August 30, 2009

Lucan Dances

With a little help from Dad...

Five Months

Lucan's first year is absolutely flying by. I could just eat him up, he's so adorable, as you can see here. His smile just rocks my world. I must rock his, too, from the look on his face. Either that or he was happy about pooping for the first time in 3 days. Ya never know.

I've been looking at older pictures of the kids, and there is still a strong resemblance between Lucan and Arden, as you can see here. I'm not sure when this photo was taken--there isn't a date showing on it like our others, and it's just in a folder that tells us it's from a batch of pictures we had printed in August of '04. But the fact that he is lying down with Tobin instead of sitting up tells me he is probably fairly close to Lucan's age now.

Now for a question for my mom friends who are vaccine gurus. We're not really uptight about getting shots at the recommended age (I was, in fact, yelled at by a tech for bringing Charis in for her first set of shots when she was one year old). However, I did go ahead and get Lucan's 2-month immunizations done at his 2-month well-baby check-up. There was simply no incentive for me to drag 5 kids all the way back to Nellis from across town to do shots a different time when we were already there for the appointment. So, the point is, he got his 2-month shots at his 2-month check-up. Got that?

OK. So fast forward to his 5-month-and-one-day birthday, last Friday, to be exact. Ted went with us to the hospital so we could get all the kids caught up on their shots. Charis and Tobin "needed" the varicella boosters (still not sure I'm keen on that, but I'm past the fighting stage), Arden and Kenna needed a few, and Lucan was of course ready for the 4-month series. As an aside, all 5 kids did EXTREMELY well. The tech looked very nervous when we arrived, but to his credit he did not make any worrisome comments and in fact complimented us all when it was over. He handed us the updated printout of the shot records along with the info sheets on each indivual shot, and away we went.

Well, when I got home and finally had a chance to sort through all the papers, I realized that Lucan's printout only showed the shots he got Friday--meaning there was no record of his having received the 2-month shots at his 2-month appointment. That means the guy gave him the 2-month shots instead of the 4-month, because obviously he thought Lucan hadn't had any shots at all. He did not ask us about this, and we assumed that, like all the other kids, his shot records were in the system and he would be given what he needed. We did specifically say that he had missed his 4-month appointment because of our move and we needed to get his shots...but I suppose he didn't investigate since Kenna and Arden were a little behind according to their recommended schedule.

So now I'm a bit worried--what happened to the records?? Did they not get put into the computer at all? What is the difference between the shots given at 2 months and at 4 months?? Ted does plan to do some investigating, but by the time we discovered this on Friday, it was too late to call Nellis. In the meantime, Lucan seems to be doing all right. He did have a low-grade fever and was rather fussy with minimal appetite for the remainder of Friday and all day yesterday, but today he seems to be much better. I know the early shots are a series of the same vaccines, so I'm hoping that there really is no difference and that we can get the computer records updated.

Sigh. Technology, meh.


Whew. I just finished sorting through nearly 1,000 email messages. Juno crashed on me yesterday--I mean, CRASHED. Ted did some fancy tech work to restore everything (thank you, honey!!), so thankfully I did not lose my email addresses or years of saved messages. About the only thing I actually lost was my web history/bookmarks, so I'll have to refigure out what my favorite web sites are. :-) The good thing about a crash is finally getting rid of electronic "stuff" that I didn't need to keep. Also, I read some messages here and there--I don't save a copy of everything I email, but I do file copies of our family updates as a sort of family journal, plus encouraging notes I receive, and so on. It was neat to get a glimpse of our family happenings over the past decade! (Yes, I've had the same email address since before we were married.)

But some of the messages--WHY were they there, in the myriad of email folders?! Why did I have so many folders? What would I do if I had to sort through all that e-stuff again?! So, aside from "journal" messages, recipes, a few personal notes, some photos, and a file of homeschool resources, everything else went OUT. I'm down to 40 messages in my in box. I love it! I feel so unfettered! Kind of how I felt after pitching tons of stuff before our move to Ohio. I am definitely in de-clutter mode.

