December 28, 2008

Quick Christmas Update

Pictures (and perhaps details) will have to come later...we're still at Grandma's house!

Monday, December 22--
After hearing reports of snowstorms in the areas in which we would be driving, Ted and I set the alarm for 3:30 a.m. Believe it or not, we were on the road with all 4 kids and a packed van by 5 a.m. A number of little things that may have made life easier were left behind--I blame myself for not making a detailed list like I usually do. Nevertheless, we pressed on and made it to Rhonda's house by about 10 p.m. Yes, that's right...16 hours of travel. We hit snow in Utah and it didn't let up until we were within 50 miles or so of our destination. We passed a number of cars that were off the road and thank the Lord for His protection. Whew...don't want to repeat that anytime soon! The Indian in the Cupboard and How to Eat Fried Worms books on CD helped pass some of the miles.

Tuesday, December 23--
Rest and recover day! Rhonda had some prior commitments, so we hung out and relaxed at the house. We did laundry; poor Charis dealt with car sickness several times during our journey. The first time she missed the bag, so we had yucky jeans and a booster seat cover that needed washed. Never a dull moment...

Wednesday, December 24--
We took the kids to a community center with a free (and way cool) indoor playground so they could get some wiggles out. We went to the family-friendly Christmas Eve service at Rhonda's church, during which Charis and Arden joined some kids in being "shepherds." (They arrived early to don costumes; Tobin chose not to participate.) After the service we went to Joel and Sarah's house for KFC, their Christmas Eve tradition, and watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas while Ted and I cut apples for homemade applesauce for the next morning. We also had a picture fest...will have to post some of those later.

Christmas Day!!--
Not many people got much sleep, but it wasn't for anticipation's sake. Kenna had a horrible night, waking every hour and a half, and I had trouble breathing. (Darn'd think 12 days would be more than enough time to suffer...) Joel, Sarah, and baby Anders came over around 9ish for a breakfast of crockpot applesauce, pastries, and scrambled eggs, and then we read the Christmas story and opened gifts. Very fun. Lots of game playing and gift-using activities ensued, with a scrumptious feast that afternoon. We lit Jesus's birthday cake and sang "Happy Birthday" and enjoyed red velvet cake with mint frosting for our dessert that night.

Friday, December 26--
We took the kids to Pump It Up in the morning, where they played hard and expended a minor amount of energy. Did some laundry in the afternoon. That evening Ted and I got a date night to go see A Wonderful Life, a live-theater production based on the movie, Rhonda's gift to us. It was very fun, and we also enjoyed a steak dinner at the Texas Road House. Meanwhile, Rhonda, Joel, and Sarah took all the kids to Chuck E. Cheese, where they had a fabulous time and didn't miss us a bit.

Saturday, December 27--
We did get out to run a few errands, including to the library to get some books for the kids to read. (They have already devoured the ones we brought from the LV library.) Grandma then took them back to the aforementioned indoor playground while I took a nap and Ted attempted to get Kenna to nap. The downside of our being here has been that several of us are fighting colds, and Kenna has not taken well to sleeping in a pack-and-play again. We've had to take turns being the nap police, waiting near or in her room until she falls asleep and then sneaking out. It is NOT ideal, but we expected some difficulties in a different environment, and her being sick hasn't helped matters. She did make it through the Saturday evening church service at Joel and Sarah's church last night, for which I was grateful. I needed a time of spiritual refreshment and soaked in the worship music and the message as well.

Once again we had a horrible night with Kenna, so we are hoping to get her down for a 3-hour nap soon. (Ha!) The plan is to go to Joel and Sarah's house for the Bronco game tonight, so I'm really hoping she does get a good nap so that we can enjoy the game. I know she'll keep busy chasing Haiku (their black lab) and exclaiming over Anders, whom all the kids adore.

And with that, I'll sign off. I have much more to write about when I get the chance...I finished reading an excellent book, The Shack, and would like to try to process some of my thoughts about it when I have a bit more time.

To all my friends and family, I hope you had a wonderful, blessed Christmas!

December 19, 2008

Charis's Dance Recital

The first Wednesday in December Charis's worship ballet/dance class had their first performance, which happened to be at the assisted living facility that we visit now and then. The girls did a great job. Their teacher is a teenage gal in our homeschool co-op (Bethany), and she has a passion for dance and worship. Charis has LOVED the classes and looks forward to going again after the holidays are over. The folks in the audience were quite appreciative--you can see some of them clapping. You can also see a number of little siblings running amok, which only added to the charm! This video is nearly 3 minutes long--not as short as I usually try to make our clips, but I had to get the whole song!

Kenna Meets "Snowy"

Rory, the director of Nick Saint, gave Charis this giant stuffed animal after the play was over. (Each kid involved in the production got to keep one of the big toys!) Kenna was delighted to meet such a large furry creature!

Snow Day Video

The Crib Tent

After nearly a week straight of Kenna not napping, I was feeling desperate and on the verge of insanity. NOTHING was getting done--next to no homeschooling, definitely no house cleaning, and very little if any Christmas preparations. This child is more work than my other 3 put together! Thankfully a couple of friends reminded me of the great invention known as the Crib Tent. I told Ted that this could be my Christmas present, and he stopped and got one on his way home from work yesterday. Now Kenna can climb neither in nor out of the crib--and even though she didn't nap today, at least I knew she was contained and safe! It did make me wonder, though...yesterday and Wednesday she actually took good naps! Did having the Crib Tent today keep her awake and mad?!

December 18, 2008

Christmas Parties

Usually we try to only schedule one or two parties around the holidays to keep from getting stressed during a season that's supposed to be full of peace and joy. This year I counted 4 parties that I've been to (or am going to!). I'm not sure if that's being over-booked or not, especially considering two of the events were ladies only!

December 7--Preschool Leaders' Bunco Party--We all went to church for this, as child care was provided on campus. Ted and I joined other couples for a yummy evening of appetizers, desserts, door prizes, and of course bunco! (Am I spelling that right?!) I won a prize for being the biggest loser, ha! I lost 10 rounds out of 12!

December 13--Ladies' Handmade Holiday Christmas Tea--My friend Debi and I planned another ladies' Christmas party. She had hosted one last year and it was so much fun I asked if we could do it again, but at her house, since it's much less child-proof and therefore more beautifully decorated than mine. :-) My idea, though, was to do a handmade gift exchange instead of the usual "buy a gift and bring it" exchange. With the economy in shambles, we figured it would be a good way to emphasize the spirit of giving and creativity. Let me tell you, that Saturday morning was the BEST!! I had a total blast! There were 9 of us altogether, and we laughed so hard and just had a ball fellowshiping together. We did a potluck brunch and ended up with lots of yummy food. We played a few games and then did the gift exchange, and we did it via the "stealing" method, i.e. everyone gets a number and then chooses either to open a gift or steal one that has already been opened. We put a limit of two times per gift for stealing. Several gifts made the rounds, and it was so much fun to see what people came up with for their gifts! There was a gorgeous scarf, two pieces of framed artwork (I got the one Debi made--it's a Christmas one that I love), a jar of homemade pickles, homemade bread, homemade divinity, a pretty Christmas decoration, cookies...and apparently I'm forgetting one. But I think we were all pretty happy with what we got, and more importantly, we made some great memories.

