Saturday, November 22, 2008


Last Sunday Sadie had her puppies! She had 8 cuties, but by the next day we had lost the runt. It was born with a cleft palate- no roof of it's mouth. All the rest are doing great and eating constantly.
The kids can't keep their hands off them, though! Several of them are always being held or carried around. Caitlin even came out a few minutes ago with one tucked into a little basket bed. These dogs will DEFINITELY be socialized! LOL!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our whirlwind

What a whirlwind the past 2 months have been. Here are some quick updates just so I get them noted.

Sept 4-6 We took a 2 day trip to the beach. It was nice and relaxing though very HOT! We spent the mornings on the beach and retreated to both the indoor and outdoor pools in the afternoon. We saw lots of dolphins and walked the boardwalk in the evening. I got severely sunburned on my arms and legs so I was a bit miserable the last day! The kids had a blast. Brent tolerated the sun and sand like a loving dad! LOL!

Two days later our dog, Sadie decided to go into heat! We planned on breeding her but up til then couldn't find anyone locally to send her to! BUT, God, in His faithfulness led me to a website where a sweet lady from PA was advertising her dog as a stud! Her ad was brand new and she was only an hour and a half away (all the others were about 5 hours!). Over the next week we talked and arranged contracts and such. It worked out great because we were going to have Tara and Eric take Sadie the next week while we were in Williamsburg. But, I hated to have her at their house with her in heat. (that's asking a lot!) So it ended up that the lady in PA took Sadie the whole week we were away! God is so good!

Which leads me to.... Williamsburg (Sept 14-17)! This year we were able to go with the Bynions. It was so enjoyable to be able to chat with them, since we never feel like we have enough time to really get into long conversations. The kids mixed great and we had no problems. Well, we didn't have any problems with the Bynion kids, but I'm sure our tends-to-get-wild children were draining on them! The details about the trip deserve a post of their own.

The night we came home from WB, I had a sneaking suspiscion that there was a chance I was pregnant. I took a test and yup, I was right. So, I guess #5 is coming late May/early June. Morning sickness hit pretty quick, though not as horribly as when I was pregnant last fall with the one we lost. So, as of now, it's still lingering! yuck.

After that we had a bunch of miscellaneous activities....Walk with Isaac Fundraiser...Janelle's baby shower, 2 days of Unit 2 Tapestry planning...Abbie going to the hospital with chest pain.......going to the movies to see FIREPROOF... going to see Mom T's newly resanded floors as a surprise birthday gift from Dad...Brent being away for 3 days...Marriage Enrichment weekend.... Brent away for 6 more days....small groups... Brent away for 6more days...the Explorer overnighter with rock climbing (let me just tell you- they don't sleep!)...Caitlin in Williamsburg with Nini... Jake's birthday dinner at Cracker Barrel....Cait's birthday dinner at Chili's...and now, Brent away for 2 days! All this with morning sickness and schoolwork! Needless to say not a lot of housework is happening around here!

The next month doesn't look like it will be slowing down much...Brent will be away a total of 15 days in November, too! I miss him already! Oh, well. Not much I can do about it. Have to find joy in the midst.

So that's our crazy life right now.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our Expensive Summer Whim

Living in the country is never dull. The kids are always outside building something, inventing something or destroying something. This spring Brent and I were dragged into the woods to see their "tree fort" that they had built. Upon observation, we decided that it was a)very creative, b)made with wood they weren't allowed to use, c)too high- not sure how they were able to get up that high... and d)too dangerous!
So, instead of crushing their spirits, Brent decided to throw up a few new boards with a safer floor. That, unfortunately, was too small to fit everyone comfortably (and safely) so the project kind-of grew...

Would you believe I don't have a picture of the finished project??? I'll work on editing this post this week with a final pic!

Sewing Project

About a year ago we bought a polar fleece quilt kit at Joann's. Cait worked on it for a while, but it was hard using my old sewing machine that bunched up the fabric and broke the thread so often. And, whenever she wanted to sew, I was already in the middle of a project on my new machine. SO, this summer she finally found some free time on my new machine so that she could finish it. She did a great job and learned how to sew some pretty straight lines!

Random Summer Pics

Cait and Saige- buddies!

We love watermelon!

Guy Time!