Now, if only I can get motivated to organize our Sonlight materials and actually start a school schedule this week...

August 26, 2009

Our "Not the First Day of School" Field Trip

Yesterday the local public schools began. Ideally I had hoped for us to also begin our regular homeschool schedule, but alas, I still have some organizing to do. We've been doing math and handwriting for a couple of weeks now, but our whole Sonlight schedule needs to wait a little. As much as I want to jump right in...for one thing, I forgot to order the Language Arts pack for Charis and LA activity sheets for Arden. When I ordered Core 2 with Advanced Readers, I guess I assumed that everything Charis would need was included, but after review, I realized I needed to get the LA separately. Good thing we have free shipping!!

Anyway, I decided it would be fun to do something completely different on the day that all the neighborhood kids were enjoying (?) their first day of school! You know, to celebrate NOT going to school! I surfed online a bit to see what was happening in the area and finally decided that we'd go to a place we used to take the kids when we lived here before, the Boonshoft Discovery Museum. I made this decision a little after 8 a.m., and I have to admit I'm rather proud of myself for being so spontaneous! (That's not normally like me!) I packed a picnic lunch for us, nursed Lucan, and loaded the kids into the Suburban, along with the stroller, diaper bag, water bottles, picnic blanket, and of course lunch.

The parking lot was nearly empty when we arrived--ah, another perk of homeschooling! I purchased the military family membership for $59, which allows us free access to the museum for one year, plus free access to some other places and half-price or discounts to others, including the Columbus Science & Industry museum, one of our favorite places in the area. The Boonshoft is much smaller, but in a way that's good--I was able to manage all 5 kids without going too insane. They have some nice play areas, including a "town" where the kids can shop for groceries, sort recyclable materials, doctor sick animals, be involved in court, etc. One exhibit that will end this weekend was on dragons, and all the kids enjoyed playing in that area, as you can imagine! Dress up costumes, puppets and a theater, plus lots of hands-on activities tickled their imaginations.

We spent 3 hours at the museum before coming home to give the little ones naps. Charis, Tobin, and Arden then did math and handwriting, so all in all, it was a pretty well-rounded day of homeschooling!

August 23, 2009

The Happy Box

One of the best parts of living in Ohio again is getting our Happy Box every Thursday. The Happy Box comes from Fulton Farms, and it's only $25 per week! (Although we may upgrade to the $30 per week Premium Service so we can have more choices...) I happened to turn on the radio one Saturday while running errands shortly after we moved in and heard a local talk show host raving about this program. I immediately looked it up online when I got home and was sold! Our whole family has been enjoying locally grown organic produce every week! We've saved a lot of money on produce, and I've been able to be creative in the kitchen as I look for ways to make use of all the items in our boxes.

The photo shows what we got in our last box: sweet corn, tomatoes, potatoes, plums, oranges, cucumbers, squash, banana peppers, basil, parsley, and lettuce. We've also received mangoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini, red onions, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, sunflower greens, kale, and probably some other stuff. It's fun to see what we get each week, and we've been eating pretty healthy! I'm so thankful I heard about this program! I love making pasta with the fresh tomatoes and herbs, and the zucchini herb wheat bread I made in the breadmaker a few nights ago was a very nice addition to our meal. Zucchini bars were a hit (Ted made them--you go, honey!), and the kids have discovered that they really do love sweet corn. (The stuff we tried in Nevada shouldn't even be labeled as such.) Charis will often slice up a whole tomato for a snack for herself, and the boys usually snitch some cherry tomatoes as they run in and out of the kitchen. I love it!

August 22, 2009

Feeling at Home

Not only are we pretty much unpacked and settled into our new house, but we are also thoroughly enjoying our new location and assignment. We figured coming back to a place we had been previously assigned would make another cross-country move less traumatic, and it did indeed. But I personally didn't realize it would be just as easy to find the little, life-enriching blessings that have flowed our way in the recent weeks.

