Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gold, Frankincense and Goggles?

Annalee loved the fleece blanket I made her!

Rob's favorite gift - his Leatherman! (a very handy tool!)

Josh's favorite present - this church jacket (he has been asking for one for months!)

At the airport, seeing Auntie Amy off! :-(

Auntie Amy opening her quilt and goggles!

Merry, merry Christmas, dear reader! I hope you and your family had a wonderful celebration, and that you were drawn closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Our family had a fun Christmas. Jeremy's sister came to visit us the week before Christmas. And we, being the very unconventional parents that we are, allowed our kids to open presents while she was here - being that we wouldn't have any other family here during Christmas to open presents with. So they got to open their presents 4 days early. But we still saved stockings for Christmas morning. We had Amy this year for Christmas, and I have been working since May on a quilt for her. I should have taken a picture to post on my blog, but forgot about it. I didn't want to before Christmas anyway, since the possibility that she might see it early was pretty great. But a funny thing happened when she opened her quilt. Apparently one of the kids had put their snowmachine goggles (from in Galena) in the box with her quilt, and they were wrapped with it. We all had a good laugh when she went to pull out her quilt, and the goggles fell out. Too funny!

Last Sunday, the boys had their Christmas play at church. It went really well. I was in the very front, and could hear most of it, but I'm not quite sure how far back their voices actually carried. But they were all so cute! The wigs were a little too big, the masks didn't stay on too well (and Silas kept trying to take his off!), and a little bit of the myrrh (or olive oil!) spilled on the floor. But all the kids remembered their lines, and I was proud of all of them. I was in the front, in the corner by the piano, and I couldn't see Zeke. I wasn't too worried, since he didn't have any lines, but wanted to find him nonetheless. I looked in the back to where the nursery worker was sitting (she had brought our two babies out to watch the play), but Zeke wasn't with her. But when the play was finally over, and the kids started to file down from the platform, Zeke was the last one to come down. I was so surprised to see him up there. He hadn't moved a muscle or made a sound during the whole thing - which is pretty hard for a 3 year old. I had been told by the woman in charge that he was having some difficulty during practice, so I was very surprised that he had been so good!

For Christmas Eve, we went to the service at the Nazarene church here in town. Our church didn't have a service, and it was very nice to be able to just go to a service, and not to have to plan one! Most of the time was spent singing Christmas carols, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The pastor then shared a message. After the service, the kids all enjoyed some cookies and hot cocoa in their fellowship hall. Then we drove up to Hoopa to look at some Christmas lights that some women at our church had told us we had to go see. Christmas day started with the kids all opening their stockings. Annalee even got a couple of new hair barrettes. Then after getting dressed and ready for the day, we started getting everything cooked for our Christmas dinner. We only ended up having 4 people from church over here. We had invited several others, and had expected to have more than that, but we enjoyed the fellowship of those that came. Rob was sick most of the day. He was so excited when he went to bed Christmas Eve, and I think he worked himself into it. He just had a headache most of the day, and he said his stomach hurt. He was still able to eat, and never threw up, but did end up taking several short naps throughout the day. And today, he is perfectly fine. I mentioned this to my mom last night when we talked on the phone after the kids had gone to bed. She told me that when she was little she had the same problem, and that her mom couldn't tell her anything exciting that they were going to do (like vacation, etc) until 2 days before they left. So maybe that's where he gets it from. But other than that, we had a very enjoyable day.

Now that Christmas is over, Jeremy and I are getting very excited about our trip next month. My mom will be coming at the end of January (our retreat is the 26-29). I'm also getting a little nervous about leaving Anna home. I know my mom is capable of taking good care of them all, and Rob and Josh are very big helpers, but there's just something about leaving the baby home. I had a hard time when Jeremy and I flew up to visit Alaska before going there, too, and we even took baby Micah with us (but Zeke was only 13 mos at the time). So if you think of it, please pray for us that we will have a wonderful time, and not spend all of it worrying about the kids. And that my mom and kids will all do well together.

If you haven't noticed, I have started putting the Village Missions prayer spotlight on the side of my blog. Each week, there is a different couple that we pray for. I have included a link to the Village Missions webpage that tells their name, field, and a little bit about the community and church that they serve, as well as some things to pray for. We pray for these dear couples in our church every week, but I wanted to put them on here, so you could be aware of them, too. This week, the spotlight is a couple just out of Redding that we really enjoy fellowshipping with at our VM fellowship days in Redding. They are a really neat couple. If you think of it, please lift them up in prayer.

Thank you for reading my blog. I wish you and your family a wonderful new year!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Twas Weeks Before Christmas....

Everyone in front of our homemade tree - they are proud of their accomplishment!

Our homemade wreath - made out of everyone's hand cutouts. We stapled them to a paper plate with the middle cut out. I think it turned out very cute!

Annalee with her new hair barrette - doesn't she look so sweet? They're magnetic and stay in very well - as well as they can with but a wisp of hair. We highly recommend them!

Do you ever get to the end of your day and realize it was a whirlwind? Today was like that for us. It started out as a normal day off. Jeremy and I rented Night at the Museum 2 last night, and let the kids watch it this morning before we had to return it. But by mid-morning, we realized we would have to be travelling into Redding. We order our bulk food from a co-op that delivers in Redding, and the pick up was today. We had arranged it for another VM couple to pick it up for us, and we would pick it up from them at the VM fellowship next Monday, but got an email this morning saying that this woman's mother was very ill, and she had flown to Minnesota to be with her. Then we got another email saying that the VM fellowship was cancelled for this month. So we decided the best thing to do was to go in and pick up our own stuff from Redding. We didn't leave here until around 1pm and got back around 9pm - and each way is about 3 hours. And since the highway between here and there is pretty curvy, we had complaints of headaches and tummy aches - topped with Rob getting sick in the car on the way home. I told all of the boys before bed that we would not be leaving here for Redding again without everyone having taken something for car sickness - some Dramamine or ginger or something. . . And on top of that, I think I have caught a cold and am stuffy and pretty much miserable. Oh, and the dogs ripped Silas' hood on his coat (am I glad it's a zip off one!), and the front of Anna's pretty brown and purple coat. Jeremy was not happy at all about that one! Boy, am I glad to be home!! Moving on...

