Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Horseplay 'R Us

Almost every day here there will be some kind of chase or a good game of hide and seek going on when school work should be taking precedent. But good parents (and teachers) pick their battles so the choice to take a break is often allowed to play itself out. Lately it is quite common to see the boys chase Laura around the house from the kitchen to the dining and living rooms, through the entry and on to the family room only to start the whole thing all over again, laughing all the way. Or for two of them to team up to find the other one who keeps moving in order to avoid dection. However, there has also been an addition to the 'family' of horseplay. Literally.

Here's Matthew and Laura on the trail of Jonathan. You'll note Laura is resting more than the other two. However, the boys did get some rest in as well even though Laura had to be in the middle of it all.

Dr. Dobbs Revisited

In the past few years I have discovered that there are few things more difficult than planning, and then giving the okay to proceed with surgery for your children. In your gut you know that it is necessary, and yet you wonder if you are really doing the right thing. You wonder whether the surgery will cause other problems in its wake or perhaps make things worse rather than better. And you wonder whether you've got the right surgeon sticking their surgical tools in places that will have a permanent impact on your child's life.

Way back almost five years ago now we gave permission for the first time to a surgeon who promised to make life better for Laura. At that time she had a g-tube put in to help her survive, and a nissen to keep her reflux from hurting her even more. Over the years she's had a large handful of additional surgeries, been put under anesthesia for a variety of tests, scans, and such, and had so many other tests while awake that I can't remember them all unless I review her medical records. Through it all Laura has been a trooper, shown her extreme patience, and has developed a very high tolerance for pain. On the other hand, Don and I have gotten more anxious and a bit more nauseous with each and every approval for surgery.

As we met with Dr. Dobbs to review her latest tests and reassess her feet he delivered news that we were dreading. We're down to just three options for straight feet: a posterior tendon transfer, an osteotomy on her heel bone, or a miracle from the Lord. Well, he didn't mention the last option but it is always on my mind. After reviewing the long term effects and the chances for success, we opted to try the posterior tendon transfer before resorting to the worst cast scenario of an osteotomy. Laura will be in Dr. Dobbs capable hands on December 8th. And I'll be sitting next to my Mom wishing I could cuddle up in her lap once again. After we are released from Shriners, we'll head home by December 9th for a week or two and then head back for a cast change. We understand she'll be in that cast for a month or so before finally being cast free - hopefully for good. She'll still have to use the FAB at night so we'll be ordering another pair of Mitchell shoes to go on our Dobbs bar.

While we are hauling her 34 lb plus cast laden body, I'll be reminded over and over again that she's thriving despite predictions to the contrary when she was born. I'll remember that she was God's long before she was mine and that He loves her even more than I do. I'll remember that he has a plan in all of this, a plan for good. And you can guarantee that I'll be wondering what it is even though I know I probably won't know for a long time, if ever. In the middle of all of it will be patient, precious Laura, hobbling around on her cast, laughing and playing as if nothing has changed. I learn so much from her. Perhaps this time I'll learn to be wait patiently, too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Are Snow Shoes Really Necessary?

There is little that brings more joy to our kids than the first few snowfalls of the season. They have yet to experience the overwhelming burden of shoveling again and again, and it is still warm enough per se to spend more than just a few minutes outside. Over the past few weeks we've had flurries, minor snow falls and even a few inches every now and then. And over the past 24 hours we've hit a snow bonanza. Yes, it's early. No, I'm not thrilled despite my love of all things Christmas. However, I have the pleasure of enjoying it from a much younger perspective, and that helps to soften the blow.

A few days ago as Jonathan watched the snow fall in squall bursts befitting the primary snowbelt instead of our normal secondary one, he reveled in the fun to come and told Laura of all the stuff they'd do when they finally got to go out and play in it. He even mentioned things we don't usually need here in the lower 48. Like snowshoes for instance. This meant that I had to look up snowshoes so we could figure out just why they worked. After all, I'm not one to pass up a teachable moment. But I failed to realize just how much of an impression it was making on Laura.

