Wednesday, December 14, 2005

We Did It!

Finally, after almost missing another appt due to illness, we got the kids out to WalMart and got the portraits done! Woohoo! It was a close call, since even yesterday Troyer's eyes were too red for pictures, but phew, this morning he looked good. I never got around to giving him a haircut yesterday, so I did it quick this morning and threw him in the shower. We scrambled for another 2 hours to make sure all outfits were clean and dry, found socks and shoes for everyone, and actually got into the van ON TIME! We met Chris there, and then had to wait about 20 minutes because the poor girl at the studio was running behind. She was the only one working there, when I know the studio is supposed to have at least 2 people working at all times during the Christmas season, but she was great and got the baby ahead of our group through super quick, and she got us done fast too. The kids, with promises of candy bribes, did great, and we're done! I am so happy to have a picture of all the kids including Levi. We didn't do pictures last year because of the whole moving thing, and I hated not having a group picture of them.

So, here it is, the Annual Holiday Portrait:

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Now to go get my christmas cards addressed and in the mail, and my dad's gift mailed, and christmas cookies baked, and the kids' gifts wrapped, and ... and ... LOL

Monday, December 12, 2005


My cousin had twin girls last week, Charlotte and Kate. Aren't they beautiful?

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It is all I can do to keep from jumping in my car and driving over to see them and hold them. Ok, I'll confess, I am somewhat tempted to run home with them too! LOL I've been longing for twin girls since, oh, boy #3 LOL. Seriously, I am really happy for my cousin, but maybe I should change the color of the title of this post to green?

Friday, December 09, 2005


It's not officially the first snow of the season, we did get an inch or so a few weeks ago; but this is the first snow-pants-worthy snowfall, and the boys were excited! They couldn't eat breakfast fast enough to get out the door and play. We got about 6 inches, but it's powdery, so they are disappointed they can't make good snowballs. I think once the sun shines on it, it might firm up a little though. They will need to enjoy it while they can today; it is going to be 40 degrees tomorrow, so it will disappear.

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Snow Angels (and a Snow Devil?)

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Also, since I managed to get my photos out of my camera and onto my computer, I will share some other pictures.

Here is our tree, before decorations:

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Of course, each boy wanted his picture *alone* in front of the tree:

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And, just so you can see how long it's been since I emptied my camera, some pictures from early Fall:

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Proud Builders

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Ready to Mow!
Seriously, I may be biased, but I'm convinced he is the cutest thing ever! LOL

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Holidays Have Officially Begun

Well, Thanksgiving has officially ushered in the holiday season for 2005. We all drove down to my sister's for dinner, and we had a great time. Being 2 hours closer is very nice, as it made it a decent day trip. I was having such a nice time that I would have liked to have an excuse to stay overnight, but I think Chris was happy to get home and to bed. Driving makes him tired. Well, not driving exactly, since I did all the driving, but riding in the van/car/whatever-vehicle-he-is-traveling-in. My sisters and I noted that in spite of the insult by our non-attending father, we probably had a better time because he was not there. He has never been good at being part of the group when we are all together. We had lots of girly giggle fun, with our husbands all looking on and rolling their eyes, lol, and didn't have to worry about someone who needed hard liquor, who needed to sneak off to the garage for a cigar (yuck!), or who was bothered by the noise of all those kids. Chris was great about chasing Levi around much of the time, so I could spend more time talking with my sisters.

Chris had Friday off of work, so I, totally not thinking, decided it was a good day to go out and shop for a tree, since he finally gave in and consented to let me get an artificial tree. I took two boys with me, thinking what a nice person I was for taking them off of his hands, and drove the van, since the car is still at the garage getting the wheel fixed. On the way down the road I realized what I had done. I was attempting to do shopping on Black Friday. OMG. I am stupid. I usually hide in the house for that whole weekend. I don't like the crowds and parking is always at your own risk, nevermind with a full sized van.

As it turned out, parking was just as scary as I imagined, but shopping wasn't all that bad. The stores were crowded but not crazy, and by 4 pm when we headed home, the roads were not slow at all. I guess everyone else was out early for the sales and went home after lunch. I did find a tree, and brought it home. I also did a bit of grocery shopping too. We were home just after 5.