We have been having a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. We had to sell our fake Christmas tree in Galena last year. We were blessed to be able to bring most of our Christmas things that had meaning to them - like my collection of Precious Moments ornaments, the boys' ornaments from past years, and my Christmas village given to me from my family. But we weren't sure what to do about a tree. We didn't feel like paying over $100 for a fake Christmas tree when we could wait until after Christmas and get one half off! (call me cheap, I know!). And we weren't too keen on paying half that for a real tree. So Jeremy decided that we would put up a paper tree on the wall. No, really, it ended up turning out a lot cuter than I thought it would. He put some white art paper on the wall, and cut green construction paper to make the tree. Then we used all sorts of different colored construction paper to make ornaments to decorate our tree. Jeremy made a beautiful star out of cutouts of the boys' hands, and we even added a popcorn string to our tree. The popcorn turned out to be not a good idea, though. The bottom of it ended up being in Anna's reach, and she has since pulled that portion of the string off the wall, and eaten the popcorn! But it was beautiful nonetheless. Shortly after we were finished with this (on Saturday), one of the board members and his wife showed up here at the parsonage with a real Christmas tree! They had gone to cut one down for themselves, and got one for us as well, too!! Not only did they bring us a tree, they brought a stand, and three boxes of Christmas lights! We cut it to size, and set it up in the stand, ready to decorate on Sunday after church. Then we headed up the hill to the Bigfoot Museum to attend the tree lighting/Santa arrival there. Santa arrived half hour late, and we got pretty chilly, but the hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies helped us bide the time. At the close of the service on Sunday, one of the board members came up to the front with a bag, and said that they had all collected and got us some new Christmas ornaments, because they had heard that we had to leave most of ours behind in Alaska! It was so sweet! Then today in the mail, we got two Christmas boxes from our home church in Colville. They send us these every year - with such goodies as granola bars and hot chocolate, even to hats, gloves, scarves, and Adventures in Odyssey! We were thrilled! It was a good way to pass the time to Redding today, with some new Adventures to listen to. We are so excited to see the way that God is caring for us here. We still have some days of frustration that our ministry there ended so abruptly - like when we pulled out our Christmas ornaments and saw the ones that we had gotten in North Pole, Alaska right before Anna was born. But all of this helps us to see that God was in control of our ministry in Alaska, and He is in control of the ministry here as well. It helps us to see God's hand in bringing us to where we are - even if we don't understand the whys.

We are opening our house this Christmas to a few people from church that we know of that don't have anywhere else to go. They have family, but not here. They have been fairly faithful to services - even Sunday night and Wednesday. They come and hang out with us often, so they are beginning to feel like family. We also just found out that Jeremy's sister will be coming to visit right before Christmas. She can't stay for Christmas, but we will enjoy her company anyway. In January, Jeremy and I will be going down to Merced for a VM couples getaway. We are really looking forward to it! The church is not only paying our way, they are sending us with gas and spending money! It will be about 2 weeks before our 13th anniversary, so we are considering it an anniversary trip. My mom will be coming down to take care of the kids for us. Please be praying for her! Six children are a lot to care for when you're not used to doing it everyday! But she is willing, and for that we are very thankful! And Rob and Josh are getting to be such big helpers.

For Thanksgiving this year, we helped out at our church's community Thanksgiving dinner. Or should I admit that I helped serve while Jeremy babysat our kids at home? I had signed our whole family up to help serve, but it is difficult to do that with so many little ones. Rob and Josh would have stayed to help, but they really weren't needed. We had plenty of help. It was a nice time, though. We expected more people than actually showed up - I think we served 80 or so. But all in all, I think it was a success. I got to visit with the two ladies that clean up afterward. Apparently they have been doing this now for several years. They come to eat, then stay and do all the cleaning and dishes. But they don't come to our church. I enjoyed getting to meet them, and talking with them, and will be praying that they come to church.

I think the other thing I wanted to share with you was that I never got sick with the flu. In my last post, I talked about the flu that went through the whole family - Jeremy included. But I never got it. I think the Lord knew that I needed to be able to care for everyone else. I figured I would just get it after everyone else was done, but I am so thankful that God kept me healthy!
Merry Christmas, dear reader! May you discover and celebrate the true heart of Christmas this year - our Savior, Jesus Christ! Much love from our family to yours...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dates and Goats and Flu - Oh, my!

Anna in her winter hat - isn't she beautiful!

Jeremy, Rob and Josh with one of our roosters. The boys' job was to pull out the feathers.

I tried to take a picture of Anna waving, but either she wouldn't wave for the camera, or it was blurry.

Rob helping serve at the community spaghetti dinner that the Pioneer Club kids held.

Whew! Where have the last few weeks gone? I think they passed without my knowing it!

Last month, for Pastor's Appreciation Month, our church gifted us with a night out. Not only did they give us a $75 gift certificate for a nice restaurant in town, but they also provided us with gas money and two women whose husband's are on the board to watch our kids! We had it all planned to go last Friday night, but one of the women ended up getting sick, so we weren't able to go. She told us that we could go Monday instead. But Sunday, the other woman got sick, so we knew we wouldn't be going anytime soon. Monday morning, we got a call from the first woman asking if we were going out that night. I told her that the other person was sick and wouldn't be able to help with the kids. She told us that she could watch all of our kids with her hands tied behind her back! Apparently she used to run a daycare in her home. So we figured why not? We left at 5, and went to dinner. It was a nice restaurant. It was on the second floor, and had a nice view of the town (although it was dark!). Since we don't usually get to go on dates because we have so many children, Jeremy decided he wanted to use all of the gift certificate - assuming it would be a while before we would be able to go back and use the rest of it. I will refer you now to the amount at the top of the paragraph, and the fact that we have never spent that much on dinner! But it was fun. We ordered 3 appetizers, two entrees and one dessert to split, and still had enough left for the tip! We took over half of what we ordered home for the boys to enjoy as well. After that, we headed to Costco to pick up a few items and our Christmas cards with our family pictures from the photo center. When we got home, everyone was asleep, and the house was quiet. So we snuggled on the couch and watched Up (a gift that we got the boys while at Costco). The next night, the boys got to watch it. They were so excited!!