December 16--Bible study Christmas party--This was our last session for our current study of Beloved Disciple (about the Apostle John). We enjoyed a yummy potluck dinner at Janet's house plus an ornament exchange that I completely forgot about. Thankfully Janet had provided an extra ornament for the pregnant lady with no brain cells, so I was able to participate, too! We exchanged little gifts, too, an unplanned kind of thing, but I came home with some homemade candy apple jelly, a couple of ornaments, and more treats to eat.

Tonight--Nick Saint Cast & Crew party--We are currently waiting for the babysitter to come stay with Kenna and the boys while Ted, Charis and I attend this party. I'm so glad we were able to line up a sitter on short notice (the party date wasn't decided upon until Monday or Tuesday!!). I spent most of yesterday working on a scrapbook album to present to Rory, the writer/director of the play. I must say, I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and I plan to take pictures of each spread so I can order the same prints and reproduce the album for Charis some day!! I wish I could have just done both at once, but I didn't have enough card stock and paper. Ah, well. I hope Rory enjoys having the album as much as I enjoyed making it!!

That's it for our holiday outings, other than going to church, of course. It's kind of funny that the year we were the busiest (with Charis and Ted going to rehearsals and performances the first half of December), we ended up attending the most events. But each one has been very fun and memorable...and ironically will help our travels seem like a true vacation!

December 17, 2008

Run That by Me Again?!

This kid funny is from a little while ago, but I wanted to write it down before we forgot. Ted and I were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner one evening when we heard Tobin say to Arden, "You're not supposed to say the F-word!!" Ted and I looked at each other, at a loss for words. HOW in the world did THAT come up?!

But then Tobin continued: "You're supposed to say TOOT!"

We about died laughing when we realized that in our house, the "f-word" must be FART!!

Our Snow Day

These are some pictures from Monday. The first one is in the front yard, just as it was starting to snow. The rest are in the backyard. Kenna was throwing a little "snowball"...the kids made little snowmen with giant carrot noses (the boy on the left is our friend Riley)...the boys worked on a snow fort...and Charis later made a big snowman after she had finished her tiny masterpiece. I regret I never got back outside to take a picture of her finished product, which was taller than Kenna, or to get shots of the whole yard covered with snow, but I was dealing with a non-napping toddler. Grrr. That's a whole other post which I won't write now, though!

December 15, 2008

Would You Believe?!

IT'S SNOWING IN LAS VEGAS!! And I mean SNOWING! This morning's vocabulary word was "accumulate," LOL. It has piled on the branches, and you can't even really see grass anymore. The kids are beyond delighted. When they first woke up, small flakes were coming down, but they were melting as soon as they hit the ground. I didn't let the kids go out for awhile, as it was muddy and just plain messy. But later it actually started sticking, so we all bundled up and went out to catch snowflakes on our tongues. (Arden kept referring to them as snow drops!) The boys cupped their hands and held them in front of their bodies, very still. When I asked what they were doing, they said they were going to collect snowflakes to make snowballs, LOL! Can you tell they haven't had much exposure to snow?!

We had friends over from "down in the valley," who said it was just raining at their house. So the kids had a blast with their friends, making real snowballs (as it had accumulated enough to actually play with by that point), little snowmen, little snow forts, snow angels (on the trampoline, ha!), and so on. It was a very fun break for all of us.

I will post pictures later. I started this post awhile ago, and now it's 7 p.m., the kids are in bed (Kenna never did nap...3rd day in the last 4 days she has shunned her nap, sigh), and I'm going to go spend some much-needed time with my hubby!! After the rehearsals and shows last week, it's very nice to have a quiet evening at home!

December 12, 2008

Baby Update

I had my 24-week check-up yesterday. Our little boy is quite active and kicked the heartbeat monitor several times, causing the tech some consternation as she tried to count beats!

There is a minor blip on an otherwise uneventful pregnancy...based on the ultrasound we had in November, one of Baby's kidneys is measuring on the high end. It's still within range, but because it's on the borderline, the doctor wants to be conservative and send me for another ultrasound in January to take some more measurements. I guess we'll go from there if it's enlarged; in the meantime, I don't really have any extra time or brain cells to devote to worrying, so I'm not going to! As she said, it's still within the normal range, and I'm glad that there will be some follow-up. The u/s is scheduled for January 14. We pray that all will look good and there will be no reason for concern at that time.

December 11, 2008

Christmas Happenings

This Christmas season is flying by and doesn't "feel" as Christmas-y. I'm sure it's because (in large part) the big musical production Nick Saint has nearly consumed our time and energy. Tonight is opening night, and I can't wait to hear how things went. Currently I am home with Kenna and the boys while Charis makes her big stage debut and Ted scurries around in black changing sets.

Last night Tobin, Arden, and I stayed after church to watch the final dress rehearsal while Debi and her daughter sat at our home with Kenna, who slept most of that time. Since we had to wait until the service cleared out...not to mention getting the tech crew ready to go...the rehearsal didn't begin until after 8:30. The show was finished by 11 p.m., and I took the boys home while Rory (the director) was still giving notes. It was nearly midnight by then, so it will be early bedtimes for the next couple of nights for our sons, who think "sleeping in" is one of the seven deadly sins.

Anyway. Though I'm sad that I don't get to see EVERY performance, I'm looking forward to seeing the "real" show on Sunday afternoon with the boys. I bet all the kinks will be worked out by then, LOL. The cast and crew did an amazing job last night. There were a few tech issues--mics not coming on at the right time, for example--but overall everything was FANTASTIC!! I wish all of you could come and see the show live...if you live in Vegas, I hope you will!

Besides chauffering Charis back and forth from rehearsals, we've managed to squeeze in a few Christmas-y activities. Last Friday night the cast and crew were "off," so we made the most of it with a family night of making a gingerbread house from a $10 kit I picked up at Michael's. It had absolutely everything in it, from the pre-baked walls to the icing mix and candies, which was a good thing, because Ted and I were so tired we almost called off our house-raising efforts in favor of going to bed at 7 p.m. But the kids had a great time, and even though the walls caved in later (we didn't wait as long as we should have before decorating them), the kids are proud of their artwork. We're not sure when the destruction of the house will take place, but I'm sure it won't be long before we give in and let them make like Hansel and Gretel. Just for the nutritionally-conscious, you'll be glad to know that a single serving of a gingerbread house is 1/48th of a kit, LOL!

We've also put up our advent calendar, though we've only done readings 3 or 4 days total. Our advent book has been cracked open once. I think when we're all together again in the evenings, our family traditions will re-appear and it will feel more like we're getting ready for Christmas! Thank goodness the play is this week and not next week! Our house is decorated nicely sans Christmas tree. If you read our blog regularly, you'll probably know why we chose not to put a tree up this year. In a word, Kenna...

