February 28, 2009

Kenna Loves on Her Birthday Duck

All About Kenna

Favorite colors: purple & pink (purple is by far the MOST favorite)

Favorite activities: coloring (we're working on keeping the marks on paper, but walls make a great medium, too), reading, watching movies ("boovies"), cuddling up with stuffed toys, sitting in boxes, climbing (playgrounds, slides, kitchen cabinets...), doing Starfall.com with Mommy or a sibling

Favorite people: Mommy & Daddy, "Char-ih," "Bo-bin," and "Ah-yeh." (Charis, Tobin, and Arden, for the uninitiated.)

Favorite foods: "boap-meah" (oatmeal), "roni" (macaroni), strawberries, spaghetti, cereal with milk, yogurt, grapes, Italian green beans, PBJs, cheese, crackers, anything on Mom or Dad's plate. Really, there's not much this child WON'T eat.

Favorite movies: Baby Einstein's Baby Beethoven, God Made Me, Elmo's Potty Time.

Favorite toys: A stroller with anything in it, Legos (bigger sized for little hands), puzzles, anything fuzzy and stuffed, anything she can steal from her big sister's room.

Playing with Arden.

Wearing Charis's shoes and carrying her "purse."

Woohoo! Mom let me watch a "boo-vie" this morning!

A few of her favorite things: The Dog Book from the library, Big Bear, and Charis!

Eating breakfast on her birthday. She's quite good with a spoon!

Dressed in Charis's robe

Kenna is 2!

Yesterday was Kenna's second birthday! I can hardly believe it's been two years since our 3 a.m. dash to the hospital, with Debi driving me to base while Ted was trying to catch a plane from Tampa to Vegas.

Kenna's birthday celebration was pretty low-key this year. We did a big one-year-old party last year, and who remembers their second birthday anyway?! Kenna did get a visit from Mrs. J, my friend Debi, who came over with a package for Kenna to open. And then, as a special way to celebrate, Mommy and Daddy left all the kids with my friend Cindey and went on a date night, ha!! We wanted to see a performance of Clue, produced by a local Christian high school. Having seen the movie, and really being the type to enjoy fun and corny mysteries (with lots of puns thrown in for good measure), we decided after reading the write-up in the paper about the performance that it would be a lot of fun for us. Since Cindey had given me some babysitting coupons as a Christmas present, and since she is typically busy with church activities on Saturday evenings and Sundays, last night was the only night we could get away to see the play.

So, anyway, no party yesterday, but we did take the kids to Peter Piper Pizza today. PPP is kind of like Chuck E. Cheese but without the rat, ha! It mostly has video games and games that spit out tickets...and unfortunately, only ONE ride! But Kenna had a blast walking around and pushing buttons, so we didn't spend all her tokens and ended up giving the older kids a few extra. Ted made the observation that the play area was really like a casino for kids...no alcohol or cigarette smoke, but the noise and lights were the same!! (Only someone who has lived in Las Vegas would make that observation, I think!) Kenna opened presents from her grandmas (forgot to take the one from Joel and Sarah--guess she'll open that one tonight!) and generally looked cute.

Yesterday Charis helped me make a brownie pie, which we will have with ice cream and candles this evening. I'll see if I can get a picture with ALL the kids this evening, but for now, here is a birthday montage!

Opening presents from Debi--cute clothes and an Elmo potty DVD (which Kenna LOVES and calls "Melmo").

Debi and Kenna

Birthday dress from Debi

Darling duck and book set from Grandma J!

Cute hat from Grandma K! (Not shown: Cute slippers as well!)

The ONE ride at Peter Piper Pizza!

My, How Time Flies!

From newborn to toddler...in a flash...

February 27, 2009


Hooray! Finally our minivan is completely paid off! Just in time for us to get a new vehicle to fit Baby J and the rest of our family, ha! We made the last payment yesterday after getting our income tax refund deposited. We paid the van off about 8 months ahead of schedule...wish we had thought to make more principle-only payments earlier in the game. Oh, well, lesson learned--next time we purchase a vehicle, it is cash only for us!

