Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Carnival Time

It was carnival night!
The Porter Family had been waiting all year for our cheesiest of Christmas traditions, the Bull Run Festival of Lights CELEBRATION (minus the lights)
Garth started the night with a picture with our dear friend, Spongebob.
Sommer and Calvin were given their "unlimited" rides wristband and were off gallivanting through the grounds.

The rest of us, headed for the ferris wheel. I really thought it might malfunction and cause the small rusty capsules we were in to drop suddenly to the crowds below...luckily that didn't happen.

Ashton was amazed at how high we were. Here we are at the tippy top, my legs are shaking as we slowly rock back and forth on what seems like a very small and weak metal thingy. No seat belts? Come on!

These two were loving it.

Garth posing in front of the wheel. He looks thrilled.
We will be back next year...the kids go crazy for this tradition.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Perfect Gift

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Novakovich for the perfect gift:
We love fires at the Porter House.
We had been using an old decrepit pit I found in someone's garbage.
When that turned to ashes, we used a clay chimney pot gifted to us from our friends.
That has since been cracked (due to overuse).
Garth and the boys have wanted a new fire pit forever!
Fires will abound.
Garth is THE fire starter.

Joey likes fires too.
Ethan is the king of fires...

Tonight we had a family smore night. With 70 degree temperatures (yeah, you read that right, 70 hot degrees out), we found it a perfect night to roast in our new gift.
It will be well used
and loved.
Thank you!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Everyone Merry

It all started at 6:00 sharp, maybe a bit earlier as I could feel the presence of an unknown child (gray shirt) entering my room every 15 minutes to check my clock starting around 5 am. The unnamed child was trying to be quiet as a mouse, but with age has come an outrageous light sleeping habit...totally unfair.
I kept them to our "deal" of no earlier than 6 am and laid in bed as they counted down from 5:55 to 6:00 cheering loudly every time a minute would pass. Pleasant for sure. But remembering my Christmas' past, I couldn't deny them for long...
Santa had come!
Everyone was excited, except Ashton, who has been labeled as our "Debbie Downer" child as of late. He is only happy when he is eating candy, getting his way or eating candy.

We were thrilled we extended the opening presents time to a whoppin' 45 minutes this year! Pretty darn impressive with 5 totally anxious kids.

By 7 am, they were ready to go outside.
We made them wait until 8.
Then we set them free to bother all of the neighbors.

Bikes, Scooters, Ramps, Uggs, Legos, Pixos, Air-soft Gun, Paintball Gun (I think some will even be sleeping with their paint balls tonight...think grey shirt)
were some of the gifts given for our good little children.

And they ARE good.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!
May your day be filled with pure JOY.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

It is almost here.
Gifts under the tree have been shaken, held, begged to be opened...
Christmas Cards from friends and loved ones adorn our wall and door...
The children are trying to hard to be "last minute good" for Santa's list...
Siblings have earned, shopped and purchased the perfect gifts for one another...
School is out...
The countdown is about counted...
Garth is out shopping at 10 pm...
Sugar is flowing through our veins...
We tell the Christmas Story often...
It is almost here.

Closing the Door on the Cell Phone Saga

I think my cell phone saga is over. Whew! After making three calls to speak with "supervisors," we ended up getting one month of our normal bill credited (a third of the cost of calls made internationally...but I will take it!), and an awesome new phone for $9.99 (brand new Samsung stores for $200). Thanks Brian for all of your expert advice!

My number will be the same so don't worry about changing it.
The one problem I have is the loss of all of my stored numbers! I will be emailing you in the next few days to get yours!

So the moral of the story is:
If you lose your phone, call immediately to suspend your number. It only takes one more quick call to re-activate that number if you happen to find your phone in the depths of your purse a day later.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our Little Joys: 2008 Piano Recital

I had my first piano recital this week! It was a HUGE success!
The kids were amazing...and the cutest things ever.
Here is a look at all of my scrumpteous little ones getting a final round of applause.
And can you believe these lovely roses...thanks everyone!
Take a peak at a few of them in action!




