Saturday, May 31, 2008

Am I smarter than a 5th grader?....Probably not.





Last week I went with all 4 classes of 2nd graders on a field trip to Merry Lea. It is a 1000 acre property of bogs, marshes, forest, and meadows, for hiking and nature study. It is owned and maintained by Goshen College. What a perfect day we had for being outside.

Here Isabella is scooping out pond goodies. Each of the kids in our group took turns scooping something creepy and crawly out of the bog and then our Goshen College student guide, Betha explained about. Betha was a gem. She was very informative and patient with the kids.
I came over to take a look at all the crawly things swimming around in a pan Betha had....while the kids were still finding organisms in the bog. I pointed to one odd looking little swimmer and asked her, "what is that?" Betha replied, "that would be a tadpole."
Wow, How totally embarrassing. I really wanted to brake into a long explanation of my past and try desperately to justify my stupidity. "You see I grew up in town. We didn't have bogs...or ponds in town.....I had no brothers...." But I swallowed my pride, smiled, and walked away.

In the nature center....
After a long hike and the nature center....we roasted hot dogs and had a lunch picnic on the lawn.

And then went on a hayride. Isabella with her best friend, Erin.

Here is Isabella and her friend, Paige.

What a fun day....And special to be with Isabella. It is always so fun to see her interact with her friends, and how she relates to little friends her age.

Jack and Isabella only have 2 more days of school. WOW! How exciting....bring on summer!

Monday, May 26, 2008

hope your weekend rocked!


Happy Memorial Day!


This weekend flew by...in a hurry. Thought you'd like to see a re-cap....

Friday night was our family night. As in we were too lazy to do anything more than take a bike ride around the block. Here Donovan is sporting my Mother's day gift he bought me, with William's birthday present hitched up to it. Wow, How nice are we to let these people ride it???

Saturday was mama's day out. Sweet Kimberly Ann asked me if I would like to go to Ikea with her....And so we took off Saturday morning. We had some quality talk time all the way there and back. How fun to have a good friend to connect with, with NO interruptions. I had a blast. My favorite bargain of the day was a brand new bra I got at Gap for $3.95! We enjoyed a nice light lunch at the cafe at Ikea, then supper at Qdoba.

Added Bonus: I didn't have to cook at all Saturday.


Sunday was a day of firsts for us....We started a new church. Which went well. We weren't able to go to Sunday School, because we weren't sure if Jack could keep his cookies down long enough.


Since he had been tossing them all night and into the wee hours of the morning Sunday a.m. He was running a fever, and had ear ache. But by 9 a.m. he seemed to be doing better...and we just went for the worship service. We were a little nervous about the previous tossing and contemplated taking a bucket into the service with us....but decided it might seem a little strange. They never would forget the visitors that brought the bucket would they? Thankfully all stayed down. And by lunch he seemed almost back to normal.


We enjoyed a nice afternoon of lunch on the patio. And then running around in sprinklers...and splashing around. That evening we visited my parents and they fed us. Which was really nice that I did not have to cook again. :)

This morning we went to a parade in town.


And this afternoon we went to my Aunt Mary Jane's house for a cookout. We took the 3 oldest kids on a canoe ride. The best part is they didn't tip it. Here is a picture of my Aunt Mary Jane and my cousin Cheryl.

Mary Jane is my aunt...

and she is Cheryl's Grandma.

It was fun to catch up with you today Cheryl!

Here is a picture of me with my cousin Cathy and her son Isaiah. We were pregnant with these little people 8 years ago. Back then Cathy's mom took a picture by this same fence of us pregnant and so she thought it would be good to do another picture 8 years later. Our kids are 2 weeks apart. Cathy is a total crack-up and always keeps things interesting!!!



The men were playing "corn hole" or "Texas horseshoes" depending on where you live-and what you call it. William esp. was really studying his daddy and how it was played. Here is really practicing his form. Way to go stud.

What a fun and relaxing weekend! And cool...we had a cook-out tonight....so the men did most of the cooking. :) Do we really have to let the little people go back to school?? Do we really have to let the big people go to work??? Sad. Sad. But fun to have a holiday. Hope your weekend was full of fun!!

Quote for the day is from Jack:

After my cousin & his wife took off with the kayak's tonight, Jack says....

"when those humans come back that guy said he will take me for a ride in that boat."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

we should've bought stock in pampers.