Now we're praying that God will provide a bigger vehicle and give us wisdom and discretion throughout the whole process. Should we keep the minivan as our second car (Ted's little Saturn is nearly run into the ground) or trade it in and hope Ted's car can make it through our next assignment? That's one part of the decision-making process that we face. We have 2 CDs in which funds will be ready to access in late April, plus some money we've set aside from our tax refund. Additionally, the fact that Baby J is due during the Stampin' Up! trip to Hawaii that I earned means that instead of lazing on a Hawaiian beach next month, we'll receive a cash deposit for the value of one person to take the trip. That money will also be available for our vehicle purchase. Now...prayerfully...our little stockpile will be enough to pay for a vehicle with no loan involved, so that we can instead use the money we were making on car payments to pay ourselves and begin another nest egg for future needs!

We've gotten some great advice and input from larger families concerning what our next vehicle choice should be. Now we need to sort through the options and really begin researching!

February 26, 2009

35 Weeks and Counting!

I had an OB appointment this morning. All is well, though it doesn't seem that Baby's head is down yet. The doc said she's not too concerned, since he still has time and space to wiggle his way down there. I was rather relieved to hear that I haven't dilated a single bit, which was somewhat surprising considering the number of contractions I've had over the last couple of months! Still, it doesn't seem that we need to be concerned about me going into extremely early labor!

Our ultrasound is next Wednesday (to monitor Baby's kidney), and then I'll be back at the OB's on March 13. The doctor told me that if my cervix is favorable, they allow women to choose to be induced at 39 weeks. Since this is my 5th child, she is quite sure things would be "favorable," but I think I'll take a pass on an induction, thank you very much. The little bit of pitocin I got with Arden was enough to send me over the edge...I can't imagine choosing to be induced before my due date!! I do want to have this baby early...frankly, I'm tired of being pregnant! But I prefer to let nature take its course. God's timing is perfect!

February 23, 2009

This Morning's Funny

It was a bit chilly in the family room this morning, so I told Tobin he could turn on the gas fireplace since he wanted to work on his math on the floor in that room. Kenna came over and exclaimed over the "bire." I warned her not to touch the glass, since it was "hot, hot, hot!" She leaned over a bit closer and started blowing toward the fireplace the same way she blows on food that is too hot for her! Very cute! Of course, since we all laughed at her, she continued blowing for quite some time...she's quite the little ham!

February 22, 2009

Unconditional Love

My children have all been my teachers at some time or another when it comes to the idea of unconditional love.

Today's instructor: Kenna.

The lesson plan: Today's lesson begins by handing Mommy pieces of chewed-up plum skin (which she accepts, since we are upstairs with no trash can in sight at the moment), followed by a snuggle session on Mommy's lap while she works on typing out Day 2 of the Commission Bible study. During this endearing moment, Kenna strategically leans forward and wipes her nose on my arm.

THAT, my friends, is a child secure in her mother's love. And now, if you'll pardon me, I need to go find a tissue to wipe off my arm...

February 19, 2009

Looks Like First Choice Ain't Happenin'

While we don't know anything definitive about our next assignment, we now know that it won't be at the U.S. Air Force Academy, unfortunately. I'm so bummed for Ted, since teaching there has been his dream for years. But his career field isn't going to release him for an unrelated four-year assignment.


More waiting...

February 16, 2009

Our Valentine's Weekend

We were so looking forward to this 3-day weekend after an extremely busy week last week! I had something going every night...Bible study Monday evening, EAGLES homeschool meeting Tuesday evening, AWANA Wednesday evening (which I ended up skipping--Ted took the kids to church while I stayed home to prep for stamping events), scrap club meeting Thursday evening, and hostess workshop Friday evening. Whew!

So the thought of not going ANYWHERE on Saturday was very welcome to me! Ted and Charis did go out--she had AWANA games from about 10:00 - 2:30. Before they left, we had a family breakfast and the kids opened their Valentine's goodies from Grandma J, which were activity-type books that kept them busy for awhile! During the day, I worked on laundry, read to and played games with the boys, spent time with Kenna, and supervised the cleaning of my bathrooms, woohoo! The cleaning lady brought her daughter, and I'm pleased with the results. Yay for clean bathrooms without having to do it myself! ;-)

I made heart-shaped pizzas for the kids for dinner (Ted, Kenna and I had a normal pizza), which were well-received, as was the "pink fluff" Jello salad. We had Valentine's cupcakes for dessert, courtesy of Arden, who won a prize at the Cake Walk during the EAGLES elementary Valentine's party on Thursday afternoon. We gave the kids their Valentines from Grandma & Grandpa K and from us before dinner. Part of our gift to them was the Peanuts Valentine's episodes on DVD, so they all enjoyed watching that while Ted and I made the pizza and prepared the salad.

