Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fall Festival 2011

Our church put on their annual Fall Festival on October 31, 2011. This year, Josiah and Caleb chose not to dress up. The reality is that it's hard to have fun on rides and games in costumes. Plus, it was really hot when we arrived. Silas really wanted to wear the elephant costume, but the moment we got out of the car he took it off. It was way to hot for it. They all had a blast, and I couldn't believe we stayed almost the entire night. On the way home, the three little ones and I stopped at the grocery store for a few items. We discovered that their pumpkins were now discounted all the way to free. They were so excited to end the night by each getting their own pumpkin. I so love seeing how something so simple as a free pumpkin can put a smile on three little boys' faces.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Granddad Visits Us Twice!

First Visit (October 13-15, 2011)

We were so happy to have Granddad come out and visit us twice in October! He was so patient when I dragged him to Costco pretty much as soon as he got off the airplane. It is always nice to have another adult when taking 4 kids to Costco. Thanks, Dad!

Second Visit (October 20-22, 2011)

The second trip Granddad made to California, we took him to Tanaka Farms. The boys had a blast running through the maze, petting the animals, and picking out a pumpkin.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Silas Turns Three

9/3/2011 Silas with his cake

Last Saturday, September 3rd, our baby turned three. He was thrilled about having his birthday. Kerry was not in town, but the other boys and I did our best to still make him feel special. I think we succeeded!

When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, all he would tell me was a dirt bike cake. Since our Friday was a very busy day, I took the easy way out and bought a dirt bike to put on the cake and added a simple border. Note to self: I will not use the store bought decorating icing again. It did not work as well as bags and icing made from scratch.

He has been wanting a bicycle for a long time now. His birthday seemed the perfect time. When I went to buy the bicycle, I knew the tires were a little low on air but bought it anyway. Caleb knows how to air up tires. Sadly, the birthday bike would not hold air in its tires. We had to return the bike that day (while he was crying) and go to another store to get another bike. I was so glad to get a working bike home for him. I had visions of not being able to find one that day (in the price range I was could spend). He enjoyed his day riding his new bike around the house until the weather cooled down enough to ride it outside.

Silas has such a sweet personality. He is almost always happy. He wakes up smiling and goes to bed smiling. He also is a talker. I think he talks more than his Daddy. By the end of the day, I am worn out from all of his talking. His sweet smile makes up for is non stop talking. I am so glad he is a part of our family and look forward to watching him grow even more this year.
9/3/2011 - Silas on his bike

Monday, September 05, 2011

Wedding in Colorado

8/26/2011 - Josiah on the airplane

My cousin Mickey got married in Colorado last weekend. Josiah, Silas, and I were able to attend with my mom. We left Thursday, August 25, around 9pm. The boys were so excited to be flying on an airplane. Caleb and Levi stayed home with Daddy and went camping. I enjoyed the late flight since Silas slept almost the entire way on the plane. Josiah fell asleep in the last 20 minutes of the flight. Unfortunately, it was difficult waking them up to get off the airplane. I put my almost three year old in the Ergo and was walking a crying Josiah while trying to carry 6 bags myself. One of the flight attendants even asked if I needed a wheelchair. I think I should have said yes. It was an ordeal to get to baggage claim where we were meeting Nana. From tears, to an accident, to changing wet clothes, to kids hanging on to my legs as the train went really fast, we were worn out when we saw Nana. We still had to take a shuttle to get the rental car. Then we had a 45 minute drive to our hotel. We arrived around 2:30am. Josiah was sound asleep and stayed asleep while I carried him up to bed. Silas on the other hand was wide awake enjoying the adventure. He fell asleep around 4am and was ready to go at 8am.
8/26/2011 - Silas on the airplane

Friday, the 26th, Nana treated us to the Denver Zoo. The parts we saw were really nice. I wish we could have stayed longer, but Josiah was ready to go. Nana and I were exhausted from the night before so we didn't complain. We grabbed lunch in the car and took the boy to the hotel swimming pool before going to the rehearsal dinner. The wedding/rehearsal dinner site was beautiful. I really wish I could have brought the entire family. The boys had a wonderful time playing outside during the rehearsal dinner. Perfect for active boys. Plus, I got a chance to speak with a lady who I would say was a homeschooling pioneer. I'm so thankful for the families who paved the way for homeschooling.
8/27/2011 - Silas, me, and Josiah (I so wished I had brought a stroller on this trip)