4th of July Parade

Dangerous Stuff

This is what you get when some kids find the camera and take pictures without you knowing it.... (There was also one of my backside, but I'll spare you all the visual trauma..)

Friday, September 19, 2008


This year we started using a new curriculum called Tapestry of Grace. It is mainly history based but also includes literature, Bible, art, and writing and some grammar. So far we love it. This year we will be studying ancient cultures- Egyptian, Israelite, Mayan, Greek, Roman, etc.
To start, we studied Ancient Egypt and had a ton of fun trying to mummify a chicken

and then using toilet paper to mummify Muzzy.


In order to keep up with the requirements of his job, Brent runs regularly. It has gotten difficult to find time that isn't taken away from family time to do this, so he started taking Caitlin along with him. She loved the one on one time and actually found that she liked the challenge.

Recently, she attended a "Do Hard Things" conference where she was challenged by some older teens to "rebel" against the low expectations that culture has for teens. She was encouraged to try new things and do things that she would consider hard. Brent suggested that she push herself and train to compete in a 5K race. Her first reaction was "NO WAY!" but after she considered the "do hard things" mentality, she decided to step out of her comfort zone and go for it. In addition, she decided she wanted to go even further and try to collect $500 worth of pledges to help raise money for a health facility at River Valley Ranch.
This was even further out of her comfort zone as she would have to actually write a letter to family and friends and ASK them for donations! Definitely, not her cup of tea! She learned a lot about trusting God and gaining confidence in Him.

We were so proud of her determination and her ability to raise, not only$500, but $790!!! Tons of family and friends, even people she didn't know but had read the letter, supported her in this unusual plan of hers to "do hard things". What a faith builder!

And, she ran her personal best time! She completed the 5k (3.2miles) in 31 minutes and 30 seconds. That's a 10 minute, 10 second mile! Way better than I could even dream of doing!

As a reward for her efforts, she won an ipod, and for raising the most money in her category, she won a BIKE! She was beaming and I'm so glad she was blessed by her ability to trust God in this circumstance.

In addition to the 5K, Grant and Jacob participated in the 1 mile, Kids Fun Run. They can't wait for their turn at the 5k next year!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Health Update 2
Well, after a long wait, I finally had a doc appt today. Basically, it wasn't too helpful. My 24 hour heart monitor only showed 1 pvc even though I felt it and pushed the button 274 times. So my doc isn't sure what is going on there. The echo showed that I have a mild mitral valve regurgitation (not prolapse). The mitral valve doesn't close all the way so some of the blood trickles through. But, she said that I shouldn't have palpitations because of that. It is unrelated to the palpatations...

Next step is to go to a cardiologist, however she said that the cardiologist will probably want to put me on beta blockers. But, beta blockers lower your blood pressure and I already have low blood pressure issues, so I'm not going to do that. I can't be passing out with 4 kids around- can you imagine?!!!! I'll probably go to the cardiologist to see whether he has any other ideas or tests, but as of the reports, I have a mostly healthy heart. That's great, but I still wish they could have discovered some reason for the palpatations. They are getting pretty annoying.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Has anyone else tried to cancel something online but has completely forgotten your password and you can't even get into your account because you aren't sure which username it is under? AAAGGGHHHH! Tell me it's not just me! I'm going crazy trying to cancel my dial-up and have NO idea what my info is! I can't even call because it's all automated! Ok, breathe...breathe....breathe...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Health Update

Most of you already know about this, but for those that don't....

Three weeks ago I suddenly started having pretty severe heart palpitations. They were happening without any consistent regularity- every 20 seconds, then stop for 1/2 hour, then 5 minutes apart... crazy. I felt like I was timing contractions during labor!

After a few days of this I started feeling kind of panicked so I went to the doctor who did a quick EKG in the office. She showed that I have "a normal abnormality" (that just cracks me up!) to my heartbeat in addition to whatever this palpitation thing is. She gave me a referral for a 24 hour holter monitor (basically a 24 hour EKG) and an Echocardiogram and bloodwork to check my thyroid.

But, the next day I started having some pain in my chest- which really started flipping me out. So, we headed to the ER where they found I was "throwing PVC's". Basically the ventricle of my heart is contracting prematurely before it is fully filled with blood, so my body is not getting a full pump. She said many people live quite normally with PVC's- whew! My thyroid bloodwork came back negative and so did the results for a Pulmonary Embolism- which I am soooo glad I didn't know was an option in the beginning! That's scary stuff!

