Saturday, July 30, 2011

Updates by Blogger Naomi


1. We have received a couple questions for our FAQ page lately. We hope to receive more.

2. I am SO HAPPY that I am a Blogger now! Not a BIG achievement but hey, it's better then nothing.

3. Isaac is considering becoming a Guest Blogger soon.

4. I am finishing my Bible soon!

5. Here is a quote from Isaac about what he thinks about the blog.

Isaac: I dunno.

6. Question: Should I get my own blog in a couple years?

7. We are now going to do weekly FAQ pages instead of monthly.

That's all the updates!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lydia's hair

I cut it.  What do you think?

By the way, we have a dear friend who cuts hair professionally and sometimes she cuts our hair. But it takes a while to coordinate with her, and Lydia wanted hers cut NOW. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Introducing... GUEST BLOGGER LYDIA! (With Blogger Naomi)

Naomi: HEY! I didn't get an introduction when I became a guest blogger! Well now I'm a Blogger, so I missed my chance. Lucky you, Lydia.

Lydia: What's so lucky about an introduction? Seems pretty boring to me.

Naomi: Well, I didn't get a flashy entrance. I just got a tiny story on opposums to start with, no introduction at all.

Lydia: Opposums? What are you talking about?

Naomi: My first blog as a Guest Blogger. Oh and now I'm a Blogger so this is my first blog as a Blogger. And this is your first blog as a Guest Blogger. When you post about 10 blogs or so, then you can be a normal Blogger.

Lydia: So what do I get to blog about? Camels? Llamas? Moles?

Naomi: Um, whatever is happening. If a camel attacks our house along with a llama with a mole on it's back, then you can write about it.

Lydia: Okay, okay, not that that's very likely. Okay I'm done for today.

Naomi: WHAT? But we still have so much to write about!

Lydia: Like what?

Naomi: Our FAQ's monthly page for instance.

Lydia: Oh right! What does "FAQ" stand for again?

Naomi: Frequently Asked Questions. Would you like the tell the readers about it? It will be your first big story as a Guest Blogger.

Lydia: Sure Naomi! See, every month, we will put out our FAQ's page with all the questions asked that month! Here are our July questions!

Naomi: By the way, we take turns answering the questions. This month Lydia answers.


Q: You have SEVEN KIDS?!
A: Yes, actually we do. I happen to be one of them.

Q Are you and Naomi twins?
A: No, we are not. Naomi is a little older then me, but I am tall for my age. (Very tall.)

Q: What are all your names?
A: My dad is named Kevin, my mom is named Laraba and the kids names are (in order of age) Naomi, Lydia, Isaac, Joseph, Miriam, Angela and Sarah.

Lydia: That's all for this month!

Naomi: Actually, these question's are NOT FAQ's. We made them up so we would have some questions to answer this month. Please feel free to ask your own questions.

Lydia: Here are a few things about us.

Naomi's Bio

Name: Naomi Faith Kendig
Age: 11
Favorite Food: Pizza
Likes Doing: Blogging

Lydia's Bio

Name: Lydia Grace Kendig
Age: 10
Favorite Food: Ravioli
Likes Doing: Playing with cats

Both: See you later readers!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Left Behind Series (Guest Blogger Naomi)


How's that for publicity?

Anyway, the Left Behind series is a huge book series of about 13 or 14 books that is set in the time when Jesus comes back and takes all the Christians away to heaven. Needless to say, everyone else is in a panic. Cars suddenly don't have drivers and careen out of control, causing traffic jams and accidents. People panic as loved ones disappear, leaving their clothes behind.

The main characters are Rayford Steele and Buck Williams, who happen to be on the very same plane at the time of the Rapture, Rayford as the pilot and Buck as a passenger. Buck loses no family to the Rapture, but Rayford loses his wife and son.

I'm only on the third book; "The Rise of the Anti-Christ", but I can tell it's going to be very fun.

I recommend that every Christian read this book series, it's cool!

P.S. This is from Laraba.  The series assumes a "pretribulation" view of the Book of Revelations.  The authors also take literally the plagues and horrors described in Revelations.  Christians obviously have different views about this challenging book of the Bible.  I'm in the camp of people that just doesn't quite know how the end times will play out, but I do believe in an Antichrist and specific "end times".   And I'm thankful that Jesus will RETURN!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Trip to the Fire Station

I decided this this week will be Fire Safety Week in our home.  To start things off with a bang, we went on a field trip to a local fire station.

This is a bell with a plaque on it. I believe they used to use bells to inform volunteer firefighters that there was a fire.  Of course nowadays, we use sirens and phones to inform about fires.

