Friday, September 21, 2012

Picture Pages

(There are a BUNCH of photos at the end... read on, dear friends!)

When I was a kid (a lot of years ago... clearly)...
Bill Cosby did "Picture Pages" on TV.
You could beg/plead/cry/whine/stomp/remind your parents to call the special phone number and order your OWN set of Picture Pages with the special marker, so that you could play along with Bill Cosby at home.
I doubt I had the official Picture Pages at my house.
(reminder: your child's life will not be permanently altered if you do not give in to every item on their ever-changing wish list.
I'm fine.
I believe I only have mild long-term trauma from my lack of Picture Pages and Mortimer marker.)

I still remember the song... and I can picture Bill standing there, talking to us all about drawing the picture together. This is only slightly higher up on my Bill Cosby memories than Pudding Pops. (ahhh, pudding pops... I loved them so much. I loved the sheet of ice on the sides and especially the swirl ones since no one else liked those and I could have them all!)

Because I know you can't stand it... here ya go: Picture Pages with Bill Cosby on YouTube
Click... watch... enjoy.

Clearly, I survived my lack of Mortimer The Marker in my childhood experience.
I do remember freaking out one Christmas because whatever I had asked my grandparents for had been given to me, and my sister got a Cabbage Patch doll... which, obviously, was the more awesome choice of the two items... and I know they went out and got me a Cabbage Patch doll also.
(*insert "spoiled brat" comment by my sister HERE*)

My kids have gone without a lot of the THINGS that their friends have over the years.
Frankly, I'm certain their lives are no less meaningful because I never bought them Heeley's or a Blizzard machine... or whatever toy they are selling on TV this month.

People are always asking me how we afford having such a big family.
I usually give them my line about "children aren't expensive - lifestyles are."... but frankly, I want to roll my eyes and say "do you think we live like everyone else around us??"
We aren't going out to lunch after church each Sunday.
We aren't sending our kids to school with laptops or iPads.
We don't buy 10 pairs of new shoes for each kid every time their feet grow .5 inch.
Our yard looks like CRAP.
We don't hire yard people or house cleaners or a laundry fairy (*sob*)...
and we don't throw birthday parties with clowns and ponies and limo rides.
Sure... we like to lavish "things" on our children just like the rest of you...
but we have to be very choosy and thrifty with our lavishing. (thrifty lavishing?)
I have a mental list of some items the kids like individually.
One loves a certain type of dried fruit bar...
one loves those special water drinks.
Another likes mini-wheats cereal...
and another likes anything neon yellow.
When I can fit those things into the budget, I get them.

Sometimes it's something bigger... like our annual trip to Beech Bend Park in Kentucky.
When we decided to make this an annual trip on Labor Day, we had a normal sized family that fit into a standard mini-van. Now?? Well... we pack lunch, beg everyone around us for their BOGO coupon from the school fundraiser book... and hope we can figure out the entrance price with our budget.

We get memberships to places... that's our family-fun day. The zoo, the aquarium, other local fun places... the membership for a year is way cheaper than one day's entrance for us... and it gives us something to do that's basically free for the rest of the year!

Of course I'd love to buy our kid the iWhatever they want for their birthday. Of course I'd like to throw the 11th birthday party of the century for all her friends. Those things don't change just because your family size outstretches your ability to purchase anything on a whim.

you know what else I know?
Those kids who DID get the special Mortimer Marker and all the Picture Pages books...
all that stuff is long gone.
And their memories of that stuff... are memories of sitting in front of a TV screen and "playing" with a 2D person.

Our kids' memories may be less "spendy"...
but they will be full of PEOPLE not things.
Yes... that's our SON in the bottom center. Crazy kid...

I'm told all these tiny braids are a great fine motor activity. Ouch.

Assembly line

Building with Dad.

Hiding in plain sight

Just before bed... her last night of being 6 years old!

Crazy Bus

Aquarium... before the day-of-fun.

We scare people.

Pretty girls!

You can touch the scary fish... if you'd like to.

Fish whisperer.

Sweet boys

Posing by the Penguins

Carousel at Beech Bend Park

I promise they were having fun...

My little Vikings

This is the happiest 3 year old I know!

 Sorry, Bill.
Even eating Pudding Pops WHILE doing Picture Pages couldn't top these kinds of memories.
(but maybe if I had a Mortimer Marker too.) 
(no, not even with a Mortimer Marker.)


  1. I've learned through experience that when children are raised with fewer things and more emphasis on relationships and experiences they often turn into teenagers with fewer material demands. My 10 teenagers know that if they want something that's not in the budget they'll need to earn the money themselves.

    Laura C
    Mom to 16, 10 of them pretty great teenagers

  2. I just found your blog and I can't wait to read more. We have five children and are currently in the process of adopting a little boy from China. My husband works for a small YMCA here in Tennessee and I stay home with our children. We live minimally, but love bursts through the walls of our home. We mainly get whispers behind our backs from family members because of how we live. They don't understand why we live so minimally and they don't understand how we can afford to adopt a child when we live so minimally. The answer to that is easy, we serve a big God who can supply everything we need for the adoption that He is leading us through. I look forward to reading more about your wonderful mega family! - Tracy


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