Red Velvet and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.

Craig brought Autumn to hang out with us. She wants to be a part of what we’re doing no matter what it is and that’s precious to me. She’s already part of the “Rockness Monster,” as we humbly refer to ourselves,  as she is fantastic at cake pop making and already pretty good at cake decorating at the tender age of 8.

We met a lot of friendly folks and always get a kick out of brides-to-be planning their weddings. I get excited with them as they excitedly plan for the big day and try to remember to say a quick prayer over them praying they’ll have a marriage that lasts.

After packing up, we headed straight home so I could crash and Jillian could hang out with the gang before going out with Natalie & friends for her birthday.

There’s more to our birthday girl’s day but I must needs crash n burn.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Isaiah -God My Salvation

He had his arm up and elbow out. It was excruciating. For me, not him. Four years ago today, I endured my second most painful childbirth experience because the little guy’s elbow was stuck outward and that pain made for a very emotional birth experience. After our little Isaiah Joseph made entry into the world, my husband and I melted into sobs.

AND, if I had to do it all over again…I would in a heartbeat. Isaiah, as it turns out, is a dynamic personality and we love to chat with him, watch his antics, and we enjoy the anticipation of what he’s going to do next as well as what kind of man he will turn out to be. We’ve known he’s a command man since he was small (see Created To Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl) and we’re praying for his wife now (she will never be bored).

Isaiah means “God is Salvation” or “God my Salvation” as well as “God is my helper.  As with all of my little ones, God gives me a special lullaby to sing to each of  my babies as I rock them. This is Isaiah’s:

Your name, Isaiah,

God my salvation,

Your name gives hope

To a hopeless world.

Little man, Isaiah,

God is my helper,

Be a help

To a hurting world.

Great man, Isaiah,

Grow strong, be brave.

Be a hero in a desperate world.

Great man, Isaiah,

Grow wise, live God’s Word.

Be a light in a dark, dark world.

Little man, Isaiah,

You are so precious.

Share Jesus’ love

With His precious world.

Happy Birthday to my little man!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This free digital slideshow generated with Smilebox

Play with your food!

Michelle

Isaiah’s Birthday Invite -No you can’t all come, it’s just cool

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This slideshow customized with Smilebox