We got a wonderful tour of the fire truck. Several of the firefighters/paramedics showed us the hoses, the water tank, and the helmets and fire gear.  This particular truck carries something like 500 gallons of water so that if a fire hydrant isn't available, they can start hitting a blaze with water.  Incidentally, we don't have a fire hydrant very close to our house.  The firefighters said they would have to run a couple of miles away to another hydrant and keep filling up if our house had a fire.

And speaking of that, fires are relatively rare.  The people working at this station have 5 to 10 calls a day, on average, but fires are rare.  Most of their calls are for medical emergencies of some kind, with a particular focus on automobile accidents.

Here is a picture of fire axes and other fire paraphernalia.

This is the back of the paramedic truck.  There is room for a stretcher and there is wonderful equipment for checking heart behavior.  The machine that is used for evaluating heart issues costs $30,000.  Fascinating stuff.

They all wanted to sit in the big fire truck, so took turns doing so.  Here is Miriam.

And here is the back part of the cab of the big fire truck. 

We also got to see the little rooms where the firefighters sleep, their weight room where they keep in shape, and a large and pleasant kitchen.  It was all very clean and tidy.

And one last thing...they don't use fire poles anymore because people would sometimes hurt themselves going down them.  I asked why fire stations used to have second floors and they told me something I had never heard before! 

Back in the days before motors, fire engines were hauled to the scene by horses. So every fire station had teams of horses.  And apparently, the horses liked to be with the people and would climb stairs if they could. So fire stations were built with ladders going up, and poles going down.  That way, the people could have their own space without a horse trying to share their beds!

So, it was an interesting and educational trip.  I'm thankful that we have people around us willing to do the arduous and valuable job of being a firefighter/paramedic.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blazing Hot

  It is SO hot that our thermometer seems to be giving up!  Seriously, we don't know what is wrong, but it IS HOT HOT HOT!

  High 90's.

 I used to be tough about heat.  I spent 3 years of my childhood in the jungles of South America.  We had no air conditioning at all.  The temps were usually in the high 80's to low 90's.  I don't remember feeling particularly overheated.
  Now I'm spoiled by air conditioning and find these temperatures difficult.  The only thing we do outside during the day is swim, and we are thankful for our pool!  I've even taken Sarah in several times.  The water is 90 degrees so it is not particularly refreshing, but it is still cooler than the air and evaporation helps when we get out.

  Yes, I love the seasons.  Yes, I love summer. But...I won't mind when things cool down into the 80's.


Washing Horses

Our big girls went to a neighbor's house this morning to learn about horses and their care.  It was blazing hot, so Mrs. L. and the girls washed three horses.  Needless to say, those horses, with their coats of hair, were feeling the heat!

Here is what Naomi wrote about the experience:

I went and helped wash horses down the street at a neighbor’s house today.

                First, we sprayed the horses with water from a hose. I wouldn’t like being sprayed with cold water for a shower, but the neighbor said the horses actually like it. Then, we scrubbed them with soap and water. Finally, we rinsed them off again. Then we started spraying each other, not the horse.

Needless to say, we got wet.

I think we can say that a good time was had by all.  Thank you so much, Mrs. L.!

Author Review: G. A. Henty

Have you heard of G. A. Henty?

He wrote more than 100 children's books in the latter part of the 19th century.  His books generally have one young male hero who lives through a variety of adventures, struggles against huge challenges, and overcomes in the end for a thoroughly happy ending.

The books are long. The books are fascinating.  The books are well researched.  He wrote about the American West, the Romans, Great Britain through the ages, and the American Civil War.  His main characters are always noble souls and often are committed Christians.

My understanding is that he studied the time periods and places carefully so that the details would be authentic.  His main characters often interact with famous individuals like Ropespierre, Nelson, and Hotspur Percy.  If you don't know who those people are -- well, I didn't necessarily either until I'd read the books.

And many of the books are free on Kindle.  What fun!  If you have a Kindle, you can go on to and search for Kindle and Henty and a couple of dozen of free titles should pop up.

I just finished Both Sides of the Border by G.A. Henty, written about England, Scotland and Wales in the last 1300's.  This is a time period about which I know very little, so I found it fascinating.

Any caveats? 

Yes.  And it is a fairly big one.  The books where Caucasians interact with people of different ethnicity often have a problem with racism.