8/26/2011 - Silas, Nana, and Josiah

8/26/2011 - Silas handing me a lovely flower

Saturday, the 27th, we took the boys swimming after breakfast (and a little tv watching). We had lunch with my Uncle Phil, Aunt Jackie, Wilene, and Loriece. It was great to see them. We had just enough time to get ready for the wedding. The wedding was nice. It was outside, and it looked like it could rain any minute. Fortunately, it held off until the reception. The boys did amazingly well. The highlight of the wedding for them was seeing a bat fly in where the reception was being held.
8/27/2011 - Silas, Loriece, and Josiah

Sunday, the 28th, we took the boys bowling. For some reason, that's the one thing they really wanted to do. They had a great time. It was worth it to see Silas's expressions on his face when he knocked pins down. The trip back to California was easier since I had my mom inside the airport with us. We were sad to see her go since we probably won't see her again until Christmas. I was glad to get back to my other three boys and love on them.

8/28/2011 - Silas bowling

8/28/2011 - Josiah bowling


It was Sunday, August 21, 2011. Kerry had been out of town since Thursday morning and was returning Sunday evening. We had survived our first week of homeschooling, and I was looking forward to tidying up the house before Kerry got home that evening. I was working in my bathroom when I heard a thud and then screaming. Silas comes walking into my bathroom screaming with blood running down his face. As bad as I felt for him, I was frustrated with the situation. My husband was out of town. I wasn't in our old neighborhood where I could leave my other three kids with neighbors and go to a hospital I knew. Plus, I didn't know which hospital we could go to.

I called Kerry screaming in his ear what I needed him to do. The other three boys whipped into action getting shoes on and backing bags. I did stop to look at the cut/slice to make sure a trip to the ER was needed. It was. Kerry called two of our pastors from our church who said they would meet me at the hospital. One of them took our other three boys to his house while the other one stayed with me. By this time Silas had calmed down. When the doctor looked at it, he said it would need about three staples and he didn't recommend anything to deaden the area. I requested to have the lidocaine. Would you believe that Silas didn't cry once while they put the lidocaine in or put the five staples in his head? I could not believe it! We left the hospital, and went to pick up the other three. The only complaint he gave me was that his head was hurting (around dinner time). I gave him some medicine, and he was fine. The staples are out now, and it seems to be healing fine.

Friday, August 12, 2011

VBS Week

We just finished up VBS at our church. Somehow, in all the years I have been married to my husband, who happens to be a minister/pastor, I have only managed to teach VBS two years - one before Caleb was born and this year. Teaching VBS in the evening without children is a whole lot easier than teaching VBS in the early morning with four children to get ready. And these are 4 homeschooled children and mama who aren't used to being out the door early and dressed with smiles on our faces except for Sunday mornings.

The boys did amazingly well getting up and ready. I had the privilege to teach in mini VBS, the 3 year olds (and a few older 2s) while parents volunteered in other areas of VBS. Levi was supposed to be in the 4 year old class. He made it 30 minutes. The rest of the week he has loved being in the 3 year old class. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get Josiah to his class on Tuesday as he was refusing to go, but Dad took him and he had a great time the rest of the week. I will admit, I have forgotten what it is like to be responsible for so many little ones for so many hours each day. I felt like I was back teaching my little 4 year olds in PreK. I was exhausted every single day. I don't know how moms manage to work full time and keep up with their families. I'm thanking God that I get to be home with my children each and every day.

I think we are all looking forward to normalcy returning come Monday. School starts back up for us then. Most schools in our area don't start back until after Labor Day, but I'm ready to get started. It's nice to get a head start in case something comes up that we need to take a couple of weeks off. It seems like we've needed those extra weeks each year. I'm praying we won't need those extra weeks and can finish early this year.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Box Day!