Before I realized it, Laura had gathered the flaps from the cardboard box that she'd had Daddy cut off the day before, and was sitting on the floor trying to figure out how to make her own snowshoes so she could go outside and play. Soon she asked Jonathan for help and before I knew it, masking tape was out and being used for makeshift 'laces'. While I don't think her version would last long, it is quite creative. Laura spent a long time 'walking' around her pretend snowfall, keeping herself on top of the snow, proving that she should be able to go outside and play because she "...won't get wet, Mom. Really I won't. I promise!" even though she has a cold.

As I type she's plotting to get outside as soon as Daddy comes home to enjoy the extra snow that fell today, and wondering where her snowshoes went. Somehow I think they are better left indoors.

Battling Daddy...

I'm sure that it will come as no surprise to you that there are times when I feel like I've been a successful parent, and that Don and I are a great team. Matthew is becoming less of the child he has been, and is growing in to the man he will become. The joy I have as I watch him figure life out is one of the great pleasures in my life. But make no mistake. There are times when it is blatant that I am the mother of three children. And believe me when I say that sometimes I think I have four children in the house.

Here is an example of one of those days:

And where is Matthew you ask? He's off with Poppy. Working out and adding more muscle to his repertoire. I'm sure that if he were home, he'd have been right in the middle of it all. I imagine you are asking me what the big deal is with a few pillows and some balloons. And I'll be happy to answer you, just as soon as I get done praying for the lamps...

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Where's MY Pumpkin?

Daddy and I took Jonathan and Laura out in the days before Halloween to find the perfect pumpkin. And in the process we learned a few lessons. First, if you want the pick of the crop, don't wait until the last week. We also learned that there are a myraid of pumpkins shapes. And not all of them sit flat. Finally, we learned that no matter how few pumpkins there are to choose from, you can find one that is just meant for you.

Touring St. Louis

Our trip to St. Louis at the end of September was a bit different than our normal drive by. Not only did we have the joy of Diane's company, but we stayed a whole day in between our 10 hour drives. After arriving on Sunday evening, we stopped to pick up something for dinner. Then we settled ourselves in to Nana's apartment knowing she was having a great time up north with Elizabeth but wishing she were home all the same. Monday morning we went to see Dr. Dobbs for a check up and prepared for the tests that Laura would be taking early Tuesday morning. Then we headed out to see what St. Louis had to offer.

It had been a long time since I'd been downtown, and even longer since I'd been to the arch. So we headed there praying that Jonathan wouldn't decide he was brave enough to take a ride to the top. He wasn't. :) But we did have a great time in the museum below the arch learning not only about it, but about it's status as "The Gateway to the West". There were wonderful exhibits detailing Lewis and Clark's exploration, some military items, native American history, details of the wagon trains headed west, and large pictures showing new arrivals coming by boat on the might Mississippi. I know Jonathan learned quite a bit that renforced some of his history and art lessons, and Laura was fascinated by teepees, covered wagons, and buffalo.

Here's Jonathan waving goodbye to us as he prepares to set off in his covered wagon.

Jonathan compared himself to the typical soldier back then. He declared them 'short'.

Here he is next to Lewis or Clark. I can't remember which...

Jonathan read some of the more interesting facts to Laura. Sometimes she actually listened!

Jonathan really got in to the spirit of it all and decided he needed to put some space between him and the buffalo.

And here he investigates the bear that used to roam that area.

It is hard to get a true picture of just how tall the arch really is,

but when you compare the picture of the arch with this picture of the little windows in the observation area, you begin to get the picture. The arch stands 630 feet in the air. And it sways in the wind. Really. Kind of takes your breath away when you are up there blowing in the breeze. I chose not to experience that this trip...

When you are standing outside the arch, there are huge steps that lead down to the Mississippi River. And the bridge we used to cross each time we came to town was just down the way.

We also stopped in at the renovated train station to visit shops and see some of the historic artifacts there, too. I was amused at the prices on the menu, and amazed at quality of the dishes, and the apparent customer service back then. The beautiful architecture they have restored, the stained glass windows, and the colorful tile work showed some of the pride St. Louis has in its history. They've done a beautiful job there. I hope that it revives once again as the economy strengthens in the coming years.