I am loving my role as piano teacher. Fun, fun, fun for ME!
The sweetest little joys ever.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our Sick Boy

You know your little one is sick when you find them like this on the floor...sound asleep.

Poor guy is under the weather. But as far as patients go, he is perfect.
I am crossing my fingers that no one else gets it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blasted Thief!

I was at Tyson's Corner on Thursday having a jolly old Christmas Shopping day. Upon my arrival home, I couldn't seem to find my cell phone. But have you seen my purse? I figured it would show up later that day under the many layers of junk my bag collects. When I finally dumped everything out and found many interesting things but no phone, I started to worry.

But stupid me, I didn't worry enough. I waited two days...then I called T-Mobil to report my lost OR by slim chance, stolen phone. Too late. Some idiot had been having a hay day with my cell phone calling all of his loser friends in Europe and the Middle East! Who does that?

Anyway, I am out a big chunk of change...hopefully making some criminal feel closer to his loved ones this holiday season!
By the way, there is no protection against calls that are made on your phone. So if you do misplace your phone, I recommend calling your carrier immediately (even if you do think it is deep within your purse).
I would love any cool phone suggestions!
Happy Day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gifting Help For Your Husbands!

This is worth every minute of your time,
especially HUSBANDS!
Happy Holidays!


On December 12th at 12:13 pm (I asked if we could go ahead and have his time of birth to be 12:12, no go), our sweet Tate Matthew Porter came to us!
He has brought us so much
He is happy. He is helpful. He is smart. He is full of life.
He is OURS!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Problem with Christmas Shopping

Here is my problem with Christmas Shopping:
I find way too many things that I want.
Here is a down puffer from
that I know will keep me perfectly warm this winter!
I have been so cold!
And who wouldn't love these trendy RED patten Dansko Clogs. LOVE THEM! Want Them!
...can't have them.
And since I am on a red kick, how easily did I fall in love with this sweater from Abercrombie... totally instantly!
Would this be a classic for all time or what?!

I need to stay out of the stores so I won't be tempted any more...
but man did I have fun window shopping!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Savior of the World

pictures by Vicente

Garth and Sommer performed in the production, "Savior of the World." I got to see it on Saturday and it was wonderful.

Sommer is in the choir as an angel and townsperson.

Garth plays a grandfather shepherd and James. He even has a solo. He was told he had a great voice (I knew that already)...

This is Sommer and her friend Emily (they are the same Sommer tall or what?!)

Here is Garth (James) as he stands at the empty tomb.
The talent amazed me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Trip to the Temple

On Sunday, in the FREEZING cold, we made our way to the Festival of Lights at the temple.
Our friend, Vicente, came with us too!
And lucky for us, he is a photographer!
These pictures he took are incredible.

If you haven't been there for the Christmas Celebration,
you must go.

Each night there is a different performance in the grand hall. Groups from all over the area come to perform.
The Christmas Spirit surrounds...
It was an AMAZING night!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Look What I WON!

My cousin, Marylin, had a blog give-away a few weeks ago. I crossed my fingers that I would win one of her cuter than ever APRONS (or the quilt...darn it)!
Well, as luck would have it, I won this most incredibly cute PRIZE!
Look at the shell theme...with shell pocket. Great color scheme...
Thanks Marylin for sharing your talent with your readers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Decorating

I have spent the past 3 days
wrapped up in the
of Christmas decorating.