However...Tuesday night, Josh started complaining about his stomach hurting. In the middle of the night, we were awakened to him throwing up. Ugh! I dislike sicknesses, simply for the fact that they usually rampage through everyone! Sure enough, by Wednesday night, Silas was throwing up, and by Thursday, it was Anna and Micah. Jeremy drove into town on Thursday to purchase a much-needed carpet cleaner, and then proceeded to clean the living room floor that afternoon. By that time, Rob was laying on the couch, not feeling well. As I write this post, Jeremy is sacked out on the bed. So much for his sermon prep time! It's a good thing he's preached through Genesis before. He might have to preach his sermon as it is from the last time he preached it up in Galena. I suppose that would mean I'm next...I hate getting sick. I am so thankful, though, that this sickness has been a fast moving one. The kids have only been feeling sick for about 12 hours each. I am also thankful that I have not gotten sick in the middle of the whole thing. At least I am feeling good to be able to take care of everyone else.

We have 8 chickens from our flock in our freezer. Jeremy and the boys learned from a field trip how to butcher and package them for the freezer. They did a very good job! We are all excited to try them. The plan was to have some of our chickens for Thanksgiving, but we will be going to the community Thanksgiving dinner at our church. So we will have to have them later. I guess they have been doing this dinner for several years. People from the church sign up to bring the items for the dinner, and then they open the doors to the community to come as well. I think it sounds like a great outreach opportunity.

We have been planning on getting goats for a couple of months now. There is a man in our church that we were going to partner with. The plan was for us to house them, and do the milking, and he built the milking station and the goat pen. Everything was finished last week, and we got the goats. The first night (we didn't get them until it was dark), the mama screamed so loud that we got a phone call asking if we had goats in our backyard. Later that same evening, as Jeremy and I were putting the kids to bed, and the guy from our church was working on finishing something in our shop....the police stopped by for a visit! I guess they had gotten a couple of phone calls that someone was being tortured. So we told them it was just some goats, and they couldn't believe it. But after seeing them for themselves, they drove off. We had them and milked the mama for 6 days. But after talking about it and praying about it, we decided that it probably was not the best thing to have them here. The church board had told us it was okay with them, but we were concerned about annoying the neighbors with how loud they were. And we figured that having neighbors annoyed with the church was not the best way to share the Gospel! So we are back to just our chickens. And now, they should all be hens! We are looking forward to getting some more in the spring time, to be able to get more eggs.
The boys have been having lots of fun with home ec for school this year. They have been helping me with baking bread and muffins for several months. But a few times, I have asked them to make muffins for breakfast by themselves - and usually I have them double or triple the recipe just to get enough for everyone! They really enjoy doing it, too! For Wednesday night prayer, we have turned it into a small group at our house, and have now started serving dinner for the few that come - it's usually not more than 3 or 4. But this last Wednesday, I had Rob bake our corn bread and our carob brownies (both sugar free, of course!). I also made some sugar free vanilla ice cream. One of the men that was there Wednesday night is diabetic, and I think he really enjoyed our dessert! Besides the benefit for our family, being able to cook for someone who has allergies makes it worth it for me.
I think, dear reader, that you are now up-to-date on the happenings in the Hayek household. Two of my little ones are awake from their nap, and so my time to write is over anyways. Thank you for taking the time to read of our happenings. I enjoy all of the responses I get from you that read and comment. Thanks!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Oh, and by the way

Boys playing in the freshly raked leaves - what fun!

Ever notice how life has a way of getting away from you? Things don't always seem to happen the way I think they will - or should. Last time I blogged, I mentioned that we were going to pick apples for a field trip the next day. That's not what actually happened. We got up early the next morning, with every intention of making it there (the field trip was 2 hours away from our house). But by the time we got into Eureka, we only had 20 minutes to get there, and were still an hour away. So we decided not to go, and took the kids to the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka instead. We had a really good time, even though it wasn't what we had planned. The weekend after that, we went to another field trip with our homeschool group. It was a butchering field trip (which was at the same place as the apple trip had been - so while we were there, we also got to pick some apples to bring home!). The kids got to watch a turkey and goat being butchered. Josh didn't want to see the animals being killed, but once that was over with, he helped pluck out feathers, and enjoyed the anatomy lesson. It was a great experience for us, because it taught us how to prepare our chickens for the freezer as well. Jeremy and the boys butchered 3 of our roosters on Saturday, and now they are in the freezer. Rob told me after they finished with the chickens that he really enjoys our lifestyle. He told the kids in Sunday school about what they did with the chickens. One boy said, "Why'd you do that?" Rob told him that it was because we had too many roosters.

Last week, our Pioneer Club hosted a community spaghetti dinner. I don't know if anyone got a real count to know how many people they served, but it was a lot. And they all did such a great job. They were courteous, helpful, and happy to be serving. Most of the kids in Pioneer Club don't go to church anywhere, but did such a good job serving dinner - I wonder if we should do it again! Our church does a similar thing for Thanksgiving - the church members sign up for the Thanksgiving dinner (potluck style) and then open the doors to the community to come and eat as well. I think my boys will enjoy serving at that dinner as well. I know they really enjoyed serving at the spaghetti dinner.

I made sweet potato pie without sugar last week. And it was a hit! Jeremy and Rob fought over it. Between the two of them, they ate at least half of it. And Anna thought it was yummy as well. I didn't even realize my family liked sweet potatoes, and have never served them before! Everyone loved it, but Silas. He doesn't seem to like potatoes at all - except for French fries, but I'm not sure they count as potatoes.

We got another puppy two weeks ago. Her name is Peach. She is now 7 weeks old, and is a Daschund/Jack Russell terrier mix. Most people think I am a glutton for punishment, but we actually wanted her to be a companion for Daisy. We thought they would keep each other company and be good playmates. They are doing really well together. They do enjoy playing with each other, and Daisy doesn't bite at the boys' toes so much! ;-)
We are blessed to have wood for the winter. A man in our church had wood on his property that he told us we could have. And another family had a splitter that they let us borrow. So Jeremy, Rob and Josh spent 5 hours splitting wood with this man one day, and they ended up getting about a cord and a half. The man still has more wood at his property for us whenever we need it. The Lord is providing for our needs!

