July 29, 2009

An Arden Funny

I was tucking the boys in a few nights ago, and Arden and I had the following conversation.

Arden: Mom, guess what?
Me: What?
Arden: My buddies went swimming today. ["Buddies" in our house refers to the myriad of stuffed animals one sleeps with.]
Me: Oh, that sounds fun.
Arden: And Mom, guess what?
Me: What?
Arden: The pool was 12 feet deep!
Me: Wow! That's pretty deep for your little guys.
Arden: But Mom, in buddy life my tiger is 6 feet tall.

I guess "buddy life" is kind of like "dog life?!" LOL!

July 28, 2009


Kenna: "Here, Daddy."

Ted: "Oh, thank you. Another dead fly."

July 17, 2009

Toto, I Think We're in Kansas Now...

We left Denver yesterday after a great time with family and friends on Wednesday. After breakfast, we drove down to C-Springs (a fun drive with various verbal games with the kids) and drove through the Garden of the Gods. The kids had fun climbing around Balanced Rock, and we got some good pics, which of course I'll have to post later when I'm not on Mimi's laptop. :-) Before we went into the park we had a potty stop at the Visitor's Center, which I had never been to before. It was way cool!

After that we went to a fun restaurant downtown that is inside a former train depot! Very fun place to eat. We met some Commission friends there and enjoyed visiting for quite awhile. Following lunch, we drove onto the USAFA grounds and walked the trail to the Chapel area. I wanted the kids to be able to see the campus and get a better idea of where Daddy spent 4 years of his life! We don't know when we'll all be in CO again, so all in all, it was a very fun day.

Yesterday we drove 600 miles and are now at Craig & Mimi's house. We made GREAT time yesterday despite two poop blowouts (one from Kenna, one from Lucan that totally messed up his carseat--YUCK) and were here for dinner. The kids did very well; Ted said the little ones were better than they had been the 400-mile drive from Green River to Colorado. Charis and I listened to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and most of The Silver Chair on CD. Unfortunately, I discovered later that night that the chapter about the Dark Island was quite scary for Charis, as she was having trouble getting to sleep for thinking about it. :-( But I very much enjoyed listening to the CDs, and they (along with Starbucks coffee and a McDonald's iced latte) kept me awake during the drive.

As a side note, for those who haven't seen my Facebook status updates, Lucan had slept through the night 3 nights in a row, so I actually was driving with a good amount of sleep under my belt!! Woohoo! Last night he did pretty well, though not as long of a stretch--I nursed him at 9:30 p.m. and again at 4:15 a.m. I won't complain, though!!

Now I need to close here...Mimi and I went for a 3-mile run this morning after staying up until about 2:30 a.m. talking. The plan for today is that the guys will take the kiddos to a free petting zoo (and who knows where else!) while Mimi and I gab and work on stampin' stuff. I'd like to come up with a design for my Convention swaps, and she has to get stuff ready for a club meeting tomorrow. I'm excited to get to be in her stamp room and use some of her stuff! (How many sentences in a row can I write with the word "stuff" in them?!) Makes me excited to get to Ohio and unpack all my own stuff, LOL.

July 14, 2009

Colorado Beauty

Today was full of moments that made my heart sing. First of all, I woke at 5:51 a.m. after having NOT been disturbed by Lucan all night! This was the first time he completely slept through the night. Let's hope it's a trend.

After waking the baby to nurse (then pumping even more milk), I donned my running gear and enjoyed an almost five-mile run along a beautiful trail near Rhonda's condo. The trees and rippling creek almost completely disguise the fact that one is in the middle of the Mile-High City. It had been about 10 days since my last run, so my body was craving some exercise. While my muscles enjoyed a workout, my spirit felt nourished by the sights, sounds, and smells of God's creation.

But the trail I hit this morning was merely the appetizer to the main course, a small taste of the beauty we soaked up later in the day. The whole family piled in the Suburban (Grandma included) and drove to Echo Lake near Idaho Springs, a nice, winding drive off I-70 up the mountain. We met Joel, Sarah, Anders, and Haiku (their dog) for a picnic lunch right by the lake. After we had cleared out the food supply, we hiked about halfway around the lake, where we stopped to take turns throwing sticks into the water for Haiku to fetch. This delighted the kids, of course, and nearly satisfied Haiku's thirst for adventure.