Despite the busy schedule, I'm making time (though propping my eyes open) for Bible study every morning. My study group is finishing up Beth Moore's study on the disciple John. It's wonderful, and I love digging into the Word. My quiet time takes about an hour each morning. Frankly, it's taken over my exercise time because I just can't get myself awake any earlier than 5 a.m.!! Hopefully when the weather gets warmer I'll feel more like getting out and walking. But anyway, I find that I NEED my time with the Lord before I tackle each day. Ted always makes hot tea for us, and I love sitting in "my" spot each morning, meditating on God's Word and prayer time usually spills over into my shower time and beyond...I find myself just talking to God as much as I can before my young charges awaken, asking Him (begging Him!) for wisdom and patience in parenting our little treasures. That concern consumes me these days, it seems.

Oh, my--I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. It sounds like Arden is finally asleep. I planted myself at the computer because he was wreaking havoc in his room instead of going to sleep. (Our computer desk is in the hall outside the kids' rooms.) Now I need to get back to my office and prepare for tomorrow's stamp club!

December 10, 2008

It's Not Fair!

Poor Arden. He thought he was a victim of severe injustice. I heard him wailing while I was in my office, "Mom! Why does Kenna get so many pieces of fudge?!"

I dashed out of the room to discover that I had not, after all, placed the container of fudge back in the refrigerator after I had transferred the fudge from my bread pan (which I needed for tonight's meatloaf) to another container. As there was too much fudge for the container, I had simply topped it with foil instead of a snug-fitting lid.

Leave it to our Kenna to discover something left on the kitchen island. She had dumped the contents upside down (thankfully the pieces were all in the foil, not on the floor), gotten one of her own bowls, filled it almost to overflowing with the delectable treats, and was making her way to the couch, obviously intent on cozying up with a nice holiday snack. Her clothing, hands, and face showed that she had sampled a bit before deciding to stock up.

Sorry, no pictures of this one, but I couldn't help but laugh!

December 07, 2008

Charis's Commercial!

Here is a link to the commercial for the world premiere of the Nick Saint musical that Charis is in. You can see her if you look to the left of the video screen at the very beginning of the ad--she is wearing a white dress and is with her "mom" from the play. Opening night is this coming Thursday. Please pray for health for all cast and crew members and especially that God is honored in this production!

December 05, 2008


In case you're wondering, Vaseline is much easier to clean up off a tile floor than it is to clean out of a toddler's hair. Two days and 3 baths later, it finally seems to be back to normal. And at least my kitchen floor got mopped again--for the second time in 3 days.

Note to self: The kitchen counter is a terrible place to leave a container of Vaseline!

This picture was taken after Bath #1.

The Lights at Springs Preserve

After a full morning/afternoon of hiking and climbing rocks, you'd think we'd be ready to take it easy, right?! Nope! After a rest time in the mid to late afternoon, we grabbed a dinner of leftovers and headed out again to the Springs Preserve. I've heard great things about this place, but we hadn't ever been, so it was a good choice for our family as well as for our guests. I guess entrance fees are quite a bit higher during the rest of the year, so we took advantage of the lower rates to go and view their lights and be part of the festivities. The weather was great--cool enough for jackets, but not freezing cold.

Our activities inside the Preserve included meeting a water droplet (think giant M&M) and Elmo, then seeing Santa. I was a little surprised by how EXCITED Arden was to meet Santa! We don't "do" Santa at our house, though I did try to whisper to the kids to not make a big deal of it, since their cousins DO believe in Santa. But it didn't matter--when it was our turn to go see Santa, Arden ran full speed ahead yelling, "SANTA!!!" and threw his arms around the jolly old fellow. The man was a GREAT Santa, complete with twinkly eyes and a real beard, LOL. The kids also decorated Christmas ornaments from recycled CDs, and then we watched a "Dickens" presentation which was a pro-environmental sketch based on A Christmas Carol. We then walked around the garden area (which made me want to come back in the daytime so we can see more stuff!) and got some balloons made for the kids. Unfortunately, Tobin's balloon sword popped within moments of his receiving it when he swung back and hit it against an evergreen tree. Boy, was he sad about that. Kenna, however, didn't seem too phased when her balloon popped after she bit the head off the "puppy dog."

For more pictures, you can click here. There aren't nearly as many as in our Red Rock album, so it shouldn't take long to see them all!

December 03, 2008

Videos from Our Day at Red Rock

Arden was the first to try rappelling--brave boy!

Now it's Charis's turn!

Tobin finally gets his turn! Looks like he learned a lot from watching the others go first.

Though she couldn't go rock climbing with her older siblings, Kenna shows off her jumping skills at the park!

Black Friday in Red Rock Canyon

Thank goodness no one in our family is a die-hard shopper. It was unanimous that we head OUT of the city the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy spending time at Red Rock Canyon, a place we've been several times of late and will probably never get tired of. After a leisurely morning, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the park. Amazingly, it was actually crowded! The other times I've taken the kids were on school mornings/afternoons, and there were hardly any other people there at those times. But the Friday of a holiday weekend?! I guess we weren't the only ones trying to avoid the insane shopping rushes. Still, it was fun to get outside after being shut indoors by unexpected rain, and such a sunny day called for some exercise to work off all of Thursday's calories.

As expected, the kids had a blast climbing and exploring, and with 4 adults along this time, it was much easier to wrangle Kenna around. (She pretty much requires her very own bodyguard for these types of activities. "No fear" is more than just a slogan--it's her way of life!) We spent some time at the first stop on the 13-mile loop, then skipped the next two because of crowds. After a brief look off the high point, we made our way to the picnic area, which, surprisingly, was not as crowded as we had feared. Of course the kids were all starving, so food was devoured at an alarming rate, followed by more exploration.

Just as we were ready to pack up and head home for naptime, some rock climbers came along and began setting up their ropes and equipment for climbing. The kids were enthralled and wanted to wait to see a performance. By the time everything was set up, we figured we might as well wait and let the kids see some action. Boy, did they ever!! The two men who had initially climbed up high to throw down ropes, etc., came down right by where we were watching. The younger guy did a little upside-down showboat routine to many "ooohs" and "aaahs." I guess such an appreciative audience was welcome, because the leader of the group (who is obviously a dad and a Boy Scout leader) offered to let all our kids (or at least the 4 older ones) do a bit of "rappeling." This offer was met with cries of delight, and so Arden, Meghan, Charis, and finally Tobin were treated to a little lesson followed by a chance to "rappel" about 6 feet down. The kids all did so great! I'll have to upload some videos later, but you can see Arden bravely taking on the challenge of going first. As you can imagine, this was the highlight of their day!

We took LOTS of pictures of this excursion, and you can see 60 of them here. The first batch is from Clint and Ski's camera, followed by the ones we took--so they're a bit out of order and have some similar shots. But hey, it's pictures. :-)

December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Our family enjoyed hosting Ski, Ted's sister, and her husband Clint and daughters Meghan and Tabitha for a few days at Thanksgiving. Charis and Meghan immediately hit it off and were together pretty much constantly, even trying to dress alike when possible! The T family arrived Wednesday for a late dinner, and we had a lazy morning on Thursday with homemade applesauce that had been cooking in the crockpot overnight for a quick and easy breakfast. Since I had done most of my cooking and baking beforehand, the day was fairly laid back. We played games and chatted most of the morning and early afternoon, sending the kids out during a bit of clear weather, which didn't last long--would you believe we had RAIN for two days here in Las Vegas!!

