July 26, 2010

Quick General Update

It's too early to do a "10 on Tuesday" post, but I have some random things to share and a little bit of time, so we'll do a very quick kid update here.

Last week Lucan apparently came down with roseola. It hit Tuesday morning, and he had a high fever for 2 days, a mild fever for a day, and then the rash broke out. He still has the rash, but he is a MUCH happier little guy now and seems to have his appetite back. Whew. He did a lot of sleeping and clinging to/cuddling with Mommy last week. Today for the first time he signed for "milk" completely unprompted. Yay! He is also finally starting to make some sounds that seem to be consistently spoken words, the easiest to understand being "hi" and "mamamamama." We think he also says "yeah," but we're not sure. Definitely not the most verbal of my offspring.

Charis and Tobin had a BLAST at camp. I really must make Charis sit down and blog about it! She has been having too much fun playing with My Digital Studio on my laptop, creating her first digital photo book about camp. I think I'm going to turn over the family scrapbooking to my firstborn. Seriously, she has done a wonderful job, and I can't wait to see her first little 5x5 book! She continues to disappear for hours at a time in our craft room, emerging only for meals and family activities.

On the day they got home from camp, Tobin spent some time playing with neighbor friends. He came home with one of them in tow, explaining to me that Ian believed you "havta be good enough to get to heaven." He said, "Mom, can you explain to Ian that you can't?" I was so proud of Tobin for sharing his faith as soon as he got home! The two of them had had a good conversation, and I tried to follow up with a quick run-down since we were expecting company at any moment. Besides trying to proselytize the neighbors, Tobin keeps busy with books and bikes.

Arden has a new obsession: Hamsters. While the older kids were at camp, he started talking to me about wanting to buy his own pet. I took him to the pet store along with Kenna and Lucan, and we wrote down some prices and looked at what all is necessary to keep a pet. He has his heart set on a hamster. Since this is much more doable for our family than a cat or dog, we have been supporting him, and by "supporting," I mean we have checked out books from the library about hamster care and encouraged him to spend a whopping $6 on a hamster cage from the neighbors at the community garage sale. (Yay!) Now all that remains is to actually go to the pet store, pick out the furry li'l critter, and buy the food and bedding. Sigh. One more living, breathing being in our house to take care of.

This little stinker got her own post recently, so we'll skip her for now.

Ted and I FINALLY got to enjoy an evening of Catan with other adults! Our friends the L family came over for dinner the night the kids came home from camp. We had a pizza dinner, and 8 of our kids played very happily together. Kenna and Lucan went down early for the night. :-)

We spent a good portion of last weekend preparing for this week's VBS, which is happening from 6-9 p.m. at our church. Ted took the week of leave so he could be available to help out--we're both doing the drama that takes place during the opening portion of the evening activities. Also, I'll be cooking "Simple Suppers" Tuesday and Thursday for the VBS workers and their kids, so it will be nice to not have to haul 5 children to the church kitchen to "work" with me. We take two vehicles, and I bring Lucan home after my drama portion is finished. Sounds like Ted and the other kids are home, so I'll wrap up here!

July 24, 2010

Every Parent's Nightmare

It's been awhile since we had a Kenna story to share. Now that this incident is a few days behind us, it's a little bit easier to write about, especially since it has a happy ending. So, just a warning for the grandmas--this is not for the faint of heart!

Some background:
Wednesday the older three kids were on a field trip with the church kids' ministry. Two neighbor boys went along. I was to pick everyone up from the church at 5:30. Lucan had been sick with a high fever and runny nose since Tuesday morning, so Ted offered to come home a little bit early so I wouldn't have to take Lucan and Kenna with me to get all the older kids.

So, Ted comes home, we play pass the baby, I hop in the Suburban and drive off. About two minutes before I pull into the church parking lot, my cell phone rings. It's Ted, asking me if I brought Kenna with me. Uh, oh...I did NOT. I said goodbye to her along with Ted.

Rewind a little and I'll tell you what was happening at home. Apparently right after I left, Kenna informed Ted she wanted to go with me. Ted said, "Sorry, sweetie, but Mama's already gone." She started crying, but it was too late, and Ted had his hands full with a very crabby, fussy Lucan. He took Lucan to the bedroom so he could change out of his uniform. As he finished changing, he realized the house was quiet--strange, since Kenna was throwing a fit last he knew. He came out of his room to find that she was nowhere in the house, so he called me.

