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Babysitting, birthdays and family

This past weekend was spent traveling to Spokane, celebrating my youngest daughter’s birthday and babysitting. Osama and Jacki took a little trip that had been planned months before and then forgotten. With their busy life I can see where it would easily be brushed aside! Foof decided she would babysit and I agreed to help her for part of the time. My younger children went with their oldest sister out shopping, to dinner for the birthday girl and in the end they stayed in a comfy hotel. Meanwhile we did crafts, made a fort and watched the usual movies.

Later that night Ben arrived to help and I retired to my room where the boys both tucked me in and Aiden showed me his Halloween costume.

The next morning the kids came from the hotel, bringing coffee and some breakfast sweets. We decided to leave soon after so that the kids could get home at nap time. We drove in to see Great Grama and Grampa who had purchased a cake for the birthday girl. img_0792Both of my parents and my sister, were excited that the kids made a surprise visit.

Gifts were opened and then cake was served, all of which the kids enjoyed taking part in.

We discovered that Alayna does like carrot cake and insists on feeding herself! She has also become a strong little girl even at this age. Watching her deal with her brothers gives me insight into my own daughters. None of them will let their brothers, from the oldest to the youngest, get away with anything!

I wondered where this sweet little baby would fit in among identical twins, but it is easy to see she truly is the boss!

I hope you had a fun and relaxing weekend as well.  Here’s to a great week ahead!

Happy birthday mom


This weekend we celebrated Mom’s 84th birthday.


The dinner was simple and fairly easy to put together. We made a green salad, Yusuf and Sumaya cut potatoes and prepared homemade wedges. Ben brought smoked chicken and Fattima made rolls. I made one of mom’s favorites, Peanut butter pie!

My sister is visiting from Saudi Arabia and was eager to see her nieces and nephews. She drove with mom and dad from the lake and suggested a simple home cooked meal for the birthday girl.  Mom requested my peanut butter pie instead of birthday cake. I made two of them and sent some home with her. The birthday girl wanted no gifts but rejoiced in being with her two daughters, grandkids and of course grampa! Mom and Dad both  remind us regularly that they are in need of nothing but love to spend time with family.

We watched the newlyweds open gifts from Auntie!

It was a relaxing day and so good to see my sis! She looked over my poetry book and was very supportive! We will be catching up more later and I will write a post about our time together, but for now Happy birthday Mom! IMG_0953

Love Lynniepooh

The last birthday


The first half of the year we celebrate 12 of our 16 family birthdays. Our last birthday until October was yesterday and now I am left with only two teenagers! I took last week off and tried to just feel better and luckily no one else in our household seems to have come down with strep throat.

I spent the week tending to my plants and flowers


Packages for the bridal shower kept coming in and we spent more time working on our menu.

The week came to an end and it was time for a favorite meal and the last birthday for months to come!

Beef szechuan, Chinese cabbage salad, fried rice and brown rice teriyaki noodles!

Turtle caramel cheesecake topped with fudge sauce and caramel, pecan, mini chocolate chips and peanut butter cups! 

Happy birthday to my 7th child and a huge piece of my heart! I love you Mude!

Happy birthday Heme!

Another year has passed and it is hard to believe my youngest is now 15! This weekend we went to the lake where we have celebrated most of Heme’s birthdays for the past 9 years. There have been weddings, graduations and kids moving in and out of the family home and this special young man turning 15 put an emphasis on all that has transpired. We also decided to do some work to get the house opened up for the season.IMG_8123.JPG

Grama carefully pressed layers of ice cream one flavor on top of another and then topped it off with Chocolate chip mint, perfect for a lake dessert! The birthday boy requested Grampa’s spaghetti along with garlic bread and salad.

Spending time at the lake is relaxing! When the house was built some 25 years ago, Mom insisted that every room have a good view of the lake! Having a lake house means relaxation, fun in the water and family time.