I don't know if I mentioned that Jeremy is back into preaching in Genesis. He really enjoys studying the Law. He fills his sermons with so much information that it's hard to take it all in. So he has started using Sunday evenings as a question and answer forum. So far, we have had a good response. Those that come enjoy being able to ask questions about the morning's sermon that they obviously can't ask during church. And Jeremy enjoys being able to share more of what he has learned that week. He learns more than he can possibly put into a 45 minute sermon. Before Jeremy went into the ministry, I don't think I ever really appreciated how much work pastors put into their sermon and how much I took their knowledge for granted. I, like so many others, expected the sermon to only last 30 minutes. And if it was much more than that, I would keep checking my watch with disdain, and start thinking about everything on my to-do list for that afternoon. I have such a different perspective now, being the wife of a pastor. Watching Jeremy come home every day with exciting new tidbits about what he is uncovering in his studies is so much fun. But he does get disheartened with not having time to share it all. And he even stretches his sermons out to 45-55 minutes. I heard of another pastor telling a visitor of his church what a shame it was that we expect our pastors to spend 15-20 hours a week on sermon prep, and expecting him to present all of the information in 15 minutes. Sigh...I will now climb down from my soap box. I'm so sorry - that just took off without me! ;-) But I really do think we should appreciate our pastors more. They work so hard to share God's Word with us, not to mention all the behind the scenes work that we will never see (unless we happen to be married to one!). And this coming right after Pastor Appreciation Month (No, I didn't plan this). If you appreciate the work your pastor does, and you didn't get a chance to thank him last month, send him a card and let him know how much you appreciate him! And on that note, I will close...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall is here!

Annalee with her proud daddy!

Beautiful hat! Notice the straps - that's the only way to keep it on!

Annalee around 2 months - while still in Galena.

Our family picture taken at Cannon Beach this summer.

I love fall! I love the crispness of the early morning, with the wet grass (though I'd be happier if my shoes stayed dry!). I love the smell of fires burning bright in the fireplace, and snuggling up with loved ones in front of the roaring blaze. I love the thought of apple cider (though I try not to drink it much anymore - too much sugar!). I love the colors of all of the deciduous trees, and I don't even mind raking up the leaves - once or twice. Dear to my heart is going out to local farms and picking pumpkins and apples...maybe because I have fond memories of doing just that with family in Spokane when our oldest two were little. I love the hay rides, corn mazes, and even the fun little carnival games that some of them have.

Last time I wrote, we had just gotten back from the pumpkin patch. Well, we are finally almost finished processing those pumpkins. Phew! What work! Yesterday, I even had Rob and Josh write a few paragraphs about how we get pumpkins from the field to pumpkin pie. They did pretty good remembering, since they helped us cut up the pumpkins, scoop out the seeds, and watched us cook the pumpkins. It's a lengthy process, but I am sure looking forward to having pumpkin bread and pie from the pumpkins that we fixed ourselves. Maybe it's just the pride of accomplishment...
Tomorrow, we go to get apples. It's another field trip for the homeschool group - and I am looking forward to it.

Jeremy has another funeral to do in town tomorrow. We have had a few people pass away here in the last few weeks. It's the less desirable part of his job - as it's never fun to watch someone die. But we are praising God that the two that he has had to do funerals for have known the Lord. That helps with the grieving.

Our baby girl is now 1 year old. She turned 1 on Monday. I can't believe it - where has this past year gone? And yet, thinking about the past year since Annalee has been born is bitter sweet. It brings back fond and painful memories - which is difficult because I don't want to dwell on the painful memories, but yet that is the time when she was born, and for that it was beautiful. But the Lord is faithful, and I am thankful that He walks beside me all the way. That's especially nice to remember during the times that I don't feel Him - because I don't always feel Him near. But my feelings are nothing compared to His many promises to love me always, to never leave me, and to never give me more than He thinks I can handle. That is an especially wonderful promise!

Well, it's time to close. Steaming tea awaits - Madagascar red vanilla - one of my favorites!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Runaway Baby

I just had to share what happened with Anna today. It was our day off, and as usual, we went into town. We had a wonderful day in Trinidad...we visited the marine biology lab of HSU, took a hike by the beach, and met the homeschool group at the park in Eureka to let the kids play. Then while at Costco...we had just gotten a few items, and were back at the van. I was loading the things into the trunk, and Jeremy was correcting one of the kids inside the van. I turned to get something else out of the cart, but it wasn't there! The cart had started rolling away and was several parking spots away before I noticed it - and Anna was still sitting in the front seat - as if nothing was wrong! I yelled at Jeremy and we both took off running after the runaway baby. Thankfully, no cars were hurt in the transit, and baby is doing fine, too. She didn't even realize what was going on. Phew!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Beautiful sunflowers!

Our pumpkins

Rob holding his pumpkin

Zeke, Silas and Josh holding their pumpkins.

We took the kids to the pumpkin patch yesterday. We went with a local homeschool group out of Eureka. We had a good time. The rule was that the kids could take a pumpkin that they could carry to the car (not our rule, but the farm's since the pumpkins were free). I thought we did pretty good picking out pumpkins that Silas, Zeke and Micah COULD carry to the car. However, they didn't WANT to carry them to the car, so Mom got stuck carrying three pumpkins. It's a good thing they were small ones! Rob and Josh got bigger ones, and Jeremy and I got one, too (we paid for ours, though!). The field trip was fun. The tour guide talked about different animal tracks that they have on the farm - beaver, racoon, fox - and how to identify them. She also told them about how pumpkins and corn stalks grow - very interesting! There were lots of homeschool families there, and we got to meet a few. It will take a while to be able to really get to know any of them, especially since we live so far out of town. Jeremy was the only dad there. I told Jeremy we should make this whole thing into a school project. From them going and picking the pumpkins to slicing, scooping out seeds, and baking the pumpkin so it's ready for pies and breads. We even like to roast our pumpkin seeds and then mix them with olive oil and salt. I love fall! I also saw online tonight that we are in effect for a frost warning - you know what that means? Apples!!!

My Son, the Ewok

Josh and Micah dressed up as Star Wars characters.