After the kids were in bed, Ted and I finished watching some TV stuff we had recorded and ended up in bed early ourselves, as we were both pretty exhausted. I had fully intended to take a nap in the afternoon, but it never worked out. Not to worry, though...I had a good nap Sunday afternoon and was more than ready to go out with my hubby! Debi came over to watch the kids for us, and we enjoyed a very yummy dinner at The Melting Pot. We had gotten a restaurant gift certificate from my brother and sis-in-law for Christmas, and we were able to apply it to our meal. We had appetizers, salad, and extra dessert. :-) It was just right. The first time we went to The Melting Pot, we did the "Big Night Out," which also includes an entree. WAY too much food, if you ask me! I remember leaving that evening feeling extremely, uncomfortably full! So the two times we have been since then, we've opted to skip the entree. The other stuff is more fun, anyway, LOL.

Our dinner didn't take as long as we had anticipated, though it was very nice to spend an hour not having to cut someone else's food into small bites or be interrupted in the middle of a sentence by a request for more milk. One major thing was accomplished during our dinner--we picked a name for our baby boy!!! (Sorry, I'm not posting it now, tee hee!) This is the longest it has taken us to choose a name, but we both very much like our decision. It feels good to be able to call the baby by name and pray for him by name now. I've felt a little more detached this pregnancy, and I think the lack of a name has had a lot to do with it. Lately, with all his movements and with the kids getting so excited every time they feel him kick or see my belly jiggle...it's becoming more and more real, and I'm finally starting to feel just a little bit ready to welcome a new little one! I know, you'd think after having 4 kids another one wouldn't be a big deal, but we have our routine going, and the thought of adding a wee one when we're already exhausted with a high-maintenance toddler is definitely overwhelming to me. But I know God's timing is perfect, and I look forward to seeing His plan for our family unfold. I think the uncertainty of not knowing what will be happening this summer is also a major contributing factor to my emotional ups and downs concerning the pregnancy...it doesn't seem related, yet it completely is! WHERE will we be going? Will we be close to family? Will our next house be big enough for a homeschooling family of 5 kids plus a home business??

Once again, we know God has everything under control. Our date night conversation centered around these topics, and I feel so blessed to have a husband who acknowledges God's sovereignty and demonstrates such faith in Him, even when earthly circumstances are frustrating and hard to understand.

From the restaurant, we tried going to a couple of theaters to see what was playing, but we discovered we had no interest in the movies that are out now. So we headed to Barnes & Noble and puttered around for quite awhile. We hit the grocery store on the way home--seems we do that frequently on date nights now, LOL!--to pick up some tea and fresh fruit. We got home around 9:00, just in time to put the kids to bed and watch The Amazing Race season premiere. (Woohoo for the mom and son team who came in first!! The son is deaf, and we're rooting for them both!!)

Today is another lazy family day. Ted just left with the kiddos to go to Pump It Up. I've had a number of contractions this morning, so I decided to stay home, drink lots of water, and try to keep my feet up. I do think that I will get into Kenna's closet so I can pull out the baby items we'll be needing, plus pull out the clothes she has outgrown. We have met a couple at church who is expecting a girl. Their last child is a 12-year-old girl, so they don't have any baby stuff on hand, plus the wife was laid off work in January. Before I knew she was laid off, I felt God lay it on my heart to ask her if she needed any baby girl clothes, and we were both so excited when we talked about it last week! I'm thrilled to be able to pass on some blessings...we have been so blessed by people giving US clothes, and truly Kenna has had more clothes than one child needs, ha! So, I think I will do that one little project, then try to take it easy until the kids come home for lunch.

Whew, this was a long, rambling post! If you're still reading this, you must really love us! ;-) Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

February 13, 2009

Reason #78 to Homeschool

Because if you want to do schoolwork in your pajamas and roller skates, you can!

February 12, 2009

Some News...Sort of...

