Wednesday, November 12, 2014

And we have another teenager...

 Amarin has entered the world of teens!  And we actually are happily excited about this! 
Teens are fun!
Dad made Amarin's favorite breakfast...spicy sausage-gravy with biscuits.
Later, Amarin chose to eat at Culvers for dinner.  A balloon lady just happened to be there, so all the kids got a balloon configuration...aliens, ninjas, and a monkey-in-a-tree.

 We then noticed that Amarin's birthday buddy from church, Mr. King, was celebrating his birthday there, too!  He had another balloon ninja for Amarin.
 Home we went to open gifts.  Jenna made him a card, telling him how cute and special he is.
Charlie bought him two HotWheels cars.
 Jacob gave him a new Lego book.  Apparently one can never have too many of them.
 Mr. and Mrs. King stopped by and gave him a funny t-shirt.
 We surprised him with a quadcopter...a helicopter-type-thing that takes photos from high in the air.
 Laura...well, she just wasn't impressed with this part of the night at all.  We were laughing at her because she kept holding her breath.
 Cake time with his traditional icecream cake.  He insisted on making it himself, and putting Christmas sprinkles on top.
Happy 13th birthday, Amarin!  We love you!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Light the Night

October 31st, 2014 was probably the coldest, windiest I remember.
We were all glad to be standing inside our garage, sheltered from the bitterly cold wind.
We truly had a fun time popping popcorn, and passing it out along with hot cider and candy.
Amarin and Charlie rummaged through the dress-up clothes and became a Star Wars guy and a super hero/cowboy.
 We told Jacob that he looked like the Planters Peanut guy!
Busy, busy, busy.  They barely ventured out into the yard due to the ridiculous wind!
 Laura was her usual adorable self at school...a princess, of course! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

9 Years Old. 8 Years Home.

Charlie turned nine years old on October 30.
The morning started with him running downstairs, throwing his arms around my waist, and squeezing me hard while hopping from one foot to the other.  He was a bit excited for the day!
Daddy went to work a little late, and made M&M pancakes for breakfast.
  A few hours later, we headed to the local bookstore for his free birthday treat. 
He chose a red-sprinkle sugar cookie.
The first present of the day came from Jacob. How many brothers does it take to put together a nerf gun?
It didn't take long for sponge bullets to be flying around the house!

Next was body wash from Jenna because she knows how much he loves taking showers.  He really does!  He runs all the way to the shower!
Legos from Amarin.  Why are we not surprised?
Finally, the mint-chocolate-chip-icecream cake!
Happy 9th birthday, Char!
The next day, we celebrated 8 years in our arms.
You still have the biggest, brightest eyes!
Love you, Char!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Mommy/Daddy Day"

Someone special, with a firecracker personality, has a birthday coming soon!
So, we surprised him today with a "Mommy/Daddy" day.  It included shopping for a surprise gift, and lunch at the restaurant of his choice.
His birthday surprise?  His very first, brand new bike.  He's always had a hand-me-down from Jacob or Amarin, and the bikes worked very well.  But this year, we thought he would enjoy a new one.  After searching three stores, we found the perfect bike.  He was so excited, and is even out riding the trails with Daddy as I type.
Then it was off to lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  Oh, yes. Laura came with us, but she usually doesn't monopolize the conversation, so we figured Charlie wouldn't mind.  He actually thought it was cool that she came for his birthday treat.
Charlie also had some early birthday money to spend.  Such a hard decision for a little guy...what to buy??  "Shockingly," he decided on legos.
"Dad.  The tires sound funny."
That's because they actually have tread! 

Once in a while, I need to be in a picture rather than behind the camera.
I love you, Char!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Engineering Mind

This is what happens with an engineering mind + too much lag time at the restaurant.
And, yes, it did work!

When I grow up...

Every fall, I ask these questions to the kids:  What do you want to be when you grow up and what's your favorite subject?
So, as of today...
Jacob has two options floating around in his mind.  He either wants to be a businessman and manage a big company, or join the military's Special Forces.  The military option is more for helping him pay for college than actually wanting to be on the battlefield, though.  His favorite class is Industrial Arts.  Trying to fit that into the business world...
Amarin is bouncing back to the plan he had a couple years ago of becoming an airline pilot.  He wants to fly people to other countries.  His favorite subject is science, so that fits well with becoming a pilot!
Charlie is sticking with his plan of becoming a policeman. "I want to save the world from robbers."  Char likes math best.  Maybe he can keep count of the robbers he takes to jail.
Jenna does not like the idea of going away to college.  She prefers to live at home, do college on the computer, and become an AWANA leader to help kids learn their Bible verses.  Jenna likes math, too.
It sure is fun watching the kids become their own persons, with their own likes, dislikes, and strengths.  Praying they use them wisely.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Family Needed