Yesterday I was simply overwhelmed with God's goodness. He has answered so many specific prayers, and I can't help but sing His praises! I hope you'll indulge me as I share some of my answered prayers.

* A Christian neighbor--I prayed I would find at least one believing family close to our new home. God planted us just a couple of houses away from Sidra (pronounced See-dra) and her family, and we've already shared some times of deep conversation that let me know we will be good friends. She and her family moved to this neighborhood from another area in Dayton just about 3 months ago, and since their move was basically across town, they are also finding new friends, a new church, etc. She has a 4-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl. Our boys enjoy getting together to play Star Wars, and yesterday I held Lucan and chatted with Sidra while Kenna and Sarah played alongside each other.

* A Christian family with whom our family can share fellowship and encouragement--A few Sundays ago Ted and I attended the 11:00 service, during which we met Andy and Susie. We chatted awhile after church, and Susie was kind enough to invite us to their home for dinner last week. They actually live in our neighborhood, and we have quite a bit in common, including the fact that both the guys are USAFA graduates. They will be moving to CA in April, but I know we'll be good friends in the meantime!

* A running friend--During one of my first runs in the neighborhood, I specifically prayed that God would lead me to a believer who maybe could be a running partner for me. I haven't run with anyone (consistently) since Sarah B. and her family moved from Las Vegas to Texas, and while I've done a pretty good job of getting out the door consistently, I know it would be much easier to go regularly (and farther distances) if I can run with someone. Well, God is good! Susie is a runner also, and last night she introduced me to another lady in the neighborhood who is training for a half marathon! There are actually 3 of them who run together, and I look forward to jumping in with them before too long! (They're doing 10 miles today...I'm not quite ready for that yet!)

* Homeschool friends--Last night Susie picked me up and we went to a scrapbooking night at the home of a sweet Christian lady who is a CM consultant. (And she didn't even mind that I used all Stampin' Up! products on my own project!) No sooner had I sat down and pulled out my supplies than I heard a lady at the end of the table discussing the fact that she had just ordered her first Sonlight core!!! Wow! We started chatting...she has homeschooled several years, but this will be her first with Sonlight. Two other ladies there also homeschool! As it turned out, all of us who were in attendance (6 plus the consultant) are 1) believers and 2) affiliated with the military. Several of us attend FairCreek Church, several of us are runners, and several are homeschoolers! What a blessing! I'm just so thankful God allowed me to meet Susie, who has in turn introduced me to some other wonderful people!


Decor Elements in Charis & Kenna's room, the bathroom, and Tobin & Arden's room. I haven't purchased any for Lucan's room...yet. :-) They're so inexpensive and easy to put up, I wouldn't be surprised if I decide to decorate his room after all! If anyone would like to see a Definitely Decorative mini-catalog from Stampin' Up!, please leave me a comment and I'll mail one to you if you're not local! Free applicator with purchase!

August 21, 2009


As a follow-up to the bubble story below...

On the same web site, we found other posts that were better worded, i.e. "dishwasher detergent" as opposed to "dish soap." Ah, yes. That would have made a difference. So glad we found that out AFTER the fact!!

August 20, 2009

Of Bubbles and Bloopers

Our new master bath has a jacuzzi whirlpool tub, a feature I was most excited to enjoy after we moved in. But upon discovering green flakes blasting out of the jets, I decided perhaps I wasn't in such a hurry to soak after all. Never fear, Ted to the rescue. He googled "How to Clean Jacuzzi Bathtubs" and decided tonight was the night.

The instructions stated we were to run very hot water in the tub, adding a cup of bleach and 4 teaspoons of dish soap to the running water so that it would all be mixed in. Then we were to turn on the jets and let them run for 15 minutes, which would allow the bleach and dish soap to run through the jets and clean them out. Dutifully Ted retrieved the necessary items and turned on the jets.