That was, sadly, typical of Henty's day.  Many Caucasians of the 19th Century genuinely believed that their culture was best and their brains were better than those of people with darker skin color.  That is truly one of the world's odd beliefs, and it is tragic that it was (and to some degree, is) so pervasive!  The books where this has been an issue, the main characters are  not cruel or unpleasant to other people.  It is more subtle than that -- other main characters often say things that  aren't true about the "superiority" of Caucasians.

Is this enough to turn me off Henty entirely?  Definitely NOT. Some of the books have no racism at all in them. Others will need some discussion on my part with our children.  We talk often about racism and how it is completely wrong, so I think a gentle warning on my part will be enough when my kids read them.

The books also have quite a bit of violence.  Many of the young men are involved in wars and battles and while the language is not gory, it clearly speaks of turmoil, injury, and death. Which is entirely realistic.

All in all, Henty was a brilliant and honorable writer and I heartily recommend his books.

Monday, July 18, 2011

This Week in Pictures

She's a super hero!  Well, maybe not. But she IS cute!

   There is no one more adept at finding a comfortable spot than a cat.

This very friendly bird actually jumped on both Kevin and on Lydia while they were in the pool yesterday!  Odd.  We guessed maybe it was thirsty.

The big girls spent a few very fun hours with a friend doing an art project this morning.  This is our art room.  It tends to be a mess, but it has ceramic tile floors and forgiving walls.

Update on Plants

  I'm sure you've all been wondering about the Venus Fly Trap we purchased a few weeks ago.  It is still alive!  That is not a minor thing.  I think I have a "black thumb" in that I tend to kill plants.   In spite of forgetting to water it on occasion, it has survived and even looks quite healthy.  We continue to feed it a fly every week or so.

  This could be a still life, couldn't it?  Kevin picked some wild blackberries from our back 3 acres, and harvested more asparagus and the first zucchini of the season.  Delicious.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mornings Are Crazy!

  I am a morning person.  I was born at around 6 a.m. on October 21st, 1969, and I've never looked back. I like mornings.

 That is a good thing because...mornings are crazy around here.

 I thought it would be fun to describe our morning routine:

6 a.m. I wake up, about.  I don't set an alarm. Lately I've been up closer to 5:30 a.m.  If that sounds very early, I agree.   I would prefer to sleep in until 6:30 or so but it rarely happens.  I go downstairs and spend some time praying and reading the Bible.  I usually write a couple of emails.  Sometimes I make muffins and pop them in the oven for breakfast.

6:30 a.m.:  I get Sarah up and nurse her.  This is a very peaceful time as the house is quiet and it is just me and my little baby.  I pray, read, or web surf. 

7 a.m. or so:  The boys get up. Sometimes they get up earlier.  Often the little girls get up.  Occasionally the big girls get up.   If Isaac has extra computer time, he plays a computer game for half an hour.

  When I am done nursing, I start tackling my morning to do list.  The kids do a lot of chores, but I need to empty the dishwasher of breakable objects, change Sarah's diaper, make a to do list for the day, take my morning meds and vitamins, and eat some yogurt.

7:30 a.m.:  Breakfast.  This is a very busy time.  We often have cold cereal.  Sometimes we have muffins, or fresh fruit, or oatmeal, or oven pancakes.  It depends partially on when I woke up and how tired I am.  Even cereal is a fair amount of work as I distribute vitamins, pour milk (we buy organic milk in heavy glass bottles) and clean up messes.  Usually I need to wake up at least one big girl.  Sarah is playing somewhere in the middle of all this.  At some point, she gets tired of playing alone and wants Mommy to carrry her around.

8:00 a.m.  Now the craziness REALLY hits.  This, my friends, is CHORE TIME.  6 kids.  6 lists of chores.  The big girls take care of chickens, clean the kitten litter box, swiff floors, etc. etc.  The boys also have 6 to 8 chores each. The little girls have fewer, but Angela is at THAT AGE when she is resistant to doing what she is supposed to do. So I have to pay close attention to her or she'll just dribble off into a corner and play instead of putting away the silverware and throwing clothes down the laundry chute. 

Most of the children also memorize Scripture verses at this time.  Now, you may wonder, do we have children who so relish memorizing Scripture that they bug me about it?  Ask me to do it?  Yearn for my help?  (The 4th through 6th children do not read yet so I have to work with them to memorize verses.)

The answer is, no.  Our children DO love to memorize verses because...they get a small candy treat after they do it.  Yep, we're all about sweets here.  However, they are learning the Word of God this way.  It works.

8:30 a.m.:  Kevin gets ready to leave and we spend a few minutes talking and praying together.  Once he is out the door, we are back to finishing up chores.