The F family arrived close to 3:00, and we set out all the food...wish I had thought to get a picture of THAT! Our menu included ham with pineapple sauce, cheesy hashbrown casserole, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, homemade cranberry sauce (yummy, Heather!!), green bean supreme, sweet potato casserole, butternut squash puree, pistachio salad, a relish tray, pecan pie, cinnamon-apple upside-down coffee cake, and Oreo "truffles," which were more like "Oreo bombs." Whew! I guess the only thing we didn't cover was dressing, but it wasn't missed at all, LOL.

We had the kids make "Pilgrim hats," an idea I got from Megan, who had made some in advance. They enjoyed the activity, but the hats were not on display long, let me tell you! It was a cute idea and much less involved than the idea Heather and I originally had, which was making candy turkeys. THOSE involved Oreos, Reeses PB cups (large AND small), Whoppers, candy corn, and frosting...yeah, Pilgrim hats were a MUCH better plan!! After the kids were satiated with sugar, we let them watch a movie while we grown-ups attempted to get a game together. We ended up playing a round of Taboo, and then we all (or at least most of us) ended up in the family room watching Wall-E. Since Ted, Arden, and Clint had not seen the movie before, it was a fun way to end the day--all cuddled up in front of a heart-warming movie.

For more Thanksgiving pictures, you can click here. I will have to wait until tomorrow to post more about our day-after-Thanksgiving activities. Just a clue, though...they did not involve shopping, LOL!

A Few Random Pictures

...before I try to catch up and blog about our Thanksgiving.

Charis and Tobin with their taekwondo instructors, Mr. and Ms. Martin (brother and sister), at their last class.

The morning before Thanksgiving Kenna was apparently tired...she plopped down in the middle of the kitchen floor with her buddies and blanket!

Kenna found Arden's bike helmet and pads and decided to try them on.

A weekend treat...playing computer games with Daddy.

November 25, 2008

It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Thanksgiving!

We've had a light school week this week, just finishing up some things we didn't get to last week plus reading some GREAT Thanksgiving books I had reserved from the library. Yesterday I made a double batch of sweet potato casserole and a double batch of cheesy hashbrown casserole. This morning I baked the squash to have ready for butternut squash puree, which I made for Thanksgiving 3 years ago and we really liked but for some reason have never made since. I also baked THREE pecan pies. The plan was to make two, but I forgot that the recipe I use (which I had doubled) really needs to be poured into a deep-dish pie crust. Since I only had purchased the regular size, I ended up filling three crusts! Good thing I had gotten an extra package while shopping!

Tomorrow I'll bake cinnamon-apple-upside-down-coffee cake, a new recipe I got from Janet, who is hosting our ladies' Bible study this semester and served the cake to us a few weeks ago. It is YUMMY! It uses the pre-made cinnamon roll dough with icing, so it looks easy to put together. I figured it would be faster than "real" apple pie. I'll also make pistachio jello salad, a J family favorite. It has pistachio pudding mix, Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, and marshmallows. If there's time, I may also do the pineapple sauce to go with the ham (out of this world!!) and the squash puree so all we have to do is heat them up on Thursday.

Our friends the F family will be joining us for Thanksgiving. Heather will be bringing green bean supreme, corn, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and Oreo truffles. Maybe other stuff too, but that's all I remember. I think she mentioned real cranberry sauce, too. We shouldn't be wanting for food, that's for sure!! With 6 of us, 5 in the F family, and 4 in the T family, we'll have plenty of mouths to feed for sure, but I'm hoping that with double batches we'll have lots of leftovers to prevent having to cook much the rest of the week, LOL!

Tomorrow at noon Ted's squadron (or wing??) is having a family meal, so we actually get to go up to Creech AFB! It will probably be my one and only time to see where he works. The community is providing food, so we don't even have to bring a dish to share. I think it is non-traditional Thanksgiving stuff so that we don't have the same feast twice. :-) The kids are very excited to meet Daddy at work. After we're finished eating we can come home! Then Charis has dance class at 3:15, her last class before their performance at Willow Creek next Wednesday. After that we'll go to her and Tobin's LAST taekwondo class. Clint and Ski and their girls should arrive around 3 p.m. or so, so I will probably have Ted stay home with Kenna while I take the kids to class. By the time the Taylor family gets their luggage and their rental car, it could be close to 5:00 or later when they arrive. Our church doesn't have any services tomorrow night, which is probably just as well since we'd be so rushed getting back from taekwondo. This way we can eat dinner, relax, and visit while the girls settle in and get used to being here before bedtime. I'm really looking forward to getting to know them! I have no idea what their personalities are like! Charis is so excited to be hosting her little girl cousins. Even the boys are looking forward to having company.

I LOVE Thanksgiving!

Tobin's Story

I've written about some of Charis's writing assignments, so I decided it would only be fair to give Tobin a turn. We haven't done as many of his "assignments" as we could--I learned a lot from working with Charis on the same LA program last year. A lot of his assignments I let him dictate to me. I've learned that he is a natural-born storyteller! (No surprise to those who have heard his whopper lies, ha!) A few weeks ago, for example, he was to tell a favorite Bible story in his own words. It was "supposed" to be 6-8 sentences. But since he didn't have the act of writing to bog him down, he narrated a whole page (in my small handwriting)!

The picture shows his assignment that he worked on last Friday. He was supposed to describe a favorite object, and he chose his "Ellie," or stuffed elephant. In case you can't read the writing in the picture, here is what he wrote:

"I like Elle. He's soft. Before I was born I had him. He is green. He is an elephant."

The only corrections I helped him make were to capitalize the "I's" and to change "a elephant" to "an elephant." Everything else he did on his own, including the apostrophe in "he's." Not bad for a 6 1/2 year old!

The Season of Giving

We've been involved with Operation Christmas Child a number of years, and this year I had the privilege of coordinating efforts for our homeschool co-op. Last year our co-op donated 16 boxes, and this year I delivered 29 boxes total! Our family made a special shopping trip to get items to fill the boxes, and the kids had fun picking out things for the children. We try to do one box for each of our kids, so same gender and age range as our kids are. I love that we have the opportunity to kick off the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons by focusing on serving others!

November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Saturday was my 34th birthday. There's nothing I really "need," and since Ted and I had attended a show in October, I decided that what I really wanted to do for my birthday was stay home and have time to work on craft projects! So I invited some friends over, set up a table, and got ready to catch up on some things I've been wanting to do but never make time to do. Unfortunately, my scrapbook items never came out...but I did make 9 Thanksgiving cards for my room leaders and teachers at church, 6 Christmas cards to have ready for family gifts, and a few items I intend to give as Christmas presents. I also organized my recipe file and began decorating containers that we plan to use for "neighbor gifts," or, the "food gifts." :-) Tins are so expensive, so I'm recycling perfectly good containers and turning them into adorable works of art! (The Shaklee protein powder cans are going to be PERFECT for cookies!!)

Ted came home from work Friday night with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, featuring sunflowers, one of my favorites. He also found a book I've been told is very good, The Shack, and I'm looking forward to reading it--probably on/during our trip to Colorado. Charis made me a fancy "B" necklace--if you look closely in the picture, you can probably see it. She also made a card that everyone signed, and I was especially impressed that Arden wrote "Happy Birthday" along with his name!