Walking the path through the forest brought back memories of family vacations, during which we would travel through and camp in the woods and mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. I remember fishing, swimming, cooking, eating, exploring, climbing, and just being. Time seems to stand still when you're camping. You can examine industrious bugs, listen to breezes rustling through the trees, watch water tumbling over rocks, and smell wildflowers. Stress gives way to tranquility. The wonder of nature turns my heart to the Creator and His awesome majesty.

God has blessed me with many moments like this recently, from our final trips to Mt. Charleston and Red Rock Canyon in Nevada to our side trips to see Bryce Canyon and Arches National Parks. I feel at home here in the West, and I find myself missing and reminiscing about family trips of yesteryear--going to visit my grandmother in the Continental Divide of New Mexico, seeing the red cliffs stretching for miles in either direction of her house; tromping through the woods and canyons where my father grew up and listening to his "I remember when" stories; fishing in mountain streams while Mom set up the camp "kitchen" in hopes there would be fried fish for dinner; hovering under the blankets during a thunderstorm and hoping the tent was indeed waterproof.

There's just something about being with family and experiencing the beauty of this earth together.

I've begun praying that God will provide a camper for our family--we haven't been camping at all since I was pregnant with Charis! There's no reason we shouldn't be planning camping vacations, other than the fact that currently we have two tents, and neither Ted nor I relish the thought of sleeping on the ground. Though we're headed far away from the Rocky Mountains for our next assignment, I pray we will take time to appreciate the beauty that will be close to our new home and spend time making memories with our kids, memories they'll take with them into their next phases of life.

July 13, 2009

Goodbye, Las Vegas!

Last Thursday was our last full day in Las Vegas. I'm on my MIL's computer now, so if you want to see pics of our friends that I took last week, you can go here. It was a long, busy day. Ted was at the house early to meet the movers. We had high hopes that they would be done shortly after lunch, but the heat sapped their early-morning energy, apparently! Meanwhile, the kids and I drove from the TLF to pick up Charis from Julie's house, where she had spent the night with her friend Alyssa. Then to the old neighborhood to spend time with Braden and Mikaela, then to the park to meet friends for lunch, then back to the house.

All that went according to plan. But then things sort of fell apart. Ted went to pick up the towing dolly and tried putting the van on it with help from a couple of the mover guys. Turns out it was the WRONG dolly, and we never should have been able to rent it. After doing some damage to the paint on both vehicles, Ted gave up and took it back, and it's a good thing. Although we now have to drive two vehicles, at least we know we're safe!

It was dinnertime when the truck was loaded and the house completely cleaned out. We went to Debi's house for a spaghetti dinner and ended up having to scrap our plans to take the older kids to see Up. Instead, we headed back to the TLF, hoping to get a decent night of sleep before pulling out of town the next morning.

Alas, Lucan had a bad night, and I literally saw the clock every single hour from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. After Ted's final out-processing appointment, we said goodbye to Las Vegas and headed out of town, with me driving the minivan with Charis in it, and Ted and the rest of the kiddos in the Suburban. Charis was tasked with keeping me awake, but it took a stop at Dairy Queen shortly before we got onto I-70 to get me to stop weaving all over the road, according to Ted!! That Peanut Buster Parfait did help, but mostly listening to our Focus on the Family Radio Theater's Chronicles of Narnia CDs did wonders to keep my attention.

We stopped in Green River, UT, for the night and let the kids swim before eating delivered pizza. The next morning we were off to see Arches National Park! We spent a couple of hours exploring the park and were glad for the cloud cover when it was available, as it was a very hot day otherwise. The drive along the Colorado River back to I-70 was amazing...I'm so glad Ted planned that side trip for us! I'll definitely have to post pictures later.

We met Rhonda for dinner at a cute little tavern in Georgetown, about 50 miles from Denver. And we've been here in Colorado since Saturday! We attended church yesterday and went to the science museum today. After naps are finished, we're planning a family photo session with Ted's friend Bill as our photographer.