Not realizing that Kenna was upset that I had left her at home, I suggested that Ted try looking around the cul-de-sac in front of our house; perhaps she had decided to run around to find a friend. (She HAS done similar things before...but usually there is actually someone out there playing whom she wants to be with.) Ted left Lucan in the house, thinking he would step outside and find Kenna within moments.

Meanwhile, I was frantically gathering my brood from church and praying the phone would ring, since I had asked Ted to call me as soon as he had found Kenna. No call came in. I tried calling several times (at one point accidentally dialing my mother-in-law's number) and finally reached him at home, where a screaming Kenna was in the background.

Here's what had happened: Kenna REALLY wanted to go with me, and being three, had no concept of how fast she could run vs. how fast I was driving. She took off out of the neighborhood. And when I say "out," I mean OUT. She ran up the street that leaves our neighborhood and goes to a busy two-lane road. PRAISE THE LORD a man driving out of the neighborhood saw her at the CORNER of this intersection, got out of his minivan, and stopped her. A neighbor in the cul-de-sac behind us who was mowing his lawn got off the riding lawnmower and came over as well. We don't know anyone in the cul-de-sac behind us, but apparently the neighbor (who we later learned is Rich) thought he recognized Kenna. He told Mr. Minivan that this happens "all the time." (???)

Meanwhile, Ted is searching for Kenna in front of our house and toward the other cul-de-sac, the one where we know all the neighbors and Kenna often plays. Not finding her, he comes around the house and happens to look up the street and sees her pink shirt. He hurries up to her and finds her with the two men, who apparently had been asking her what her name was and where she lived. She never did answer them, and when Ted came, she didn't respond much to him either, keeping her eyes down, because she obviously knew she was NOT supposed to be where she was!

Rich slinked back to his lawnmower, and Mr. Minivan proceeded to completely chew Ted out, as if he wasn't already frantic enough. When Ted tried to take Kenna back home, the man wouldn't let him leave, saying, "Oh, no, the cops are on the way, and you're gonna stay here until they arrive." Ted tried explaining that there was a one-year-old in the house, but this man was pretty belligerent, insisting that he "should have thought about that before" and that he "needed to take more responsibility," among other things.

Ted, who does NOT like conflict and was understandably very shaken up by this point, waited the few minutes it took for the policeman to arrive. After a few minutes, the policeman was assured that Kenna indeed belonged to Ted and let them go, advising Ted to purchase a deadbolt for our door immediately. (As an aside, he obviously doesn't know Kenna if he thinks a deadbolt is going to contain her, LOL.)

It was a very emotional evening for all of us. First and foremost, we are so thankful to God that Kenna was prevented from running any farther and that she was not hurt in any way during the whole ordeal. At the same time, I still feel righteous indignation at the way Ted was treated by a complete stranger, who had (in my opinion) no right to speak to Ted the way he did. He doesn't know our family--he doesn't know anything about Ted. How would he have felt if the situation were reversed? I know I should just be grateful that he stopped to help, but it still angers me that he acted the way he did.

As for the neighbor, I just couldn't let it rest that he had told Mr. Minivan that this happens "all the time," and Mr. Minivan had even told Ted that Rich had told him the cops are called out here "all the time" because of this. What in the world?!?! As I assured Ted, the policeman could easily verify that this was not the case--police have never been called out because of any of our children! But I still didn't understand why Rich had said this.

So after dinner we went over and introduced ourselves and asked him about it. "Oh, yeah," he said. "She's running out here all the time. That's why I recognized her. I figured you guys just had free-range kids or something."


I cannot even begin to describe my shock. I will be the first to admit that there have been times when Kenna has "escaped" from the back yard or impetuously run across the street to play with a friend. But we have always gone right after her, and she has NEVER (to my knowledge) run in the direction of that neighbor's house, away towards the entrance/exit to our neighborhood. Why would she?! She doesn't know anyone up that way, and the only reason she did so this particular night was because she was in a screaming rage and was, in her mind, going to find Mommy and ride with her to church.