At the time when I took this picture....I thought I better take a picture or I will forget we had 3 in diapers at the same time. And sure enough I did forget until I was looking through pictures this morning.
In this picture they had just gotten baths and were ready for bed. The older 2 were potty trained through the day...just not through the night yet. Isabella actually wet through the night until she was 5. I thought that time would never end of bed wetting alarms, pull-ups, and wishing to not change wet bedding AGAIN!
I'm so glad for pictures to remind you of times gone bye...times you thought you were stuck in forever. Every mama feels at times that this stage will NEVER end, and just wishes for the next phase to start. Like when they are newborns, you can't wait for them to sleep through the night. When they can sit up, I couldn't wait for them to crawl. When they can talk, you sometimes wish for a moment of peace & quiet.
I think by this time of my parenting I have stop wishing for that next step to come. I have realized how all to soon they grow up. Two are in school, and two are home. And before I know it...in 3 years they all will be in school. WOW! How time has flown. So for now I'm trying to enjoy the ride.
However, pretty easy to say all that on a day that I had a completely quiet house. This morning I woke up with a really sore throat, chills, and a headache. We had been getting to bed so late this week and I guess it caught up to me. So Donovan arranged for the 2 younger kids to be at his mamas, and Jack went to the neighbors to catch a ride with her to kindergarten. How strange to have such a quiet house. I'm feeling better this afternoon, and ready to get on the mama train again. Thanks Mama and Amee' for helping me out today...again.
QUOTE of the day:
From Donovan:

"Give me the benefit of the doubt here....I just spent the last 16 minutes inhaling diarrhea fumes."

(Suzy's diarrhea accident in her panties.... that is. Didn't want you to think he was inhaling his own fumes. Which of course he does....I just wouldn't write about it.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

5 of them, 6 and under.

another garage sale find.....

$2 bird feeder. It was brand new! It has a 2 way mirror so the kids can look at the birds eating without the bird seeing them. It was so cool to watch the kids' faces, as today for the first time the birds found the feeder and used it. Suzy was kinda scared at first- thinking the bird would come right through the glass. The first bird must have really had a bird brain, because the silly thing kept banging right into the glass as if to try to kiss itself. It seriously just kept banging it's head against the mirror.



Today rather than couch swap with the neighbors we swapped kids. I had Amee's kids for the day...and tonight Amee' helped us out and took the kids tonight.

Here's the line up....Jack (5), Abigail (6), William (4), Aden (3), and Suzy (1) And actually they played really well together! It went well. Not well enough to reverse the V and have another baby. But well for having 5 kids 6 and under.

Jack and Abby are in the same class at school. Here they are waiting for the bus. They never lack for entertainment when they are together. Abby found a caterpillar and started to talk to her little friend. When she asked Jack if he wanted to hold it...he hesitated but took it. I HAVE NEVER SEEN JACK TOUCH A CATERPILLAR! He was truly trying to impress the the lady friend. In the above picture he even looks as if he might be enjoying holding the insect. However he has never been one to try new things (including food, holding pets, etc), then again I don't see him at school around his peers as much. I think I got a little picture today of him and a positive aspect of peer pressure. Maybe I'll invite Abby over next time we have green beans for supper. Because green vegetables in general cause Jack to go into full "I'm not dying on this hill" mode. I have no idea whatsoever where that boy gets his strong will or dislike for certain green foods. I for one love green beans. However, don't even think of putting me within sniffing distance of salad or the like.

quote of the day:

When picking up the kids tonight from Amee's house, William comes down from being upstairs and reports....


"the ladies won't let us into their room"


I find it funny he called his 7 year old sister and her friend.... "ladies"....but wow what a ladies man.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

window lickers

this is why my windows are never clean.

but you know what? I really don't care. They make my life so sweet. They entertain us in so many ways. They make us laugh. They are the best kids ever.
Quote of the day......
From: Isabella
"you are the best cook in the world mama"
She melts my heart.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Precious memories of jack







Little Kindergartener stud.....


had his spring program last night. It was so fun to see his excitement of being in his first school program. Something he has watched his sister do for 3 years...now he was doing. And you could tell he was likin' the attention!

Here is Jack with the best Kindergarten teacher there ever was.









And then there was today. Our town was having our annual town-wide garage sale. So I took some of the cash I made on my sale last week...and headed out 1st thing this morning. And when I say 1st thing....I mean no messin' around first thing. Because of course there are serious bargains to be had, and I can not risk things like this. So I pulled all the sweet sleeping children out of bed at 7 a.m., packed breakfast to go (seriously-why would we waste precious time eating?? I do mean business I tell you) and I got everyone dressed and loaded in the car. If you know me-you know this garage sale stuff is obviously very important to me....because never, I mean never do I wake small children or myself unless absolutely very necessary. We dropped Isabella off at school-and hit the town. Oh precious memories, My heart still skips a beat when I think about all the great deals I got today.