They also had a replica of a caboose at the train station, and Laura just had to explore it. :)

We had several other adventures on our trip as well. Mom explored the neighborhood where she spent some of her childhood, and we ventured in to several areas we'd never been to before in search of one of only three Wendy's in St. Louis. Imagine our surprise when we discovered it was closed. We ate ice cream at Ted Drewes, drove by the botanical gardens, and enjoyed some of the spirit of St. Louis and the efforts to maintain its history in some of the beautiful older buildings. When we finally headed home once again on Tuesday, loopy Laura (the anesthesia kept her a bit off kilter for several hours), Diane, Jonathan, Mom and I knew we'd be back soon. And Nana will be waiting.

The Princess and The Pirate

The annual trick or treat night is iffy here. Or at least it used to be. The boys would sometimes decide that they were just too old (Matthew really is!), or that this year they felt they shouldn't go out because of the spiritual 'feeling' of the season, or just because they didn't want to venture out in to the cold. But every year come Oct 31st, those young enough to go are always dressed and ready at the appointed time.

This year there was no consideration allowed. It was a given that we would go. Period. Princess Laura planned it for months. She knew what she wanted to be and she knew what she was going to wear. And for weeks she collected treasures as she came across them because she thought she'd want to wear them with her costume. Tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, magic wands, and even fairy wings were all considered at one time or another. But in the end the tiara was the only accessory she chose to include in her outfit.

Jonathan remained unsure of his trick or treat status until the final week. It was then that he learned he could hit the neighborhood with a new friend down the street. There was no question. He was going. But what could he wear? I led him downstairs to the costume boxes in storage. They hold many treasures - furry bunny suits, a fuzzy duck, mexican attire, ladybug jackets, baseball pants, and a pirate costume collected for Matthew's 5th birthday party and proudly worn by Poppy as he dared those attending to 'walk the plank'. I tried to encourage the baseball outfit as it would give him the best opportunity for warmth, but he chose the pirate costume. But being Jonathan, he couldn't just go as a normal pirate. He needed to cap it off with his own little touch.

I smiled as I sent off my two trick or treaters, Daddy in tow. They would spend almost the full two hours out, collecting candy we didn't need, laughing with friends, and touching base with neighbors as they traveled from house to house. Matthew and I stayed home, talked together, and passed out candy. We couldn't have asked for a better evening. And Laura is already planning for next year.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm Dreaming Tonight...

Christmas 2007

It seems I've gone and done it again. Not in an 'oops' kind of way. More in a 'Wow!' kind of way. Like the time I realized that my genes were alive and well in my daughter when she was mesmerized by her first real view of clowns in action. All of the clowns I decided to keep have been safely packed away for years and I've never shared that part of my life with my children. But somehow Laura holds that same fascination. What a joy it was to watch her face as she saw her first real clowns performing on a Discovery program! I think the circus is in our future soon. Or the time that Matthew said something in the same tone of voice using the same mannerisms as my brother did when he was a teenager. I had to take a double take to be sure I wasn't back in time! Apparently some 'nature' lives on in all of our children no matter what the 'nurture'.

So that brings us to today's discovery. Jonathan, Laura and I were home cleaning, quick tidying, and actually dusting *gasp* when Jonathan says out of the blue "Mom, Let's have a lot of Christmas trees this year. And let's make them theme trees. You know, like a 'Game Tree' using our game pieces. And we could spread the boxes underneath like they are presents. Or a toy tree where we could hang all of our little toys on it. Know what I mean, Mom?" Uhhhh... YES! I know exactly what he means. I'd love to do a beach themed tree this year. Even if it is only a small one. Four feet or less. And I'd love to do a gingerbread themed tree in the kitchen, and a snowman themed tree on the steps with the snow family we usually put there. And several others. Yes, I know exactly what he means. He's got the bug! He loves Christmas, too. Not just because of the presents. But because our house is transformed from the normal to something wonderful. And the time spent enjoying it can't be traded for anything.

But what I didn't know, and couldn't figure out, is where the comment came from in the first place. Oh, I'll admit that I was playing Christmas music while we cleaned today. I love Christmas music and I know he does, too. But we weren't talking about Christmas in any way. And Jonathan knows that Daddy had to be talked in to the two trees we put up last year so they'd match in the bow windows on the front of the house. So more trees??? YES! I have a partner in Christmas planning!!! His wife will just love me, don't you think? :)

After some chatting about trees, we decided we'd start small this year and see what we could use that we already have or can get from freecycle/garage sales and thrifting. And of course we'll watch sales and so on. And we'll do more with the smaller trees we already have. And wreaths... we could do themed wreaths, too. I already have a small collection of things for them going downstairs. Oh I just can't wait to get started!