For those in the homeschooling world, you can understand when I announce that it was "Box Day" in our house. I ordered part of our curriculum for this coming year a little over a week ago. It was scheduled to be delivered today. You won't believe how many times I checked the UPS tracking information or how many times I peaked out my front door even though I didn't hear a knock. Well, close to 3:00pm, I checked the UPS tracking online, and it showed that it had already been delivered. I know they didn't knock or ring the doorbell, because our dog didn't bark. I was so excited to open that box! But as I opened that box, reality set in that I will be teaching a 6th grader this year. Really? How can this be? Weren't we just reading picture books and easy readers? Not this year. I'm really going to learn a lot this year, and I think Caleb might too.

I already have most of the things for the other three boys thanks to holding onto things from Caleb's previous years. According to my written schedule, our school days look well organized. Well, that is the goal. The older the boys get, the more I realize the need for a daily schedule during our homeschool hours. I'm sure it will take a few weeks to get in a groove. Praying our year goes smoother than last year or the year before or the year before that. . .

Here is a run down of major family events that occurred while continuing to homeschool
2005-2006 (first official year) - Josiah born and move to California
2006-2007 - Levi born
2007-2008 - Move from California to Florida
2008-2009 - Silas born
2009-2010 - Move back to California
2010-2011 - Move closer to our church

*It's amazing how many major events have occurred over these past 6+ years of homeschooling. I have to be honest and say that I'm praying for a calm year. Is that bad? I feel guilty praying for one. But it really would be nice not to have to think about moving again for awhile.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Caleb's New Bow

Right around Christmas, Caleb decided he wanted a bow. Knowing how expensive bows and accessories can be, we told him that if he raised half of the money, we would pay the other half. I am amazed at how hard he worked at saving his money. He saved any money he got from Christmas and birthdays. He worked hard on chores around the house. He even became aware of coins laying on sidewalks and would always pick them up. Granny even graciously helped contribute to his bow.

Well, it took him until right before we moved to our new house to earn his half. By that time, we asked him to wait until we moved. He patiently did. Well, the day finally came when Kerry took him to the bow shop to buy his bow. Unfortunately, they did not have one in the store, and it would have to be ordered. When the bow came in, it wasn't the right bow. Caleb was disappointed and Kerry was close to mad. It seemed like forever until the bow got here, but it finally arrived and was ready to be picked up on Wednesday. He was so excited to get his hands on his bow. He has been in the backyard practicing everyday since then, already breaking a few arrows.

We are so proud of Caleb for working so hard saving for something he really wanted. He is learning the value of money which is so important. Way to go, Caleb!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 1 Without Daddy

Daddy with his boys

Well, Kerry headed out of town this morning. Since moving closer to the church, we have been fortunate to see Daddy more often than when we lived in our previous location. The boys are thrilled to see Daddy home for lunch almost everyday, and he gets home shortly after 5 on most nights. I have a feeling some of our days are going to drag.

We have a few more things to finish up in regards to homeschooling so we will be prepared for the start of our new year. The boys (mainly Caleb) haven't been too thrilled over the idea of some school in the summer, but they are handling it okay. One of the reasons I wanted to do a little school each week was to help with transition back to our full school schedule. It's always a shock to our system if we take a long break. So, hopefully, things will go smoother at the beginning this year. This year will definitely be busier in regards to school. Caleb will be in 6th grade, Josiah in 1st grade, and Levi and Silas will be doing preschool stuff. I've been planning all summer trying to find the best in writing schedule for the boys. I'm also trying to make sure I have something planned for Levi and Silas while they have tons of free time. This year, it will be more directed until the end of our school day. I'm sure it will take a few weeks to get our new schedule smoothed out, but hopefully it will work.

We don't have much planned for today. We have been working on school this morning, and I know Caleb wants to practice with his new bow after lunch (another post coming about that). I'm hoping to get out my scrapbooking stuff this evening since I am years behind. We'll see how much I accomplish while Kerry is out of town. This is when it would be extremely nice to live near family. We could stop by for dinner or just a quick visit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Josiah!

