May 30, 2009

Our Budding Artist

Sharpie Markers on a flesh this modern or post-modern art, do you think?

Play-Dough is always a great medium to work with, especially when you combine it with hair...

May 29, 2009

House Update

Today Ted talked to the wife of the team who gave us the paper last week, and she said no one is quite sure what to do with us!! We don't need to be evicted since we did nothing wrong, and we're obviously planning to move soon. Normally they would have people fill out a rental application again if they want to continue living at the property, but that takes 6-8 weeks to process...and we'll obviously be gone by then anyway!

She also said that she is applying for us to be able to get a Cash-for-Keys sum of $2800 to move out by July 10 (our current move-out date), and while she's sure they will return that with an "are-you-nuts" reply, she said they may come back with a lower amount. My goodness, getting ANY money to move out when we were planning to anyway would just be a gift from God!!

Not to mention that at the moment, it seems we are living here rent-free!! If, by some crazy combination of circumstances, we are allowed to stay here for a month and a half without paying rent, PLUS receive some extra cash from the Cash for Keys program...well, all I can say is, to God be the glory!! We've rather depleted our savings after paying cash for our Suburban and all the taxes, etc., that went along with that, LOL. So what a blessing it would be if all this ends up happening!


The boys were playing...something...and I heard one ask, "How many times should I do it?"

The response was "Infinity."

"Infinity?! That will take forever!!!"

May 27, 2009

Just Plain Cute

The outfit Lucan is wearing is from my brother-in-law Joel and his wife Sarah. This was the first time he wore it, and, appropriately, he christened it by peeing all over it the first time I changed his diaper. But it's cute anyway, and so are our two "babies!"

May 25, 2009

Homeschoolin' in the 'Hood

Since Ted is at work today (Memorial Day), I decided that our daytime hours would be spent normally, especially since we have taken so much time off school lately. I did let the kids sleep in. OK, so Charis was the only one who took advantage of that, but while she slept until 10:00, the boys got math done and I enjoyed reading some of Arden's Sonlight books aloud to them and Kenna, who was remarkably game to sit and listen. We probably read for nearly an hour!! Very cool.

I chatted on the phone a bit with my friend Julie, whom I sadly see very little of, while Kenna and Arden entertained themselves in a bucket of soapy water in the back yard. (Yes, I should have taken pictures, but I don't multi-task well these days.) After a lunch of yogurt and nachos, Charis began her next math lesson (multiple-digit multiplication, i.e. 325 x 52), which definitely needed my supervision. Unfortunately, so did Kenna, whom I caught happily coloring the table and surrounding chairs purple. In the midst of the commotion a neighbor girl from down the street rang the doorbell wanting to play, but as I was dealing with a diaper change, I told Charis to tell the gal we needed to finish school.

Things settled down after we waded through the math lesson, and Charis finished feeling quite a bit more confident with her skills and I feeling more confident in her comprehension of the whole concept. Then it was time to put the little ones down for afternoon naps and prepare for Sonlight reading (Bible, history, science).

Tobin asked if we could read outside while they had Otter Pops, which has kind of become a ritual around here the last few weeks with nicer weather. We take blankets under the tree in the front yard and plop down to read. I'm sure we're a sight for all the cars that drive in and out of the gate, which is right by our house, and I've often wondered if anyone would ever stop and ask me what we were doing and why our kids weren't in school, but it hasn't happened yet, and with today being a holiday, there was certainly no danger in that. At any rate, I couldn't think of why we shouldn't go read in the front yard with Otter Pops, so out we went...and discovered the neighbor girl sitting on our lawn waiting for us!!

At first I was a bit grumpy...we had told her we were busy, for goodness' sake! But then my heart softened, and I realized this was actually a fantastic opportunity. We invited her to stay and listen with us and let her pick out an Otter Pop as well. She has attended church with us a few times, and her family has a semi-Catholic inclination; at least, the mom's family is rooted in Catholicism. I wasn't sure what she was going to think of our activities, but I figured if she wanted to hang around, she'd just have to listen quietly!

So...she listened in as we read Psalm 8, Lesson 82 in Leading Little Ones to God, which talks about the end of the world and how God's children have eternal security, and--get this--Jesus Christ Himself from our history lesson in A Child's History of the World! Last week we had read about Augustus Caesar, and this lesson began by explaining that at the same time that man lived, another Man lived who changed the world, etc. During the lesson it mentioned that followers of Christ the Messiah are called Christians, and Tobin piped up, "I'm a Christian!" I asked him what that meant (for our friend's benefit), and he basically gave the plan of salvation (with a bit of questioning prompts from me!)! I love it!