I set up the tree on Sunday. I guess it takes some practice setting up a fake tree. For sure it is easier than doing a real tree, because the needles can't poke the heck out of you and you don't get sap all over, and there are no needles to vacuum up afterwards. But I did find getting all the branches straightened to be more of a nuisance than I imagined. This tree is a pre-lit, which means that some minimum wage ignorant had to wind strands of lights around the branches before it was packed, so it is harder to position the branches because they are tied together by the light strands. I have to say, I am sure I would have chosen a different path for those wires than the factory person did. Some of it just did not make any sense and branches that are not next to each other are tied by the strings. It was frustrating but I finally got it done in the end. I went back out on Sunday and got a tree skirt and some garland, and I have to say I am pretty pleased. Chris' only comment was that it didn't smell like a Christmas tree. I told him I'd spray it with pine scented air freshener lol.

I have a few pictures of it, even though I don't have any ornaments on it yet, but I have to edit them before I can post them.

The other news of the week is that we've had a tenacious cold going through the house. Poor Levi has had it over a week, and I caught it on Friday night, and a few other boys have stuffy noses. It's not really bad, for the most part, but breathing through the mouth is a drag. I did miss a lot of sleep on Sunday night because of a throat tickle that kept waking me up. I ended up giving up and staying up until 5.

So the holidays are here, the boys are counting down until Christmas, we are playing Christmas music on the stereo and plans are in the making for 8 batches of Christmas cookies (maybe more if I am brave enough to try a new kind). This is the first year in a long time that I am in the mood for it all. Mostly I just dread the effort and mess, and the clean up afterwards. For years it has seemed not worth the effort. But this year I finally am looking forward to making it fun again.

In spite of this, I have also been fighting off some depression. I'm not sure what it is, if it is just a seasonal thing, from the colder weather and the shorter days, or if it is more, but ugh, it's bugging me. I do not want to give up and wallow in it, but it is pulling me down and sapping my energy, and I hate it. The other times I have had it, I gave in to it without a struggle, but this time I'm trying to fight it. Still, it sneaks up on me without warning and suddenly I just feel like crying. Ugh I hate it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sorry I've Been Quiet

It's that time of year again, and I just can't work up any excitement for blogging. I call my sisters and we gripe about how life can be unfair, and talk about how we wish things had worked out differently.

This year we are planning to get together for Thanksgiving dinner, and that will be fun. Of course our Dad will not come. He pulled out his lame-o excuses why it will be better for him to spend the day with his ex-girlfriend rather than with the only family he has left. Good for him. He'll probably wonder why no one cares after he is gone.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sorry for the Break

Last week Troyer got a belated birthday present from his aunt, a Robots DVD plus a Robots joke book and story book. All week I've been hearing jokes out of the book. I don't think it fair to post someone else's jokes, but yesterday he came up with another one of his own, so here it is:

Q: Why did the idiot go to the basement to go shopping?

A: Because someone told him the cellar was down there!

We have watched the movie several times, but we have also had something else new to watch. A few weeks ago we signed up for Netflix, for a free trial. We don't usually watch a lot of movies here, other than the kids' stuff we own. Some of it is the cost, more of it is the limited selection at the video store, but mostly it is the hassle of having to go out twice, once to rent and once to return. Netflix had a huge selection, and no due back date, free postage (the movies come in the mail, and you return them in a postage paid envelope) and a monthly fee for unlimited rentals, so we decided to try it. So far we love it! The first week we rented the first season of MacGyver. I have to say both Chris and I didn't remember it being quite so corny, but boy was he hot (ok, Chris doesn't remember that part either LOL). The boys loved all the stunts. I like to say it's kind of a cross between Indiana Jones and Bill Nye the Science Guy LOL

This week, after sending MacGyver back, we got Count Duckula! Chris used to watch this cartoon after his classes in the afternoon when he was at college. When he found out we could rent it, he got very excited. Of course the boys were game for any sort of cartoon. They have watched about half of the episodes and they love it! They were laughing their heads off yesterday. Chris is seriously considering buying the DVD for Christmas.

We have had great weather here this week. I can't believe how warm it is, and it's November already! Today it is supposed to be in the low 70s, wow! I am sooo glad we moved, lol. Back where we used to live, they had 4 inches of snow the week before Halloween Bwaaahaaahaaahaaa.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Had to Share This

One of Troyer's assignments this week was to write a poem using the Japanese Lantern format. He was given an example, and used it to write his own. You need to know that he loves cats, but hates dogs. I think he would have written about cats, if not for the fact that the example was already about cats. So here is what he wrote instead:

things that like to

My apologies to all you dog lovers out there!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Some Halloween Humor:

the kid never stops!