All in all, 3 other ladies made it over during the day at some point to be crafty with me, and we enjoyed a yummy lunch and dessert with hot tea. I got some really cute stamped cards, and lots o' Facebook messages. I feel very loved. :-)

November 20, 2008

The Results Are In!

It's a BOY!

Tobin and Arden are ecstatic.

Charis is less than thrilled. But I have noticed that she has spent extra time playing with Kenna today. :-)

I had a feeling it was a boy, but I didn't want to say too much because I knew Charis wanted another sister so badly. I dropped the boys off at PE to chants of "Bo-oy, bo-oy, bo-oy!" after a discussion in the van about how God has special plans for our little one, whether boy or girl, and no matter what, we're thankful for the opportunity to welcome another child into our family. We also talked about Jeremiah 29:11, one of my favorite verses, so hopefully all that prepared Charis's heart for the news. She went with me to base, choosing to skip PE so she could see the baby on the ultrasound.

Ted met us there, and after the appointment we enjoyed lunch at the AAFES food court before he went to pick up the boys from PE and Kenna from Debi's house. I was so thankful he was able to take the afternoon off, as it gave me the chance to spend some quality time in the commissary buying items for our Thanksgiving meal plus the meals I've planned for the next couple of weeks, which will include company starting on Wednesday! Ted's sister Ski and her husband Clint will be flying to visit us with their little girls, Meghan and Tabitha. We have not seen Ski since her wedding day in July 2001!! So obviously the cousins have never met! Charis was only about 9 months old when we went to Oregon for the wedding. So we're excited to get to spend some time with them.

November 14, 2008

Fun Friday

And by "fun" I mean rollicking, clean-baby-vomit-off-the-plush-rocking-chair kind of fun, followed by clean-pee-off-the-carpet-in-the-boys'-room kind of fun.

Oh, yes, it's been a barrel of laughs around here this morning. Kenna has since eaten 2 crackers and seems to be her normal silly self, and Arden has been banished to the land of Pull-Ups for the next week. This pee incident has to be at least the 10th one in the last 2 weeks. I'm not sure what is causing the regression, but I'm tired of accidents happening on the carpet, on the trampoline, and generally anywhere it's not convenient to clean. At least I'm keeping up with laundry...

Somehow, we've managed to finish math and language arts lessons. Charis has written a fabulous little sketch that she (and I, truthfully) thought would be difficult for her--week 15 of Sonlight's LA for her level has them rewriting a fairy tale from the perspective of a completely different character. Think The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and you'll get the idea. Unfortunately, as fun as that book is, I do not have it on our shelves, and Charis has never read it...wish I had planned ahead and checked it out from the library so she could have a better idea of how to approach the assignment.

Anyway. On Wednesday, when we did her pre-writing assignment, she chose the story of Peter Pan for her "fairy tale." Then she decided Captain Hook would be the character from whose perspective she would be writing. Today, as we prepared for her to begin writing, I encouraged her to pick just one scene to focus on, as she would have been completely overwhelmed otherwise--and besides, the assignment is supposed to be basically just a paragraph. I'm pretty proud of what Charis came up with...remember that writing is not her thing, unless it's her own idea! Here it is, verbatim from what she typed just moments ago. (We'll work on editing the errors next week! She was fairly distressed about the misspellings, but between keeping Kenna off the computer chair and refereeing the boys' spats, I'm giving up on LA for today.)


My name is Captain Hook. I am a Pirite. I am serching for Peter pan. When I find him we fight. Peter pan pushes me off the clif, where I battle with my enemy the crocadile. Smee chases us in his rowboat. I manage to climb in. Standing up I cry "row!" "Row to the ship!" When we go through a hole in a rock in the sea my head hits the rock and I fall into the sea where I fear I will die.

OK, so the ending is a little depressing, but I thought she did a good job overall! Her verb tense is consistent, and she sticks to the main details and manages to convey a lot of action and emotion. Perhaps this day will be a good one after all!

November 13, 2008

Our Toddler Is a Streaker

Well, it has finally happened. Kenna's new favorite thing to do is to strip down and run around stark raving naked, as her Grandma J would say. We first discovered this new trick after she had spent quite a bit of time in "room time" while the older kids did language arts with me. She was apparently naked long enough to piddle on the floor--sigh. I had hoped it was an activity borne out of boredom and figured perhaps it wouldn't happen with any alarming frequency, but I was wrong. Five minutes after getting out of "room time," she was running around naked again.

Onesies are now the fashion apparel of choice around here.

November 10, 2008

Arden's Achievement

Arden is the proud owner of his very own Bible! The kindergarten class at church began a program within the last few years to encourage kids to memorize the books of the Bible before they promoted to 1st grade. After memorizing the books of the New Testament, kids are given a bookmark, and after they can say ALL the books of the Bible in order, they earn their own Bible. Arden was one of the first kiddos to accomplish this for this year! He was so excited to go to church yesterday so he could recite the book list to his teacher and come home with a navy blue Bible!

November 09, 2008

A Fun, Full Weekend

BIG SIGH. I just finished typing this post and Blogger lost it. That has never happened before. Ugh. Well, here are the high points from what I just wrote...

Ted and I got a date night Friday evening. My friend Debi had come over Thursday morning to visit with Kenna and me while the big kids were at PE, and we enjoyed sipping lattes and munching Starbucks treats that she had brought over. She commented that she missed seeing the big kids and offered to babysit for us. I wasn't about to turn down that offer! Turns out the next night was the only free Friday evening Ted and I had, so since it worked out with Debi's schedule, we planned that for our outing.

We kept it simple and just planned dinner and a little bit of shopping. We chose the Cheesecake Factory since we had a coupon for a free piece of cheesecake and enjoyed a wonderful, leisurely meal and dessert. Afterwards we went to Linens 'N Things which was close by, as they were having a going-out-of-business sale. We ended up purchasing comforter sets for the kids for $15 (originally $50), something that we needed but weren't particularly looking for. Then we headed to Target to get a few items for a Thanksgiving basket we put together for a church outreach and also found 2 ninja costumes for the boys in the Halloween leftovers section. $6 total--woohoo! They were thrilled.

You know you're getting old (or are at least in the throes of parenthood) when a date night consists of a meal without cutting meat for a small person or pouring ketchup on a plate and then shopping--a task neither Ted nor I particularly relish! We got home just as the kids were getting into bed, so a little before 9 p.m. (You also know you're getting old/are in the throes of parenthood when you are tired LONG before your kids are.) Regardless, we had a very enjoyable evening together, and I'm thankful that Debi enjoys spending time with my kids and is willing to babysit for us now and then!

Yesterday morning Ted worked a shift selling hot dogs at the annual air show at Nellis AFB. The kids and I stayed home doing domestic activities, i.e. I cleaned while the kids made a mess! Actually, I got the floors swept and mopped, started laundry, and made the menu plan and grocery list for the next week and a half or so. The kids did their part to help when I found tasks they could do, and then after lunch we took our snacks and water bottles and met Ted at the air show. We were only there a couple of hours, but it was plenty of time...this WAS, after all, our 4th year in a row to attend this event! We stayed to see the Thunderbirds, and I was glad when Kenna finally realized we were trying to help her by plugging her ears. She got to where she would lean her head on our shoulder when a jet zoomed close by and allowed us to cover her other ear with our hand, turning so she could see the action. She LOVES loud noises and was quite thrilled with the whole production!

