Monday, September 5, 2016

Four Years Later ...

It is amazing what can happen in four years.  In the four years since my last post, Charissa has graduated college while the next two are in the midst of it.  Oren is getting ready to begin his graduate program.  Kalynne finally figured out what she wants to do (I think).  Cara and Jonathan are in high school, grades 10 and 12 respectively.  Joanna has moved into her last year of junior high while Eric entered third grade.  I am beginning my third year of teaching fifth graders (having graduated with my degree in 2014).  I think that is it in a nutshell ... well unless you wanted a novel to rival the length of War and Peace.

 Family Picture 2014 ... might be time for a new one

In our true form ... after my graduation May 2014

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hiking at Matthiesen State Park

Since Charissa is leaving in a week to head back to college, we decided to go to one of her favorite places here in Illinois - Matthiesen State Park.  It is about a two hour drive from our house but has always been worth the drive.  We packed a lunch and headed out with a promise of gorgeous weather perfect for hiking.

Tired before the hike ever began
Eric is ready to go ...
Eric was excited to bring his own backpack for hiking.  Yeah, that excitement died within the first three minutes of the hike, and Charissa carried it for 99% of the hike.  Eric did want it back at lunch time. Eric loved hiking.  He loves the outdoors period and was quite the trooper.  He did snitch a piggy-back ride up the flights of stairs - don't blame him there as some flights were quite long and steep.

Although we have had severe drought lately, the recent storms helped green up things and made for some beautiful nature shots.  It also created some puddles for getting wet and water fights.  The water was still low enough that the easier trails were accessible which made it easier on the younger kids and out-of-shape moms.

Let's Hike!

Jonathan doing some exploring

Clint and Eric enjoying the view

Joanna and Cara
Jonathan and Oren climbing and trying not to fall into the water below
Oren was King of the Rock until Charissa the Queen came along and showed him who was boss.

Kalynne tried to use a staff to part the waters on the bridge.
Enjoying a treat  ... It was National Soft Serve Ice Cream Day afterall.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ramblings and Tidbits

It has been a hot summer, some days brutally with a 120 heat index.  Rain has been scarce.  We have had storms the last couple of days though providing needed moisture and cooler temperatures.  Yesterday was cool enough that Eric was jumping on the trampoline.  I should say that I didn't mind him being on the trampoline.  Eric does not care about the heat; he just loves being outdoors.  While he was outside I heard a thunderclap.  I went to the door to call him inside but need not have bothered.  He was booking it inside as fast as his legs could carry him.

The start of school is slowly approaching for both me and my kids.  They start the 17th.  I start the 20th.  I am looking forward to both events because of the routine.  Life won't be less busy, rather it will require more choreography among schedules, activities, and homework to prevent a train wreck.  I don't think the earlier wake times are going to be very popular though, and there will be a few 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. voluntary bedtimes for a few days.  I would volunteer now if my kids would cooperate.  They just raid the pantry if I go to bed before they do.

The most exciting news this past week was the loss of power.  We managed to keep power during the thunderstorm during the night, but lost it when it was clear and sunny about 8:30 the next morning.  Nothing like losing power on a Sunday morning as you are trying to get ready for church.  Something blew as there was a gunshot-sounding explosion when the power went out.  We finally had power restored about 5:00 that evening.  The one thing about losing power is the ability to get kids to stop dwaddling about a shower.  Once you explain that any hot water will shortly vanish due to the inability to heat any more, there is a run on the bathroom.  It did kill the sinner plan of a crock-pot meal ready to eat when we got home from church.  We had leftovers instead - so exciting.

See?  It was a rather dull week or in other words life as normal in this house.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Fun Means Water ... Lots of It

Summer birthdays usually mean a swim party.  I have two children with summer birthdays which means a joint party (the dates are just 5 days apart) for their birthdays.  They aren't always thrilled, but I am not the mom for nothing.  I happen to be a pretty good sweet talker too.  So one child wants a swim party as does second child who forgot for a minute she cannot swim well and changes her mind upon remembering.  I have no desire to throw two parties so ask - read strongly encourage - about a water party in our yard.  I talk it up, and get unanimous agreement.  Now I have to deliver.