And with that...it looks like naps are over!! Kenna just sat up, so I'll close here. We'll be in CO until Thursday morning, at which time we'll head to Kansas and spend a couple of nights with Craig & Mimi before finishing the drive to Ohio.

July 09, 2009

Photo Links

To see pictures of our 4th of July celebration, go here.

To see photos of our ladies' Bible study potluck, go here.

July 08, 2009

Last Week in Vegas

We're on the tail end of our time here in Vegas...here's a quick rundown of our activities this week.

Our last service at Canyon Ridge was wonderful. They honored all military members, past and present, by having them come on stage and say their name, rank, branch of service, and tour(s) of duty. By the time everyone had filed across at the 11:00 service, there had to be at least 100 servicemen and women on stage! The long standing ovation afterward with cheers and whistles was enough to make my breath catch in my throat, and I could barely sing "America the Beautiful" afterward. THESE are true heroes.

Later that afternoon we had a family going-away party at my friend Cindey's house. Though some folks weren't able to make it, we enjoyed visiting with some of our favorite Las Vegas families during an informal potluck. Sadly, I took very few pictures despite good intentions! I always get caught up in the moment and forget about my camera. Once again, I'll have to post photos later...the Internet access here at the hotel is pretty sketchy.

Afterward we took Charis to the T family's house so she could spend the night with her friend Addie.

The packers arrived around 8:30 a.m. The kids, amazingly, slept in, which was a huge blessing, as Ted and I had tons to do! After breakfast I took the older three (Tobin, Arden, Kenna--Charis was still at Addie's house) to Cindey's, and Ted and I worked and worked to finalize things while the 2 packers did their thing. A third packer joined them around noon, and they ended up finishing up the whole job that day, another blessing! I picked the kids up from Cindey's in the afternoon, and then after things were finalized at the house, we picked Charis up and went out to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner.

We arrived on base and went to pick up our keys for the Temporary Lodging Facilities. We were supposed to have 2 adjoining rooms; however, some (idiot) one decided for no apparent reason to give away one of our adjoining rooms. So, we had two rooms, but instead of being together, they were on opposite ends of the property!! Disgruntled and extremely exhausted, we piled into one room and made do for the night rather than try to separate items in our shared suitcases.

After many phone calls, we were shuffled across the TLF courtyard to two side-by-side (but not adjoining) rooms. This meant hauling all our stuff from one room to the other. Sigh. This took most of the morning.

The kids and I went to Cindey's house where I worked on a mailing. Ted did some work here at the TLF, finishing with the unloading of our many items, getting a few groceries, etc.

In the evening Ted took the 4 older kids to the base pool while Lucan and I drove across town to attend the last Bible study gathering, a salad bar potluck with some dear sisters in Christ with whom I've shared much over the past months and even years, with some of them! I enjoyed our last get-together and will miss being with them when they begin their next study in the fall. (Will have to post photos of this gathering later, also!)

This morning I took the kids to the free movies, where we saw Inkheart...what looked like a very unique and interesting movie, from what I could tell. :-) I think it may have been a bit intense for my kids, but Tobin at least seemed to really like it. I missed the first 15-20 minutes because of standing in line for popcorn, and then I had to exit a few times with Kenna and later with Arden, who needed to go potty. Anyway, it got us out of the TLF for awhile and allowed us to visit with friends again--tons of people we know go to the free movies!

Charis and Arden are spending the afternoon with friends Alyssa and Zachary E, and the rest of us are ready to head to Blair and Heather's house for one last evening. I'll pick Arden up later on for dinner, and Charis is spending the night with Alyssa. Ted and I are looking forward to at least one more game of Catan with Blair and Heather!

4th of July

So I'm a bit behind in blogging, not that we've had anything else going on to distract me, LOL. After more work in the house all morning and early afternoon of the Fourth, we were happy to escape the chaos and go to Adam and Laura T's house for the rest of the day. We had a relaxing, low-key celebration with just our 2 families. It was good to catch up--Laura and Addie had taken a trip in early June and returned the day we left for Idaho, so our families hadn't had a chance to visit all together in awhile.

