a little family update



(picture from our September trip to Colorado)

My husband~ Rich just recently got his yearly bonus for which we are very thankful.  The whole family sacrifices a little bit (missing him during the business trips and late hours) but he sacrifices a whole lot, his work is not back-breaking, but it is mind-numbing and non-stop thanks to modern technology!  However, the sacrifice is worth it when he is sufficiently rewarded for all the hard work.  It’s nice to have a little extra, in order to provide things for the children, and in order to give liberally to the Lord in a monetary way.  Sometimes I feel a little guilty about “having extra money” but the Lord gives to each certain gifts and ways to minister and money is one way to be a blessing.  I know that there are verses and warnings against the dangers of money (like loving it or becoming materialistic), but it is also clearly a gift as well.  Rich is one of the most generous men I know, and we would all gladly give all our possessions up for the Lord. 

Also, this past weekend, Rich traded in his truck and bought a 2007 Lexus instead.  The truck was big and blue and totally HIM, but ran on diesel and was becoming impractical for our needs.  Rich is in his vehicle every single day, driving back and forth to work, so I encouraged him to get something he would enjoy driving, and something that was safe on the roads.  (it’s snowing this morning!)  He spent most of the day on Saturday working on the purchase, and he really feels that God led him to this particular car….he got a great deal on it, a great deal on his trade-in, and a great warranty.  We now have NO payments on his vehicle, which feels great.  He bought it on February 13, so I am telling him it was his Valentine’s gift.

Rich is still running on the treadmill about three times a week, and doing very well with his eating habits and taking care of himself.  He looks great and feels good, too. 

He is going to start teaching Sunday School again, after taking a big break.  He is refreshed and ready to study and pour over books and his Bible again.  He loves the extra spiritual boost he gets from teaching.



(picture from a trip to a science center this summer, Jacob has probably grown another 3 inches since then!)

Jacob~  Oh my big son…how I love him so.  What a blessing he is.  What is it about those firstborns?  You lean a little bit on them at times,  I do believe.  Yes, he has his faults…one of which we are working on right now, is his tendency to think of himself too much.  If there is one cookie left he truly believes it IS HIS.  If he and a sibling both want to sit in the same chair, he truly believes HE HAS THE RIGHT.  It’s been fun to turn his world upside down and tell him that these are perfect opportunities to practice our biblical-thinking and GIVE UP to the other one.  Cheerfully give the very thing you want to your sister or brother.  And what a nice reminder for his mother, too!  Selfishness sneaks up on all of us, yes?  But I want Jacob to grow towards LEADING BY SERVING, not leading by force and bossiness. 

Jacob loves music, and drawing.  He likes playing board games with his siblings.  He loves to eat.

Last night Jacob helped me make dinner (made awesome mashed potatoes!), helped me feed Seth a snack.  We two talk together, and laugh so much.  Sometimes I worry that I am being more of a friend than a MOM, but then I get over it.  We are the way God made us to be.  He has given us a great relationship.

Rich and Jacob, as well, have a good bond.  Rich does great at toughening him up.  Jacob looks up to his Dad with such a sweetness, I can tell how much he wants to please him, as it should be.


Ethan~  E has been sweet since the day he was born.  He continues to be sweet, and silly, and getting mature, all the same time.  He walks with a skip and a bounce.  He enjoys laughing and making up stories.  He is very good at playing with the younger ones….Caleb and David especially adore big brother E.  He has a way about him that makes him everyone’s friend.  He is a little more thoughtless at the moment, however, he does his work, his schoolwork, all just fine, but you get the impression that he isn’t really THINKING a whole lot about it.  He just does it and moves on with life.  He has honest emotions and some innocent pride.  For instance, he ordered a special soda for himself when we went out to eat this weekend.  None of us had heard him order it and when it came we were all like, “Ethan, what do you have?  Can I have sip?  Oh cool, look at the bottle!”…E got this proud air about him, “It’s a Japanese soda.  It’s in a glass bottle.” (gives a little sigh while gazing at, and touching, his soda and licking his lips)…..he enjoyed the popularity and the pride of choosing something SPECIAL. 

If you praise him, he visibly puffs up in a shy but obvious way.  I love it.

Jacob calls him “me lad”….it sort of runs together, “How’re you doin’ me-lad?” 

Jacob and Ethan are such friends, such buddies, that I wonder how they will cope when the time comes that they might actually have to go their separate ways in life….but we won’t think about that now, will we?


