July 31, 2006

Trying to Update This...

OK, OK, I know, it's been way too long since I've posted anything regularly. I guess I had all these ambitions of letting everyone know how our Idaho trip went, writing about my Stampin' Up! Convention experience, and generally keeping everyone updated as to how the kids are, etc. But here it is, almost August, and I haven't yet sat down to write about all those things!

So, I decided I would opt for a brief overview of our summer and just try to go on from there. (Note: I just tried getting some pictures posted, but the server seems to be having difficulties with those, so I'm giving up on the pics for now and will come back later and put a few in as I have time.)

Our trip to Idaho was fabulous. The kids were great little travelers. We made the journey over 2 days, staying the first night in Salt Lake City and then doing the easy drive to Mountain Home from there. We stopped by Shoshone Falls, just outside of Twin Falls, to show the kids the waterfalls there, and they were duly amazed. Not so amazed that they wanted to delay lunch any longer, but we had a nice, if short, scenic stop.

The week of camp went well. We had our share of spiritual warfare to be sure, which included severe sickness, conflict, and other things, but we made it through the week, kids grew, decisions were made, and lives were touched. The kids and I had a good week, too. They attended Backyard Bible Club each morning and a sports clinic in the afternoon (which mostly consisted of the teens fawning over my kids, who were some of the only ones there at the little tots sports clinic!). So our days were full. We enjoyed dinner with Ted and the other staffers and campers, and then the kids went with a staffer who was there to do child care so that I could attend the evening services with Ted--very nice. The superhero theme went over quite well, and I heard good things about the Bible study, so praise the Lord for that. It was a joy to be there in person to see God work during Commission, and we look forward to returning next year, Lord willing.

The return trip went well. We continued working our way through Magic Tree House books 1-4 and Charlotte's Web, all of which were quite popular with the older kids. (Arden only wanted to see the pictures.) We again took our time going home, staying the night at Hill AFB near SLC. We took the kids bowling, which was a big hit, and they all slept fairly well in the TLF afterwards. After we returned home, Ted had Monday, July 3, off work as a family day right before the 4th, so we enjoyed 2 days to return to normalcy.

Then we had a few days at home, and I left for my annual Stampin' Up! convention in Salt Lake City. I went a day early to spend some time with my dear friend Mimi, and we were joined by other friends for a few days of stamping crazy mania! It was fun, as usual, and I did enjoy my time away, but I was MORE than ready to come home to my family again. Nothing like a little healthy separation to make you realize you really do love your kids! ;-)

After my return, we had a semi-normal week, and then Grandma J (Rhonda, Ted's mom) came to visit! We got to have her here for a whole week. It was great. The kids regaled her with stories of their accomplishments...Charis read to her, Tobin colored with and for her, Arden did puzzles with her...in general, they pretty much monopolized her time, which I think was just fine with Rhonda. :-) One morning we took the kids to a free movie (local theaters show older family movies for free during the summer...good excuse to get out of the house yet be in the air conditioning!), and one morning we went to the library. Not terribly exciting, but it was fun. This past Saturday Ted and Rhonda took the kids to Sam's Club and bought a trampoline, which is being paid for with my $100K milestone bonus check--thank you, Stampin' Up! (No, my check isn't for $100K, that's how much I've reached in career sales!) So Saturday was spent putting up the trampoline, and the kids are extremely happy to get out there and bounce. And, I must say, I am also extremely happy that they can get out there and bounce. Yippee!

Now we're looking forward to a visit from Grandma K in the next couple of weeks or so. All in all, it has been a very full summer, one that has not allowed for a whole lot of routine or schooling, but I'm now OK with that. Before we found out that we had to move, I was all set to order our next core from Sonlight for home schooling, but with the time and expenses of a short-notice move, I didn't place the order. Now I feel that I'm still to wait and am praying about the timing. Should I go ahead and start Charis on that core after Labor Day, or should I have her simply continue with math, handwriting, and phonics, working our way through the core we did last year but with a theme schedule instead? Then perhaps I could start her and Tobin on the next core together when spring comes? So many options! All I know is, the kids have definitely gotten a break this summer!

I will say that Tobin is doing very well with reading lessons, the one thing I have been able to be consistent with. He just did lesson #49 in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and he's reading with more and more confidence. He's younger than Charis was when I went through it with her, so it's kind of fun to see him "get it" in a way that I didn't get to see with Charis, since she had such a good reading base to begin with.

Charis has also done at least one handwriting page per week...plus lots and lots of reading on her own. :-) We continue to read aloud a lot as well and are continuing with the Magic Tree House series, which has become enormously popular with Charis and Tobin both. In fact, Grandma J noted that the only time Tobin is completely still is when he's sitting and listening to a story!