After the show we hiked back to our vehicles and hit the commissary. Splitting the list, we got done in fairly good time and made it home amidst much traffic. Let me tell you, the kids were in bed EARLY last night!! (So were we!)

November 06, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again...

Despite the election results (which could be a whole separate series of blog posts if I had the time and inclination), this has actually been a pretty good week in various ways.

1. SCHOOL...We are back on track with our school schedule and are nearly finished with Week 14 of our Sonlight Core 1 curriculum. The kids loved reading Henry & Ribsy (a favorite of mine and Ted's from growing up, too) and are enjoying the Usborne Time Traveler as we learn more about ancient Egypt. We're starting a new unit on magnets in science, which promises to be fun. Arden completed his Math-U-See Primer book and is anxious to begin the Alpha book, which I'm sure we'll do tomorrow. Tobin is about 4-5 lessons away from completing Alpha and moving on to Beta. Charis is doing pretty well with multiplication, and Kenna is playing with the math manipulatives anytime we let her. :-)

2. BEHAVIOR...After a fairly miserable week (actually longer, I'm sure) of bickering, arguing, complaining, whining, and general grumpy behavior (admittedly on the part of us parental units as well as the kids), we had a family meeting Sunday night to discuss why this is NOT acceptable. With some concentrated efforts, I've seen noticeable improvement in this area, and I think the kids and I are ALL looking forward to Daddy's removal of the media ban!!! No TV, movies, computer, or video games at all until his approval!

Now, we are not generally a media-oriented family; the kids may get a PBS show now and then, a movie night on Fridays, and a Veggie Tale now and then when Mom needs an afternoon nap. We haven't purchased (and don't plan to purchase--please take note, those who might be buying gifts anytime for our kids!!) any video game devices, and we've just said NO to computer games of late because of the problems that usually ensue. But still...not having the option of letting the kids watch TV has forced us to be more creative (and has deprived me of the opportunity to take naps, ha). But I've enjoyed some game times with the kids during Kenna's nap as well as listening to their creative play. They particularly have liked the chance to "play school," as I got down the chalk and a stand-up easel with chalkboard on one side and whiteboard on the other. (For some odd reason this ended up in Kenna's room when we moved here last year and has remained there ever since.)

Anyway. The kids haven't been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but overall I must admit their behavior and attitudes have DEFINITELY improved over the last couple of weeks. Praise God!! (Some concentrated prayer every morning on our part has probably had MUCH to do with this!!)

3. WEATHER...It's beginning to feel a lot like autumn for real! In fact, we had a cold front a couple of nights ago, and we were downright cold as we left church last night. (And by "we" I mean the normal people in the family. Ted meandered around in short sleeves.) Today was gorgeous--quite cool in the morning and getting colder now that it's evening, but the late morning and afternoon were warm with a cool breeze. Nice!

Well, time to go work on dinner. We're having Cajun bean & sausage soup with cornbread, a yummy hot meal on a cold evening!

November 04, 2008

Time for More Kenna Pictures

It's been awhile...and besides, babies are just so fun to photograph!!

Wearing Charis's old doggie slippers...which are now too small for her! (This was taken about 2-3 weeks ago.)

Baby in a box!

At the taekwondo costume party the night of the promotion ceremony.

Reading with big sister Charis.

Kenna points to her cheeks. (She's really into the "Where's your [insert body part here]?" game.)

November 03, 2008

Rice Bag $$ Totals

A week or so after the kids' birthday party, Charis and I sat at the table organizing and counting all the change we've collected for the Rice Bag Project. As a family, we had collected quite a bit of change in the preceding couple of months. But after receiving donations in lieu of birthday presents, Charis and Arden's little bags were bulging! I had some coin rolls on hand, but it turned out to be not nearly enough, at least for the pennies. I am pleased to report that our grand total so far is $159! Approximately $49 of that is in bills or dollar coins...the rest is from LOOSE CHANGE!!!

Praise the Lord! For every $30 raised, Mission India is able to teach an Indian woman how to read and write, thereby giving her much-needed freedom and confidence as she cares for her family. If you haven't already, I encourage you to check out the web site and read the stories about those whose lives have changed as a result of this wonderful work.

November 02, 2008

Medieval History Party

Another event that took up quite a bit of our time--mostly because I was in charge of it, ha!--was the elementary history party for our homeschool co-op. Our co-op has pulled off lots of great parties before, but they've never done a history-themed party. I got the idea from my friend Claire, who does an annual group party instead of individual birthday parties for her children (she's expecting #7! Go Claire!). A few years ago her party had a medieval theme, so when I pitched the idea to the elementary planning team last spring, I suggested we start with that. It seemed appropriate, since the Las Vegas Renaissance Festival is always in October, so kids who went on that field trip would surely be excited to follow it up with a similarly-themed history party!

And that's exactly what happened! I was blessed with a tremendous group of 5 other women who helped me plan and put together the event, PLUS a team of about 18 parent volunteers who showed up the day of the event to make it run smoothly. We had 4 craft stations--you can see Tobin working on his jeweled goblet above and Arden sporting his decorated crown here. Also, kids colored/decorated posterboard shields and made felt pouches (which were used instead of pockets). At each craft table we also had handouts that involved more detailed educational information about things such as food in medieval times, clothing of the time period, coat-of-arms designs and explanations, and so on. Ted worked on those for me and did a great job--he came up with a word search and a crossword puzzle for 2 of the activity sheets even!

Then we had 4 activity stations with 6 different activities (some shared a station): a may pole, which turned into a dance-around-while-holding-streamers station when the wind got out of control; a "storm the castle" station at which kids used bows and arrows to try to shoot into cardboard castles (from the Sonlight orders!); a lance-throwing contest (pool noodles through hula hoops); a jousting contest (pool noodles again); a tug-of-war type of contest that involved balancing on a small wooden platform while trying to pull one's opponent off the other platform; and a pin-the-sticker on the knight game.

We also had a preschool play area complete with Little People medieval characters, a child-sized castle, coloring sheets, and other things to keep the little ones busy. The whole event ran for a little over an hour and a half, and it was a huge success! We had 70 kids, not including preschoolers, which was the maximum we could take. I've received many great comments, and people seem to be looking forward to our spring history party. No idea yet what theme/time period we'll cover...any suggestions?!

October Birthdays

Charis and Arden's birthday fell on a Saturday this year--October 18. They decided they wanted to do a joint party again (whew!), and we planned to re-visit our theme from 2 years ago, a "Fall Family Fun" party. It had been such a hit before that we all agreed it would be the most fun and least stressful option. Before we made up the invitations, we talked with Arden and Charis about what they would think about asking guests to donate loose change to our "Rice Bag" project, a special fundraising project we are doing through Sonlight to benefit Mission India, which promotes literacy among women in India. We wanted to do this instead of birthday gifts, for a variety of reasons. When we explained some of those reasons...i.e. we already have SO much "stuff," plus the fact that we knew the kids would get presents from family, both Charis and Arden agreed that being able to get more change for our rice bags was a great idea. Their response really touched my heart--yes, it was my idea, but I was thrilled with their attitudes toward the whole thing!

