10 Year Old Birthday Boy

12/6/2017


This boy is now 10 years old!


Going from 9 years old to 10 has meant learning how to rip-stick, memorizing states and capitals as well as multiplication facts, earning permission to go for bike rides around the block by himself, and his first trip to the Emergency Room for stitches. 


He's into things like paper airplanes. But his favorite thing to do is WORK! He loves to work with Dad on projects around the house or in the yard. He also loves to play outside with friends. He has two neighbor boys - Christopher and Sheldon - who are his best buddies. 


So handsome!



We celebrated with an ice cream cake at his request. We included a birthday party with our Thanksgiving celebration with extended family 2 weeks ago. 


He's into Legos these days, as well as loving anything and everything that is remote-controlled. 


He loved this car he got for his birthday.

Happy Birthday, my boy! Welcome to double-digits! 
We thank God for your life and are trusting Him for your future. 

Baby Boy is 5 Months Old

11/29/2017



This little boy is 5 months old now! 


Oldest sister is a big help in watching little man!


Older brother likes to hold the baby and read to him.


Big sister thinks he is her baby doll. :-) 
She is a wonderful little mama to him. 


His hat fell off. She put it back on. Love it! 
He sticks that little tongue out a lot now. So cute.


He likes to sit in the high chair and watch us work in the kitchen.


He enjoys the jumperoo in our homeschool co-op nursery.


This boy is a super happy baby. Many people comment on how "chill" he seems. He loves to just watch all the activity in our home. He will stand for over an hour in his exersaucer and just watch, laugh and smile at life. 


He is sleeping better and better all the time. He doesn't like traveling at night (afraid of the dark?) but travels well during the day. He coos and tries to talk with us. He just loves anyone who will give him attention. 

During this season of thanksgiving, we recognize this little child is one of the greatest blessings of the year for our family! 

Homeschool Co-op Wraps Up

11/28/2017


We have continued to participate in our homeschool co-op this fall. We meet on Wednesday mornings from 9 until 12:30 for 12 weeks. Around 50 families participate. The kids choose from a range of class options, all offered because moms are willing to help teach and lead. 

Our fall semester just wrapped up, ending with a final program to highlight some of what the students learned. All of the children worked on memorizing Psalm 100 this semester. In the picture above, all of them are on stage reciting these verses.


These were my oldest daughter's classes: It's All Greek to Me (Greek mythology and culture), Scrapbooking, Life Skills, and Newspaper. My daughter created this paper mache urn for her Greek class.


Here is the scrapbook she created.


My elementary age son took these classes: Gym, YWAM Missionary Study, Paper Airplanes, and Eating Around the World. In the eating class, they signed a contract on the first day to agree to TRY all of the new foods they would make this semester. He did well, trying everything. 


My younger daughter is in Preschool. She loves going to co-op. She especially loves her teacher and her gym class. She is very shy, though, and hardly speaks (from what the teachers tell me)... so unlike her talkative-self at home.



My younger two boys are in the nursery with me during most of co-op. Lots of playtime for them and for me, plenty of social time to chat with other moms.

We love our co-op! 

Baby Boy Turns 4 Months

10/31/2017



Baby boy is now 4 months old! 
Here are some pictures from this past month. 


My baby boy along with his cousin Raven, who is 2 months older than he is. Very close in size. 


Smiling at the webcam, while skyping with Grandma K in Wisconsin. 


We had beautiful weather throughout October, so he enjoyed some stroller rides outside.


He likes to stand in the exersaucer now. There's so much to watch at our house with all the older siblings. Constant entertainment.


He sits in the high chair, so he can get a better view of all that goes on in the kitchen. And he sits with us at the table now for meals, watching. 


He is not really into a sleeping pattern yet, but he is starting to sleep a little bit longer stretches at night. 


He's a big guy and full of smiles. He loves to smile at anyone who will pay attention to him. He has a wonderful belly laugh too now when he's tickled. 

We love you, Mr. Man! 

Fall Festival

10/30/2017
 
We recently attended a Fall Festival. My youngest kids dressed up and were, of course, adorable. 



Little 2-year-old boy was a giraffe. Such a cute costume.



My almost 4-year-old girl was a princess. She had a blast with her best friend Addie, who was a cat. 



My baby boy was in his Tigger costume, which included a tail. Too cute. 

Dress up fun for all! 

Neighbors and Health

10/27/2017 


This week I'm paying tribute to our neighbors. 
They are moving across town and our family will truly miss having them so close. 

Today I want to mention Kathy. She's the mom to Sarah and Liz, whom I mentioned in the previous blog posts. Kathy and I were cordial to one another, but not close for most of the last 9 years that we've been neighbors. However, about 2 years ago, I was losing weight through the Trim Healthy Mama plan (read more about that in this post) and Kathy asked what I was doing to lose the weight. I told her. In fact, I was really excited to tell her because she is not only in the medical profession, but also specializes in diabetes education. Trim Healthy Mama is a great plan for diabetics, so I asked her to read the original book explaining the plan and let me know what she thought of it, from a professional standpoint. She did read it. And more than that, she decided to jump on the bandwagon and try the plan herself. She has had her own success story now, losing weight and gaining health. 

Since we now had Trim Healthy Mama in common, we started sharing recipes and then sharing samples of many goodies we tried. Having a neighbor to do this with has made it 10 times more fun! To share the treats, the ingredients, the recipes, the knowledge and the questions... our relationship went from "just neighbors" to "good friends." 


For Christmas 2016, Kathy made us matching THM aprons. Love this!