But of course with that comes a great deal of work as well. Mom and Dad are very active but it is not prudent for them to be standing on unsteady ground, picking up rocks, logs and wood or pruning the many blackberry bushes that line the stairs! Mom loves to do her gardening but has agreed that it needs to be less upkeep. She has slowly given in and this year gave up her lilies replacing them with ground cover. We were the lucky recipients of these lake plants along with Osama, Yusuf and Fattima. IMG_8027

A few hours of pruning was needed along the stairs which is comprised of two separate sections. Everyone told me to sit and relax but this has been my job for the past few years. The idea is to get the bushes and plants trimmed back far enough that they do not get in the way until summer ends. I took several breaks and finally finished my portion of the stairs, but I was too tired to take photos of the end result! Let’s just say it was totally clear.

The boys brought the kayak down to the lawn. They mowed, weed wacked and picked up any trash or debri that had come in with the high water.

Then it was time to prune some bushes that grow wild and crazy often entering the porch.   IMG_8060 (1)

We took a break for some water fun until the kids were tired and wanted to head up to the house for sandwiches.

The kids played dominoes, we ate a light dinner and turned in early!


The next day Osama surprised us and showed up early in the morning with the three kids in tow and a box of Heme’s favorite donuts in hand. The little ones brought an extra ray of sunshine to our celebration. IMG_8130


After dinner the cake was served and one little cutie sat waiting for Daddy to feed her! As soon as he spooned up some cake she beamed with a huge smile!

It was a weekend full of family and fun times and we all worked hard!



Being at the lake brings back memories both good and bad but we move forward and try to reclaim our place in this world. Sounds of laughter, games being played at the dining room table and the feeling of freedom is a welcome reminder that we are truly home.

Blessings big and small

The majority of our family birthdays fall in the first 6 months of the year and usually the May birthdays are celebrated at our home. Mom and Dad come over for Memorial day to put flowers on family members graves and Yusuf and Alicia make their way over from Seattle. But this year the birthday boy wanted to spend time at the lake house as last year they missed any significant time there.

The lake house was built the year before we moved to Saudi.


The past week has been a busy one and I have not been around in blog world much. On Friday our little family arrived in the afternoon and Osama got to work on covering our patio. We live on top of a hill and the sun seems to beat down on the patio all day and this means it gets little use. I love lighting and he surprised me and put up the same lights that he has on his patio. He also ordered a new cover for my lawn swing and Heme put it on.

Friday evening we had breakfast for dinner which included pancakes, sausage and eggs. Fattima and Ben came after work and Osama completed his project. It was total chaos and fun family time.


Ben has mixed in with the family well and takes things as they come!

The next morning we were set to leave at 8 a.m. but an ongoing issue with Heme meant another visit to the Doctor’s office. Two cars of people headed to the lake and we were to follow.  We have spent the past two months in and out of the doctor’s office with him coughing uncontrollably! The diagnosis has been allergies and now it was apparent that he had pneumonia.


Heme at the lake

Heme still wanted to go to the lake and so we got his prescription and made our way there. It is only an hour drive and one that brings back so many memories!

My mother planned a nice meal to celebrate the two birthdays and she ordered a cake from our favorite place. The kids helped out with various projects and we all kept a watchful eye on the babies!

The boys are now afraid of Clementine but Alayna had so much fun petting her and trying to play with her!

 Dinner was served and afterwards cake!


Cake was dipped into until I exercised my Grandmotherly rights and swooped in taking her away! I am sure her Mom and Dad were happy I did!

The boys were introduced to water balloons but were not quite sure what the big fuss was about!

While Yusuf and Alicia spent time with their niece and nephews!

Most people left except for a few of us who spent the night. We left early in the morning and Yusuf and Alicia took over our jobs outside!

Being a Grandmother is amazing so I imagine being a Great Grandma brings even more joy!



One last look before they left and a glance towards Grama!

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This is what two looks like!


The birthday party


As many of you know this weekend our boys turned two! Of course time does fly but this was especially fast. To be honest I never imagined I would be feeling this overwhelming love again and it took me by surprise.

Friday after school we hopped in the car, picked Heme up from practice and left for Spokane. Osama made bbq chicken for dinner and Jacki started working on decorations after the boys went to bed.  The theme was luau/Moana and it was all done to perfection! The kids helped and an assembly line of sorts was made that evening in order to get the balloons ready and keep them from flying away!