So, this is what was on the birthday invitations that Charis helped me stamp:

"This is a FALL FAMILY FUN party!! We will have a pumpkin-carving contest...we will provide a pumpkin for each family (so please RSVP by October 15!). Please bring whatever you like to decorate your jack-o-lantern! lieu of presents, we would like to invite you to donate loose change to our “Rice Bag Project” (see for more info). Even during these difficult economic times, we are aware of how blessed we are to live in the USA and have our basic needs provided for. We are trying to teach our children to be thankful for what they have (which is a LOT!) and to pray for and give to those who are in need.

Thank you! We look forward to a fun time with friends as we celebrate our children’s birthday!"

Let me tell you...our kids did NOT miss the extra presents one bit!! We had a blast at the party, as the pictures below will show! I let Charis and Arden pick what kind of cake they wanted. Arden chose carrot cake, and Charis wanted zucchini bars. I was glad to make both, as we were expecting quite a crowd; NINE of the eleven families we invited ended up being able to come!

We tried to keep things simple. For instance, the last time we did this party we did pumpkin carving AND made caramel apples. But there were only 4 families there that year, so it worked out well. This time we just did the contest, which took most of the time. The dads in the crowd really had a blast getting into the spirit of the competition! Towards the end of the carving we stopped for singing the Happy Birthday song and eating cake and/or zucchini bars with French vanilla ice cream. (The yummy banana punch that Ted had made was GONE by the time we got to this part...oops!) Then we all voted on our favorite pumpkins and awarded the T and the J families their prizes. I bought fall-scented candles in glass jars and put some Stampin' Up! rub-ons on the sides of the jars. I figured the kids would get to enjoy their jack-o-lanterns, so the parents could enjoy the candles. :-) The two winning entries are shown below--the "girl" pumpkin and the "pirate" pumpkin.

Renaissance Festival

Last October, just after we moved into our current house, we took a break from unpacking and went to the Ren Fest, as it's called here in Las Vegas. Ted and I have been to these kinds of festivals before, but it was the first time taking the kids (that they were aware of, anyway), and it was a HUGE hit. They looked forward to going back all year long, so when the time finally came, they were ready for it. (I remember last year trying to explain to them exactly what "medieval times" were all about--this year, after having read a lot from both school and library resources, they knew ALL about it!)

Ted took that Friday off work, as we were able to go for free then by signing up with our homeschool group. It was a lot of fun to spend the day together as a family. I even got a costume this year and justified it by saying I'd be wearing it 3 times during the month of October--once for the festival, once for our homeschool co-op's medieval party, and once for King's Faire, the Halloween-alternative bash our church hosts every year!

One favorite activity was paying $1 to fight a knight. Here are some pictures of the kids in their glory...

Blogging Blitz!

OK, the time has come...I've uploaded some pictures from the camera, and I actually have a little bit of time to blog. (Thanks, Honey, for working on dinner for us tonight!) I'll break the posts down by topic when I can, so for this one I'll just post pictures of my parents. Here they are with the kids the morning Mom and Dad left to drive to AZ. I blogged about them visiting us in early October, but I didn't have any pictures ready. I unfortunately didn't take many pictures while they were here--we used Dad's camera to capture our outings to Red Rock Canyon and Mount Charleston, BUT...the picture quality was set for low. I will, however, try posting some here, and hopefully they'll show up all right even though we won't be able to print for scrapbook pages. (Not that it matters, since I'm 2 years behind anyway, ha!)

October 22, 2008

Catching Up

Hmmm. Where to begin? Some highlights from the last couple of weeks...perhaps pictures will come later, if I have time and energy...though having both together is a rare thing these days!

October 13 - 16
I was away on yet another Stampin' Up! trip, this time to the Leadership Summit, a new training event for Senior Executives and above as well as past and present Advisory Board members. Since I promoted to Sr. Exec. last May, I qualified to attend, and I am so glad I did. It was completely worth the investment of time and resources. We did have to do some juggling at home, as Ted had to attend a conference that week at Nellis. Thankfully good friends stepped in to help. Kenna stayed with Debi and her family and did quite well, even taking naps and sleeping pretty well in a strange environment. Charis spent the time with her friend Addie and her family and enjoyed visiting school with Addie on Tuesday. And the boys spent the days with my friend Heather and her kiddos--Ted dropped them off early in the mornings and picked them up in the evenings. I'm grateful for the opportunity to receive some valuable business training as well as the opportunity to give feedback to a company I have grown to appreciate more and more over the years.

October 17
I had stamp club at my house that day after running errands in the morning. More errands in the afternoon, and then prepping for the babysitter and Charis' first play rehearsal (a read-through, actually). We dropped Charis off at the director's house and headed out for a date night. First we had dinner at a fabulous Thai restaurant we discovered with my parents last December. Then we went to the MGM Arena to watch some of America's Got Talent top performers. The show was quite good but very long--we ended up leaving before Neil Boyd had finished his 2nd song.

October 18
Charis and Arden's birthday! Later I will definitely post more details and pictures from Saturday's "Fall Family Fun" party. I can hardly believe Charis is 8 and Arden is 5! We had a great party, and it will be well worth telling about.

October 19
Church and another rehearsal for Charis. I was gone from 7:45 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. So much for a day of rest!

October 20
An attempt at a normal day of homeschooling, followed by a planning meeting all afternoon for the medieval history party that I headed up for our homeschool co-op.

October 21
I gave up on trying to do school and focused on the medieval party, which was a huge success. We had 8 different stations, including 4 crafts and 4 activity stations, and over 70 kids plus 10 preschoolers were in attendance, along with a plethora of parents. We got some great feedback, and I was very thankful all went well but was more than a little bit tired when we got home that afternoon!

Guess that's the news in a nutshell. And now for some answers to FAQs, in case you were wondering:

1. No, we haven't heard anything else about Ted's application to teach at the Academy.

2. No, we have no idea when we'll know anything about that.

3. No, I haven't had my ultrasound yet. But my next appointment is tomorrow, and they should schedule the ultrasound while I'm at the office, so sometime in the next month it will get done.

4. Yes, we plan to find out the baby's gender, and yes, we will share that information with whoever is interested.

5. Yes, I look pregnant, but no, I haven't started wearing maternity clothes yet...however, I DO need to find the maternity clothes box sooner rather than later...

6. Total weight gain so far is 5 pounds.

7. I'm feeling fine, but exhaustion is pretty much a perpetual state of being. I'm not sure what happened to the "renewed sense of energy" that is supposed to appear in the 2nd trimester. That seems not to have surfaced.

In other news, Kenna can now work door knobs. This is not a good thing. I bought 2 extra packs of door knob covers to keep her out of various places...but the problem is that the kids can only seem to work our old knob covers and not the new ones! I'm forever having to open a door for someone! And we are apparently one cover the challenge has been to keep Kenna OUT of the laundry room cabinets, which house miscellaneous items such as light bulbs, batteries, odd socks, plus a good portion of our games and puzzles. As soon as Ted gets home I will beg him to put up more cabinet latches in there!! I'm not sure why today Kenna has decided that THAT is the room to be in...she hasn't seemed interested in going in there before!