Day 1: Finished putting away all Fall decorations and CLEANED.
Day 2: Put up all the outdoor lights, wreaths and other various related fanfare.
Day 3: Put up all indoor decorations
Everything is sparkly.
All that is left is our two Christmas Trees...but that is where Garth comes in.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can I Tell You... absolutely wonderful it is to have two little boys that go to so bed easily?! They have no problem when I tell them it is time for bed (as long as we give them a, "10 more minutes!" warning) and their other three siblings are still up (making noise). They never ask me "why doesn't Ethan or Calvin have to go to bed?" They just go right up to bed.
I tell them the ever popular "Candy Mountain" or "Candy Beach" (if you need a good story, this one has worked for years and never tires...simply take them to "Candy Mountain, " by way of the secret little button under their bed. When they arrive via the fruit roll-up slide, they are in a place where everything is made up of candy. I usually throw in a few stomach aches to be sure they understand what might happen after eating everything candy...) stories and they settle down quickly.
The other children are simple too and require minimal assistance; a prayer, maybe a little story, a back scratch and/or a quick breath check to be sure they actually brushed...with toothpaste and they are fast asleep.
I am so extra grateful because over the past 13 years it hasn't always been so easy. We have had children who have slept with us and were unable to sleep alone. There have been those little ones who needed long rockings in the chair with lullaby after lullaby before finally nodding off. We have had the wake-up multiple times every night (I hate getting out of bed at night) babies. I also remember the tough transition stage from crib to bed. At least three of mine liked to wander around at night after everyone was asleep. Tough Times!
But none of that anymore. Everyone sleeps through the night. Everyone goes to bed when asked (except for an occasional one who is caught still reading at midnight). And some even sleep in! And when they do wake up, they all can get their own breakfast!
To those dear mothers who are in still fighting the good fight, I tell you this...You are amazing, and you can do it!
BUT if you are ever at your wits end and you just need a nap, call me and I will watch your little ones. I know how tired you can get!
I am serious.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Great Family Night

Garth prepared a fabulous Family Night
to help usher in the Christmas Season.
He talked about
the opportunities to serve others.
He told the children to start thinking of ways they could serve.
We started the countdown to Christmas!
And to help them, he presented each child with their very own
Advent Calendar.
The best $7 we have spent (go World Market!).
Each day, as they open a window on their calendar, they will think of a way to serve this Christmas Season.
We can't wait to serve...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Boys and The Girls

This is what the
did on Saturday:
cut up huge fallen tree with chainsaw, built fire and ate fastfood
And the girls
shopped, went to lunch and had pedicures.

Everyone had a perfect day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Searching For a Fabulous Find

Today I discovered the new Salvation Army Family Store!
I was with Sommer at the time and asked if she minded if we took a quick peak.
"Ewww!" She replied. "Used clothes? Have they been washed?"
I tried to get her a little bit more excited by telling her she might find a pair of Ugg boots.
"Yeah right. Like someone is going to get rid of those!" she said.
I couldn't wait to get inside and start searching for a fabulous find. Sommer reluctantly stood beside me as I started scoping out the place. Rows and rows of jeans, sweaters, name it, they had a rack (or two) for it.
I showed her a totally cute Old Navy skirt. She wouldn't have anything to do with it. I found some American Eagle interest whatsoever.
But I was determined to find something. I will admit that knowing she wasn't comfortable made my shopping extravaganza a bit stressed. I came away with nothing...THIS TIME! But I did see some great things such as:
Mini Boden shirts (the cutest brand for kids from England)
A couple of books I really wanted (only $1)
A big comfy black sweater (Sommer said it was too big for me)
A Banana Republic shirt
Some cute skirts (Gap, JJill)
I will be back and I will find something fabulous. Just you wait.
And I am going solo...

Friday, November 28, 2008


I was running today and was ever so grateful for my IPOD.
Even more thankful for
music! if you want to get movin', here are some of my lastest and greatest
get ya movin'
songs (pleae don't judge...I know, some of the singers are a bit teen):
New Shoes: Paolo Nutini
Give it 2 Me: Madonna
Human: The Killers
Paper Planes: M.I.A
Just Dance: Lady GaGa and Colby O'Donis
Womanizer: Britney Spears
All I Want is You: Barry Louis Polisar
Shake it: Metro Station
No Scrubs: TLC
Hop a Plane: Tegan and Sara
Gettin' Jiggy Wit it: Will Smith
Mercy: Duffy
Leavin': Jesse McCartney
White Winter Hymnal: Fleet Foxes
I'm Alright: Jodee Messina
Pump It: Black Eyed Peas
How Far We've Come: Matchbox Twenty
Me Love: Sean Kingston
Potential Break Up Song: Aly and Aj
Viva La Vida: Coldplay
Strange Hold: Ted Nugent
(if you want more...I have 'em)
...and if you ask really nice, maybe I will put them on a disk for you..