Ah, Christmas! As the song says "I'm dreaming tonight of a place even more than I usually do". And that place is sitting in front of the lit Christmas tree with the fire going, cuddled up with the family, listening to Christmas music, playing a down and dirty game of Pit or Pass The Pig. Yep, It would be a perfect evening! :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Little Did We Realize...

Tonight was a quiet night at home. The 'men' of the house, who are periodically known around here as "Muscle", were off helping Dad move Laura's play house over in order to make room for his new shed in the back yard. Well, it might be more like a small barn in these here parts, but we'll stick with shed since we know what a real barn is. Anyway with Don and Matthew gone, Laura, Jonathan, and I kept ourselves busy. Jonathan was doing his best to ignore the end of his history assignment he didn't want to finish by playing computer games, Laura was playing with her babies, and I was sorting and cleaning out files on the computer as I'm almost out of room. Apparently it is one of the negative side effects to owning a digital camera. All was quiet on the homefront.

And then from the far reaches of the family room I hear "I wan to pay on my caputer." I quietly ignored it thinking she'd get sidetracked as I knew we didn't have hers plugged in to the internet yet. The router was on our to do list but hadn't filtered to the top yet so she was not attached to surfability. After a moment or two I heard it again. "I wan to pay on my caputer!" Yes, it was a big more firm this time. I figured I'd wait her out one more time.

Pretty soon I was rewarded - or not as you will see - by the growing insistence in her voice. Only this time she said "I NEED to get on da INDERNET!" While I can totally relate to her feelings of need, I knew she didn't have email quite yet so I was a bit amused. I realize when she learns to read I'll be dealing with her request for her own email, but until then I think I've got the upper hand. However, she didn't see it my way. The insistence in the voice rose once again. As she walked in to the living room she said "Mom! I NEED to get on da INDERNET! Now MOM! I NEED PBSKIDS!"

Yeah, I had to hold back the laughter, too. Somehow I managed. I calmly went with her in to the family room, explained that Daddy needed a new router so she could get on the internet. and she just needed to be patient. Meanwhile I told her I could put another game on her computer for her to play. Very brightly she said "So I can play PBSKIDS anyways???" Uhhh, no. But soon. I promise. She declined and followed me back in to the living room and promptly asked Jonathan to play something on his computer with her. They are playing happily as I type.

As I considered the fact that my four year old daughter understands so much about technology I realized she probably had no choice. After all, we started her out pretty early...

Maybe we rushed it just a bit. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On The Road Again...

This weekend we once again head out to see Dr. Dobbs. However, this visit is a bit different. Not only will we be seeing Dr. Dobbs for a check, we'll also be doing an 'H&P' (history and physical in medical terms) and then having a nerve study done to confirm what Dr. Dobbs believes is nerve damage that is preventing her clubfoot from maintaining correction. Since this test checks for nerves, they believe it best that she be put to sleep for the process as Laura isn't exceedingly tolerant of some medical procedures. Especially those that cause some pain. Gee, who would have guessed?

Once we know the outcome of the testing we'll know what surgery, if any, she'll need. I'm expecting some but I'm not fully aware yet of all of our options. We're expecting the test results to give us that information. And we'll also know what additional casting might be needed to recorrect her foot. I feel somewhat like this may be the beginning of the end. But I've felt that way before and we are still on the journey so I'll reserve that until a later date.

I've often wondered why God hasn't fixed this. Why he hasn't just reached down and moved her bone back where it belongs or readjusted her fat pad so she's walking more normally. And I know that if she were a 'normal' clubfoot child we'd be done with the shoes, the regular appts and the constant wondering. We'd be done. But that isn't our reality. So I'll just keep on going through doors the Lord opens, doing what needs to be done and praying that the Lord's will would come to fruition in His time. And I think that is the hardest thing in all of this. Not knowing the outcome but moving ahead anyway.

