Tuesday, March 31, 2015


So I have kinda been out of touch for the past week or so.  Easter Jam.  If you know me at all you know that I have been living, breathing, crafting, thinking, praying, and planning everything Easter Jam related.  Easter Jam is our biggest outreach event we hold at Crosspoint...and that is what I have been up to.  On Wednesday we found out that the sanctuary would not be decorated with the Easter set as we had thought and thus began decoration panic.  Wednesday evening was filled with a trip to Target, Hobby Lobby, Michaels and JoAnns.  Must. Get. Decorations.  My head was spinning.  There was NO WAY we were going to have an empty sanctuary for this fun event.  Some super generous and amazing men made the jumbo wood eggs in ONE DAY.  They were delivered very late on Thursday night and the decorating began.  My children worked very hard to make paper chains to use as the decorations as well.  We had many hands chip in to help with painting, hanging chains, decorating the lobby, hanging lanterns....helping in any way they could and we pulled it together!  
The turn out for Easter Jam was amazing.  Both our services were filled.  There was laughter and fun...but most of all the gospel was shared with SO many people I had never seen before.  So many new faces.  I hope they all had a great experience!  
 This was our photo booth area.  We had props for families to use to take some silly pictures.  Doesn't that just scream fun?!?!
 I put my handmade shirt back on and curled some pigtails and did some Easter Jam hosting on the stage.  That was my favorite part by far.  I get to work with some pretty awesome people that let me have the lime light for a little bit....usually I don't like eyes on me....but I kinda do ;)

 All 7 of our kids plus Dan were on the Easter Jam worship team.  They had practices and were all ready to worship up on stage.  I was SO proud of all of them.  And, no, I don't make Dan lead worship.  He likes to do that with the kids and they like having their Daddy worship with them.  Griffin did SO good.  I couldn't believe he stayed on the stage for both services and did all the songs. I posted a video below of one of the songs!

 Griffs was the winner of a "prize" egg for the egg hunt and got a basket of goodies. (the TMNT basket didn't come with his goodie basket...he took my basket prop from our skit!)

It was a really good day.  I am just so blessed to work for a church that allows me to use my talents and be a part of great events.  Now I am back to reality.  Kids are back in school after spring break.  The house is calling me to clean it as I have abandoned it for almost 2 weeks, we need groceries desperately and on and on and on.  I am still recovering from Easter Jam but can't wait to start planning our next event!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Oh what a weekend! Marriage proposals and mental breakdowns.

The past few days have gone by in a whirlwind.  On Friday I had two sessions...then on Saturday we had to pack 900 candy bags for our big Easter Jam this Saturday...(lots of people came to help with this!)...then I had another session Saturday night then off to work Sunday morning and then a mental breakdown Sunday afternoon.  That pretty much sums up the weekend.  
 First of all.... we had some very exciting news here at the farm on Saturday night!  Erika had planned a birthday party at my house with a bunch of her friends.  Isn't that a great idea for a birthday party?  Ok so anyways, her boyfriend contacted me via email and asked me to call him.  He was wanting to propose and was hoping I could help him.  So I pulled Nellie out of my pocket again and she designed him a sign to create.  And create he did!   He made this sign all my himself!!!  Notice the ring hanging on the bottom of the sign on a nail?  All. His. Idea.  He worked hard on his sign in a separate room from Erika.  Pretty sure she knew something was up....but it was still so adorable!  Congrats you guys!  I am so glad I got to be a small part of your forever!
 After the session on Saturday night I cleaned up and headed to bed....I was pretty crabby and tired by then.  I headed to work early Sunday morning and got home a little after 2:00.  I had this grand idea that we should take the kids somewhere.  Their spring break is this week and I thought we could go to a waterpark to swim for the afternoon or something.  After 2 hours of searching and pricing and getting super frustrated I ended up in my bed crying.   Mental. Breakdown.  Why does everything have to be SO expensive?  I looked for groupons and coupons and did it all.  Almost $500 to spend a night at a hotel?  Crazy ridiculous.  So I did what any logical mom that can't give their kids the world would do....I cried.  And then I pulled out things to sell!  I had been wanting to go through our tubs and tubs of clothes and started selling them on a Facebook page.  So that is how I spend my Sunday night.
 Then I woke up on Monday morning and tried again.  Ok...I wanted to do something special with the kids for one day before the Easter Jam crazy started the rest of the week.  So I did some research and decided to try LegoLand in Schaumburg for the day.  I found a coupon and then took them after 4:00 so we would get even more of a discounted price.  I had read all the reviews saying it was pretty lame.  And it was.  But, the kids had a good time and it wasn't busy at all.  Would I go again?  No.  However, I think my kids would in a heartbeat.  They did have the streets of Chicago all done in legos which was super cool.  I would maybe go again just to see that part!
 Yesterday the kids played board games together.  It was so sweet.  Well, the girls played board games I should say.  Notice the two boys jumping on the furniture?