Q: What do female ghosts like to wear?

A: Ghoul-ery


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another Joke of the Day:

Courtesy of our resident Joke Man

Q: What is the heaviest part of the human body?

A: The skeleTON

har har har har

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Almost Cried

I gave Micah a haircut last week. Over the summer his hair was nice and curly, so short enough that I could get away with not cutting it. Those soft red curls were soooo beautiful! But as the weather turns cooler and less humid, his curls disappear, and then his hair just looks a mess, so I knew he needed it cut. But it was a sad day LOL

Before photos:
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And After:
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What a difference!

I hated having to throw it away:
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Here They Are

Pictures from Troyer's birthday, finally LOL. He has 3 collecting themes, and he got a little something for each: Indiana Jones, Kermit the Frog and the Muppets, and Herbie the Love Bug. He had a great time and loved everything he got. His cake had a big VW Bug on it.

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The whole group

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Levi enjoying some birthday pizza

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Troyer in his Indiana Jones hat

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Troyer's Joke of the Day

What did one whirlpool say to the next whirlpool in line?

Be patient! I haven't finished my turn yet!

I have to say, putting up with years of jokes that just didn't make any sense at all is beginning to pay off; this summer he has started coming up with some that are actually kind of cute!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

So Close and Yet So Far

This weekend my BIL participated in a race out in Nevada. It wasn't your ordinary car race; this race had no drivers. The cars drove themselves through the course. They are officially called autonomous vehicles, and they have computers and sensors; they are programed and then sent out to see if they can get from start to finish without mishap. The race is called The Grand Challenge, and is put on by DARPA, an agency of the government in charge of developing new technology for the military.

The first Grand Challenge was held last year, and none of the vehicles made it more than 7 miles, on a course of over 100 miles. It was exciting, but disappointing too. This year, being the second year, drew more contestants, and better vehicles. BIL, heading up a team sponsored by his employer, ENSCO, entered last year, and did a good job, though he didn't get the farthest on the course. Officials at the race did note his strategies and ingenuity and remarked to him that they were impressed. I would note that the vehicle that did get farthest kind of cheated by hiring a plane to fly over the general area of the race and photograph a "map" of the area(I say kind of cheated because it wasn't prohibited by the rules, but was clearly not in the spirit of the contest; each team was not supposed to have any foreknowledge of the course) and spent a truckload of money on their vehicle. (They had also been working on this type of vehicle for several years, before the race was thought up.) If you were to rate the success by cost effectiveness of the technology, they would NOT have come in first.

This year a lot of the same teams were back, as well as some new ones. BIL and his team designed a whole new vehicle, which they named DEXTER, and had a great start. They did well in all the trials and earned a pole position of 10 out of 23 vehicles. Each vehicle would leave their chute at a staggered start time. No one was really sure if anyone would finish again this year or not, but expectations were higher this year. I was impressed with how well everyone was doing compared to last year.

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The race was on Saturday, and DARPA had live time coverage on their website, Darpa Grand Challenge . I was glued to the screen watching. BIL's vehicle was doing great, it passed 4 vehicles and was in 5th place. Then they passed #4 while it was still running! So they were #4. They got through the toughest part of the course, and were averaging the best time. Things looked so good! But then, aaarrrghhh! The vehicle got a flat tire, and officials were forced to have the vehicle shut down. Waaaahhh!

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As it turned out, the first 3 vehicles did finish, and were followed later in the day by one more, and a 5th vehicle on Sunday, which put DEXTER in at 6th. They did get the farthest of the teams who did not finish. What a disappointment, because of a flat tire! So aggravating. Still, it was very exciting, and again, officials are impressed with BIL's approach so may still want contact with him in the future to discuss developing some projects. But the $2 million prize money would have been nice too LOL

Friday, October 07, 2005

It's been a busy week

So I haven't really had time to post like I've wanted. I have a lot of pictures (last week was Troyer's birthday, plus I did haircuts) but I haven't even gotten them out of the camera and onto the computer to edit. ugh. Maybe this weekend? *sigh* maybe

Friday, September 23, 2005

Look How My Monkey Has Grown

Remember that monkey chair I got last year from my aunt?

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Here it is one year later:

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Can you believe that is the same little baby???

And I guess I have another Computer Addict in training (guess who he inherited that gene from? ;-) )

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'm So Popular!