9 a.m.:  Ideally, we listen to the Bible on CD at this point, though I haven't been 100% consistent about this.  We have the entire Bible on CD, and are currently listening to 1 Kings.  After that, I do midline exercises with the boys.

 And that is the end of our habitual early morning routine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Did He Do It?

My favorite parts of the Bible are the gospels about Jesus Christ.  If I'm paying attention, I learn something new every time I read them.

Lately I've been contemplating how Jesus found time to do "everything".  He had a lot on his plate.  He had to train up a bunch of unruly, undisciplined disciples.  He had to heal a whole bunch of physically ill people.  He had to cast out demons.  He had to teach and preach to thousands.  He had to withstand the contempt and opposition of the religious leaders of the day.  He had to stand firm against the temptations of Satan.  And He did all these things with the shadow of the cross hanging over Him.

And of course, He did it all well.  As Kevin points out, it helps that He is God.  :-).

Still, there are lessons to be learned from Him, even for a mere mortal like myself.  I often feel stretched to the limit by my, comparitively speaking, unpressured life.  I only have 7 children to train up.  I only have one house to care for.  I only have 5 children to homeschool this year. 

So, how did He do it?

The critical point, I believe, is that Jesus did what the Father told Him to do.  No more, no less.

He often would go out to lonely places to pray and seek the Father's will about what He should do.

The Bible says that Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man as He grew up.  So there was a time when He didn't know enough to teach and preach.  Still, why did He wait until He was 30 to start preaching and teaching?  Because the Father told Him to.  So, throughout His 20's, He waited quietly, presumably living as a carpenter. 

During His years of ministry, there were crowds of people clamoring for him to stay in their towns and heal, but if it was time for Him to move on to another place, He did.

A dear friend, Lazarus, got sick and the word reached Jesus that Lazarus needed help. There was much pressure for immediate action, but the Father said no, wait.  Jesus did wait, Lazarus died, and the family and friends were upset with Jesus.  Jesus then raised Lazarus from the dead as a sign of God's power and glory.  The same family members were overjoyed, but experienced great sorrow before the great resurrection.  Jesus didn't take the easy road there in terms of his relationships with this friends, but He followed His Father's directions.

I've been realizing that the best way for me to do my job, and to discern between all the possible things I CAN do, is to seek the Father's wisdom on what to do and what not to do.

This is in fact one of the regular prayers when Kevin and I pray together, that God will grant us wisdom.

Now of course, some things are "givens".  I don't need to pray about whether I should fix food, make sure clothes are laundered, nurse the baby, and teach and train our children.

But I can and do pray for wisdom on how to do those things, and how to decide about other exciting options out there.  Should we go on extensive field trips, or get involved in certain activities outside the home?  Should I go with a time intensive, but productive, curricula?  Or should I go with something where more of the work is done for me?

How does the Lord want Kevin and me to keep our marriage strong?  What do we need to do to make time for our relationship?

There are a myriad of choices to be decided on each and every day of our lives.  I am not Jesus, and I will never have perfect communion with the Father this side of Heaven. I'll never hear God's voice 100% correctly.  But just seeking His will helps. I know He does care, and will guide me if I seek His will.   I know the process of asking the questions points me towards being flexible in my decisions instead of blindly doing what feels good at the spur of the moment.  I know that praying and keeping an open mind about options helps me avoid following paths because I've done something all my life and am reluctant to change.

Monday, July 11, 2011

This week in pictures (Wording by Naomi)

I got new glasses yesterday! Everything looks clearer.

We went to see fireworks on the 4th. The three youngest children stayed home with my dad and the rest of us went to see them.

Here are Lydia, Isaac and Joseph sitting on a towel, waiting for the fireworks to start. I was standing next to my mom at this time, so I'm not in it. (When they actually did start, Joseph hid in the car because it was too loud for him.)

A cloud came down in our yard a few days ago. We wanted to go play in it but Dad said no. :)

Here is our new kitten Moonbeam suckling on his mother, Sparkle. Sparkle was given to another family who would spay her and then find a home for her. Our other kitten, Shadow, was sort of ignored by the other cats as Moonbeam and Sparkle just wanted to be together. I think she was happy that Sparkle left.

Lydia bought an angel costume online. She likes it a lot. (In this picture, I am behind Lydia holding up her wings so they don't flop. I am REALLY thin.)

Our cousins visited Ohio this week. We are planning to go bowling on Wednesday.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My NEW Glasses (Guest Blogger Naomi)

I'm not putting any pictures in this one because I'm not quite sure how to.
I'm going to have glasses soon! They are ready and we just have to pick them up.