The girl was called home after this point, so we continued with our science reading and concluded with a chapter from George Muller's biography, at which point she arrived back at our house. Now the kids are playing together again, and I'm praying that my kids can continue to be a testimony to her.

May 24, 2009

Quick Colorado Trip

So we took a "quick" trip to Colorado to register our new Suburban in our state of residency. We left the Thursday before Mother's Day and got to Rhonda's condo before it was too, too late. Overall the trip went well, despite having no DVD player. (We had that installed this past Friday, so it's in place for our next trip--hopefully to Idaho for Commission.) We listened to a GREAT book on CD, The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech. I HIGHLY recommend it, whether reading or listening! The CDs were nearly 5 hours long, so that took us a good chunk of the way. Everyone except Arden and Kenna (and of course Lucan) was enthralled with the story. Tobin didn't want us to stop it, even when we needed to pause for food and gas and potty breaks! We also listened to several of the Amber Brown books, though I think most of us fell asleep before they were over. Ted's the only one who made it all the way without sleeping! Lucan did quite well on his first road trip.

Friday morning Ted took care of the car stuff, and after naps in the afternoon, we went to Bill and Mellisa's apartment to visit with them and their 3 kiddos, whom our kids remembered from our visit at Christmastime. Bill was still at work when we arrived. Mellisa and the kids took us along the trail by the nearby creek, and we got to see a beaver lodge and dam, baby ducks, a caterpillar, and GREEN foliage!! It only intensified the longing we have to leave Las Vegas! (And made me redouble my prayers for a house in Dayton with a wonderful back yard/outdoor play area for the kids to explore!) The kids also played at a nearby elementary school playground until time to head back for dinner, which Bill picked up on the way home. We enjoyed visiting for a couple more hours and then headed home for bed.

Saturday was a gorgeous day, so it worked well that we had planned a trip to the zoo. (To see pictures, go to my Facebook album.) Lucan did well in our new baby sling and slept pretty much the whole time. Joel, Sarah, and Anders met us around lunchtime. We saw quite a bit, considering how big of a zoo it is and how tired the kids started to get. Tobin especially is whiny and not much fun when he's tired! Kenna was delighted by all the animals and kept hopping in and out of the stroller. We had planned to attend the Saturday evening church service with Joel and Sarah, and we ended up having to go pretty much straight there instead of heading home for baths first. We did have a little extra time, so we stopped at Sonic for treats, which gave Kenna a chance to finish the nap she had begun in the Suburban. It was so nice to be able to have Rhonda ride along with all 7 of us with no one being squished!

Mother's Day dawned gray, cloudy, and cool. We were glad we had gone to the zoo on Saturday. We had a pancake breakfast with strawberries, and then after showers, etc., Rhonda and I went shopping for our Mother's Day dinner. Our trip was rather short notice, so we didn't give her much time to plan! I needed some snacks for our return trip home anyway, and she and I enjoyed some time together before heading home to prepare the meal. This photo shows the sunflowers Ted and the kids bought me. I left them in CO, so I took a picture to remember that I actually did get some Mother's Day flowers, LOL. (Notice I'm not in the picture?! Ah, well. The maker of the scrapbooks doesn't make many appearances in them!)

The one bummer about a road trip to CO for Mother's Day weekend was that I ended up having to give up my scrapbooking retreat that was held the Friday and Saturday before Mother's Day. That was going to be my gift to myself, but when we decided we should register in CO to avoid paying NV state taxes on the Suburban, we had a small window of time in which to get it done. It was fun to visit with family, and I have to say that road trips will be much more enjoyable with all the extra space. Hopefully someday I'll be able to get away for my own little scrapbooking retreat! (I'm sure it won't happen before we move, though!)

Goodbye, "Alex"

Wednesday, May 6, we said goodbye to an old family friend. "Alex" the Saturn SC-2 had been with the family since March 1996, when Ted purchased him as a three-year-old young sports car, ready for some action after having been owned by a little old lady who drove him just 30,000 miles. The goal was to have Alex paid off by the time Ted pinned on Captain and to keep him for 10 years. Alex was indeed paid for before Ted promoted to Captain, and 13 years later, he was still serving our family as Ted's commuter car. Having hit almost 190,000 miles during his long and hardworking life, his time with us drew to a close when Baby Lucan joined our clan and forced us to upgrade to a large, comfortable Suburban. Deciding to keep the nameless but equally hardworking minivan, which is considerably newer and seats more of our family members, we found a good home for Alex. Kevin (pictured here with Ted and Kenna) and his wife Ashley now have the privilege of caring for Alex. Long may he be driven!