Wow, I just checked my statcounter, and found out I have been getting lots of hits from people I don't know. I followed some links there and found out that I am listed in link lists on lots of blogs! Wow! I had no idea my readership was so wide! Now I feel doubly guilty LOL. The pressure is on - how will I entertain all these people?

Well, just a little something for those of you curious about what it's like to live in a house full of boys:

Caleb (5 yo) just announced a few minutes ago that he is starting a new club up in his room this afternoon. It is going to be The Disgusting Club, devoted to nasty bodily noises. He demonstrated with a huge burp. Yuck! LOL

Feeling Guilty

I know, I know, it's been a long time since I updated. Well, not much is going on here besides trying to kick this darn cold out of the house (Levi is doing great after his round of meds, but Micah and I are still suffering, and Chris isn't fully recovered yet either) and washing size 3T underpants. Ugh. Potty training is NOT going well.

So, to assuage my guilt, I am posting some pictures I took today, to show you what is going on in our house:

3 of the 4 Computer Addicts; this is the first place they run once schoolwork is finished:
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I will admit, it works well as an incentive to get their work done.

Here is what Caleb was busy with today:
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He ended up making a pretty cool scene with several buildings and sidewalks. Samuel also had a good building up yesterday, but obviously it had to be pilfered to create the new one. Troyer is still working on his last page of schoolwork. He spent too long this morning sketching robots in his sketch book.

And here is our baby:
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Just the cutest thing ever! Ok, maybe I am a little biased ;-)

If I could figure out how to post links here, (I know, it's not that hard, I'm just too lazy to figure it out!) I would direct you to a neat website I found today. It is called "It's Good To Be The Queen" and is a site for moms with houses filled with boys. A girl here or there is allowed, but it is about being surrounded by testosterone and all that entails! I thought it was funny, since long ago my boys crowned me "Good Queen Mommy" LOL

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Yesterday Was a Loooong Day

I mentioned before that Levi had a cold this weekend. Well, on Monday night he barely slept, so in the morning I called the doctor and brought him in. It turns out he has pink eye and an ear ache, in addition to his cold. So from the doctor's office, we went right to WalMart to fill his two prescriptions. The pharmacy there was very busy, since the day before was a holiday, and it took an hour to fill the Rx's. We managed to waste the time by going through the clearance toy aisle, and then through the movies. We ended up picking up 4 dvds, to put back for Christmas.

After WalMart, I decided that we should run over to BJ's, which is a warehouse store like Sam's Club or Costco. I had a one day pass that came in the mail, but I had already decided to buy a memebership, because I learned that they accept coupons. We got there and got in line at the service desk to get a membership, and had to wait almost 20 minutes. There were 4 people on line, but no one at the desk. Finally someone came, but then a man walked up to the counter to ask a question and then had the girl leave the desk to help him find something. I thought it was very rude for him to not wait on line to be helped. By this time Levi was very cranky and crying because his eyes itched but he couldn't rub them without it hurting badly. Poor baby. After we finally got the membership card, I ran through the store picking up what I wanted. I had just been in a few days before to price things, so I knew just what I wanted and where they were.

Back home, we only had an hour to get lunch and get some eye drops in Levi's goopy eyes, before we had to head back out to the YMCA for homeschool gym. Our Y offers a 45 minute class once a week for homeschoolers, and I signed up Troyer, Noah, and Samuel. They have a class for 5 yos too, but it is not at the same time, and I just didn't think Micah and Levi wanted to wait another 45 minutes for Caleb to have his own class. The boys ended up having a good time. While we waited, I took the stroller out back. I had been told there were walking paths in the woods out behind the building. Well, there are, but they are dirt and on a steep hill. Ick for a stroller! Plus, in several spots just in the first 10 feet down the trail I saw poison ivy, so we turned around and put the stroller back in the van. I ended up letting the kids play in a side room while we waited for the class to end.

We got home just before 3 and I put Levi down for a nap, with more drops in his eyes. Initially the drops make his eyes water, so they were goopier than ever, and they stung a bit, so he hated them, but I could already see an improvement by this morning. By 4 I needed to lie down too. I had only had 3 hours of sleep the night before, and was running the whole day. Chris got home while I was napping, and I thought he was fixing dinner, since he usually does on Tuesdays. I came out to the kitchen to find flowers and candy, and a card for me, for our anniversary. :-) But no dinner. I started fixing chicken nuggets and french fries, and then suddenly realized that it was Tuesday! With the holiday weekend, my mental calendar was off. Troyer's first Pathfinders meeting was at 6:30. Oops. So I turned dinner over to Chris and ran out the door with Troyer to get him to church.