Micah, the Ewok.
Our kids have all loved to play dress up. Rob is a little old, and doesn't dress up anymore, but the rest still do. Jeremy and I were outside last week, when Micah wandered outside. The first thing I thought of when I saw him dressed like this was that he looked like an Ewok. He is wearing a costume that our Nana made for Rob when we lived in Wishram (aka "Snake Man"), and he put on the mane that Nana made for Josh's costume from the same time (aka "Lion Man"). As you can see the pants are a little long for him, but he doesn't mind one bit! The picture above shows Micah with Josh, who is dressed up in a clone costume from Walmart that we got for the younger ones - yes, as you can see it is way too short for Josh, but he doesn't mind one bit! ;-)
We have been seeing some great things here in our church lately. We have had several new people coming, and coming pretty faithfully. I don't remember if I mentioned that we had a temporary assistant pastor. He is gone now, and we are looking to see what the Lord will do to fill that need. Jeremy has been doing videos for Sunday evening service for a couple of months now. He started out with a series by an ex-terrorist (Walid Shoebat), who is now a Christian, giving his testimony. It was fascinating. The next 3 DVDs were of him teaching a new concept about the end times religion. For those interested, I would recommend these DVDs wholeheartedly! After that series, we showed Lee Strobel's Case for Faith. We bought it at Costco, of all places. We found it very powerful. Now we're starting on a 4-disc series on strengthening your faith. We have heard from several people that they have enjoyed the videos we have been seeing, and how they have helped them in their walk with God. We also have an American Heritage series that we might show next. I know I'm looking forward to seeing them.
We are going through a bout of sickness right now. Three of the kids are coughing, complaining of headaches and being tired. I think it's just that time of year. It has been chilly here (I guess not compared to some). But we went from high 90 degree weather one day to low 70 degree weather the next. Add to that a few trips into town for Jeremy to do hospital visitation (which also meant long days, and getting to bed late). So we are laying low, and the kids and I will be staying home from church tomorrow. Oops...I hear one of the coughers now. Gotta run!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exhausted, but not defeated

The boys after getting to view the inside of this fire truck - and try on the gear!

My Joshua

Joshua enjoying the arts & crafts time at VBS in July.

The cross on the top of the church's steeple. I love the white cross with the blue background.

It has been a very long few weeks. It has been so long since I have updated this blog that sometimes I wonder if I really have time to manage it! But I will try to keep up for now...

We had our new Village Missions DR and his wife come visit last weekend. We had a really good visit with them. We enjoyed the Wilkinsons (our DRs in WA and AK), and only got to meet with the Doebler's twice before the districts were changed. So now we have the Jacoby's. They travel with a travel trailer, which is wise. That way, they can take their own home with them on the road. Our boys really enjoyed getting to tour the inside of their trailer. Three of them wanted to use the bathroom! But we had to draw the line somewhere. We played Wizard with them Friday night. They picked it up pretty quick. Walt even beat us all - which he enjoyed!

Monday, Jeremy's day off, we stayed around the house until mid afternoon to get some things done around here. Jeremy wrote everything that we have been wanting him to do up on the white board, so he could physically see his "to do" list. He was able to mark 4 or 5 things off by the time we were done on Monday. Then we called some people from the church to ask about any hiking trails nearby. They told us that we could visit their property which is right on the Trinity River, and hike their trail to the river. So we did. We let the boys wade around in the river, which had a pretty steep bank. They could only go in a few footsteps. At one point, Micah had climbed on an underwater rock, and lost his footing. Jeremy had Anna strapped to his back, and was sitting up pretty high on the bank. I had rolled my pants up, and was wading, too, but only to my ankles. Anyways, I saw Micah go under the water, and then pop back up. But he couldn't regain his footing and went under again. The next time he came up, he was farther out. I knew he would soon float out into the middle of the river. I lunged at him, and grabbed him as quick as I could. My heart was beating so fast! I am so thankful that I saw him in time, and that the Lord gave me quick reflexes to catch him before it was too late. After I got him back to shore, and he had stopped crying, the man who owned the property (and came with our family to the river) said that he could hear my heart beating! I wouldn't be surprised if it was beating that loud.

Today was the second week of Pioneer Club. I forgot to count how many kids we had again this week, but I'm guessing around 20 or so. Quick update: Jeremy says we had 27 today for Pioneer Club. Silas gets to go this year, and is very excited about that. Today, the leader's husband came to teach the oldest group (the Trailblazers) about how to use a compass. They all thought that was pretty neat. And Robert (as he likes to be called now) informed me that he told them compasses are pretty reasonable at Big 5. He said, "I don't know how much 'pretty reasonable' is, though."

This morning, Jeremy spoke at the chapel at the Christian school. We took all of the kids. They did fairly well. I had to take the younger 4 out about the time Jeremy started talking. But they were quiet during the flag pledges, singing, and prayer time. Josh said he wants to go again the next time Jeremy speaks for chapel.

Our school seems to be going okay. I seem to be really having a struggle with Joshua. He's really dragging his feet when it comes to Math, and he is usually very easily distracted with everything else. I get so frustrated when everytime I come through the room to check on them, he is not paying attention to his schoolwork. I've been getting so discouraged, even wondering if I'm doing the best thing by keeping them at home. But Jeremy reminds me that he would be doing the same thing even if he were in school, and they would give him labels, and maybe even give him medication. I know he is 10 physically, but I don't think he is quite 10 mentally. I'm wondering if I am just being too hard on him. It feels like he is just being lazy about his schoolwork, but Jeremy thinks that maybe I need to let him go at a slower pace. I am worried about him getting too far behind on his math book, and other things. But Jeremy seems to think that he will catch up eventually when his mind catches up with his body.

Annalee is getting so close to walking. She is trying so hard to take steps. I can't believe how big she is getting. And we have been working with Zeke to potty train him, and he is doing a very good job! He gets jelly beans for going in the toilet, instead of in his underwear. He was dry all day today, and yesterday, too, I think. It is such a relief for me. Any time we would forget to change his diaper, and he was in it too long, he would start to get the spots back that looked like his staph infection. It is nice not to have all of those red spots in his diaper area.