When I asked Rich if he could tell me what time of day, or what days, or anything about when this supposedly happens, he just said, "Various times." I don't know why he would say such a thing, but neither Ted nor I really believe it. I hope we're not in denial, but I just can't imagine that Kenna would run away multiple times and we would have absolutely no clue about it happening. She is rarely outside without someone else in our family with her, and when she's playing in the back yard by herself, I'm always in the kitchen where I can see her. She's not even allowed in the front yard by herself, for cryin' out loud! And honestly, if that were really happening, would YOU as a neighbor just let a 3-year-old run wild without at least trying to find out where she lived or who she belonged to?! "Free-range kids," indeed! Please!

So, I have no idea what to do with that other than try to let it go! We did ask the older kids if they had ever seen Kenna running in that direction, and they vehemently denied it, saying the same thing I've iterated here.

All's well that ends well, I guess. Now when I leave the house, we make a point to explain to Kenna that she'll be staying with Daddy while I go do such-and-such. We're hoping all the trauma from Wednesday will be a lesson she will long remember!

July 19, 2010

P90X Assessment

Lots of people have asked, so I figured it would be a good idea to go ahead and post my thoughts on the P90X program now that I've finished one 90-day round. I guess I should caveat this by saying that during the last 3-4 weeks, I probably missed a total of maybe 8 or 9 workouts, though I did go running a few times in place of the DVD I was supposed to be doing. Between having Ted gone, traveling to Wisconsin, and then having guests visit, I just was not able to keep the every-day momentum toward the end that I started with. Still, I was WAY more consistent with this than I've ever been with any other exercise program!

Another disclaimer, I guess, is that while I started out with the best of intentions regarding my nutritional intake--and did quite well for 3-4 weeks--the reality is I simply ate normally during the majority of the 90-day period. "Normal" eating for me is a pretty healthy diet overall, but let's face it, I have kids, and I enjoy cooking and baking. We have desserts. A lot. And I like desserts! So, I did not follow the P90X nutritional recommendations, and honestly, I feel as if that really did make a difference. My results undoubtedly would have been much more marked if I had followed both the diet AND the exercise program. (Note: I say this as a 35-year-old. I'm fairly certain that if I had done this program a decade ago and ate the way I normally eat, I'd still be ridiculously ripped!)

OK, now that the confession time is over, let's talk numbers! I'm sorry, but I simply don't feel comfortable posting before and after pictures...honestly, I haven't even taken the "after" pictures yet, sorry, Jen! (Jen D is my Beachbody rep!) But here are the numbers, and I'll give them from 2 dates, the P90X period as well as since January. The beginning of 2010 is when I got off the couch after being a couch potato for several months and really started getting back into an exercise routine. As you can see, my January through April workouts really helped prepare me for P90X, and I feel that my overall results are attributable to changing my lifestyle, not simply the last 90 days. But undoubtedly I am much stronger and have more muscle mass than I would have if I had simply continued doing my own thing--I definitely needed the focus on muscle training that P90X provided!

Pounds lost: 5 during P90X; 13 since January. (Taking into account that muscle weighs more than fat, and I definitely have attained more muscle mass, the fact that I still lost 5 pounds during P90X is GREAT!)

Inches lost:
Waist-- 1/2" during P90X; 1 1/2" since January.
Hips--1" during P90X; 2" since January.
Thighs--1 1/2" on one side and 1 1/4" on the other during P90X. I didn't measure in January.

All in all, I've definitely noticed a difference physically! My arms are much more toned, I now am sporting a "two-pack," LOL, and I've had to buy smaller waisted shorts. Woohoo! I'm not sure a 6-pack is actually possible given the fact that I've had 5 children, but actually seeing that there ARE abdominal muscles under there is encouraging!

Other improvements that can't really be measured:
* My back is SO much stronger! I really haven't had any major issues with it. Sometimes I would tweak it during yoga (go figure), but my chiropractor has helped tremendously, and I can tell that between the chiro treatments and the exercise, I am definitely in much better shape in this area.
* Self-esteem! I feel like I can do anything now that I've completed this! Well, maybe not run a marathon this calendar year, but some depression I was feeling before the holidays is definitely a thing of the past.
* Flexibility--yoga and the stretching DVD were good for me. I don't always take care of myself this way. This probably goes along with the back strengthening that happened for me.

So, there you have it! Feel free to ask any questions if you have any.

Oh, one last thing, since some may be wondering, I AM continuing with the exercise program, just modified a bit. I want to run the Air Force 5K in September, so I've started running 3 times a week. I plan to continue the Ab Ripper 3 days a week and continue with the order of the strength training DVDs, since that is typically an area I ignore. When the weather gets bad, I will probably do another "official" round of P90X, either the Classic (which I just completed) or else the Lean.