Our sweet, precious, blessing from God turned six yesterday. Wow! The time has flown! Josiah loves life to the fullest. He is still very athletic. He continues to ride his bike like a pro and jumps ramps in the street. He also enjoys his scooter and is tinkering with a skateboard. He wants to try basketball this year and maybe baseball (one sport at a time). He enjoys reading and being read to. He wants to be able to do is best at whatever the task and at times becomes frustrated. He is improving. He is so good about sharing his things with his brothers. He had a big transition when we moved into our current house. He is now sharing a room with Caleb. At times, he wants to be big like Caleb and really tries hard to be big, but at other times he contemplates going back to sharing a room with Levi and Silas and just being 6.

Josiah showed me that I didn't know everything when it came to being a mom. I think God knew I needed that reminder. He never did scream for hours at a time like some babies I've heard about, but he always woke up making noise/fussing. He always calmed easily. He loved going to sleep with an arm. As he got older, he would tell me he needed an arm which meant he needed to lay his head on my arm. He didn't like to sit still and still struggles with sitting still unless he has an electronic or a book.

There is just something about Josiah, that I want to make sure he knows that he's loved, special, and a very important part of this family. Maybe it's because he's in the middle - Caleb is the oldest and Silas and Levi are the babies (they might as well be twins). He has lived in 5 houses in his life, 6 if you count the RV, 7 if you count temporary housing in Florida, and 8 if you count the couple of months we lived with my parents while Kerry was traveling. When we added it up one day, he wanted to be sure and count the time we lived with Nana and Granddad. So, that's a lot for one 6 year old. We love him so much, and thank God for bringing Josiah into our lives. I know God must have an amazing plan for him.
Opening presents with Daddy

Josiah had his special day all planned. He wanted to open presents as soon as Daddy got home for lunch. Then he wanted to go the beach, eating a picnic dinner while we were there. Then, we would come back home for birthday cake. And that is just what we did!
Josiah relaxing in the sand after boogie boarding

Josiah ready to blow out his candles. He found a picture of a cake on the internet, and I did my best to make his look similar. He thought it looked great and that was all that mattered.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trip to Lake Tahoe

My parents were planning a trip to Lake Tahoe and asked if we wanted to join them. I had never been, so I quickly said, "Yes!" Kerry has already used his vacation time to celebrate his mom's 80th birthday and later has a hunt planned, so he could not join us. When Caleb found out that Dad wasn't coming along, he asked if he could stay home with Dad. After thinking about it, we agreed that he could stay home.

On Friday, July 15th, Josiah, Levi, Silas, and I pulled out of the driveway at 6:00am to drive to Lake Tahoe. It was a beautiful drive, and the boys were great travelers. We met my parents at their first condo in South Lake Tahoe. We had a very early dinner/late lunch since we didn't see many options during our "lunch time." The boys enjoyed snacking though and never once complained about a late lunch. After eating, the boys enjoyed some time swimming in a cold (although heated) pool, playground, and hot tub. They also had some fun playing their version of pool. They took baths, had snacks, and fell asleep watching a movie as they were all exhausted from our day.

Saturday, July 16th, my dad and I each turned a year older. We have only been separated on our birthdays twice since I've been alive - once when I turned 14 on a mission trip and when I turned 22 on my honeymoon. It was great celebrating with him. We went on a hike to see a lake, ate lunch out, checked into the next condo, ate dinner, and took the boys swimming. Josiah even enjoyed some of the birthday fun getting to open his birthday presents from Nana and Granddad. We ended the evening by taking a walk down to the beach on Lake Tahoe.

Sunday morning, we all went to a church close by. It's always different attending a church where you have no responsibilities or know anyone. We had lunch, and I attempted a "rest time" which even though they watched a movie, they didn't sleep. So, after an hour, we got up, put our swimsuits on and went to the kiddie pool. That was a great choice! The boys played for hours, and I didn't have to constantly be worrying that someone might drown. They literally spent all afternoon swimming. Then, it was time for dinner, snacks, a quick trip to the hot tub while my parents sent to the store for Benadryl for Silas's mosquito bites that had gotten rather large, baths, and movie time. Us grown ups actually go to enjoy part of the evening as the boys slept.