I think that is all for now. I just wanted to update you, dear readers, on the happenings in the Hayek household. And to vent frustrations about school not going the way I think it should. But even just getting it out, I feel better. When I brought my frustrations to my husband, he reminded me that he wouldn't do any better in a public (or Christian for that matter) school. And yes, we want them to learn the academics, but we feel that the Christian influence is so much more important. Also, most of what Jeremy and I remember learning has been since getting out of high school. I remember bits and pieces of my formal education, but not nearly as well as what I have learned since. So I know that God has still called us to homeschool our children, and knows what is best for them. And so I will continue on in faith that He will use my efforts, as feeble though they seem, and turn them around for the best for my children...and especially His glory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Shadow

Jeremy took this picture yesterday of Annalee. I was trying to make a pot of coffee, and she found me in the kitchen and used me to stand up on. She was content to just stand there, so before she could move on, Jeremy took a few pictures.

We officially started school this week. We try to school during the summer, so that the boys don't forget everything, and it's not such a shock in the fall. But this summer, we took a break for the VM conference in June, and never quite got around to doing school again. So Tuesday and Wednesday, the three boys watched movies that we have borrowed and needed to return. The Planet Earth series is excellent, and we really enjoying watching them. They seem to learn a lot from them as well. The photography is excellent, and the boys like watching the diaries part where they talk about filming the movie. We groan and roll our eyes every time they talk about millions of years, but overall the series is very good. Today, they actually did some bookwork. Rob did some math, and bemoaned the fact that he missed 7 on his math lesson today. So I encouraged and reminded him that we haven't done school in two months, and that he will get the hang of it again soon. Before we quit in June, he was doing all of his lessons with only one or two wrong. He really seems to do good in his math...a lot better than I remember me doing! Oh, yes, I said three boys - Silas is now in the bunch! I let him stay up from taking naps with his younger brothers, and he and I work on his school. I have a couple of books that I use with him, and he is so excited to be doing school like his older brothers. I just have some workbooks, but think I will need to work with him on letters, etc. He is really wanting to learn his letters, and wants to know what everything spells. I'm not sure he's quite ready to learn to read, but I think he's getting close.
As for our new, healthier diet, Jeremy just found a way to make us milkshakes with no sugar or ice cream! He blended up a drink for me the other night, and it was delicious! So we shared it with the boys, and they loved it, too. He uses bananas, frozen grapes, lemon cucumber, milk, ice, cocoa powder, and vanilla. For Silas' birthday, he wanted a cake with no sugar (he remembers when he had too much sugar, and it made him throw up!). So I found a recipe in one of my cookbooks for a chocolate cake without sugar, which was really yummy! I didn't have all the ingredients on hand for the icing, so we had to use store bought icing, but once in a while is okay. We also made ice cream using agave syrup instead of sugar. I found a recipe for single serving ice cream, so we put the ingredients into Ziploc bags, put them into a bigger Ziploc bag with ice and rock salt, and shook them for 10 minutes. Then we put them in the freezer to harden up a bit more. That was also a hit with everyone. Jeremy and I liked it so much we had to make some for our friend from Yale when she visited us this weekend.
My husband just came over with another milkshake. Gotta go! ;-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Visitors, Visitors and More Visitors!!!

Annalee in the new dress Nana and Papa bought her. Isn't she beautiful?

Silas, with the birthday hat on.

Silas, with a big 5 year old grin!

All of the kids with cousin Erin. Oh, and Daisy, too.

The last couple of weeks at our household have been a whirlwind of visitors and activities. About a week and a half ago, my parents came down to visit us for a week. While they were here, we celebrated Silas' birthday - he turned 5. (Where have the last 5 years gone? It doesn't seem that long ago that we were living and ministering at Yale!). The day before Silas' birthday, we took the boys to Bounceapalooza. It's a place in the mall that is full of bouncing castles. The boys all had fun. But Silas tends to overheat quickly. He spent at least 15-20 minutes of the hour we were there laying on someone's lap. Last Thursday, my nephew came up from the San Francisco area to visit with us and my parents. It was great to be able to see him, too.

My parents and nephew left here Saturday morning. Later that morning, we went to the parade that was here in town. Labor Day weekend was Big Foot days. It was a fairly short parade, but afterwards, we went to the park. They had a fair type thing going on. It's as much of a fair as our small town has. There were vendors, and lots of food vendors. They had one bouncy castle, and one booth of games. But we had fun anyways.

Sunday afternoon, our friends from Yale came to visit us. So far, they have been down every few months. They only come to stay for one night, but they make stops along the way. The boys really love their visits! This time, they stayed Sunday night, and Monday we all drove into Redding together. We let the boys play at a park that had a water volcano. They really enjoyed that. After lunch, we went to Turtle Bay - a hands-on discovery place similar to OMSI. Jeremy and I purchased a family membership, so that anytime we are in Redding, we can take the boys for free. After that, our friends left for home, we finished our shopping and came home. The next hurdle is school....

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Josh and Zeke enjoying watermelon at the church's 4th of July picnic.
Robby and Josh taking turns holding Anna.

The boys (minus Micah) at the sign to a hiking trail we found near the park in Eureka.

Phew! We have been very busy lately canning all of the goodies that are coming our way. I am enjoying it very much. It is so rewarding to see that we are not wasting the bounty of food that the Lord has provided. Last week, Jeremy and I were working on harvesting all of the blackberries on the church property. It is disheartening to see all of the bushes around the community where the berries have gone to waste. Over by the river access across the street, there were just thousands of berries (literally) that were not picked, and are now dried and shriveled. We hope to get out there sooner next year to pick lots more. We got quite a few from the bushes on the church's property, but they were pretty overgrown. So as we picked, we also cut way back. So we hope to have more next year. Also, a man from the church has been bringing us lots of things. He brought a bunch of tomatoes (4 boxes) that we turned into seasoned spaghetti sauce, and also yummy salsa! We got those canned up last week. Then this week, he brought over a bunch of peaches. We all enjoyed eating lots of fresh peaches. Yesterday, I even turned some of them into peach butter! And I experimented with only using half of the sugar and half apple juice. Yum! Jeremy and I think that living in Alaska has taught us to appreciate "living off the land." If there is food growing, we should do something with it, so it doesn't go to waste!

Annalee is getting so big! Everyday it seems she is trying new foods. Yesterday, she tried pieces of Jeremy's chocolate chip muffin. She made quite a mess of it, too. It was so cute - she looked like she had a goatee - a chocolate one. But Jeremy fed her peach yogurt after the muffin, and she didn't have as much chocolate on her face afterwards. So I missed the great photo op. We are still making her homemade baby cereal. I had to make more the other day. This time, we just made it with brown rice flour and a little white bean flour. And as often as they can, Zeke and Micah stand right beside Jeremy while he feeds her to glean any little bites that their daddy might afford them. It is really funny to watch them!