The dads and kids swam for awhile as Lucan napped and Laura and I chatted inside where it was cool. Kenna did quite well in the pool with a floatie! She had so much fun that we enjoyed the melodious strains of an all-out temper tantrum when it was time to come inside. Laura grilled burgers and provided chips (plus munchies beforehand), and we brought "Pink Fluff" (Jell-o/Cool Whip/fruit cocktail stuff) and Oreo Ice Cream Delight for dessert. After chowing down, the kids watched Kung Fu Panda while we adults got in a couple of rounds of pinochle, during which Laura and I were once again defeated, sigh!

We went out to the street to do some fireworks that Adam and Laura had gotten. Amazingly Lucan slept inside the whole time! He really did so well the whole day we were away. I'm thankful he's kind of a go-with-the-flow baby, as that's what we need now! The kids enjoyed holding sparklers and watching the various fireworks until the supply ran out. Then, as it was about 9 p.m., Ted and I decided we had better head home since we were all pretty beat. We got to see a number of fireworks shooting off as we drove home, and we even got our own personal show from the bedroom window, which overlooks the city. We could see 3-4 of the major casinos' shows! Not quite the same as actually being there to hear them, but it was nice to have the little ones in bed!

I'll have to post photos to Facebook later...the wireless connection here at the TLF is not wanting to let me do anything fancy on the Internet! For those who don't have Facebook accounts (ahem, Mom!!), I'll try to remember to post a link to our photo albums later. :-)

July 05, 2009

Moving Day...

...is rapidly approaching! Today is our last day in this house. We'll be here thoughout the next week, but the packers arrive tomorrow morning. This past week has been a whirlwind! After getting back from Commission--a 10-day trip away from computers during which we barely even thought about our "normal" life--we were suddenly plunged into reality, which included an amazing amount of effort in order to prepare for this coming week!

Rooms are frighteningly clean...we've put out an extraordinary amount of trash...toys that were MIA over the last however many months (years?!) have made their way back to where they belong...and the bookshelves look as if they came straight from the library. Why can't things ALWAYS be this neat and organized?! We've discovered how much stuff we truly never used and donated a whole truckload to Goodwill after attempting a sad and pathetic garage sale, but we did earn some family spending money by selling some larger items. We're all looking forward to a more organized existence in Ohio! There is a lot more storage space in our new house, so that will help tremendously, and with the kids' playroom in our finished basement, we'll be able to have a no-toys-in-bedrooms rule that SHOULD help keep things a lot neater.

So...are we ready for the packers?! I guess about as ready as we can be. There is always the last-minute mad dash to set aside this or that, things that are more easily kept with us to avoid having to hunt for them on the flip side. Ted is clearing out our "Harry Potter closet" (the closet under the stairs, for the uninitiated) to use as a do-not-pack space where we can store the things we want to take with us personally.

They scheduled 3 days for the packers to be here, but we're hoping it won't take that long. We'll get a feel for how long it should be when we see how many people they send out tomorrow! The moving truck will be here Thursday, and we'll be spending Monday through Thursday nights in the TLF (Temporary Lodging Facilities) at Nellis. Friday morning Ted has his final out-processing appointment, and then we'll head out from there, towing the van behind us, packed to the brim for our partial "ditty" move (DTY, do-it-yourself move). The plan is to drive to Green River, Utah, that night, then go through Arches National Park Saturday morning on our way to Rhonda's in Colorado. We'll be in Denver a few days, then will drive to Kansas to spend a couple of nights with our dear friends Craig & Mimi, then off to Ohio!

Our landlord finally got his orders, so we are OFFICIALLY renting his house now. :-) It looks like we will be able to do a door-to-door move, which means only staying in the Wright-Patterson TLF a couple or three nights, Lord willing.

All the preparation has been such a whirlwind that it's been hard to sit around feeling sad about saying goodbyes, which is probably a good thing. The fact that we're going back to familiar territory, close to my family and meeting up with old friends again, really makes us excited about this move, more excited than previous assignments, I think. Maybe I'm just relieved that I don't have to completely start over with 5 kiddos, LOL!