Grace~  My daughter who is now 10.  Grace is a young lady now, but can certainly hold her own in the giggle and loud playing department.  She is mostly quiet and calm, but when she gets going she has us all rolling our eyes.  She only gets upset when she needs something to eat.  If you see her in tears, hand her a nice big plate of food and she’ll perk up in no time.  This is why, for her, there is the rule, “if you want to eat, eat.”  I trimmed her hair this weekend, a good 5 inches, because it was getting way too difficult to take care of. 

I want to start getting her to do more in the kitchen.  She has baked cookies and a cake but for the most part she is not as involved as some of her brothers.  I think it’s time that she could be my assistant, and it would be so fun to have a little girl-friend in the kitchen with me!

Grace loves animals….dogs, cats, horses, especially. 

She still plays with her dolls every day.

She likes to dress up in her pretty dresses.  She bought a book about Princesses with her birthday money a few months ago.

She bites her nails.

She is a leader in her own way, though, and can be quite authoritative at times, and gets a certain tone while speaking to her brothers.  (sounds a bit like her mama at those times, LOL)….I remember this summer when the boys caught a big ol’ crawfish from the stream and brought it to the house to boil it and eat it and GRACE WOULD NOT LET THEM.  She absolutely put her foot down.  I was quite impressed.

She and Davy sometimes pair off and play together for hours, doing who knows what.  They make up games and things to do and vanish for a while.

She loves to take care of the chickens, and studies and observes them.  She knows each of them by name.


David~  Our Davy.  David of course is a little boy, at seven years old, he is still eager to play and have fun all day long.  However, he is also learning to help and be a blessing and can do some chores now.  He especially enjoys collecting the eggs from the coop.  David goes to public school but this is his last year (he’s in first grade), now that he knows how to read and write I will begin to homeschool him, as well. 

He is in an ideal line-up in the family, with two older brothers and two younger brothers.  Depending upon his mood, he can play “big boy stuff” or “little boy stuff”…..he is the pesky little brother and the adored big brother all at the same time.  I think this is why he and Grace sometimes match up…they are more on common ground with each other.

He comes to me and hugs me during the day.  He cares about his loved ones.  He likes to send out mail to his Uncle David, who he is named after.  If Davy gets in trouble it is usually for fighting with Caleb. 


Caleb~  The one who has changed the most in the last year because now he is not a baby anymore.  He is big.  Oh, can this boy talk and talk and talk.  We are beginning to think he will be a preacher or a politician or some sort of speech-maker.  He is a handsome and solid boy.  I absolutely cannot lift him up anymore.  He still is a cry-baby at times, and so we are working on that bad habit at the moment. 

He still likes Thomas and wants to like Thomas for his whole life, but he is more “into” Bionicles now.  If you don’t know what they are…..they are made by the LEGO company and are these robot type creatures that you put together.  He is constantly taking apart or putting together, his bionicles.

All four of my older boys love Star Wars, although they have not seen but snippets of the movies.  I think the older boys saw maybe one or 2 of the older movies but that is it…however, they have light sabers, and someone who Rich works with (who also has boys, but they are older) gave them hand-me-down star wars toys like you wouldn’t believe….so, Star Wars is all the rage here.

They also like their stuffed animals…they are all named and are called, “the gang”. 

Caleb said to me yesterday, “Mom, me and David are BEST FRIENDS NOW.  We used to FIGHT.”

I was getting stressed out in the kitchen on Sunday, trying to bake.  David and Caleb were playing there on the floor and I heard Caleb say, “Dave.  Should we go downstairs?  So Mom doesn’t freak out?”

Yesterday Caleb and I took a nap together.  He’s a wonderful little boy.  I tell him he’s special and if it’s been too long he says, “Mom?  Am I special?”  And I say, “Yes!”

Psalm 23 is CALEB’S bible passage, and I like to take him to our poster that we have, and show him the pictures, and go over the words.  If we happen to hear someone else recite it, I say, “Caleb, they’re saying your verses!  You know them!”


Seth~  Seth has been extra grumpy the last few days.  He cut his third tooth so I am guessing that is the problem.  He is going to bed early and getting a nice long night’s sleep so something’s tiring him out.  Probably his busy family!  Seth gets passed from one pair of arms to another and absolutely DETESTS his playpen.  Caleb used to sit and play like an angel, not Seth.  He plays for a minute and then yells.  He likes to get into mischief, too, and we have all learned to keep doors shut.  One day he escaped outside.  I found him walking in the snow barefoot around the house.  He loves his pacifier, eating big boy foods, and we are slowly removing the bottle from his little life.  He is walking like a pro, and trying to run.  He can climb on things.  He hates the church nursery and cries hard when I leave him.  He settles down after a while and is usually happy when I pick him up after the service.  Seth is one year old and we have enjoyed him so much in the last year.  How fun it is to have a baby in the house!