Really does it look like junk to you? Well then you are NOT a garage sale connisuer are you? Because the above picture is seriously good loot. Seriously GOOD! Take for instance the tall glass vases in the above picture. I have had my eye on them in the Pottery Barn magazine for quite some time. They are very tall and very expensive. Ranging from $36-$89. So now take a look if you will of how very cool they look on my foyer table.

Can you even fathom that I paid a total of $2 for each vase. The river rocks came with the vase on the right, and the flowers were in a separate section, but at the same garage sale. The sweet lady running her sale.....gave me the flowers. I do absolutely love free. I do absolutely love garage sales!

Some other favorite bargains of the day were.....

a Tupperware storage container for cereal $1.50

several gap dress pants $2 each

gap jeans $2

old navy sweater X 2 $2/each

2 large pottery barn black storage baskets $2/each

one pair of gap chinos with tags still attached!! $2

2 candle stands that hold votives $1/each

1 old navy sweatsuit for Suzy $2

2 pairs of jeans for Suzy $1

one pair of old navy jeans for Isabella $2

3 shirts for Isabella each $1

Books for the kids .15/each

a cool looking wooden drying rack for dishes $1

hungry hippo game for children $1

a small amount of toys for children-because how can you take 3 children for 3 hours and not allow them any pleasure?

a carter's onesie in the package-perfect for a baby gift .25

2 pair of shorts & one pair of Capri's for Suzy

1 cordless phone with 2 handsets, built in answering machine, 5.8 GHz (which Donovan tells me is good) for $5

a Ralph Lauren beach hat for Suzy....$1

I really could go on and on...but I'm afraid you will add up how much I spent and report me for garage sale addiction problems. I know I have a problem when it comes to a good deal. I will save you the call. My husband was very excited about the deals, and that I only used cash we had set aside for this very special and dear to my heart day.

It was a very good thing that I had promised Isabella a lunch date today....because after only 6 garage sales I was running very low on cash. I needed to hang up the saddle.








Can you see I am glowing? Is that from seeing my sweet daughter at school? I'll be honest with you ladies.......Heck no- I'm still glowing from all those great bargains!!!
Why does Suzy look so dazed and utterly tired....It might possibly be from being dragged out of bed at the crack of dawn, and then going to sales for the next 3 hours. Yes, she loved it. No, the crying really didn't bother me. No, I really did like carrying her most of the time. It was truly a bonding time for us, and of course the boys added to the joy of bargain hunting. Because they can find treasures in less than 3 seconds, and beg with the best of toddlers. So after lunch we headed home and starting putting things away. Donovan got home early. JOY JOY JOY. Having him home early makes for a happy heart. And I really wanted permission to go outside the allotted garage sale budget and I needed him to see what in my book is an emergency purchase, that should come out of our emergency fund. Because at any moment the garage sale 3 doors down that had this really awesome red Pottery Barn couch could be snatched up by another savvy customer. I have really wanted to upgrade our couch that is in our basement. And my neighbor had this couch for $150...but because she is so cool she would let me have it for $100. So sweet husband went down, checked it out, and decided it was a good idea. We immediately loaded it into the van and took it down to the basement, loaded the old couch up, and took it to our other neighbors to sell on her garage sale. A different neighbor than I had just bought the couch from. The neighbor (let's just call her Amee) decided that our couch would be an excellent upgrade to her country blue couch she has been hating for several years now. So she bought our couch. And we brought the country blue beast (fully loaded with a pull out bed) out to put on the sale. Blue beauty sold within 5 minutes. One slight problem was that Amee's husband did not know she was selling the blue beauty and he was due home at any minute from work. While loading blue beauty....OH SNAP! Amee's husband drives up. He was not real happy. Hopefully he has recovered by this evening.





So after the exciting couch exchange....we cleaned up and went out for Pizza, Pop, and icecream cones. All that bargain hunting really wore me out.

Quote of the day:

While applying foundation to pimples, Jack asks me what is that and what is it for?

I tell him....and he reply's.....