Anyway, this week I had my 24 hour heart monitor and my echo. I will get the rest of the results back next week. I'll keep you all posted! Thanks for praying for me through all this! I look forward to getting something resolved with it since it is quite annoying to have it constantly happening!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

2008-2009 School Year

This is my plan for this school year!

Memory Work
Many Bible Verses
1 Hymn per month
Children's Catechism

Daily Math Drill sheets
Caitlin- finish Saxon 5/4, begin Saxon 6/5
Grant- finish Saxon 5/4
Jacob- finish BJU Math 3, begin Saxon 5/4

All- Spell to Write and Read (modified!)

Caitlin and Grant- finish Junior Analytical Grammar, then do either Easy Grammar or Growing with Grammar
Jacob- grammar in Tapestry of Grace, possibly start Easy Grammar once reading is good

Literature, History, Bible, Art, Geography, Writing, Dictation, and some grammar
All- Tapestry of Grace Year 1 (Cait- Upper Grammar, Grant- both UG and LG, Jacob- Lower Grammar)

Cait- Apologia Elementary Land Animals of the Fifth Day
Grant- BJU Grade 3 Science textbook (only 11 weeks), after that, I have no idea!
Jacob- Early readers on science topics, then Nature Readers

Rosetta Stone Spanish

Cait and Jake- piano lessons
Grant- guitar lessons

All- running with Dad, swimming in summer

And, For Quinn, who is insistent on doing school:
Phonics- Phonics Pathways and games from SWR
Math- lots of counting and some from Simply Numbers
Reading- Five in a Row (I'm so excited to use this again!)
Writing- preschool workbook from BJ's! and a lapsized dry erase board that he LOVES!


Have you ever read the book Roxaboxen? It's a story of a neighborhood group of children who find a dirt plot of land and make-believe all sorts of things during their whole childhood. It's a favorite of my kids, so this spring I wasn't surprised to hear that our kids had their own "Roxaboxen" in the woods next to our house!
There's a catch though. Recently we had watched The Bridge to Terebithia movie which is heavy on imaginary creatures, The Lord of the Rings (don't scowl! It wasn't my idea! But they loved it!), and had learned about Fort McHenry in school. SOooo.... since my children are never at a loss of imagination, they created not one, but several Lands.
Their land was Roxaboxen, which they spent HOURS and HOURS in, digging wells...

pruning bushes

cutting down trees.... well cutting UP trees... Jake didn't actually fell this one...

and various other housekeeping duties (which often included bedsheets, play food dishes, baby dolls, toy guns and other things Mom wasn't aware of...)

Then, there is the enemy land known as Fort Irene. The leader of that land (also known as the big fallen log down at the bottom of the hill)is constantly trying to invade. They, thankfully, have a lookout post nearby that they can spy from called Fort McHenry. I say "thankfully" because, the "dark lords" and other night creatures are always trying to capture citizens of Roxaboxen. Many battles have been fought and there have been a few casualties (poor stuffed animals.... again that Mom wasn't aware of...), but in the end, the Land of the Light (aka Roxaboxen) always wins.
Maps were created, treasures buried, newspapers written and many other governmental institutions were set up. (They lean heavy on the democrat side with "big government" in the form of a bossy big sister, I think.) I was even supposed to sew a flag...maybe I'll get around to it this fall...
Anyway, this has been one of the most creative and fun things that I've seen them work together on so far and it has been so fun being a part of their imagination. One day, Brent and I even got in on the act and helped make a path and clear out underbrush and then pretended with them. It was such a great family experience that I will remember for a long time.

Washington D.C. part 2

Here are some close ups of the cherry trees, Mel. Sorry it's waaaaay late! LOL

We also were able to walk to the WWII Veterans Memorial. I have not been to a memorial since I was a teen and I was overwhelmed by the emotions that came over me. I was trying not to be too noticeable, but I couldn't help the tears streaming down my face the whole time we visited. It was incredible and an overwhelmingly huge and well made monument. I look forward to going again- with tissues!

Grant and Jake posed cheerfully, really! The sun's in their eyes, that's why they look annoyed!