 It has been really really nice having them at home.  I really do miss them when they are at school.  Well, I don't miss having to feed them lunch every day...but everything else I miss.

 And this is my treat to myself....my "spring has got to be coming treat."  How can you not stop at IKEA when you are visiting LegoLand?  I found this super cute plant holder and pots and I knew the perfect place for it.  The pots were $1.99 and the plant holder was on sale for $29.99.  I can't wait to head to Eberts to buy a few plants to fill my pots!  My little bit of spring inside!

I felt bad that I had a mental breakdown.  Having a larger family is just different.  I have to keep reminding myself that.  We need two hotel rooms or a suite if we are to go anywhere.  We can't swing that right now.  And that is ok.  We have each other.  Our kids our healthy and we can have fun without going to a waterpark.  Being together is what is really important.  I just have to keep praying that I don't forget what really matters!

Off to Easter Jam rehearsal!  Yay!  So excited :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Keeping busy!

Things are always on the "go" at our house.  Yesterday was filled with 2 crafting sessions!  A morning pallet sign/twine wrapped letter session and an evening private session.  
I created this craft for on of our upcoming sessions and I just LOVE it!  The clipboard was my favorite!  

 We had 3 brave twine wrapped letter crafters and the rest created pallet signs with some of our new spring sayings!

 Some just free handed their entire sign.....yes, she is amazing!

 For the evening session we only had a few ladies for a private session, but their signs turned out super awesome!  Lots of creativity happening on the farm!

 Look at this awesome bike rack someone gave us!  Will the bikes stay this organized?!?!  Yeah, probably not.
 My nephews are here for the weekend.  They. Are. AWESOME!  Lots of help and the kids love having their cousins around :)
 I am hosting a birthday party private session starting NOW!!  Must go...they just pulled in!
And this happened too!  I'll post more in a bit :) 

Monday, March 16, 2015

So that's what warm weather feels like!

I think I have said good-bye to my funk.  I have turned the corner for sure...Praise the Lord!  

Our weeks fly by.  Sometimes I don't even know how to process all that happens in a day at our house.

This past weekend we attended the school dance.  The kids were excited because they got to pull out their outfits from Sadie's 50's party.  Griffin totally gets into character.  He has me spike his hair and then he keeps checking to make sure it stays spiked.  Maybe one day he will be playing in ignition, Pastor Bryan!  