I'm not getting glasses because I have a problem, like Isaac and Angela, but because I'm short-sighted in my left eye and my parents want me to have glasses. I see fine even with my bad eye, but I still am getting glasses anyway.

I suspect it won't be long before Lydia and Miriam get glasses. Both Lydia and Miriam WANT to have glasses. I, on the other hand, do not want any. But it's set up so I get glasses and they don't. I wish we could trade. :)

That's about all! My mom will post something once I get my glasses.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

This Week in Pictures

  Our sweet Angela has her glasses.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that she has bilateral amblyopia. She needs to wear glasses to correct it.  We are thankful we caught it at age almost 4. 

  Her first day with the glasses was yesterday, and she did fairly well with them.  It seems obvious she is seeing better.  However, it also has to be quite a change for her and occasionally she would take them off and abandon them in a random place.  We'll need to be diligent in having her wear them when she is awake.

  Isaac became a fluent reader when he was seven years old.  Unlike his big sisters, he has not enjoyed reading most fictional "chapter" books. Instead, he loves comic books and graphic novels.  Garfield is a particular favorite.  Garfield the Cat is not the greatest role model.  He is lazy, selfish, and greedy.  And funny.  I've allowed the kids to read Garfield because we've talked about his problems AND because Garfiled fairly often gets his comeuppence.  And yes, because he is funny. He is.  Needless to say, we'd never let a cat of ours give us such a hard time :-).
  Isaac also truly enjoys Tintin and Asterix graphic novels.  There is also a series of history comics called Chester Comix, and I purchased the whole set for Isaac.  When we were at the opthalmologist a couple of weeks ago, she noticed Isaac reading a Chester Comix with his patch on.  She said that I should encourage him to read books with small letters because that "pushes" his left eye to work hard.  So during this month when we are not doing "offical school", I will keep Isaac well supplied with comics and graphic novels so that he will give his left eye a visual workout.

  The baby went into the pool for the first time, safe in Daddy's arms.  She...wasn't too sure about it.   She was only in briefly, and then she was glad for me to lift her out and dry her off.

  Kevin is our gardener.  He put in the garden very late due to a variety of factors, but it is growing and thriving. 

  Cute kitten, cute Lydia

  July is our "month for projects" .  One project is for me and the big girls to work on their room.  They have a lot of stuff.  We are going through everything methodically and throwing out broken toys and junk, organizing, relocating, etc. 

   Learning to organize one's stuff is an important skill, and something I hope I can pass on well to our children.  I am not fabulous at it myself, but I'm pretty good.  I am not a pack rat at all, but it is sometimes difficult to find time to go through items and decide what to keep and what to throw away.

   We live in a culture where we can acquire many items cheaply and easily.  Therefore, the problem of our day is to make sure our "stuff" doesn't take over our space and our lives.  Right now, I am in decluttering mode.  A couple of friends kindly took some clothing for their kids, so we have a little more room in our basement. I'm moving blankets and spare pillows into storage.  I hope to reorganize some cabinets and cupboards.

  Today is July 3rd, and August 1st I plan to start school up for the 2011-2012 year.  So July is not going to be casual and relaxing. I have much to do.  But I like starting school early so that we have some "wiggle room" if something comes up later in the school year and we need to take some time off.

Friday, July 1, 2011

14 Years

Kevin and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary this week.

I'm 41 years old, and 14 X 3 = 42, which is close to 41, which means that I've been married about 1/3rd of my life.  In some ways, it seems like we've been married longer.  Our lives together have been a joy and a good challenge, in the sense that many astonishing things have happened in the last 14years.  In other ways, it does seem like just yesterday that we walked down the aisle together. Has it really been 14 years?

  So, I am going to indulge in a trip down memory lane. 

  15 years ago, I was 26 years old and finishing up a Ph.D. in engineering.  Kevin was a fellow graduate student.  I was a gung ho "single woman", enthusiastic about embarking on a challenging career and giving my extra time to the Lord's work.

  In November of 1996, Kevin became a Christian. I invited him to my church. He came.  He joined our "Hope Group" where we met weekly for Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. 

  By the end of January, 1997, we were officially courting and were meeting with our pastor and his wife for relationships counseling.

  April 1st, he asked me to marry him and I said yes, on a windswept hill in Ann Arbor, on our lunch hour.

  We were married on June 28th of 1997.  We thereby proved that you can plan a wedding (albeit a simple one) in 3 short months.

   A year later, the Lord spoke to us both about opening our lives to the blessing of children.

  14 years later, we are the parents of 7 children here on earth.

  It's been an amazing ride, sweetheart.  Thanks for 14 wonderful years.