Troyer wasn't so sure he wanted to sign up for Pathfinders, mostly because he didn't know what it was. It is a cross between Boy Scouts and youth group. It is a scouting program run by the church, with uniforms, a pledge and law, and lots of camping and service programs, but it is co-ed. Since so many scouting programs conflict with the Sabbath, this is a great group for our kids to get involved with; run by the church, so it will always coordinate with church services. We got to the meeting almost a half hour late, but settled in ok. I left Troyer to his group and then had to waste time until 8:30. I will have to get him a uniform, but at least he already has socks and shoes. They gave him his t-shirt while he was there.

When we got home, Chris had 3 of the boys in bed, but Levi was still up. That was good, since I had to give him his medicine, but while I was getting Levi settled down, Chris went to bed. He didn't even wait up to hear how the meeting went. I was hurt that on our anniversary he didn't wait up to talk for just a few minutes. He said he was really tired, but hey, I was too!

I ate a late dinner, got caught up on some things that I hadn't gotten to during the day, and then washed the dishes (so the boys could have bowls to eat out of for breakfast!). I think it was 1:30 before I got into bed. I'm glad trash is delayed a day after holiday weekends, or I would have had to collect the trash and take it to the street too! As it is, I am now 2 days behind on laundry. It will be a busy day again today, trying to catch up. And I have my first exercise class tonight at the Y. I will be sore tomorrow!

Losing My Mind for a Moment

On one of those evenings when I just didn't feel like going to sleep yet, but didn't have anything to occupy my brain, I started blog wandering, following links from one blog to another, exploring outside of my usual blog tour. Chris, at the Big Yellow House, has a few House Blogs listed, of people like her who bought older houses that need a lot of fixing up. I got sucked in and read for hours. It is a romantic notion, to find an old fixer-upper, and turn it into your dream home. I started longing to find a house to fix up for my own. I dreamed of what it would look like, and how it would be to live in it. Then I read some more blogs, and started noticing just how much sweat and agony is involved, LOL. When they started getting technical, I realized just how far over my head all of it is, and I know I don't want to do that! Our old house was bad enough, and it wasn't literally falling down.

But thinking of buying a huge old house to fix up, which is probably the only way we will ever be able to find a huge house out here, put me in mind of the old house down the street from Chris' parents. It has been empty since the early 70s, and Chris and his sisters used to go over there and sneak inside and play in it. Over the years, teens have used it as a hang out, and it has been vandalized, in addition to just declining with age, so it is in horrible shape. The historical society has been trying to buy it for years, but the old lady who owns it wouldn't give it up because her husband had died in the house, and she insisted his ghost haunted it. While at MIL's on Labor Day, I learned that the house has finally been donated to the Historical Society. Poor Chris, he had always dreamed of buying it and fixing it up for himself. On the one hand, I am sad for him, but on the other, whew I just dodged that bullet! Here is what the house looks like now:

A view down the street from in front of MIL's house:
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A closer view of the front:
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The brush you see in the 3rd picture is not growing there, it is actually tree limbs that were trimmed and then left to lie in front of the house.

You can see what bad shape it is in. Inside is worse, FIL says the floors are falling through, and things like the mantles have been looted. The roof is slate and would need to be replaced, ugh on the cost of that.

Romantically, it would have been so cool to fix it up and live in it, but I think I am glad that option is gone, LOL

Labor Day

On Labor Day we headed to MILs for a picnic. Chris misunderstood what time we were supposed to be there. He thought she told him "anytime after lunch" so we showed up at 2, after we ate at home, but she had meant to come for lunch, so we missed the food. We ended up having leftovers, which was fine.

Micah in "his" chair, which Levi also liked:
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Caleb and Aunt Shawna:
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He had fun walking around the deck, trying to climb up in the chairs, trying to get into someone's purse, trying to drink cans and bottles of soda, and eating cat food, LOL

The weather was beautiful, and the boys had a great time playing outside. Noah was trying to climb some trees, which started a contest to see who could get highest. First his aunt climbed up, to show him how to get in the tree, then Chris climbed up, then his Uncle Mike. Aunt Shawna and I decided to stay on the ground LOL

Chris in the tree:
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Eventually Troyer and Samuel learned how to get up too, and even Caleb found a tree more his size:
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After we ate, Chris took Troyer and Noah for a bike ride. They are getting pretty good on the road. I think they rode almost 4 miles. Troyer was beet red when they got back, lol. He needs a bit bigger bike, because his knees were almost up in his chest.