Arden's schooling these days consists of continuous potty training. :-) He's doing pretty well, but having accidents more often than he did at first...probably because I keep forgetting to remind him to go. He begins going in his pants, then decides he needs to go potty. He still gets up and does the poop celebration, so that has been a cause for stress as well...NOT fun to clean up, but at LEAST we're getting the poop in the potty, unlike the pee. Sigh. I know, I know, this too shall pass. At least I haven't bought any diapers in the past month...

More news to come in future posts! I'll quit here because I now have a backache, but I hope I've provided some reading pleasure for you all. :-) It took me a week just to catch up on my friends' blogs, and there are a couple that I still haven't hit yet! Hopefully I can be better about writing quick updates now that I have that huge obligation off my shoulders to tell you every excruciating detail of our summer, all of which would be amazingly fascinating, I'm sure, if I had stayed on top of things from the beginning, but which would undoubtedly bore everyone to tears if I tried to recount it all now.

Love to all! Thanks to my blogging friends for the pictures and updates! I will be sure to reciprocate. :-)

July 18, 2006

Hooray for Arden!

Today, July 18, 2006, Arden has successfully peed in the potty a grand total of 5 times PLUS pooped in the potty twice! M&Ms are flowing freely around here, although I must say that my excitement at his first poop in the potty was tempered by the fact that he did it without my knowing it, and in his haste to tell me about his accomplishment, he stood up, unaware that poop was falling from his little butt and dropping onto his leg and foot, and proceeded to track it onto the carpet in the family room. Yikes!

Ah, well. Such are the joys of potty training! I'm just so proud of him and excited that he seems to be getting it all at once, just like Tobin did. It was a long, drawn-out process with Charis, but once Tobin decided he wanted to use the potty, he just up and did it, with very few accidents. It looks like Arden will be the same way.

Uh, oh...he just ran in to tell me he pooped again. I think he is to the point where he will pop some vessels trying to produce poop for the potty because he gets FIVE M&Ms for doing so! Better go make sure he hasn't made more tracks!!

July 17, 2006

Catching Up

Whew! The summer is half over, and I'm still catching up! I guess being gone for about 2 1/2 weeks over the last month might have something to do with it. :-)

I took some pictures of the inside of our new house and was going to post them, but I can't seem to find them on the computer. Hmmm. So, I guess this post will not be about our new house. Suffice it to say that we are pretty much moved in and settled, thanks in part to Ted's hard work last week to put blinds up in the living areas and our room. He discovered after putting up the bamboo shades in our room that alas--they are only semi-private, so we have to make sure that at night there is NO light on in our room! Tee hee! We're not sure how we missed the big words SEMI-PRIVATE on the boxes when we loaded our Home Depot shopping cart, but there you have it. We hope to talk one of our moms into helping us make some drapes or something to nicely add some more cover! At least you can't see inside during the daytime.

One other house fact: Just before leaving for our Idaho trip, I cleaned the entire house. (I'm anal about wanting to come home to a CLEAN house after a vacation, never mind the fact that we trash it out within about 5.2 seconds when we dump all of our travel stuff inside!) The vacuuming-sweeping-mopping process, which up to that point I had not done completely all at once, took one hour. Sixty minutes to clean the floor in the entire house. I think that has to be able to count for a workout!

On Thursday, June 22, we left for Idaho. Maybe I should write about that trip in a separate post...I tend to write a lot! So we'll do the details about the Commission youth camp and Idaho trip at a different time.

We came home on July 2, and the nice thing was that Ted had both July 3 and 4 off for free, which was great to give us some down time, time to unpack and do laundry, etc., before jumping back into the fray. "The fray" didn't last long, however, as I left on Monday, July 10, to fly to Salt Lake City for the annual Stampin' Up! convention. I just returned home yesterday, so once again I'm finding myself sorting through mail and email and trying to figure out what in the world I should do next.

For those who are wondering, I did earn the 2007 Stampin' Up! cruise to Panama! The trip is in mid-April of next year. I had a lot of help from long-distance customers, local customers, and even a couple of downline members who generously gave me a couple of workshop orders to help boost me over the top. OK, so I did put in a rather large supply order myself, but praise the Lord, I had a thriving month of business that allowed me to make that purchase without "stealing" from the family budget!

I have much catching up to do...not just on the computer, either. I could sit all day and blog about what we've been doing over the past month, but I'll just have to break it up into little chunks and hopefully post more regularly until I get things caught up. Let me just say to Sarah, who chided me for not being more up-to-date, that at least my blog is a lot more up-to-date than my scrapbooks!! :-) (That's another summer project I hope to work on!)