We have a family going-away party this evening, and I know I'll see folks there that I won't get to see again before we actually leave next Friday. Today was our last Sunday at church, so I said some goodbyes then, too, and I'm starting to "feel" it. As eager as we are to get away from the Las Vegas heat, and as eager as Ted is to leave his job at Creech, we are so thankful for the wonderful people we've met here and in particular for such an amazing, God-first church that we found in Canyon Ridge. The only thing that makes leaving it bearable is knowing that someday we'll all be part of THE Church in heaven!

July 02, 2009

Commission Results

This was the note posted in First Southern Baptist Church--Mountain Home's Sunday bulletin after camp:

Praise God for the results of Commission 2009-Under Construction

* Over 75 youth, counselors and staffers representing 18 churches worshiped God through a week of service to the community.
* Three youth were baptized Friday evening.
* Children were ministered to at the Backyard Bible Club.
* Many youth, counselors and staff made decisions to walk with Christ in a deeper way.
* Many friendships were made.
*$2150 was given for the missions offering which will sponsor our Compassion child for another year and help an orphanage in Costa Rica.
* The Environmental group painted a house, fence, did yard work and helped with a plumbing project for a local senior citizen.
* The Elemental group worked at the Mtn. Home Senior Citizens, Korean Church, helped clean the yard of a local family, painted an under pass for the City of Mountain Home and did a free car wash at Wal-Mart.
*The Production group helped the staff prepare for worship each night as we learned more about being silent before God, holiness, repentance and rejoicing in who we are in Christ. They also helped set up for fellowships, took many pictures and create slideshows. [Note: This was the team that Ted staffed.]
* The Creative group performed for 3 retirement communities, various parks and the Backyard Bible Club.
* The Street Evangelism group witnessed to many in Mountain Home, Boise and Strike Dam and led at least 5 to the Lord.

Commission Report

I had wanted to write an account of our Commission experience this year, but since our dear friend Rose sent the following email update, I think due to a lack of time I will simply copy and paste!


Dear Friends,

I wanted to share how Commission 2009 went. I know many of you were praying for it weeks before it happened and during the camp itself. Again, I am so humbled to be able to experience what God does in our midst. Some of you I have talked to briefly and said for each one that comes there is "His story" of what it took to get them here and then what He does in their lives during the week. The attachment will be in our church bulletin and it is truly just a glimpse of what God did.

All of the items that I had asked prayer for were answered only in ways that God does things. Just for an example - We were short staff this year but Kate contacted us from Colorado, she had come as a counselor last year and wrote in May asking if we needed any help. She staffed Back Yard Bible Club alone (but with a great a counselor) and did an awesome job with an all girls group. Cary also served our Creative group as a first time staffer and started out by herself, but as God would work it out Sarah was able to join us Tuesday and spend the rest of the week staffing (new job called her and apologized that they would not need her after all because a shipment had not come in). We also watched as God provided in other ways all week. The school lunch program started a new program in Mountain Home that provided free lunch and breakfast for those 18 and under which was a huge blessing, then they were able to also allow the adults since they were "counselors."

We switched from the Sand Dunes where we had camped for the past 8 years and the KOA gave us great rates. Since we were at the KOA we planned a swimming party to end the week and Chas baptized 3 of our youth. Again we watched over and over how God put this camp together.

There were at least 20 first timers and it was so exciting to watch them as they discovered this was not a typical camp and the joy of serving others in the name of Christ. Some of these were were ones that had been involved in BYBC and the sports clinics in years past and were now finally old enough to come as campers.

Words cannot express the fullness and joy that is in my heart for God and how He poured out His richest blessing on this Camp and His children.

If anyone would like to have more information, give me or anyone else involved with Commission and we can talk for hours on God's Faithfulness, sufficiency, provision, love, forgiveness, awesomeness.........

Again, thank you all who were involved -

Beverly the Bible study was perfect for the group of students we had this year, I'm always in awe how God speaks through your writing each year. Praying for your family as you move to Ohio.

Chas - as always it was great to have my son in Idaho and watch your obedience to Our Father-- and to have the added blessing of Melinda, Hunter and Makenna for a few days.

Please start praying now for what God would want to do with camp next year and who He wants involved- is it You?

May God bless each one of you as you serve Him!

Because He first loved us.