Sarah Joy~  Although she is hidden from us, and still growing in my tummy, Sarah is a part of the family.  Jacob signed her name to my birthday gift.  She has been given gifts already.  I know of a few ladies at church making pink crocheted blankies.  I have her clothes hanging in my closet.  Yesterday Sethie was on my lap and Grace said, “Be careful of your baby sister!”  David pats my tummy and says, “How’s Sarah doing?”  And Rich, my love, gives her kisses.



0 thoughts on “a little family update

  1. How sweet Shanda. Your family is just beautiful and all growing up so quickly!! Don’t you just love that each child has his/her own unique personality that God created? Such a gift and a blessing. So happy to hear of the blessing that the Lord gave through Rich’s job. That’s so awesome!! I am sure he works very hard. God is good!

  2. You should be in here too!  No no, I have an even better idea have Rich do an entry on you, or have the kids write about you and have them take pictures to back up what they are writing! Are you going to post a shot of the new ride?  I am sure Rich will have a blast with it!It was fun to read over the descriptions on all the family members and to see where they are at!

  3. You are truly blessed. I’m the eldest of 7 siblings.. six of us girls. I thank God every day for a mom who taught us to love each other as Christ love’s us. We are all “old” now, the youngest is probably older than you, lol. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Shanda~I love the way you mentioned your “friendship” with Jacob. I too have that kind of relationship with MaKayla, our oldest, and at times have wondered if I was being more of a “friend” than a mom but then God gently showed me that He is not just my Father but my Friend as well. Our babies will be all grown up and gone before we even realize it and we will be grateful for the “friendship” we have nurtured with them. They will know they can call, come home, ask, cry, laugh…be themselves because WE ARE THEIR FRIEND! :o) Just the thought makes me smile.I had to laugh at Caleb’s comment of protection…”Dave. Should we go downstairs? So Mom doesn’t freak out?” :o) Don’t ya’ just love em’…Have a blessed day~Mendiwww.simpleandsurrendered.blogspot.com

  5. What a wonderful update!! I loved reading it :)I can’t totally tell from the picture, but, is Rich in front of the garden of the gods, in Colorado Springs?!! I LOVE that place! Andrew took me out there this past July; it is where he grew up. It is so beautiful out there, and so different from the East Coast.

  6. How neat to read all these things about your children. I especially like “He loves to eat” That made me laugh out loud. My Thomas falls into that category too. What a blessing you are to your children and husband. How fun it would be to perch up high in your living room and hang out and view your family for a day. Just the noisy fun of it all.

  7. What a very special post–loved the little update.  Yes, Star Wars is big here, too, even though they haven’t seen the movies.  My boys will make a light saber out of anything.When are we going to see an update on you? I love how the kids are already protecting their little sister. 

  8. Wonderful update Shanda! I agree with Jo…”a picture of Shanda” written by her family would be a great post. I loved reading about each one…beginning with Rich. Blessed to be a blessing. I know God provides well for you all through Rich, and I always see the care you take in making decisions. You portray Rich as being a strong, caring, good godly leader of your family. wonderful children. I can see you and Rich are being parents and teaching them and leading them, so do not fear the friendship thing. It is not like when people are not being parents. It is a beautiful gift when you are living life with you children. One of the benefits of homeschooling too, as it comes easier I think. I value the friendship and love I have with my boys, and their wives too!

  9. I too relied on my oldest son when he was growing up. Jeff was away because of residency and the military. His first name is Wayne (Wayne Jefferson) which means “burden bearer”….and so he was for me, in the physical responsibilities around the house. We are very close and now he has a love of his life. And I love *HIS* love like she were my own daughter. ❤You might be surprised how soon that time will come with Jacob. This is a WONDERFUL little dedication to the people you love!! 🙂

  10. Great update, dear girl! I hope your little Sarah is forming beautifully in the womb and that soon, you’ll be adding little stories about her! I do think the idea of having your kids write a post about you is a fun one! Maybe for Mother’s Day? If we can wait that long!

  11. Thank you! I enjoyed that so much! I know sometimes it must get crazy around your house with all those children and their doings, but I am so glad that you take the time to see and evaluate who they are, and to appreciate them — cherish them.

  12. I have a cry-baby 4-year-old too, so let me know how you’re dealing with that! It something that has become more annoying since a new baby is coming. Thanks for the updates on everyone! How are YOU?! 😉

  13. What a beautiful post, you will have to have one of them (or all of them) write about you next.  Matt loves those Bionicles also.  He just got 2 of them and carries them to bed with him. 

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