May 22, 2009

Quick House Update

Yesterday Ted talked with the investors who purchased our rental house, and they seemed quite willing to try to work with us. I think the fact that he is active duty with orders to move in July really helps! The agent has submitted our request to stay here until early July to Fannie Mae, and if those powers that be are agreeable, we're good to go.

If they think for some reason we need to move out sooner than 47 days from now, then Ted's boss said he would sign waivers so that Ted's orders could be changed, allowing us to PCS immediately.

So, either way, it looks like we'll be able to stay in this house until we leave for Ohio. All that's up in the air is just WHEN that will take place! With the Air Force providing packers and movers for us, there is NO WAY we'll be packing our stuff to store just so we can stay in Las Vegas a few more weeks! We might as well change the date the packers come and just go to Dayton early if it comes to that.

Hopefully we'll know in the next few days what our situation is so that we can make more concrete plans. If we have to move early, that probably would mean we would have to miss being a part of Commission in Idaho. So we're praying for that reason above all else that we can proceed with our original plans. Thanks to those of you who are praying with us!!

May 21, 2009


I have all kinds of fun blog posts planned...I need to catch up and write about our trip to Denver, post zoo pictures, etc. But that will have to wait a bit longer.

Right now we're still reeling from the news that our landlords have lost the house we're currently in. That makes us 0 for 3 in finding owners who can keep their rental properties! The good news is that we can shake the Las Vegas dust off our feet in 50 days...but we don't know yet if we're going to be able to stay here until then or if we'll have to scramble to get our stuff out of here and be in limbo between duty stations.

On Tuesday while I was napping a man stopped by to give us a paper and business card. (The fact that my children, despite CLEAR instructions to not answer the door while I was napping, opened the door anyway is subject matter for another blog post...) He told Charis to "Tell your mom and dad to call this number right away." We looked at the flyer, which didn't have our address on it, and wondered if it were some generic "Call us, we can help you!" thing similar to the myriad notices/ads we received when we were in our previous house. (Obviously that stint ended in foreclosure as well, but for months people were bugging us and telling us they could "help.")

Ted called Mary Ann, our landlord, that evening and left a voice mail. Yesterday we didn't get a call back from her, which was odd. She usually calls us bright and early whenever we need to discuss something. Nor did she email Ted at work, as she typically does when communication is needed. So this morning Ted tried checking his Hotmail account and found her reply. She is truly sorry about everything and only just found out herself that they were for sure losing the house.

Sigh. I do feel bad for Rey and Mary Ann, as they were planning to move back into this house after we moved this summer. Unfortunately, they've been hit hard by the economy, just like a lot of other people. They were paying an additional $800 per month on top of the rent they were charging us, and while they were able to do that for awhile, when Rey's work hours were cut and Mary Ann's real estate business slumped, they just couldn't keep up. Since this house is an "investment property," the bank isn't working with them at all.

The good news is that they are returning our rental deposit ($1500) to us immediately, so unlike with our previous situation we will at least get that back. In the meantime, we are praying that we can somehow remain here for the next 50 or so days until we PCS to Dayton. Not sure if that is possible...Ted is going to make some calls from work today if he gets a chance. I, in the meantime, will redouble my efforts to sort and organize STUFF in preparation for whenever we need to get out of here!

May 19, 2009

The Casting of the Lots...During Breakfast

In case you can't quite make out what this picture is, look for the single die showing through the bottom of the milk jug. Thanks, Kenna!

May 16, 2009

It's All Egyptian to Me

Charis has taken on a new project--learning the alphabet in hieroglyphics. We studied ancient Egypt quite awhile ago, but she recently re-discovered an "Egyptian pack" I found for two bucks at Borders on the clearance rack. It included papyrus-looking paper, envelopes, postcards, and an introduction to hieorglyphics. It was the perfect companion to what we had learned in homeschool studies, and the kids had a lot of fun with it when I first gave it to them, but then it got buried in her craft room mess. (No surprise there for anyone who has ever been in my stamping office.)

I am pleased to say that Charis is now fluent in Egyptian symbols. If you're looking for someone to write your name in hieroglyphics, she's your gal!