Step One was to create the highlight of the party - a kid wash.  I got the idea off the Family Fun site after a google search.  The whole project came together in about 4-5 hours and that includes shopping.  It was so worth making it for my kiddos.  See the smiles?

Okay, so they aren't looking at the camera.  Trust me - they loved it.  It was a hit at the party too almost as much as the water dodge ball.  What is that?  I made sponge balls - enough for everyone to have one plus a couple of extras.  I had four 5 gallon buckets filled with water and placed at the four corners of the dodge ball area.  On go, the party goers soaked their sponge balls in water and threw.   I got out of there fast.

The funniest part of the party was during set up the night before.  We had been camping earlier.  There are not always restrooms or clean restrooms available so Eric was introduced to peeing on a tree by his dad.  Unfortunately, peeing on a tree equated to just peeing outside to Eric.  As I was setting up for the party my helpers abandoned me to try out the dodge ball game.  A time out was called because Eric had to pee.  It is a good thing we have understanding neighbors who find my kids hysterical.  I am watching Eric and listening to the shocked hollers from siblings about indecency.  Then perhaps Eric and I are connected some way, I knew what was going to happen before it did.  It happened in slow motion as I saw my premonition play out.

Eric is answering nature's call when he glances down and then over at older brother Jonathan.  Before I could shout "NO!" Eric took aim.  Jonathan moved faster than I had seen him move in a while.  It was hard to scold Eric about peeing on siblings when I cannot catch my breath because I am laughing so hard.  Jonathan was not amused.  He was even less amused when Eric nailed him with a wet sponge in dodge ball, and it looked like Jonathan missed answering nature's call.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fast Forward ...

Life has been a whirlwind the last couple of years.  What has happened?  I've gone back to school in pursuit of an Elementary Education degree.  It's been 20 years in the making.  Granted I feel like a square peg a lot time and bite my tongue so not to lecture some of those young 'uns on campus, but I have discovered my joy and talent.  My family has been supportive and are proud of me which makes me feel good.  Enough about me ... look how my family has changed since my last post -

Before tubing trip: white and pasty

This is from our vacation this summer.  We took a trip down to Missouri.  We spent 4 days in Kansas City touring during the day and camping at night.  The weather was awesome. After Kansas City we went down the Ozarks to take a tubing trip.  We all got fried except Eric.  I think it is because he didn't stay still long enough to burn any side so he was nicely toasted.  The sunburns were bad enough we nixed the St. Louis portion of our vacation and went home instead.  No one touched anyone or moved on to their space the 5-6 hours driving home.  I think we hurt too much to move or were too tired.

Bat Boy (aka Oren) at a rest stop

Kalynne made a friend at Legoland

Eric and Daddy waiting for a ride to start at Legoland

Eric and me at the SeaLife Aquarium

Jonathan goofing at the aquarium
Oren's new friend at Kansas City Zoo
Charissa, Eric and Joanna on the carousel at the zoo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mattress Surfing

Today we moved the crib out of Eric's room and replaced it with a twin bed. Jonathan was to take the crib mattress downstairs to store in the basement with the other parts of the crib. He decided that sliding down the stairs would better and faster. A whoop and a holler later and everyone wanted in on the fun. We did discover the lighter kids slid better. Kalynne wanted a turn. Her brothers were overjoyed at the chance to try to shove her down the stairs. Well, she tried and managed to go down the stairs without the mattress when it got stuck and she didn't.

Joanna wasn't thrilled to have to bring up the mattress, but the fun afterward more than made up for it. Work before play, right? Eric absolutely love mattress surfing and seems to have no fear. I hope I don't catch him trying to do it solo!

Here is a video of Joanna and Eric taking a turn (just tilt your head a bit). Too bad there is no sound but just imagine delighted screams that have a uh-uh-uh feel to them too. I think there was only one crash into a wall and none into the piano at the bottom of the stairs. I think the kids like this better than sledding. It is definitely warmer!

Sunday, January 24, 2010