Micah wanted to go on the ride too:
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Heading out:
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Noah took off as soon as they were out of the driveway:
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While they were bike riding, the SILs and I took Caleb, Samuel, Micah, and Levi for a walk down the street.

Caleb rode his new bike that Grandma and Grandpa bought him:
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Samuel helped push Levi in the stroller:
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This was a bit nerve-wracking, since each time a car would come past, Samuel would panic and rush off the side of the road, almost dumping Levi in a ditch several times LOL.

If you look closely at the picture of Levi, you might see that he had a cold. He started getting cranky after we got back from the walk, so we headed home about 6:30. It ended up being a nice day.

Birthday Pictures

Here are some pictures from Noah's birthday:

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We went shopping for a cake with a theme toy on top, but there weren't any that Noah wanted that we haven't already bought from the bakery, so I got a $4 Lego set and put it together to put on top. It turned out so nice, and for sure it's a better $4 spent than the cheap bakery toy, which costs the same.

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Here is the whole group.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ok, My Turn

I went and opened my big mouth and posted a comment on another blog, so to be fair, I guess I'd better post here and let that blogger come here and post back. I only hope I didn't blow a good friendship out of the water. I'm sorry if I made you angry.

Just so you all know, here is my position: OMG what a huge devestating disaster. No question, it is shocking and unbelievable and heart-wrenching. I feel so so so horrible for all those people trapped down there in those horrible conditions. I can't imagine it, and I don't want to. I can't help but watch the news and all the images, and even still, I know I have no concept of how really terrible it all is. I want so badly to do something more than just throw money at it. I want to be involved. I want to invite some of those families to come and live with us while they sort out what they are going to do. I want to open my home and my heart to them, because they look so lost and hopeless and I want them to know that people care. But I live so far away, that isn't an option. I have heard that even sending needed goods down there isn't helping because the distribution issues are so difficult. What they need is money, so that is what I will do. But it feels so cold.

I see those people angry and crying and yelling to me through the cameras, thinking that no one cares because they have not been rescued yet. I see their desperation, and I wish there were more we could do. What, I don't know. I have friends who work with disaster relief, so I know a little bit about how difficult it is. It isn't a matter of simply passing out some bottled water and getting busses in and driving them out. This disaster is so huge that the logistics of it are mind-boggling. All that needs to be done, yes, as well as medical needs attended to, immediately. But there is unavoidable disorganization at the beginning, and it just takes time. I am well aware that many of those people don't have time, but that doesn't change what is.

What I am overwhelmed with, beyond the tragedy, is the anger. Not from the victims; that is understandable. They have no tv or radio, or contact at all with the rest of the country. They have no idea how large this disaster is. They know only that they need help, and need it NOW. But the anger from the rest of the country, those who are watching the newscasts and wondering what is being done, and seeing what is not being done, scares me. It is so frustrating to see it all and not be able to do anything. But getting angry to the point that I have been seeing and reading is just such a waste of energy and emotion. I guess when you are filled with such sorrow and frustration, anger is the most common outlet for it, but it hurts to hear it and see it. Please, put that effort into something positive to be done, rather than just throwing blame around, and name-calling. It makes me sad enough to watch the suffering; but sadder still to know that I live in a country so filled with hate.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Best Friends

Levi and Voof at bedtime:

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Happy Birthday Noah!

Today Noah is 9 years old! It was a busy day, and I got some good pictures, but I have to upload them from my computer first. I will post about the day when the pictures are ready.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Baby's Best Friend

For his birthday, Levi received a stuffed puppy from his Aunt Aimee. It is a cute border collie. Last week, I was playing with him and the dog, and making the dog bark at him, and he said his first word! He named the puppy Voof. You'd think he was just making dog noises, but seriously, he was pointing at the puppy and saying "Voof!" lol So that is the puppy's name now. They are so cute together. He really loves this dog. It is easy to get Levi to lay down for a nap or to go to bed; all I have to do is hold both him and Voof, then tell Levi that Voof is sleepy and lay the dog down in the crib on his side, and make snoring noises. Levi jumps right in and lays down next to Voof with his arm on a paw. It is soooo cute. Here they are together going for a ride in the van:

Levi and Voof
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We were in the van to take Samuel and Caleb to their first day of camp at the YMCA. Caleb was super excited to go, but Samuel was a bit shy and nervous. Of course that manifested itself in his behavior as anger and stubbornness. He dragged his feet leaving the house, getting out of the van at the Y, going inside at the Y, signing the paper that covers the discipline rules for camp, and carrying his lunch bag each of those places. In fact, he mostly kept dropping the bag on the ground. He also hid in the vestibule rather than come all the way inside. I was so embarrassed. And angry. I really was torn between crying and just hauling off and smacking him. Of course, I did neither. But boy did I feel like it. Here they are in front of the Y:

Caleb and The Grump
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And in front of the bus:

An excited camper
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An exasperated camper and The Grump
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Of course, you know the outcome of the day; they both had a great time. I talked to a counselor when I came to pick them up, and she said that Samuel told her he was afraid it would be boring, but that when she asked him again at the end of the day he admitted it was fun.

My mortification was not quite complete, however; I had had to wake up both Levi and Micah from their naps to go get Samuel and Caleb. Micah is not good when you wake him up before he is ready, and he demonstrated that at the Y. When he saw the room with all the fun stuff in it that the campers wait in for parents to come pick them up, he wanted to run right in and play. Of course it is only for campers so I couldn't let him. Well, you know that story too. He laid down on the floor and had a tantrum and I had to have Noah carry Levi so that I could carry Micah to the van. Wow I was making a bad impression as a mother yesterday!

It wasn't over today either. This morning I was carefully watching the clock to get the boys out to the van at exactly 8:00. I checked every 10 minutes to make sure we weren't late. On the second the long hand reached the 12 I looked and said "All right, it's time to get in the ... Aaaaggghhh!" It wasn't 8:00, it was *9:00*!!! HOW did that happen? OMG I can't even tell time. To make things worse, today was the scheduled field trip for the boys. The campers were going to have a tour of a potato chip factory. They weren't even going to be just at the camp, they were going on a trip! Waaahhh! I raced them out the door and over to the Y, and ran in the door to see if I could maybe meet the bus at the factory. The lady behind the desk was so nice. It turns out the busses went first to the lodge where the campers spend the day, and from there they were loading up to go on the trip, and they hadn't left yet. So she called and asked if I should drive the boys up to the camp or meet them at the factory. They said they'd hold up the bus for me to get the boys over there. Back out to the van I go, and hurry over to the lodge and we made it! Phew! I was feeling sooo guilty, I am so glad it worked out. When I went to pick them up today the report was that it was really cool and they had fun :-)

Tomorrow morning I will not make the same mistake of thinking it takes 2 hours to go from 7:00 to 8:00 LOL

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Black Hole

There is a Black Hole in my house. Astronomers and scientists everywhere can stop all their searching the cosmos to find evidence, I have one right here. It is not a big one, though. It doesn't suck up anything that comes near it. It is more sneaky. After all, if everything fell in, I'd know to keep things away from it. No, this black hole is selective. It only takes a few items at a time. However, once something falls in it, it is lost forever. Nothing can withstand the awesome force of gravity that keeps these items in its grasp.

I have lost many things over the years, but today so many things are missing that I am going to go crazy. I have a notepad with important numbers on it that I keep in the desk drawer of my computer desk. Is it there? Nope. Gone. Troyer and Noah went camping with their grandpa this weekend, so on Wednesday I got their bags out to pack for them. Fully half of Troyer's clothes are missing. Half! I have searched high and low in the house, in everyone's dressers and closets and under the couch and behind furniture and under beds. Nowhere. This morning Chris left to go up to the camp and join them for the weekend. The boys had asked me to give him a disposable camera that was left over from earlier in the summer, to bring up and take pictures. Do you think I could find it? Of course not! I spent 2 hours looking for it, but there is no sign of it.

I know exactly where each of these things should be, but not only are they not there, they are not anywhere. We have lost other things over the years too. Troyer still asks about when we will find a Woody doll that went missing 5 years ago. Things like that I can just let go. Oh well. But now I am just going crazy. Too many things missing, just in the span of 3 days! I know, we just moved here, and we are still disorganized, and they might just turn up. But these are things I know I saw recently. They have no reason to be missing! Aaarrgh!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Happy Birthday Levi!

Levi turned 1 year old on Saturday! Wow, the year has been busy! It's hard to believe that just last summer we were starting to get our house ready to sell, Chris was starting his new job, and we were trying to figure out when he should start his orientation.