Unfortunately, the web site gave no instructions for containing the bubbles. The foam grew...and grew...and grew...and the kids delightedly joined us in the bathroom, where we used two buckets and 6 little hands to scoop out as much froth as possible. It was like a scene out of a sit-com! Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere! All over the floor, rising in the shower, filling both sinks, on the boys' nightshirts...

Despite all the scooping, it soon became clear that we could not continue. The jets were stopped while we took a break to get the kids in bed. Perhaps later we could continue our quest for a clean tub.

But no--upon our return a half hour later, Ted started the jets only to watch the bubble foam rising yet again. He began blowing on it, as you would blow on a pot of boiling pasta to keep it from running over, only the tub is so much bigger than a pot! Much giggling ensued. I suggested the shop vac, while he wanted something immediately handy...which should explain the photo here. Yup, that's my man, holding the bubbles at bay with my hair dryer. My hero!

Decor Elements

I have a new addiction: Putting vinyl decorations on our walls. I had put a couple of embellishments on one of our picture walls in the Las Vegas house, but as we knew we were leaving before long, I didn't want to go crazy. Well, the images peeled off so easily, and our new home is "ours" for at least 2 years, so I couldn't wait to get started decorating!

I'll only post photos of two walls now, since Lucan is now finished nursing and I need to supervise math with the boys. The first is one of my favorites, the tree and quotation in the master bedroom. You can see our new comforter set in the first shot--thank you to my ladies' Bible study group from Las Vegas, who presented me with a gift card for our new home!! The second one, also one of my favorites (OK, let's be honest, I love ALL of the Decor Elements), is over the front door. You can see part of the basket display--our antique basket collection that was my Grandma K's. They look perfect around the doorway!

Hey, Let's Go Look at Furniture!

For Veggie Tales fans, you probably remember the musical clip "Ah, ah, ah, STUFF MART!" in the show about Madame Blueberry. I can't help but think of that when we go to one of our favorite stores, IKEA!! Ted and I were so excited to learn that there is an Ikea within driving distance of our new location. We discovered Ikea when we were living in Maryland and spent time browsing and purchasing--our bedroom set came from there. It was too far for us to visit one in person in Las Vegas, but we've already made two trips to the one near Cincinnati. On a less busy day, we can check the older three in to the play area while we take the little ones through the maze of displays. We can feed our family in the restaurant for a very reasonable price (Ted and I love the Swedish meatballs), and on the way out, we love getting the lingonberry frozen yogurt cones.

Yes, it may be a sad commentary on our social life, to say that one of our favorite things to do is pack up the Suburban and go visit a home furnishings store, but for our fellow Ikea fans, I probably don't need to explain the fascination! Here's a picture of our new dining set we purchased there last weekend, after our moving expenses were paid/reimbursed. I absolutely love it! It has two leaves in addition to the space shown here, and we plan to purchase a couple more chairs for a total of 10. Perfect for gatherings with family and friends or for stamping events! So far we've still been eating all our meals in the breakfast nook by the kitchen...I prefer to get placemats before I allow the kids (or at least Kenna) to eat on the new table. I can just see her gouging marks in it with her fork... Anyway, this is our formal dining area, which is just to the left of the entryway.

August 12, 2009


This year Convention was as fun and exciting as ever! We really missed having Mimi, my direct upline, attend with us, the first year she has not been there. I can hardly believe this was my TENTH Convention! It seems so long ago that I was in Minneapolis with Mimi, Erin, and Dawn, overwhelmed at all these "crazy stamping ladies" and in awe of where a Stampin' Up! business could take a person. I'm still committed to doing this as a home business and am thankful for the flexibility I have while earning income for our family. How blessed I am!

This year 14 of my downline members attended--I thought that was a great turnout, considering 17 of them came last year for the 20th anniversary of the company! It was fun to reconnect with gals I hadn't seen since last summer and to meet some whom I hadn't yet met. I'm excited to get my business up and running again in Ohio and am already looking forward to the next Stampin' Up! event, which is a Regional Seminar in Cincinnati on September 12. (I get to go for free because of my title--woohoo!)