Now for the quote:

"You sure had a lot of pimples when your hair was short and black. " (He has seen pictures of me at this stage-he doesn't actually remember)

And I reply...."it was all your fault little man. When my hair was DARK BROWN and short you had just been born. It was you who screwed up all my hormones and made me look like I was just at the height of puberty again. It was you who kept me up at all hours of the night....making me crazy trying to figure out how to get you back to sleep. It was all your fault I lost so much sleep that put my complexion into serious danger mode. But thank you for bringing the pimples up, and remembering that precious time when you were a newborn"

O.k. so I didn't say any of the above to Jack...but I thought it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Praise God!

A huge thank you to all help pray for the safety of Chad, Jenny, and Matthew Graber. Word was received this morning that they are o.k. No other details- But we are so grateful to know this much!! Praise God!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Please pray

Suzy & Matthew


An urgent prayer request for Donovan's cousin Chad, his wife Jenny, & their little boy Matthew. They live in the area of China affected by the earthquake. Chad's parents have not heard from them. There has been no communication due to the disaster in that area all phone/Internet lines are down.

We are all praying with you Aunt Ellen and Uncle Sheldon. Our hearts go out to you as we all wait and hope for a call soon.










For more on this story click here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

little people who sit & man their throne, while I do all the hard work.

Taken just before we left for a mother/daughter banquet this morning. Pure sweetness. Too bad sweetness had to wet her panties in that cute little dress about an hour and 1/2 later.
Meanwhile back at the home front....Donovan was keeping the cash flowing in at our garage sale. And even roped the boys into trying to bring in a little extra, with a lemonade stand. They sold a total of 3 cups. Which really put our profits right over the roof.
After we recovered with a little nap we were off for a night on the town with my parents to celebrate Mothers day.

Betcha can't guess where I chose to eat????

Of course you might think of us insane to go anywhere with 4 kids for a sit down dinner. We were thinking that about 30 minutes after we sat down to eat. That was after 1 hour of sitting in the car to get to Carrabba's in Portage, and 40 minutes of waiting to be seated. (thankfully the weather was nice to be outdoors.) In the above picture we are still laughing at them thinking they are cute. They definitely kept us entertained...that is for sure. Because otherwise what we would really do?? Actually have an uninterrupted conversation with my parents or something??

But in all seriousness the wait for my dinner was worth every single minute.

The group. My step-mom, Khankeo and sister-Michele.
My baby sister....Michele. Who turned 16 last September.

Quote of the day: Actually was said on Friday by William.

I had asked William to help carry the groceries in after coming back from town. He then reported he had to go "potty" Perfect timing William. So after about 15 minutes I go in to the bathroom to see what is going on. He is sitting on the pot & the quote is.......................

"I'm waiting so you can do it all by yourself. I don't want to bring the food in."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

open your mouth

videoSo- long time...no post. I have good reasons. This nice weather for one. Who can be inside with 78 degrees goin' on outside? Lovin' the weather. Lovin' having Donovan home. My 2nd reason is I've been getting ready for a garage sale. When the sun goes down and I have to go inside....I've been cleaning, organizing, and pricing. I love getting rid of things we are not using....and de-cluttering.

So tonight while I was working on folding some laundry, trying to teach Jack how to fold....he kept singing this little song. A song that Donovan made up to sing to Suzy while feeding her when she's lost interest in the main dish. Mainly when the dessert comes out...and Suzy sees something she'd rather have. I thought you might enjoy hearing the song. Jack did it on video for me. Do you recognize the tune?

Quote of the day: William asks Jack, "Why are you going to school all day?"

Jack replies, "Dude, Because I gotta lot of stuff to do."

Friday, May 2, 2008

5 days down......

Look who came home early.
Donovan brought the red eye home last night.....making us the happiest family in the whole airport this morning.

Don't ask me why William chose this particular time to scratch himself. Too bad I got that on camera. But had to use the picture because look at Donovan's face.


Donovan flight was originally going to take off this morning that would've put him in South Bend at 3:30 this afternoon. But after a whole week of Cali he decided to travel rather than sleep last night. The only flight that left after his full day of meetings yesterday was a flight that he boarded at 11:30 IN time. Which made us all very excited to have him home early. I love the look on Suzy's face here....I feel rather sorry for the youngest member who couldn't really understand that Daddy WOULD come back to us.


How very true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I HATE, HATE, HATE when he's gone, but it's always such a great reminder of how very blessed I am.

Then after we met Donovan at the airport....we stopped for breakfast. Mmmmm....Delish. I love eating out...I love not cleaning up after a meal. What a treat. We even went nuts and let the kids each get their own Chocolate milk!! We were livin' the dream.

And for the quote of the day.....

Comes from William:

(Yesterday morning, first words out of William when he woke up)

"Mom, come here so I can kiss your chubby cheeks."