He sure is a cutie :-) He is my best natured child; even tempered and easily entertained. He is not afraid of strangers and likes to be held by lots of people. That is nice at church, where so many ladies are baby hungry ;-). He is also the earliest walker, at 10 months, and the slowest to grow teeth. Most of the others had a full mouth of teeth by their birthday, Levi has just the 8 in front, and 2 back molars so far. Troyer had all of his baby teeth by his birthday. Then again, Troyer has all of his adult teeth now, including his 12 year molars, and he is not yet 11! Levi walks and runs everywhere, and can climb like a mountain goat. He gets himself into a lot of trouble, lol. He is usually a good sleeper, though the past few days he has woken up once a night half way through needing a snuggle and drink of milk. He also wants to play, so I have to walk him up and down the hall to show him that all the lights are off and everyone is in bed. He usually is convinced and will then lay down and go back to sleep.

There are no plans for another baby at this point, so Levi is our last. He will be the baby forever. I hope his sweetness and good nature will last into adulthood.

For his birthday, we had a little party for him. My sister Aimee was here with her kids, Danny and Katie, so it was more than just the brothers, which was nice. We only did cake, and Aimee gave him a cute stuffed dog. All the other boys have "pet" dogs, so Levi needed one. I didn't get him any presents because, really, what does a 1 year old with 5 older brothers need? I hated the thought of getting him new clothes, knowing that there wouldn't be another baby after him to use them. That just seemed like a waste. And same goes with baby toys, he already has plenty. So he will get some cash in the bank instead. This really is better anyway, since a lot of the relatives that used to send money in cards for the older boys are now gone, and he doesn't get much.

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We also all went to a picnic after lunch. Chris' coworker invited all her officemates to her annual picnic out at her farm, along with their families. I made sure it would be ok for Aimee to come along, and as expected it was no problem. The drive up there was a bit nerve wracking though. When we started out from the house it was the hottest day of the summer, and we were wondering about the sanity of an outdoor picnic when it's 100 degrees outside. But, it's about an hour and a half from here (I can't believe that woman drives that distance every day even in winter to get to work and home again!) and half way there we had to go over a mountain. Well, there happened to be a thunderstorm going on on top of that mountain! It was very scary. We thought about turning around, because really, what fun was this picnic going to be for the kids in the rain, with no swimming? And I was so worried about a tree getting blown over on top of the car! But we got over safely and kept going. A lot of cars had stopped along the side of the road to wait it out because it was so hard to see, but we kept going. I figured by that point we might as well just get there and get inside her house to wait out the storm. Wouldn't you know it, about 2 miles from her house, the sun came out and it was beautiful! There hadn't even been any rain there. It was a bit cooler, too, maybe only 85, which is perfect for swimming.

We got there and jumped straight into the pool. It was a lot of fun! The kids all had a great time, and it was neat to see them all swimming so well. The swim lessons paid off! Even Caleb, who hasn't had lessons yet, was doing great in the shallow end, jumping in off the side and going under the water. He was fine as long as he could touch the bottom with his feet. Micah and Levi loved it too, taking turns with either me or Chris getting towed around and pretending to swim. Samuel almost got up the nerve to try out the deep end, but never did get out there without a float. I think it is the first time I have had a chance to do some real swimming in over 10 years. I did swim at my dad's place 2 years ago, but his pool isn't deep, so you can't dive in it. I actually dove off the board twice this weekend! Aimee assured me I didn't look very bad LOL. I just couldn't resist. It makes me wish I had a pool.

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We stayed about 4 hours, and then headed off home again. We were hoping the kids would be really tired and sleep well, but of course they didn't get to sleep until after the adults! And they were still up by 7 am. Ugh! lol They are paying for it now, though. They have been very sluggish this week.

Today Levi had his 12 month check up, and did great. He is 21 lb 4 oz, and 29 in long. Not quite as big as Caleb or Micah were at 12 mo, but bigger than the other 3. I told the dr that he is right on track for my group. He got 3 shots but didn't even cry, and had his iron retested, because at 9 mo it was low. This time it was 12.5, so very good. He minded the band aid on his finger more than any of the pokes, lol.

I also had his picture taken on Friday and it came out very nice. The pictures on the disk that I bought are off on the color, which disappoints me since it cost almost $15, but you can still see how cute he is :-)

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I love this one:
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