The heat has seemed a little easier to bear ever since we have returned from up north. I'm not sure why that is. The boys do very little playing outside - at least during the hot part of the day. But if I don't cook, the house stays fairly manageable. We were doing our canning outside on the portable grill that Jeremy bought for camping. It worked pretty well so that we didn't have to heat up the house. It was supposedly 114 on Monday - or at least that's what the forecast said. I have no idea how hot it really got. But today and tomorrow are supposed to be 107, before it starts to cool down to the mid 90's on Saturday. That will be nice.

We are having company again starting next week. My parents are coming down to visit us a week from Saturday. And the kids are all excited! They will be here for Silas' birthday, which will be fun for him. Sometime after they leave, I think our friends from Yale are coming down to visit again. It is always fun to have them. I think they are on their way to Disneyland, and we are just the stopping off point! ;-)
Anyways, our summer has gone well - except that the boys haven't gotten as much school done this summer as I wanted them to. Right now, we are gearing up and trying to get ready for fall. We will probably start again once all of our company leaves.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Cranberries to Blackberries

There are several blackberry bushes on the property at the church. We have been enjoying their fruit for several weeks. It has been so much fun to just go out the front door and pick some fresh fruit to go in our yogurt! But yesterday morning, we went out and picked a big plastic container full of them. We had all of the boys out there helping, too. When I say helping, I mean watching. Well, Rob and Josh helped, the rest watched. And Jeremy was out there with the snippers, snipping back the bushes with no berries. But we thought back to last fall when we were in Alaska picking cranberries. So we went from picking cranberries to picking blackberries. There are lots of blackberries across the street by the river access, too. Last month, the access was closed as it was being used as a helibase for the forest fires. Now it's open, and there were lots of berries there last time we saw. So we're hoping to go this week, and that they're not all picked over. I hope to be able to make jam with them. Does anyone know any good blackberry jam recipes without sugar?


Ezekiel and Anna - the boys all love their sister!
Our roosters!

I think I forgot last time to tell you about our new roosters! After Jeremy was finished building the chicken coop, the boys had fun climbing up in it before we put the chickens in. And they looked so cute with their feet dangling out of the bottom of the coop, too.
Shortly after my last entry, our family took off north for a vacation. We went to Cannon Beach to meet up with Jeremy's family that was there for the week. We camped in Seaside, just north of Cannon Beach, and really enjoyed our time camping! Jeremy's parents helped out so we could go to the sessions if we wanted to - but it was more for the boys to be able to go to the children's sessions and play in the game room. We enjoyed the time on the beach. We got to see our new niece, and we even got to see Jeremy's sister before we took off. We drove through The Dalles, OR, stopping to see our friends there. We even got to see my friend's husband, who has been deployed since last Thanksgiving. He was home for two weeks. It was great to be able to catch up with both of them. From there, we went to Baker City, OR. We got to visit with my two brothers and their families. My parents also came down to visit with us there. My nephew, who has been deployed to Afghanistan for the last year, was there, also. From there, we went home, but not before stopping by quickly to see two other sets of friends on our way home. We had such a good time of visiting. And the camping was really relaxing for us, too. We discovered while we were out just how badly sugar affects our kids. We have been virtually without sugar for a while - we still have some on occasion, but not nearly as much as we did. While we were out on vacation, one night my brother gave Silas a cookie shortly before bed. It was after most of the week with sugar in various places. Anyways, not 10 minutes after having the cookie, he complained of a headache - with crying and fussing. So he went right to bed. He was better by the next morning, but was difficult for him. The next day, as we were driving through Portland, visiting some friends, we took our kids to Costco for dinner. I bought my kids hot dogs, which came with pop, and frozen yogurt. In the middle of the night, we woke up to Silas throwing up. Too much sugar for him. So after our nice trip, we are glad to be home with our healthier diet. For those of you that we got to visit with while we were gone, we really enjoyed our time with you! I got some pictures, and will try to post them later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catching Up

Our new chicks.
Our first dozen eggs from our chickens!

The chicken coop that Jeremy built (didn't he do a good job?).

Our new puppy, Daisy.

Annalee standing tall. She can pull herself up on things now.

I can't believe that I haven't blogged since July 2. Lots of things have happened since then, and I guess I'll have to share them all with you now. My heart is heavy tonight, because I lost my temper with the boys tonight - several times throughout the day, actually. I apologized for my anger, and told the boys that even when I lose my temper I still love them, but I still get angry at myself. On days like today, sometimes my mind even starts wondering why God has given my children and allowed me to be a mother. I feel like all I'm going to do is ruin them. So I try to remember to rest in the Lord (once I have asked forgiveness for my temper and bad attitude), knowing that He is in charge, and my kids will turn out to be what He wants them to be. I don't know if anyone can relate with me on this or not.

On to brighter subjects...I think I last shared that we had been given two chickens. Since we knew that two chickens (even if they were both hens) would not provide us with enough eggs, we picked up 11 more. We now have 4 laying hens, 7 older chicks, and two that we believe are roosters. We are really enjoying them. The boys are, too. They enjoy checking for eggs. Not so much the helping to feed and water them, but they help anyways. We have been advised by several people in our church and community that we need to have a dog to help protect our children from the cougars in our area. So after thinking and praying about this for some time, we started researching which would be the best breed, etc. We also didn't want to spend a small fortune for one. But the Lord provided. We were given a puppy last week from someone in the community. They had had a litter, and at 5 weeks, the mama dried up. So they started giving away the puppies. We got the last one. It's a girl, and we named her Daisy. She is such a cutie, and is so tiny right now! Her mama had yellow lab, black lab, red nose pit and blue nose pit in her. The daddy was a mix of Chihuahua, Pomeranian and Jack Russell terrier. So she has the genes to be big or small. It will be interesting to see.

Our church had VBS last week. Our biggest day was around 57 kids. We were excited with the turnout. Jeremy helped with the daily skit, and we both chaperoned a preschool field trip to the helicopter base across the street on Thursday. They took the kids to see the helicopters that are used in helping to put out the forest fires down here. It was really fun.