Well, we do know something! This morning Ted called to say he is NOT on the Leadership Board list, which means he was not selected for any of the 2-year Leadership positions that were posted. The fact that he made the list to begin with is a good thing, especially since he is currently in a boarded position at Creech AFB, meaning he did well twice for a competitive post.

So...the good news is that he is "free" (sort of) to pursue the teaching position at the Air Force Academy, which is what we really want anyway. However, there is still the matter of his career field possibly not wanting to release him, which is what we were running into at the beginning of this process. However, knowing that USAFA requested a special exception for him...and knowing that they have a fairly good success rate with such situations...plus the fact that Ted now knows that he did not get selected for a Leadership Board job (which would have trumped anything else)...we would like to think maybe this is a good thing!!

But really, as I told the kids on the way to PE...we know a little, but we really don't know anything!! Guess we'll have to wait a little bit more. Ted plans to do some calling today to check on the status of the USAFA job, so maybe I'll be able to post more news later.

February 11, 2009

Belly Shots

OK, you asked for it...here are some pictures of my baby belly! Please note that I'm really not taller than the china hutch behind me...Ted decided to squat down to take the pictures! So that perspective is a little off, but you can definitely see the full glory of my pregnant self, ha! This is at 33 weeks.

For comparison purposes, I'm putting a picture of me below that was taken 2 years ago when I was about 36 weeks pregnant with Kenna.

February 09, 2009

No, Thanks

Charis was inviting the boys to play school with her during Kenna's nap. I had gotten the chalk out for them to use with their chalkboard easel, and she was excited to be "Teacher" again after not having used the chalkboard for a really long time. Arden was game (he usually is), but Tobin's response was less than enthusiastic.

"No, 'cuz all you do is go 'Blah, blah, blah' and be bossy."

I'm sure that's exactly the kind of statement my brother made to me over and over while we were growing up...

February 07, 2009

10 Things I Love About Being Pregnant

Again, in no particular order...

1. Feeling the baby move--I will never get over the wonder and privilege of being able to carry a little one during his or her development.
2. Being able to wear clothes that stretch...on purpose!
3. Great skin.
4. Fabulous, shiny hair.
5. I personally don't have to shave as often...must be the heightened girl hormones!
6. Having an excuse to take a nap or sleep in.
7. Having an excuse to eat or not eat as I please!
8. The process of choosing a name and praying over our child's future.
9. This time around--seeing the kids so excited over their baby brother's movements and hearing them talk about how they can't wait for him to be born.
10. Knowing God has a special plan for our family.

February 05, 2009

And Two More...

How could I forget...

11. Heartburn--didn't have it with the other 4 kids, but it's pretty much a daily occurrence now.
12. Congestion. I remember the feeling of freedom when I could breathe normally again after Kenna was born.

Really, there ARE some good things about being pregnant...I'll think of them sooner or later, ha!

February 04, 2009

10 Things I Hate About Pregnancy

Don't worry, I'll follow this up with a positive note about what I LOVE about pregnancy, but it's time for a little whine session!

In no particular order...

1. Swollen ankles.
2. Lower back pain.
3. Weird dreams.
4. Getting up one to three times at night to go potty.
5. Loss of a lap for other kids to sit on during story time.
6. Not being able to bend over without saying "Uuuufff!"
7. Having to spray-n-wash every single maternity shirt because without fail, some kind of food particle always seems to land on my belly during meals or meal preparation.
8. Getting kicked in the bladder. (Under the ribs is bad, too, but I'm carrying this one a lot lower, and so far he hasn't been reaching up too high.)
9. Physical exhaustion...especially when circumstances make it impossible to catch up on rest.
10. The mental, emotional, and spiritual stress that comes with the feelings of inadequacy at the thought of raising another child in a way that pleases and honors the Lord.

February 03, 2009

In This Moment, I Thank God for...

* Crayon markings on the wall, because it means I have a toddler with the ability to create.

* A son sitting on top of the school table, because it means he is engrossed in a word puzzle book and is engaging his mind instead of his brother.

* A daughter who could be labeled a recluse at times, because it means she is exercising her imagination by playing alone in her room.

* The beautiful weather outside, because it gives us a chance to enjoy the sunshine during our afternoon school reading.

* Our minivan with a dent in the back door and trillions of crumbs scattered on the floor, because it is transportation for our whole family and is almost PAID OFF.