July 16, 2010

A Mother's Joy

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 4).

Just before Charis left for camp, we found this message from her in our bathroom, which made my heart sing...

July 14, 2010

Kenna's First Haircut

Almost 3 1/2 years with no haircut might be hard to believe, but our girls just don't really grow much hair around here! I took Charis and Kenna to Great Clips last week, and Kenna was thrilled to get her hair cut like a big girl. Here are the before, during, and after pics!

July 13, 2010

A Quiet House

We had a full house over the weekend with Megan and John and their kids visiting. We didn't "do" much, mostly let the kids play while we caught up amongst ourselves. On Saturday we did drive to Cedarville--we girls dropped the dads and kids (minus the babies) off at a park, then went to the university campus to walk around and note the changes. Since Megan had missed our mini-reunion in May, it was her first time to be on campus in years! A lot has changed.

Then of course we took the obligatory trip to Young's, always a good activity! John treated us all to ice cream and bought tickets for the older kids to ride the train, which thrilled them to no end. Of course we fed and patted the animals, marveling at the tiny baby goats which had appeared since our last visit.

On Sunday we all managed to get a pancake breakfast before getting to church (on time, even!) for the early service. Ted was on the praise team for this week, so he had to be there extra early--so kudos to him for getting us all started with our pancakes! John and Megan left for Michigan after the service, and we came home for a restful afternoon that included a nap for me and the two little ones.

Monday morning I woke the kids at 7:15 so they could eat breakfast and get out the door. It's CAMP WEEK!! Charis and Tobin are at Scioto Hills camp, the first time they've been away for an extended period of time. They return to the church at noon on Saturday! This is the same camp where Charis got to go for the winter retreat in February, so she is familiar with the campus. Tobin was bursting with excitement--well, they both were. I don't think Arden is terribly upset at not being able to go this year, and we're going to try to do some special things with and for him this week, too. Yesterday we hit the bike trail for an hour and a half, and then he and Kenna enjoyed some Loony Toons while I did some ministry work on my computer. Then we let him stay up late to play a game of Kingsburg with Ted and me, followed by a sleeping bag "campout" in his room. (I offered to let him sleep in the playroom, but he chose his own bed!)

So, it's now Day 2 of camp, and I have to confess the house is oddly quiet. (Well, it was until Kenna started sobbing and Lucan started fussing...maybe it's nap time...) Arden is still in bed at 10 a.m.! Guess I'd better get things moving here. Kenna's waiting for me to make banana bread with her, so that will probably distract her from whatever trauma she's having now.

July 09, 2010

Family and Friends

It was such a joy to spend time with my family in Wisconsin, then to get to have my mom here for almost a week. My dad drove in on Wednesday, June 30, while Mom and I had the kids at the park in the morning with some friends. Since we weren't expecting him until dinnertime, it was a fun surprise to get to spend most of the day with him!

The next day for lunch I took him to an Indian restaurant that Ted has been raving about, as it's one the military folks frequent. Dad and I agreed it was worth the hype! YUM!! It was such a blessing to be able to spend one-on-one time with my dad. That doesn't happen nearly often enough! I am so blessed to have godly parents and cherish the times I get to talk to them (especially when we're not interrupted by kid crises, LOL).

Mom and Dad left Friday after breakfast to get back home, since Dad had to work over the weekend. It was a quick visit for Dad, but it's nice that we're "close" enough that we can do those shorter visits! Las Vegas is much farther away from Wisconsin than Ohio!

On the 4th of July we hung out with neighborhood friends. The kids were in the pool pretty much all day, so we didn't see them until we dragged them away to eat with us since the hosts were getting ready to eat as a family also. It was a hot, humid day, but got bearable as the sun went down. Lucan did quite well, though we did put him to bed and kept tabs on the monitor from the neighbors' driveway. We knew he wouldn't last for the 10 p.m. show at the park that is right behind our neighborhood.

We got to see quite the show just from what the folks around the 'hood put together! It nearly rivaled the official show, though I have to say that was one great show, even if it WAS a lot shorter than I would have liked. Still, it was the first time in YEARS that we were able to see real fireworks up close and enjoy the sounds to go with them--in Las Vegas we were always too far away! Besides, we didn't have any traffic jams to deal with...we just picked up our stuff and went home, another bonus!