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Best Preschool

We love our preschool:
4 R's.

Every year they put on a Thanksgiving Lunch for all of the children. They don't ask us for anything.

And for Christmas, instead of "teacher's gifts, " they ask us to bring in a toy to donate to


I can't believe my little Ashton is our last 4 R's student.

I love this school.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bed Wetting

If you grew up wetting the bed (I was five), your husband grew up wetting the bed (he was 6) and you have five kids living under one roof...YOU WILL EXPERIENCE someone wetting the bed each week.
Take for instance Sunday night.
Two brand spankin' clean beds...WET. Making things more work for me the next day is how my my kids deal with the situation during the night.
Theylike to take their HUGE down comforters and place on the lovely wetness. They then lie on top, staying dry. This leaves me with not only, matress cover, sheets and clothes to wash but MASSIVE bedspreads...which take like 5 cycles to dry in the dryer.
Bless their hearts least they don't wake up their very OLD mother in the middle of the night.
...and bless my four year old's heart too. After wetting his bed, he takes his little blankie, a couple of pillows and camps it right on the floor beside his bed.
Gotta run and make a bed!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Saw It!

I saw TWILIGHT this afternoon!
...didn't love it.
But I liked it. Especially Edward.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nerd Alert

My 20 year High School Reunion is coming...

What a bunch of nerds!
(do you know which one is me?!)
Ironically, one of my kids asked me what a nerd was last night...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today my friend,
brought me over my very own Metronome.
It helps a musician keep time with the music.

I am attempting to learn a Beethoven piece (not optimistic) so we can play it together with his violin...

...I am thinking I need at least 2 years of practicing...

and even then, I am not so sure.

I have been thinking lately that I need help with keeping time with life.

I am attempting to learn to be more





Full of Love

as I am bombarded with life's demands.

I need a metronome. A beat that keeps me steady. When I get off track, I will immediately know something is off, not quite right. I will do all in my power to get back on the beat.

But we do have Life Metronomes...many of them:

The Holy Ghost


Our Children


we have to listen... we have to be willing...we have to work keeping life's beat.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Getting to Gettysburg

Our family went to
We drove through three states and arrived in just over an hour. I told the kids that "when I was growing up, that would have been impossible."
They said, "cool" and went back to their movie...
Here are some serious soldiers (with Abe Lincoln in the back).

Luckily we only have 5 kids...a sixth wouldn't fit on the cannon.Our favorite stop was Devil's Den. Here we found huge rock formations where the kids (and parents) squirmed in and out, scrambled up and over and wriggled through the stones.

Garth is working on getting the second half of his body through this crevice.

Inside the rock.

Looking up at my cute man.

Calvin was having "a moment."

Upon arriving, Tate scrambled up this rock. He danced around.
He was so happy.

Happy Still...
But I have to tell you that after following his brothers around the dangerous rocks (there were huge dangerous crevices that had 20 feet drops), we all had a huge scare. I was with Ashton and heard screaming. I ran up to the top of one of the rock formations and saw Tate hanging by his finger tips from a ledge. Below was a deep crack (and wide). Calvin and I got to him seconds before, he fell. On lookers were staring in fright. I grabbed his hand and lifted him over the drop onto a safe spot...just in time.
We are grateful for miracles.

Sommer looking over the valley.

I love these picture of Ashton and Ethan working themselves through the rock.

It was so Windy and Cold!
We were loving these rocks to ward off the chill.

The wind was whipping on the top of this hill. The boys could totally lean forward and the wind held them up.

Stopping to see the Virginia Monument.

The "Tower."
I have to admit I was a bit nervous with the strength of the wind and low railings.
The kids ran up without waiting. But everyone was safe and

A bit cold...

Thanks Garth for planning such a great adventure!
We hope our kids came away with a greater understanding of the sacrifices that were made on this hollowed ground in 1863...