Saturday was B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.  I forgot what it was like to have warm weather.  This will be our first spring at our new house.  We have about 1 1/2 acres of land which is glorious.  It also brings tons of trees and twigs and sticks and leaves.  We had yard clean up day for a few hours on Saturday.  Each of the older kids got $2 to help and the littles got $1.  They would have helped without bribery  however they do help out a lot and we thought we would reward them a little bit!
 Molly got van clean out duty.  It was bad.  Like disgusting.  A long winter filled with 7 children's "Leftovers".  It took her a long time to clean out the van.  Not one complaint.  Phew!
 Griffin and Lanie even got into helping pick up sticks and leaves.  I loved watching them all work together.  Don't mind that huge pile of metal in the corner...that is boiler leftovers that need to make their way to the scrap yard...along with the boiler beast that is still in the basement!
 Dan FINALLY found Griffin's charger to his motorcycle he got over a year ago and hasn't ever taken a ride on.  He was pumped.
 I have been going strong still with exercising.  2 weeks in...every. Single. Day.  I made the mistake of getting on the scale (maybe daily) and getting super frustrated.  The numbers just were not going down.  I almost gave up.  Almost.  Then I pulled myself back together and pressed on.  I know my times are not good and I am slow yet, but I am alternating running and walking.  The other day I ran for 10 minutes straight.  I know...to many of you that is just your warm up...but to me...out of shape mom of 7...10  minutes seemed like a marathon.  Slow but surely I will get there!
 I made this today...It's not done yet, but it is just so happy!  I am going to finish it up tomorrow and let you all see the finished product.  I am offering this class as a special session on March 24th....go sign up!
 Griffs and Lanie begged me to take them somewhere today.  To the park we went.  I am just SO happy that God knew we needed a 7th child.  Lanie and Griffin are best buddies.  They would be lost without each other.  So when I questioned God 4 years ago about #7...HE knew best.  HE always does.
 They both claimed the rock wall at the park.  I almost had a heart attack watching them.  I thought for sure they were going to fall off.  They didn't.  Oh, and Griffin has found a love for rain boots.  Silly boy!

 Then the big kids got to climb after school.  We headed to the Y so I could walk and they were going to do their actives.  It didn't go so well.  Griffin and Lanie didn't want to go to the childcare so they ended up getting pushed in a double stroller on the track.  Joining the Y...Best decision EVER!

We went to Costoc tonight.  That is always fun...spending money on food that will be gone in a week.  We bought 10 gallons of milk today, one gallon was only $2.01!  That's a super awesome deal!  Dan and I thought we won the lottery!

This is our first week of no basketball, no night commitments...nothing.  It feels good.  We ate together as a family and enjoyed family time.  Yay for that!  Soccer will start soon....which I do look forward to cause I may be a bit of a soccer mom!

Off to meet a friend for a late night walk....'night!

Friday, March 13, 2015

I can't believe I did that....

Sometimes I agree to things and I don't know how I even agreed to them!

The church I work for is holding it's biggest outreach event...Easter Jam.  Last year we made a video to a parody of Let it go and we didn't think we could top that.

We knew we wanted to try...and try we did.  Dan and I were on a date night one night and I was telling him that we wanted to try and do another parody for an Easter Jam promotional video.  So there it began.  We started in the Kopp's parking lot making up words to Taylor Swift's Shake it off song.  We played the song over and over again changing the words to help us promote Easter Jam.  We made our way to Target and we ended up parking and writing more lyrics and never even going in to the store.  And so began our Easter Jam video....

Our children's ministry staff worked together to create a background and prep all the materials...and then we pulled everyone in the staff into the video....

And I am so embarrassed and HATE seeing myself on this.  However, Dan reminded me that our children would LOVE to see their mommy in the video and that seemed to help my ego.

So...here it is...Our Easter Jam Video.  (Click on the highlighted area and it will take you to the video)

Click on the link and skip the ad when you can and watch me make a complete fool out of myself.  Pig tails and all!

It's for the children....It's for the children.  It's to help us get the word out about Easter Jam so people will come and get the hear the amazing news of what Jesus did for them.

Breathe, Susan, Breathe....

If you can come, we would love to have you!  After the family service we have a huge egg hunt....and I will be sporting my pig tails again in a skit....uh huh...It's for the kids!

It's Easter Jam, It's Easter Jam!  You'll be singing it all day long :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Today it happened...I don't know if I should be happy or sad.