Washington D.C.

This spring we were able to spend the day in Washington DC the same week as the Cherry Blossom Festival. (All in honor of Mel, since that is one of her favorite weeks of the year, but couldn't go because she was recovering from surgery. Finally, some pics, Mel!)

First, we went to the Natural History Museum. Last year we missed the whole Rocks and Minerals section and Ancient Times sections so we focused only on those.

We saw the Hope Diamond- not as impressive as I remembered as a kid!

These topaz's were what I remember as a kid.

That's probably why the Hope Diamond lost it's intrigue.The boys loved this purple quartz! After a while, though, we all started to lose interest because, well, rocks get kind-of boring...

Then we headed to the Ancient Times exhibit. We are studying this time period this year, so I was hoping to peak some interest by spending time in there. Cait became absolutely mesmerized by the information on Egypt. We especially enjoyed the sarcophaguses!

After the museum, we headed past the Washington Monument... isn't this a gorgeous picture that Brent captured?

Rewind to My Birthday

Ok, I need to go back to March when I celebrated my birthday.

Family tradition- birthday person gets to pick their choice of restaurant.

This year we were heading in the car down to BelAir going back and forth over which restaurant I wanted to go to. Outback- the old standby, Chili's- the kids' favorite, McDonalds-not an option, but Quinn wouldn't give up...when I laughed about how fun it would be to take the kids to Sakura's- but way too expensive. Well, Brent- who doesn't do the bills- wouldn't let money be a factor, and pressed for us to go. Then, on a whim, we called my parents to see if they wanted to join us since it is always more fun to go to a Japanese restaurant with a group!
At Sakura's they cook your food right in front of you and perform an awesome "show" as they do it. We had gone with our old neighbors, Herbert and Jessie Yee, when Jake was a baby and it was great!
Mom, Dad and Abbie, Sam, and Jordan met us there and we had a BLAST! We were all a little slap happy and silly over the whole spontaneity of the trip. The best part is when the cook tosses bits of chicken or shrimp into the air and you are SUPPOSED to catch them in your mouth. He went around the table and everyone else did great except me, of course! He tried 3 or 4 times and each time I instinctively shut my eyes and it hit me in various places all over the face!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Thanks to a Wild Blue Satellite dish that was installed this morning, I am able to actually post on my blog again!!!! Since the end of May I have had one computer problem after another that ultimately resulted in the death of my one year old laptop, loss of internet speed, purchase of a NEW laptop, then, resurrection of my OLD laptop (thank you Frank Ford!), and now.... High speed internet! WoooHooo! I'm so excited I don't know what to do first! Upload my pictures to Walmart, update the blog, download a John Piper sermon.............. hmmmm!

So, just so you are all prepared and remember to start regularly checking my blog again, be prepared for some serious pictures to be posted! I just need to find the time.........

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Presentation Night 2008

Once again, the LIFE Presentation Night went wonderfully. Everyone worked so hard the whole year and did a fantastic job showing off their talents.
We have had the privilege this school year to have Louisa Martinez (the Spanish teacher at Open Bible) teach a weekly Spanish class. Even though she speaks really,REALLY FAST, we all had a great time picking up some spanish words and songs. She did a superb job and I've been very pleased with how much they learned. For Presentation Night the class performed two of their favorite songs with her.
Cait, Grant, and Jacob had memorized all of James chapter 1 this year, but the last few verses were still rusty, so they just presented through vs 21. I was a VERY proud momma!

Then, individually, Caitlin did Oh, Worship the King on piano and Grant did When the Saints Go Marching In on guitar.

In the Cafeteria we also set up a table with some of their crafts and projects on display.

Our New Throne Seat

I can't believe I'm posting about our toilet!
Since we moved in I've hated our master bathroom toilet seat. But just this past month have I finally gotten my act together and bought a new one. Grant was thrilled when I let him pick it out at the store and actually install the whole thing by himself. He felt very grown up!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Resurrection Day

This year we had fun dyeing eggs, reading from the Bible, seeing my Dad's side of the family (which we only get to do about once a year...) and having a mega egg hunt! I had wanted to do the Resurrection Day cookies, but didn't have all the ingredients when I needed them!
Here are some pics!I just love that of Nanny and Bebop!