Lucan did fairly well during the week, but he was a tad bit too old to sleep through everything as Tobin did when he attended Convention 7 years ago! He was way more interested in the lights, sounds, and people than I wanted him to be, BUT, all things considered, he did pretty well. And--wait for it--yes, there is a poop story! He managed to go all week without pooping, only filling his diaper ONCE the entire time we were gone. He made up for it by exploding several times once we were back home. How thoughtful of him. :-)

Here's my group! Two ladies were not around for our photo, but here you can see, from left to right, Monica, May, Charity, Suzanne, Larissa, me with Lucan, Christi, Heather, Cindy, Sharon, Caroline, Lisa, and Karen.

We're Home!

After a great week at Convention and a looong day of travel on Sunday, Lucan and I are home. After I nursed him Monday morning I put him on the floor to change his clothes, and afterwards this is what happened. Do you think his siblings missed him just a little bit?!

August 04, 2009

Kid Update

Short (?) blurbs on the five kiddos...

He is now 4 months old--where is the time going?! He is officially the fastest turning baby we've had. He has been rolling from back to belly and belly to back for several weeks now. Charis only rolled over from back to belly for the first time after her 4-month birthday! I suspect we're going to have an early crawler/walker with this one. He seems to be teething as well; either that or he has a nasty cold, which is entirely possible, given the substances coming out his nose, LOL. Also the fact that Ted got hit with something over the weekend as well...

Anyway. Lucan has been sleeping through the night for a few weeks now, waking only the last few nights when he's had his nose/teething/whatever issues. He is going with me to Convention (we leave today!), and I'm thankful that he's overall a happy, cuddly baby. When fussy, he settles right down if one of us is holding him. Probably the only problem we'll have at Convention will be poop blow-outs, since his current MO seems to be saving up for several days, only to blast off several times in one day! (And Debi, that poop update is just for you, since you seem to get such a kick out of our poop stories! All my other mom friends who still have little ones at home think these updates are perfectly normal, LOL!)

She is potty training! Woohoo! Oh, the power of a few M&Ms, or, as she calls them, "Mem-a-mems." The older kids get M&Ms or Skittles as well for helping her, and she has done quite well. We just need to get her consistently telling us when she needs to go. She'll willingly sit on the potty anytime we suggest it but only occasionally informs us when she truly needs to go. But we're getting there! At 2 1/2, she's younger than I would have really started putting effort into the training with all the other commotion around here, but it's nice to have older kids able to help her.

She and Charis are sharing a room in this house, which delights her (and Charis most of the time) to no end. She is still in her crib tent, however, and seems resigned to that--after our travels, she got used to being free and was not happy to be zipped up again! We've begun reading Bible stories from a preschool Bible book before her naps and bedtime, and she enjoys that routine. She also enjoys listening to music now as she falls asleep, something all the kids used to do at that age. In fact, all of the kids like the classical music CDs, and with their rooms close to each other upstairs, it's a great way to get in some fine arts at bedtime, LOL.

Our fearless boy is now sporting 6 stitches in his chin after a bike accident. No surprise there--we've always said one day we'll come home and find a couple of kids jumping off the roof onto mattresses, and those kids will be Arden and Kenna! Ted took him to the ER Sunday evening when it happened; thank the Lord it happened when we were all home! Arden was so brave! The doctor (who was in Ted's graduating USAFA class) was impressed with how well he did. This wasn't the first spill off his bike, and I'm sure it won't be the last...a telling thing about his personality is that he was back on his bicycle yesterday, riding all over the neighborhood, stopping only to play Capture the Flag with neighbor boys!

Currently Tobin's ambition for when he turns 20 or 21 (as he said just this morning) is to buy a house with one or two bedrooms and spend every evening eating popcorn and watching movies. It's so nice to know we're raising a couch potato! Hopefully he'll continue to love reading...we often stumble over him and/or his books, and he still loves mazes and other activity books as well. The Legos obsession seems to have abated for a short while, but I'm sure it will be back. We have lots of rainy days here in Ohio!