I hear banging around in the kitchen downstairs, so I'd better go see what she's up to. Thus endeth this random post!!

October 07, 2008

Christmas Play

It's official...Charis is IN the Christmas musical "Nick Saint!" Her part is small, as we knew it would be--she wasn't old enough to audition for the main speaking role for the kids. She'll be "Wendy," who is described as "the cutest little girl ever." Really! Go to the cast breakdown, scroll down to see the description of the chorus, and you'll see that description actually listed. :-)

In addition to her few speaking lines (and I do mean few), Charis will get to perform with the chorus, singing and dancing for various scenes. Plus, she gets to go through the whole experience of putting together a real, live stage production--quite a step up from the kids' Christmas play she was in last year! What a great opportunity, and one more good reason to worries about late rehearsal nights!

October 06, 2008

Academy Application Update

It's been awhile since I first posted what Ted was going through in regards to the application process for teaching at USAFA. So here's a quick update. On Monday morning, September 22, he had a phone interview with the Department of History. He thought it went quite well and expected to hear from them later that day. (They had told him they would call back.) Long story short--it was a week and a half later before he heard anything. (You can imagine the nail-biting around here!)

The good news: They want to hire him!

The bad news: His career field hasn't released him.

But good news: USAFA submitted official paperwork requesting his release from his career field.

And more good news: They tell us that they have pretty good success with this particular situation.

So, we are cautiously optimistic but obviously in a stage of waiting...yet again! That seems to be the story of this whole ordeal. Waiting for signatures, waiting to hear something, waiting for an interview, waiting, waiting, waiting. Thankfully we know that God makes all things beautiful in HIS time, and we know His plans are perfect.

In the meantime, we wait...not for man, but for the Lord!

Catching Up, Part 2

So here's a quick rundown of our week with Grandma and Grandpa here!

Sunday--Went to church in the morning. Mom & Dad picked up KFC for a quick dinner, and Charis and I headed back to church for her official audition for a Christmas musical that will debut at our church in December. She had already done an acting read-through, so all she needed to do was the singing and dancing part of the audition. I was very proud of her--she wasn't sure what to expect, but she did her best. I was so glad that she has had several months of taekwondo experience plus over a month of ballet/dance lessons--that gave her much confidence.

Monday--"Normal" day of homeschooling. The kids spent most of the afternoon playing games with Grandma and Grandpa while I napped.

Tuesday--We ditched school and took Mom & Dad to Red Rock Canyon, where I had taken the kids a couple of weeks before. We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed tromping around. The weather was still quite hot, unfortunately, but we did find a shady spot for our picnic.

Wednesday--I left the kids with Mom & Dad and drove downtown for what was supposed to be a stamping demonstration for senior citizens at the same recreation center where I do the workshops for my group of deaf friends. Unfortunately, not a single person showed I made the 40-mile round trip for nothing!! Sigh. I was able to hit Trader Joe's on the way home and stock up on some favorite items from there though, so there's something to be said for that.

Thursday--PE in the morning for the older kids. Then I drove the rest of us to Sonic to pick up lunch and take to the park for afterwards, so we had another Sonic-picnic lunch at the park where we had eaten the day Mom and Dad came into town. I don't know when we've ever had so much fast food in so little time without it being a road trip!! Charis had her dance class in the afternoon, and Tobin went to taekwondo class.

Oh, yes...I almost forgot! Ted and I got a DATE NIGHT on Thursday!! We went to see Fireproof, the new movie with Kirk Cameron. It was quite good. There were obviously some amateur actors, but I thought the writing was smart and the characters were realistic. The humor was great, too! Afterward we went to the Cheesecake Factory for some cheesecake and caramel apple cider. Yum! It was a fun evening for us both.

Friday--We played hooky from homeschool again and drove to Mt. Charleston for another picnic lunch and some exploring. The weather was so beautiful--quite cool, actually. We were the only ones in the picnic area for quite awhile, and the kids had a blast hiking around. They came up with "Indian names" for themselves...Tobin was "Blackfoot" (quite appropriate given the state of his feet at any given moment), Charis was "Morning Star" (which is ironic, because that was the maiden name of my grandmother!), and Arden was "Red Feather." It was very cute to hear them calling out each other's new names as they played in their own imaginary world. Unfortunately, I realized that the diaper bag was NOT, in fact, in the van, so our visit was cut a bit shorter than we may have liked. Kenna rode home wearing a swim diaper and her swim suit, the only wearable things we could find in the van, after she soaked through her original diaper and outfit!

Saturday--Mom & Dad left that morning to go visit some friends in Arizona and then continue their way home. The week really did fly by--no wonder we didn't get much schooling done! Not that I had planned to, so it wasn't a problem! We very much enjoyed our time together as a family.

Catching Up

I'm pleased to announce we have had 3 Mondays in a row of our regular daily, homeschooling routine! That's about it, though. I can't believe how crazy life got the last half of September. A rundown of the week after my Founder's trip looks like this:

Monday--"Normal" day. Good to be homeschooling again after a week's break.
Tuesday--Dropped kids off at Cindey's house and drove downtown for a Silver Belles workshop.
Wednesday--Dropped kids off at Heather's house and drove to base for my first OB appointment. I heard the heartbeat (yay!) and the doc verified my due date as March 31. Goodbye, Hawaii; hello, spring baby!
Thursday--Took kids to PE in the morning and Charis to dance class in the afternoon.
Friday--Minimal homeschool activities in the morning and stamp club in the afternoon.

I thought Saturday would be a day to rest and clean the house a bit. (I never clean before stamp club--we have anywhere from 10-20 kids running around the house, and without fail juice ends up on the floor and then tracked all really, why bother?!) Ted helped some friends move, which ended up taking longer than he anticipated, so he was gone much of the day. I started our mountains of laundry and slowly began cleaning the house in anticipation of my parents' arrival the next day. We took a break and grabbed lunch at Sonic, then ate at a nearby park and had some playtime.

Back at home, I puttered around in my stamp room, trying to get the "Stamp Suite" ready for guests, and continued with the laundry. Just about the time I was considering a nap, the phone rang. It was my parents--they were in St. George and headed for Las Vegas! Yikes! I wasn't even planning to cook that night...leftovers, chicken nuggets, whatever. Well, all that changed! I finished up cleaning as best as I could (the kids helped when they came home from a party at the neighbors' house) and made some chicken spaghetti. By the time Mom and Dad arrived, the house was reasonably clean, the futon was clear, as was the surrounding carpet in the office, and dinner was almost ready. The kids were so excited to see both Grandma and Grandpa--it had been since last Christmas that we were all together. Mom came to visit us in the spring, but Dad didn't. They were both amazed at the changes in Kenna and constantly amused by her antics, as we all are!

So--it was a whirlwind end to a busy week!

September 26, 2008

Founder's Friends

Some people pics from my Founder's Trip...

My "new mom" Ruth and me! (Ruth was #2 Rising Star for the US!)

Dania and Glenda

Wendy and me

Sarah and Jen

Aly and me

Suzie, Beckie, and Kim at the Big River performance.