Next week, we are heading up north for a little bit of vacation. We are going to Cannon Beach to see family, and then over to Baker City, OR to see more family. We will get to see a brand new niece, and a nephew back from a military tour overseas. We are also looking forward to a visit from my parents in September. They are coming right around Silas' birthday, and he is excited about that. We have told him that maybe we'll have his birthday party at Bounce-a-palooza. It is a place in the mall in Eureka that has lots of blow up bouncy castle things. They want to go every time we go to the mall, but at $6 per child, we have to say "no". We thought maybe it would be okay for a birthday party.

I think I forgot to mention that the church has a temporary youth/associate pastor. The man that was here as an interim before we got here stayed to finish off the school year (he was teaching at the Christian school). The board decided to hire him on during the summer to see if the church could afford his salary, and also to see if they think the church needs a second pastor. Whatever happens, we are enjoying having him here. He used to confuse my mom when she would call, because his name is Josh - and she didn't remember our Josh sounding like that!

I think I will close for now. I feel much better now than I did when I started. I guess I get to see everything that the Lord is doing right now, and that I still have so much to be thankful for!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Of Hamsters and Such

The boys trying to keep cool in the sprinklers.

Our family - taken in front of our house in May.

We have lost our hamsters. Josh's hamster, Obadiah escaped out of his cage on a few days ago. We looked high and low for that hamster (he did this about a month ago, also, on a Sunday morning. But after looking for a while, we finally found him). All to no avail. But we found him early yesterday morning. We had a big box fan in front of our room trying to keep cool while sleeping. At 5 am, Jeremy and I woke up with a start. We had heard a loud thump. We finally found the cause of the sound. Obadiah had found a hole in the fan into which he climbed in, and was hit by the fan and knocked to the side of it. Poor Obadiah is no more. Josh was so sad, but we told him that next time we go into town, we will buy him another one. Then later yesterday morning, Robby tells me that his hamster, Ginger, is also missing now, too. We haven't found her yet either. But Jeremy was smart enough to cover up the hole in the fan so that she wouldn't meet the same fate as Obadiah.

We are planning on getting a dog soon. A woman in our church told Jeremy about a week ago that she thought we should have a dog. She made us aware of the cougars in the area, and thought that it would be better to have a dog to help protect our kids when they go out to play. So we thought that maybe that was a smart idea. However, now we are trying to figure out what kind of dog would be best for our family. We found a border collie puppy on Craig's list, but now hear that maybe they're not the best with kids. So I thought if anyone out there can tell me what they think of particular breeds as far as kids go, that would be wonderful. Does anyone have a preference about what kinds are better than others?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Chicks in the House

Our new chickens: Tawny and Pepper (for obvious reasons!)

The limb that fell off the tree next door. Can you see the hollow inside?

Silas and Micah in front of our tent.

No, not actually in the house. But we were given some chicks - 6 week old ones. We don't know yet if they are hens or roosters. We have been talking about whether or not to get some chickens. Last Monday, a lady from church called us and said she didn't want her two chickens, and asked if we wanted them. So here we are. Our plan now is to get a few more when Jeremy builds a bigger coop. Two chickens won't provide enough eggs for our family - especially if one ends up being a rooster!

I had some more pictures I wanted to share with you. We camped one night on the way to our conference last month, and really enjoyed ourselves. By the time we got into the campground and set up the tent, we didn't have time to build the fire and let the boys roast marshmallows like we had promised, so we did it after breakfast the next morning. Nothing like a lot of sweet early in the morning!

Our church will be having VBS in July starting on the 13th. We are getting ready for that. We are doing Son Rock camp (I think that's what it's called). We might even set up our tent for decoration. So far, we have enough workers that I won't need to be involved. I don't mind helping, but trying to lead or teach is difficult when I have so many little ones that can't go. But I think we have all of the teachers we need.

We are planning a big 4th of July picnic here at the church this year. Jeremy has been making big plans, and from what I hear everyone is excited about it! It will start at 10 am with a ping pong tournament inside the fellowship hall. Around noon, there will be a BBQ/potluck. The church is providing the meat and buns with the church family bringing sides, etc. During the afternoon, Jeremy is planning on having lots of different games available for people to play - like croquet, kick ball, frisbee golf, etc. Then in the evening, they will be showing a movie outside (with the movie being projected up on the outside wall of the building). I think they will show WallE or something like that. We are hoping for a big turnout of church people, and hopefully they will personally invite their friends to come as well.
Jeremy's mom and sister came to visit us a couple of weeks ago. We really enjoyed our time together. On Jeremy's day off while they were here, we took a hike behind the park in Eureka (Robby ended up with a tick), and then we walked around old town Eureka. We had a good time. The day before they left, part of a tree right in front of the business next door cracked and crashed to the ground. It was quite an interesting sound. We are grateful that it didn't hit the church or our house and that no one was hurt. When we went over to investigate, we saw that the inside of the tree was completely hollow.
Annalee has gotten her first tooth. I can't believe how time flies. I don't know that it's ever easier to see how quickly time flies than when you have a newborn baby. It seems like she was born just yesterday! She is not crawling yet, but rocking back and forth on her hands and knees. And she loves her homemade baby cereal. We started making her cereal out of brown rice flour and white bean flour. We mix them together, then cook them in a dry pot until slightly brown. Then we keep it in the freezer. It cooks in just a minute in the microwave, then we add fruit. Not only does Anna really enjoy it, but also Micah and Zeke. They are constantly asking Dad if they can have some, too.
I posted a recipe for dishwasher soap a while ago and mentioned that I also had a recipe for laundry soap. Well, I had someone email me and ask me for the recipe, so I thought I would post it for anyone else that might want it. I have been using this laundry soap for 4 years now.
Laundry Soap
1 bar Fels Naptha
1 cup washing soda (not baking soda)
1 cup Borax
Grate the Fels Naptha soap into a pan; add 4 cups of water. Cook over medium (or low) heat until soap is dissolved. Pour into a 5 gallon bucket and add 3 gallons of hot tap water. Stir in washing soda and Borax. Stir until well mixed. Let set up over night. This only takes about 1/3 cup or so per load. I don't measure it - I just use an old laundry scoop. I find Fels Naptha, washing soda and Borax at WinCo (can also be ordered online).