The camera batteries are charging, so I'll try to post our 4th of July pictures later.

Today we're expecting our friends John & Megan and their three kids sometime after lunch. They'll stay with us tonight and tomorrow night and go to church with us on Sunday. I am SOOO excited to see them--we haven't been together in person since before they started having kids! Megan was my college roomie, and she and John are in full-time ministry with The Sharing Org (please check out the link and donate to this outreach if you can!). Ted and I have been looking forward to their visit this month ever since they had to cancel the originally planned trip in May for our mini-reunion due to sickness. It will be fun to see the kids interact and catch up in person and not just on Facebook!

July 04, 2010

Zoo Much Fun

Military families got into the zoo free last week, so we took a trip to Columbus for the day on Tuesday. My friend and neighbor Eilene (who also hosts our neighborhood ladies' Bible study) called me Tuesday morning to announce that we were having a break in the hot weather that was only supposed to last a couple of days, and did I want to go to the zoo? Since Mom wasn't interested in walking around the zoo all day, she volunteered to stay home with Lucan, which made things a lot easier for us all, since it's over an hour's drive to GET to the zoo--plus we had to leave after our chiropractic appointment!

Anyway, it was a good day. Sidra and her two kids went as well, and we invited another friend from the neighborhood to come, so there were 9 kids with 3 moms, a much smaller kid-to-adult ratio than I would have had on my own, LOL. To see some more pictures, click here.

Wisconsin Trip

So, a brief description of the time the kids and I spent in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago while Ted was in Idaho staffing Commission 2010...

As noted in the previous post and on Facebook, the older 3 kids had a blast on their first fishing trip with Grandpa and Uncle John. Total fish caught: 35. Total brought home to actually fry up and eat: 3. The kids actually liked the fish meat, and surprisingly, so did I! It didn't taste fishy at all, and my dad painstakingly removed all the bones, which is something I always hated doing, and getting a bony bite of fish never did increase my appetite for seafood. To view photos of the kids fishing, click here.

Another day Mom babysat Lucan while the kids and I, along with John and Beth, went to see Toy Story 3. It was a great movie! If you enjoyed the first 2, you'll love this sequel. Mr. Tortilla Head is just too funny! The ending is poignant enough to bring a tear or two to the eyes of parents, so be forewarned: tissues may be necessary!

We also attended the annual Patriotic Concert at my parents' church, which meant seeing my dad in his Army uniform as he participated in the Color Guard during various parts of the show. Kenna and Lucan got to be in the nursery (whew), but the older kids sat through the 90-minute program fairly well. I think the boys only asked me about 8 times when it was going to be over, and all of those within the last 20 minutes! They always enjoyed looking for Grandpa, and the video and song lyrics on the screens helped them stay with the program pretty well. Actually, it was kind of a nice way to introduce our American History Core for next year, with "appearances" from Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Lincoln!

Staying at the cabin really did work very well for all of us. The kids slept GREAT in their beds, despite all being in one room, but since the beds were all spread out, it actually prevented the talking and giggling that usually occurs at home. Lucan slept just fine in the pack-n-play, even sleeping until 7:00 a couple of mornings.

On Saturday (June 26), it was time to drive home. Dad brought Mom to the cabin, and we loaded her and her stuff into the Suburban and headed back to Ohio. It was SOOO nice to travel with another adult! For one thing, I did enjoy the chance to visit with her, but it also made little things (like potty stops!) so much easier! The trip was pretty uneventful, and the kids were once again really great little travelers. We swung by a Chick-fil-A drive-thru for their dinner, then I picked up some groceries and Chinese take-out for Mom and me to have after the kids were settled in bed.

By the time all that was done, it was time for me to drive to the Cincinnati airport to pick up Ted, whose flight landed at 10:30 p.m.! I was so happy to have him drive back home after all the driving I had done that day! It was actually nice that we had such a long drive home, as it gave us a good chance to get caught up from being away from each other all week. Commission was once again a wonderful time, and if you'd like to hear more, just ask Ted. :-)

Wax On, Wax Off

Things you aren't particularly excited to hear your kid say, especially in front of some neighborhood kids:

"Mom, you're growing a mustache!"

Thanks for pointing that out, Tobin. Now excuse me while I hide in the bathroom for a little while...