Last week we joined the Y in Oconomowoc.

Someone from our family has been there every singe day since we joined.

I am not sure why we didn't join sooner.

In the past week I have played racket ball, taken a zumba class, lifted weights, worked out with friends, swam, sat in the hot tub, sat in the sauna, and have ran for 10 minutes STRAIGHT.... AND....

I put Griffin and Lanie in Childcare.

This has NEVER EVER happened before in my life.  7 kids...almost 13 years of being a mom and I finally did it!!!

One thing about having a big family is that our little ones are ALWAYS doing something with a sibling.  All. The. Time.

Griffin won't go anywhere without a sister or a brother.  He won't go into class at church alone...he just cries and cries.  So I break down and send a sister in with him every single time.  Mainly because I am working and need to focus on doing my job so it is easier to send an older one in to stop the tears.  He did go to school one day a few weeks ago with Lanie....Lanie is his right hand sibling.  He does ok as long as he is with her.

So I went to the Y yesterday knowing I wanted to walk/run and thought maybe just maybe Griffin and Lanie would go into their childcare area.  I was hoping, I was praying!  I got them all signed in and ready to go and then we headed down to the teen room where drop off was and I left them there.  Just like that.  In one moment I had discovered a sense of freedom I guess you could say.  I knew they were safe, but they both gave me this look of sheer panic.  They had each other which I think kept the tears from coming.  When I went to pick them up they were playing nicely together.  Phew.  Did they actually make it without me?  You mean they didn't cry for me?  Not even a little bit?

We went for a treat afterwards (I may or may not have bribed them with an ice cream cone from McDonald's if they stayed and played) and continued on with our day.

I had to remind my self that it was really ok...I am doing something for me and trying to be a better mom and it was ok to leave them.

On to today.  I knew I needed to accomplish quite a bit today.  Our tonight is crazy so I knew I had to get my workout in early.  I dropped Lanie off at school and "talked" up the childcare to Griffin the whole way while driving.  He seemed hesitant, but no tears.  "You are going to have such a good time....You are such a big boy now....Mommy will come back in 1 hour."  We parked and walked hand in hand into the Y.  He wasn't flat out telling me "no" so I had just a glimmer of hope.

We checked in and got his number on and made our way into the gym where all of the other kids were.  He stopped dead in his track.  I handed him over to the Y lady and made my way out of the gym.  And then the tears came.  He just stood there, covering his eyes, and crying.  Ok, Susan, pull it together.

I headed up the stairs to the treadmills and peaked over the track into the gym and he was still standing there crying.  I started to head back down the stairs to get him.  I didn't need to leave him there...I could skip my workout.  Am I scarring him for life?  Who wants their little child to be the odd one out standing there just crying and whimpering?  At that moment I was torn.  What should I do.  I should just go get him.  No, he will be ok, they will come get you if he doesn't stop.

I made my way to the treadmills and they were all full.  Not one open one.  Surely this was a sign from above that I needed to go get Griffin and head out of the Y and go have some cookies.  I was mad...how could there not be one treadmill open?  Come on now....

So I decided to try some other elliptical kind of machine thing.  I fully intended for the childcare people to be coming up to get me anyways so I reluctantly got an and started....I hated that machine.  It wasn't comfortable for me and I wasn't feeling it.  I only made it for 8 minutes and got off.  I was positive Griffin needed me anyways so I had a good excuse to quit.

I made my way back over to the track and peeked over the railing and there I saw it.  Griffin was no longer crying.  He was playing bean bag toss and having fun.  Whhhhaaaattt?  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Just like that...in one moment, my baby turned into an independent "big boy."  I was so sad and so happy at the same time.  I stood there in awe...he did it.  He actually did it.

At that moment I had a choice.  Go and get him because I was sad he didn't need me anymore and hug him and spoil him OR finish what I was there to do.  By this time a few treadmills had opened up.  Sigh.  I guess I will keep going.  I got on and started.