Tobin is learning to take more responsibility as the big brother. I've noticed him doing and saying things that I never thought he'd take initiative to do! At the same time, he is quick to POINT OUT what great things he is doing, so I guess his next character lesson needs to be humility, LOL. Still, he has matured quite a lot, and it's exciting to see him growing and becoming more sensitive to the Lord.

Many days I just don't know what I would do without Charis! She is so responsible and willing to help that I have to be very careful not to lean on her all the time and shirk giving her brothers responsibilities as well. I try to give her alone time in her craft corner (part of my office in the basement) since she does now share her bedroom and has to put up with Kenna's chattering day and night! One of her newer chores is washing the dishes by hand, so we absolved her of unloading the dishwasher, instead moving Kenna up to help put away silverware and plastic bowls and plates along with her older brothers.

Our neighborhood seems to have lots more boys than girls, and the girls Charis has met so far are either quite a bit older or quite a bit younger. But she hasn't seemed to mind, and I'm sure we'll find more friends her age as we get more involved in church activities.

Last week was VBS at FairCreek, and it was such a blessing for the kids to be able to jump right in and start meeting people. On Sunday morning when we dropped them off in their classes, it was so wonderful to hear them calling out, "Hi, So-and-So!" and waving to people they had met during the week. Ted and I know quite a few people from the last time we were here, but obviously the kids don't remember anyone.

August 02, 2009

General Update

So I was hoping to post pictures, but we apparently misplaced our USB cable, and I hate to buy a new one unless we get absolutely desperate. It's around our new house somewhere, we know that much!

Anyway. We have now been in the new house for 12 days. It's hard to believe it's ONLY been 12 days--so much has been done! We have a few random boxes to unpack, mostly in the storage room and garage, but overall things are put where we want them. It is SO nice to have storage space again! That was what our last house was missing! A couple of teeny, tiny closets, and then everything else had to be jammed in the garage. Now we have two large storage spaces in the basement, plus closets GALORE with shelving for games, puzzles, etc. I am so thankful for this house and pray we can stay in it as long as we are in Ohio. If we're only here 2 years, we're good, but if Ted gets extended to 3 or 4 years, there could be trouble...the owner is only supposed to be in Egypt for 2 years, and if he decides to retire after that assignment, he will want to sell the house so he can buy property wherever he wants to settle down. If he accepts another assignment from the government, he may be willing to continue renting to us. It's too early to worry about it, but after our experience in Las Vegas, we're a bit concerned about having to leave this fabulous house...but if we have to, at least 2 years in it is longer than we ever stayed in any of our LV houses!!

Ted is already happy about the fact that he no longer dreads going to work. :-) I'm just happy that he's happy! He's been at work for one week now and has seemed so much less stressed, and I'm thankful for that. He has a good rapport with his boss (working with someone you respect for a couple of years will do that!), and I think this will be a good assignment for him.

I've enjoyed getting back into an exercise routine that includes running 3-5 times per week. Yesterday I went 5.5 miles, the longest I've gone in probably almost a year! I don't think I'll be ready for the Air Force marathon in September, LOL, but I intend to be regular now that we're settled in. The mornings have been so nice and cool, and such a welcome change after the desert heat we're used to. I loaded up my long-distance fuel belt yesterday and came home having only drunk 2 1/2 bottles of water...I told Ted I won't need that belt unless I'm going 10 miles or more! I'm glad I got a different one for shorter distances...I'm still thinking in Las Vegas terms.

Tuesday I leave for the Stampin' Up! convention, and I'm excited to meet up with friends and get away by myself for a bit. (Of course, Lucan is coming with me. But it will still be nice to have a girls' vacation!) I had an open house for SU! last Thursday evening, and I had 7 downline members and one customer show up, LOL. It was great to meet some of my DL gals whom I hadn't met before, and I look forward to training meetings together.

I'll post a kids' update later...right now, my tea is ready and I'm off to enjoy a REAL quiet time...even Ted is still sleeping!