So, as Kathy moves away this week, I will miss her. I understand her need to downsize, as her kids are all growing up and she'll soon be an empty-nester. But I will miss her as a friend and as a neighbor. Thankfully, she isn't going far and if we're intentional about it, we can still share some recipes and samples now then. 
Come over any time, Kathy! And I mean it! 

Neighbors and a visit to the ER

10/26/2017



We had a milestone this week: our family's first visit to the Emergency Room! My oldest son (age 9) was whacking at a root in the backyard, using a shovel. He ended up hitting himself on the head and required 2 stitches to sew up the wound. It was a bloody mess for the first 10 minutes, but we remained cool, calm and collected. I was proud of myself for that! (When I was a child, I HATED the sight of blood and would run the other direction, so I've come a LONG WAY since then). 


As it turns out... our friend Liz (sister of our nextdoor neighbor Sarah) was working in the ER at that time. She is a Child Life Specialist. Her job is to entertain kids who come into the ER, to keep them calm, distract them and help them know what to expect. So she was there as one of the first faces my son saw when he arrived at the ER. And she loaded him up with so many toys and goodies that he changed his tune from "a scary visit to the ER" to "that was fun because I got toys!" Liz is great with kids. She's babysit our kids on a few occasions. And she has a therapy dog with her in the ER too. All of this makes her great at her job and I'm so glad she was working when my son paid her a visit!

Hopefully there won't be any more ER visits, but if there are, we made these "notes to self."  Remember to take some reading material, as the wait time is long. Also remember to grab some snacks to eat. My son injured himself at 5:15 pm, right before supper. So when he and my hubby took off to the ER, neither had time to eat. And they didn't return home from the ER until after 9:00 pm... and still hadn't eaten. 

We are thankful to our Heavenly Father for sparing our son's life in what could've been a much worse situation. And we thank Him for medical care that is so readily available and for little things, like friends on duty in the ER, to remind us of His tender mercies and care. Thank you, God!

PS: Thinking about Liz and the fact that her family is moving this week, made me track down a few pictures of Liz with my kids over the years. 


This is Liz with my son in 2011 - same boy that she'd be helping in the ER in 2017.


Liz was the best babysitter ever. Here she was playing in the backyard with my two oldest kids. She was always game for playing whatever crazy games they thought up.


This is Liz with my 2013 baby girl. 


And here she is with my 2015 baby boy... and the rest of the gang.


Liz moved away from our neighborhood a few years ago. She lives at an apartment complex with a pool, so once or twice we visited her so the kids could enjoy her company and her pool! 

Not sure how often we'll get to see Liz now... but I do hope those future visits will NOT be in the ER! :-)

Neighbors, Pretzels and a Tribute to Sarah

10/23/2017
 

Our dear friend Sarah has been our nextdoor neighbor for about 9 years. She (and her mom, who is also a dear friend) are moving soon. We are sad about this and will miss them terribly. My children especially are super fond of Sarah, who has babysat them over the years and has always been a friendly, helpful presence in our lives. 



One thing we have done a few times over the years is make soft pretzels with Sarah. I think we were doing this once and she just happened to come visit while they were in process. She stayed to help and got to enjoy the pretzels too. She was hooked and now it's a tradition that we invite her over whenever we make pretzels. 


So this week was our last time making pretzels with "our neighbor Sarah" but hopefully not he last time we make pretzels with "our friend Sarah." 


This makes me want to walk down memory lane, so here are a few photos of Sarah and my kids through the years.





When we first met Sarah, she was very outdoorsy. At first, she didn't like us as her new neighbors, as we cut down a dozen overgrown trees from our property. She forgave us, eventually. But she took to the kids right away and would play with them outside a lot. 


They loved to work with Sarah on any outside projects, but just being with Sarah was fun, no matter what.


Playing in fall leaves - way more fun with Sarah around!


This led to backyard camp outs with Sarah...



Inviting Sarah to join our family when the circus came to town...


And still lots of outside fun and goofiness. 


As tom-boyish as Sarah was, she took seriously my daughter's invitation to her "Dress Like a Princess" birthday party. So beautiful!



Eventually, we invited Sarah inside our house (ha :-) and she played crazy games with the kids. Mostly, she just let them climb on her like a jungle gym!


She'd read to them. 


Sarah was always a good sport to play with playdough or work on puzzles or do whatever the kids initiated. 


She so quickly became a good friend to us all!


Through every season, Sarah has been a regular face in our front window, heading to ring the doorbell and see if we're home... even in snowy weather when she still wears shorts!


It wasn't all on Sarah to create the fun and games. She mentioned once how fun it would be to have a pie in the face (yup, she asked for it, literally) so I surprised her one day! Actually, I pulled this off twice!


But, of course, time has passed and Sarah has grown up. We were there when she earned her Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and we were there for her high school graduation.


Now she's in college and working full time. But she still finds time to come over and visit, often bringing along her dog Chewy.


Our family has grown too, adding more children. Here is Sarah holding one of the newborns.


And with this most recent baby, she visited at the hospital like she was one of the siblings. We all loved that! 

Since she's been driving, Sarah often invites my oldest daughter to join her on a quick trip to Dairy Queen or PetSmart or wherever. It's been so good for my daughter to have a positive role model to look up to in Sarah!

Without a doubt, Sarah has been one huge blessing to our family. All of us enjoy her company, her friendly chatter and helpful spirit, her distractions during long days at home, and her friendship. We know the day is coming when Sarah will likely marry and/or move farther away, but we sure do cherish all the memories we've created together. And we have grateful hearts to the Lord for leading us to such great neighbors, who share our faith and are encouraging to be around. 

You might be moving across town, Sarah, but you will always be welcome here! We love you!