May 14, 2009

Someday I'll Look Back on All of This and Laugh...

Kenna's new trick: Opening the refrigerator by herself. Heaven help us all. Just now I found her with an enormous puddle of milk in front of the fridge, as she had attempted to pour a cup for herself. The cup, needless to say, was quite overflowing. She had finished off the skim milk, and the 2% jug was sitting on the floor nearby. Furthermore, she had taken off the lid to the sour cream containter, which was sitting forlornly in the middle of the mess like a great white island amidst a milky sea.

This incident follows a "Kenna Day," by which I mean a day (yesterday) during which I follow her around and clean up messes. Amongst yesterday's activities:

* We caught her clinging to the edge of the counter, pouring salt into the sour cream as we were setting the table for dinner. (She must have a thing for sour cream these days...)

* She called me in distress when she had an extraordinarily full and leaky diaper...dripping poop all over herself and the floor.

* During her bath (after the aforementioned messy poop), she grabbed the bar of soap and "shampooed" her hair with it.

* She drew with chalk on the armoire.

* She drew with marker on the dress-up box.

* She flung the remaining drips of her tomato soup (which she drinks from a sippy cup without the stopper in it) on the kitchen floor (after retrieving her nearly empty cup from the sink), then got the instant oatmeal can out of the pantry and dumped that on top of the wet soup. (Who left the pantry door open, anyway?!)

I've never before had a child who began opening the refrigerator door so early. Nor have I had to spend so much time cleaning up a toddler's messes!! Let's hope Lucan is not so curious!! (Though I do expect GREAT things from Kenna in the future, with her God-given drive to learn and do for herself, ha!)


I fed Lucan at 10 p.m. last night, went to bed at 11:00, and Lucan awoke at 2:20 a.m. and 5:40 a.m. Nearly 3 1/2 hours of sleep, followed by another almost 3 hours of sleep. I feel like a new woman!!! Stamping room, here I come...maybe I can actually channel some creative juices for my events tomorrow!!

May 13, 2009

Maybe We Should Work More on That...

Part of Charis's language arts assignment from last week was:

Write a [short] sentence about school and then a longer one.

Charis's answer...note the italics:

"We homeschool. We have to do copywork, handwriting, fhonics, math, and Sonlight reading."

May 07, 2009

What a Ham!

In one of our hand-me-down boxes Kenna got a little leotard that she has just loved wearing and prancing around in. Charis has showed her some of the dance moves she has learned from her worship ballet class, and the two of them often dance together. However, it's very difficult to get Kenna on video these days, because she always wants to see herself. On this particular day, I was able to get some footage of her dancing, but once she realized I was holding the camera, she stopped to give me some cheesy smiles! It's too funny!

May 03, 2009

Charis's New 'Do

Yesterday Charis and I had a "Girls' Day Out," which, with an infant at home, was actually more like a "Girls' Two Hours Out." But it was a fun time nonetheless. She had been asking me if she could get her hair cut short. I agreed that it needed to be cut, and if she wanted it short, then so be it! Her hair is so fine that it tends to look scraggly at the ends because they break off so easily, and though we both wanted her to be able to grow her hair long, it just isn't happening at this point in time. So off it went! She also wanted to get bangs. I was not so keen on this idea; however, I decided she was old enough to make some hair choices, and it does look really cute on her. The reason for my hesitation wasn't her looks but the fact that bangs need more maintenance! I think I'll be able to trim them when necessary, and I'll teach her to blow dry her bangs so that becomes her job. Since she has never had bangs before, the hair still wants to part in the middle, so we'll have to "train" her bangs to behave properly!

Anyway, Charis is thrilled with her new style, and most everyone else seems to like it too--neighbor-girl's comment "You look weird" notwithstanding!! (I told Charis that girl needs some social skills...those poor public school kids, LOL! And I'm totally kidding...this girl has other issues, and I think she just meant that Charis looked so different. But her word choice was unfortunate, and I'm just glad Charis didn't seem to be hurt by it.)

Some Lucan Pictures

Tobin and Kenna were fighting over who got to hold Lucan this particular morning!

Getting some love from Kenna.

Tummy time...he tolerates it for short periods only.

Playing cards with Daddy...Everyone knows the baby brings good luck! ;-)

May 01, 2009

Funny Kenna

I caught Kenna "reading" the Apocrypha in a cozy place...the empty laundry basket!!