Monday morning, we headed to Squaw Valley. Our day started by Josiah trying out a zip line which he loved. We then took the cable car to the top of the mountain. The boys loved playing in the snow and roller skating at the top. After spending a couple of hours at the top, we took the cable car back down. We ate in Truckee for lunch before returning to the condo. The boys wanted to go to the kiddie pool again and played for a couple of hours. We had a late dinner, snacks, and one last movie time. Time to start packing the bags.

Tuesday morning, we got up and started loading the cars. We drove into Carson City for lunch, and then it was time to say goodbye to Nana and Granddad. They had to fly back t0 Texas, and the boys and I started our drive back to SoCal. They once again did great on the drive back. Even though they had tons of fun, they were thrilled to see Caleb and Daddy when we got home.

P.S. For some reason, blogger keeps putting more spaces between some pictures and paragraphs than I would like.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Nana's Visit

My mom came and visited us last week (Friday through Tuesday). We hadn't seen her since Christmas, so we were very excited to see her. We stayed really busy while she was here. We tried out a public swimming pool (way too crowded for me), signed up for the library summer reading program, went to the movies, went shopping, went to church, ate out, and spent lots of time just being together. We are so glad she came, and are looking forward to seeing her with Granddad in just a couple of weeks.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Hooray, I'm Normal!

Hooray, I'm normal! I just heard that phrase from Josiah tonight. Josiah, Levi, and Silas have all been a little sick this week. Mainly fevers and coughs. Silas had the fever first and later this week Josiah and Levi caught it. The three little ones and I didn't make it to church today because of it. Well, tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and the boys are thrilled about the hockey game at our old neighborhood. The plan was for us all to go. With sick kids I had to tell them that whoever had a fever would have to stay home with mom since we don't want our friends to get sick. I took Levi's temp, and sadly he still had a fever. He is devastated that he can't go tomorrow. Crying was involved. Then, I took Josiah's temperature. When it beeped, he asked me what it said. My response was, "It's normal." He interpreted that as he was normal and went around yelling happily, "Hooray, I'm normal!" It sounded funny coming from his mouth. Just wanted to write it down so I would remember it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mother's Day

My boys treated me to a fun and relaxing dinner at Ruby's Diner in Huntington Beach on Mother's Day. It was a very windy evening as we were walking on the pier, and since we haven't been here since we lived here the first time, I forgot how scary the pier is from my view as a mother with little ones. I was afraid that one of mine would accidentally fall into the water. They did great though and stayed very close to us or rode in the stroller. Beautiful view though and worth the walk on the pier in the cold weather. Thanks boys for making me feel special!

Nature Hike Find

Our boys love going on nature hikes. They would go every day if I could find the time. Back at the beginning of May, we went on one such hike. While hiking and fortunately Kerry was with us, Caleb found a snake, a gopher snake. It was an exciting find, and they did release it.

Happy Belated Birthday, Caleb!

Caleb turned 11 on Sunday, April 24, 2011. Since Easter fell on his birthday this year, he decided he wanted to celebrate on Monday, April 25th instead so that the entire day would be about him. He even enjoyed designing his own birthday cake, and I did my best to follow the design. We had breakfast, and then he was ready to open presents and have cake. We enjoyed no school that day and spent the morning relaxing (mommy cleaning). After lunch, we all got ready and headed to Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo which was the outing Caleb requested. He wanted to spend as long as possible looking for creatures. I was amazed that with a little net he managed to catch a few fish. He released them as soon as he finished observing them, but he was definitely pleased. Even though dinner was quickly approaching, he could have stayed another few hours.
Eleven years ago, the birth of Caleb started me on the most challenging and rewarding work possible - motherhood. He made becoming a mother so easy and joyful. As I watch him grow, I am often amazed at the person he is becoming. He loves Jesus. He loves his family. He loves his church and serving others. Each week he volunteers in the 3 year old class at church and from what I've heard, they all love him. He often is my extra hand when I need help. He willingly helps out in the kitchen and will do other tasks without complaining. He loves anything outdoors, and I think he might live outside all the time if given the chance. Happy 11th Birthday, Caleb! We love you!