The orphan crisis weighs heavy on our hearts.
Simple truths go through my mind regularly, like
...if those in the world who claim to be Christian adopted just one child, there would be no need for orphanages.
...and since families who adopt tend to adopt more than one child, the world should not have an orphan crisis.
...God never intended children to live without their biological parents. But "the fall of man" occurred, and we now have to face the consequences, including caring for the orphans.
Our family has been so blessed with adding to our family through adoption.  But God didn't stop there.  He has allowed us to partner with the Baobei Foundation which cares for critically ill orphans in China.  We have been able to provide needed medications, visit the babies in the hospital, find prayer partners for each child in Baobei's care, and celebrate as these children join their forever families.  It's one the best parts of our lives!
There is one girl in the care of Baobei that is in desperate need of a family.  She is nine years old, which in itself, puts her "at risk" of finding a family.  I'm choosing to advocate for her on this blog, praying that someone will see this and feel called to adopt her, or feel called to pass this information on to someone who will provide her with a loving family.
You can find her online in two places: - her name here is Ting
or - here name here is Tina
Please feel free to share these links, or to direct others to this post.  Let's find a home for this precious girl!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Soccer 2014

Soccer season has been in full swing for a few weeks now.
The schedule is daunting, but we only have nine games left...on three different teams.
Thankfully, they all play at the same field.
Charlie and Jenna are on the same team:  the Earthquakes! 
They play on Mondays and Saturdays.  Charlie prefers playing full-field so he can run all over the field for the entire game.  And he does.  The ENTIRE game!
There is not a game that goes by when we don't overhear someone commenting on how little his legs are, but how fast they run.
Jenna would rather hang back and play defense...not so much running, right?
And it gives her a little more time to socialize with the goalie and other defense player...
or skip around the field. 
 And what would a soccer game be without a snack at the end?
 The bigger boys are on two different teams this year, but thankfully play on the same days:  Tuesday and Saturday.  Amarin's team is FIRE.  He enjoys playing forward, and has scored two goals so far, therefore earning an icecream treat.  Yes...we bribe our kids with icecream for each goal scored.  Amarin is enjoying being one of the older, faster players this year, and has no interest in bumping up to the next league in 2015.
 Jacob went up to the high school league this fall, and are they rough...and fast...and strong!
It's fun to watch, but sometimes makes me cringe.
Some of those players can boot that ball clear down the field, and others don't mind running full force into an opposing player to get that ball!
Jacob's team is GALAXY.  He had to play goalie once, and found he didn't mind it as much as he thought he would.  He prefers playing forward.

Her Trip

Jenna's Daddy trip was wonderful in many ways. 
Lots of Daddy time, saw practically every princess, ate lots of yummy treats, and even was upgraded on the airplane.  Nice!
Her favorite ride?  Soarin' at Epcot.  Least favorite:  Space Mountain.
Favorite princess?  All of them!
Here are some photos of their excursions.
Her first moment inside the Magic Kingdom.  Jamie said she didn't know what to do first!
Epcot was a little rainy.  That called for a new umbrella. 
 Back at the hotel, she (and apparently a bunch of other little girls) got to swim wearing a mermaid tail!
Meeting Ariel...
 and Cinderella...
 and Mulan.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Her Prince Charming

Jenna patiently waited at the airport for her Prince Charming to whisk her away on a dream vacation.

Well, he showed up just in time to go to Disney!  Have a fun daddy/daughter trip!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hard to Keep a Good Man Down

Charlie doesn't stop moving unless he's sleeping or strapped into his booster seat in the van.
Well, he gashed open the bottom of his foot while running through the lawn sprinkler.
After bandages were applied, he was informed that he had to take it easy and let his foot heal.
Hard to do.
We have learned that he is a skilled hopper-on-one-foot, and can slide down the stairs on his bottom lickity-split. 
Now to convince him that soccer is NOT a good idea today!

Monday, August 25, 2014

We're All Back!

Back to school, that is.
So the kids left for school...
and then turned around and came right back.
Yes...the littles still think this is funny.
The older boys are now embarrassed at mom's ploy to get memories on the blog.
"Mom.  The neighbors are staring at us!" 
 Jenna is in 2nd/3rd grade this year.  Combining a couple subjects with Charlie helps manage teaching time for mom!  Jenna will have math, grammar, reading, science, history, spelling, music, art, piano, and soccer.  She's also looking forward to her Daddy/Daughter trip coming up very soon!
Char is our 3rd grader.  He will have math, grammar, reading, history, science, music (on the recorder...oh, my ears), art, speech/writing, spelling, piano, and soccer.
 Welcome to 7th grade, Amarin!  He will "enjoy" grammar, reading, history, anatomy, band, speech/writing, math, spelling, literature, piano, drums, and soccer.  Don't tell him, but a Thai language program is coming soon!  He has been asking, but Thai is so hard to find!
 It's his junior year!  He's not overly thrilled with having to take chemistry, algebra 2, or speech/writing.  But, he needs to, along with band, orchestra, industrial arts, German 3, grammar, economics, piano, bass guitar, drums, and soccer.  He's also starting to teach piano at our home.  Of course, this all gets shuffled a bit since he has to continue cutting grass for the next month or so.  What is he most excited about?  Drivers ed next year! Ahhhhh!!!!!!!