The childcare people never came up to get me.  When I went to pick Griffin up he was playing with dinosaurs...happy as can be.  He did run up to me and gave me the biggest hug ever with the biggest smile.  I was SO proud of him.  All by himself, no siblings....just complete strangers to him.

Tomorrow might not go as well.  Tomorrow he might go in without crying.  I don't know how to process all of the emotions.  He really is growing up.  He is turing into a little boy.  My baby boy is no longer.  Man, if I am struggling this much with a drop off childcare situation how will I ever handle college and kids moving out?

For now I will snuggle with them a little more...I will give as many kisses as I can... I will pinch their baby buttcheeks as much as I can...I will show them I love them as much as I can.

Boo for growing up.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Fridays at the Farm: Mason Jar Welcome Sign!

Well another session has come and gone... I will be honest...I was a bit scared by this craft! The Welcome sign had a lot of steps that required drying time and drilling.  Yikes!  The morning session had 13 ladies and the evening session had 24 ladies.  It. Was. Awesome. (at least I think it was!)  I try to be as prepared as possible for each craft session.  I try to think about what hurdles we might run in to.  Overall, I just want everyone to leave with a completed craft that they are happy with.  After the morning session finished, I knew I was going to have to do some refiguring for the larger night group.  The morning session ran smoothly for the 13 women, but I knew that doubling the number of crafters at the night session would require more room and more stations.  
 I had two stations set up for each crafter...the painting station and then their work station.  This would allow for their signs to dry while they went to their work station to paint their jar and prep for completing the sign.  Knowing full well that I have no idea how to use a drill, Dan was a great help at the evening session!  Nellie is my sidekick in the morning and Dan, by default, became my sidekick at night!  He did the drilling and the attaching of the jars and I basically walked around and took pictures :)

 Here are a few pictures from the morning session.  The signs looked unfinished when the ladies left.  Because we were using chalkboard paint on some of the signs they were unable to write on them right away.  Chalkboard paint takes about 3 days to cure so the ladies had to be patient and let their signs fully cure before writing on them!  Some of you have sent me pictures already with the finished product and they are adorable!


After the morning session wrapped up, I enjoyed lunch with a mom's group I am part of.  It was so nice to be able to get together with some of them and just "be."  Although I was in a bit of a panic about how I was going to pull off the crafting session with 24 women later that night!  After my friends left I had to run to home depot to buy more boards for the night session...which was a good thing!  Some of the boards were in rough shape that we had purchased and I wanted to make sure everyone had a "good" board.
After I got the boards and headed home, we prepped for the evening session.  The ladies started arriving a little after 6 and we got straight to painting!  Again, I love love love all the creativity you guys bring into my home!  

We got smart and used hair dryers to help dry the paint for the sign and the jars.  They were a lifesaver for sure!  

Some ladies chose black chalkboard paint, some chose white chalkboard paint and some chose white craft paint.  Some chose to distress their boards around the edges, some chose to distress their boards a lot, and some chose to not distress at all!

 Jars were painted different colors.  Different color ribbons and fabric were used to create unique, one of a kind boards!
These 3 girls hand drew their own "Welcome" on their board.  Yeah...no free handing for me...it wouldn't be pretty...but their boards turned out fantastic!  

 I love the distressed look around the edges of the black chalkboard sign....LOVE!!
 And this also happened during the session.  The kids were upstairs during the session and Lanie must have snuck down to be a part of the action.  We found her sound asleep on the couch snuggling with her blanket.

 I told you everyone's board was unique and adorable!

What a great session.  It ran much smoother than I had anticipated.  I hope you guys all had a great time and are happy with your finished product!!

Thank you for being brave and coming to a random persons house and crafting with me!  Meeting you all and getting to know you and having repeat crafters fills me up!

We did some changing of the craft sessions...check our our schedule of classes at the top of the blog for an updated session list!