The next morning Heme and I woke up early and took care of Aiden. He was surprised at the decorating his mom had done while he was sleeping! Bennett woke up later and poor little guy was feeling a bit under the weather!

We tried our best to help out and do what we could. Allot of fun times were spent with Aiden, Bennett and Alayna! Fun and precious moments were too many to count.

Guests started to arrive around noon and everything looked very festive!

Jacki’s dad has a large, close knit family like ours and so everyone felt at home! Osama made stacks of burgers that were amazing and Jacki made popcorn balls and delicious chicken sandwiches! A lovely array of fresh fruit and cookies were also on hand.

Gramas and Grampas, Great Gramas and Grampas, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends all made their way inside, outside and wherever they felt comfortable.

The cake was served and our little ones were not sure what was going on as cameras snapped pictures and candles were lit.

A friend and cousin were also invited to celebrate their birthdays with our boys and so it added to the fun and chaos!


We watched the boys open gifts and then made our way back to our little town!

I cannot let an event like this go past and post these blessings without reminding anyone who is in a bad situation that things can get better. I never imagined this joy was possible and I am very proud of all of my children for making the most of their freedom. With every crib that has been assembled, each finishing touch on a child’s bedroom and care that is given for my sweet babies, I celebrate changes and freedom!


Happy birthday!


Spring is a busy month for our family with six of my nine children having been born in those few months. My father also has a spring birthday and this year he celebrated his 84th! We don’t generally exchange gifts any more but instead spend extra time together.

IMG_6724.JPGOn Saturday we woke up early and made our way to Spokane, my hometown. Osama had steak marinating and had the meal planned out. We stopped to see our little guys at their first soccer practice and then went to Osama and Jacki’s house. Fattima and B picked up the cake I had ordered at our favorite place and arrived shortly after we had settled in.IMG_6746.JPGEveryone pitched in to help get things cooking and then Mom and Dad arrived.

The meal consisted of perfectly prepared Flank steak, three choices of smashed potatoes and two salads. It was an amazing dinner!

We stayed a few hours and then drove back to our little town on the Palouse. Dad was happy to have most of his grandkids and great grandkids celebrating with him and we have come to realize this is the best gift we can give!

Happy Birthday Dad!


Family time

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Family time for our large group is not a special time that is set aside for anything in particular. Having a large family means every moment is basically family time. College kids coming and going, people dropping in for a quick bite to eat or taking me out to get groceries. I value this time and it makes me so happy to have these drop in visits.

It has been brought to my attention by wonderful  people who have entered our family, that there might be 5 or 6 conversations taking place all at once, and while everyone in the family unit follows what is going on, others can be a little lost. It takes time and eventually they come to understand our unique way of communicating!


Little brother hugging his big sister

The younger kids had no school Thursday or Friday and so that time was spent going to various appointments and making our way to Spokane for my skin check. We stopped over to pick up a special custom birthday cake that Yusuf ordered for Grama who celebrated her 83rd birthday on the weekend. thumbnail_IMG_3512

We took the cake and drove a few miles to Osama and Jacki’s house and spent time with the precious boys. Jacki is doing well but very tired and ready!

Mom and Dad arrived, we surprised mom with the cake, they visited for a bit and then took the cake for a celebration the next day at the lake. We said our goodbyes and headed back to our little town. Both boys waved and sweetly spoke the words Byyyyyeeeee



The next morning I took Heme to get on the bus for a cross country meet, we followed awhile later. The little town we went to is nearby and sits in a valley. The landscape was amazing.

Heme had a good run and did his best which for me is always what I hope for. We jumped in the car and drove two hours to the lake. Mom and Dad do not really need anything and so we hate to burden them with more stuff that they will not use. So in the past few years we bring lotion, chocolate, nuts, basically items that they really like and use. We helped put away the kayak, tied up the dock and made sure everything was up from the lawn. Mom made hot dogs, salad and we sat and ate.

The cake from Mom’s favorite place was taken out and served.

We kissed and hugged, got in the car and drove through the Palouse back to our sleepy college town where the gentle touch of Fall can be seen everywhere.



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