Perhaps that is the bigger picture for me, and what I'm learning through all of this. Trusting the Lord. Following the Lord. Doing what I know is right even when it is the hard thing to do. Trusting. Totally trusting. I think it is one of the hardest things I'll ever do. And I know it is the right thing. I've tried the 'on my own' thing. Didn't get me very far. So here we are. Headed out on the road again. Another St. Louis drive by! May the Lord protect us, provide for us and give Dr. Dobbs wisdom as we move forward in our journey.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Letting Go

I think I've discovered a wrinkle in this 'parenting teens' thing. A rather big one I didn't expect. After all, we are programmed from their conception (and possibly before) to expect teenagers to reject the maturation process, to cling to childish ways, and to attempt to pull things over on us no matter how well we parent - or don't as the case may be. But some children apparently resist such expected behaviors - it could be that they've heard something akin to "Sorry, the fact that you are a teenager is no excuse" for several years. Or maybe it is because those who are wise enough to skip the 'expected' route realized at an early age that responsibility was the key that opened privileged doors. Or maybe I'm just blessed. But apparently I wasn't prepared.

I was up early this morning. I'd gotten 6 hours of straight sleep. Yes, I said 6 hours. Uninterrupted. Solid. Blessed sleep. So by the time the rain woke me up at 4:30, I was good to go. I popped in some laundry (a great activity for those insomniac nights I'm told), perused the news to see what the talking heads were saying about Sarah Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson last night, checked the weather for Matthew's YFC event at the stadium with the Indians tomorrow, and renewed the joys of a cold gulp of caffeinated energy. And then I sat down to see how Matthew was doing in his classes. He has classes with BOSS four days a week this year, and he's entered the wonderful world of High School so life is a bit more demanding for him.

As I perused his assignments and grades, I noted that he had one due today that he had yet to turn in but I figured he'd get to it before classes this morning. I flipped to the grades page. In the first class he's making an A - 100%. Another class has him at 95% - still an A. Not bad. He's doing what he is capable of doing. And then I flipped to his third class. And I note a big fat "0" grade. As in nothing. No points. Nada. *sigh* My mind begins to turn to his activities on the day it was assigned and the following day when it was due. Yes, he indeed had time to finish the assignment. How dare he not do something that was due??? My parent blood began to boil. I never made it through the rest of his classes.

My mind quickly flipped through my options, checked the time and figured 6:15 was a great time to wake him up. After all, we needed to talk. I quietly snuck (is that a word?)in to his room, hoping that Jonathan and Laura would stay asleep for several more hours. As soon as I sat down, he rolled over and moaned "what?" as if he were expecting something bad had happened. In my mind I quickly thought "Oh Honey. You have NO idea..." and then took a quick, calming breath before saying "Did you know that you have an assignment due today that you haven't turned in yet?" He moans and says "I did it. I just didn't turn it in yet." I relaxed knowing he did this a lot last year. He'd do everything and then scan and submit it the following day. I was willing to let that go until I heard him say "At least I think I did..." I suggested he needed to get up and check that because he still had time to do it if he didn't.

Then I took a deep breath and said "Do you know that there is an assignment that was due Tuesday worth 15 points and you have 0? As in NO POINTS! How could you miss an assignment? Here I thought you were growing up and I didn't need to check your assignments regularly and I guess I was wrong." (Yeah, I should have stopped after the first sentence but my brain was elsewhere at that moment) There is a pause as he digests my tirade before he calmly says "I did it Mom. I turned it in." My response is quick and without thought. "Oh really? It says that you got zero points. Nothing. As if you didn't even try it. What was the assignment about?" He lifts up his head, turns to me and asks if that is the assignment that was to be done in complete sentences. I nod in the affirmative. He flops back on his pillow and says "Mom. I did it. He just hasn't graded it yet. It says zero because the computer couldn't analyze our sentences and he has to review each submission. I guess he hasn't gotten to it yet." Then, as if to punctuate his proof positive that I've lost my Mother Mind, he tightens his stomach muscles and blasts out an rear-exit exclamation in true male fashion. *sigh*

I quickly realize I've jumped the gun. I've made assumptions that were untrue. I have doubted him when he has done just what he was supposed to do. I really don't need to check up on him regularly. He's growing up. My baby is growing up. In an effort to ease the tension before I apologize I start to make a fuss about his final, odiferous action. When we are both smiling once again I apologize and tell him I'm happy that I was wrong and I'm proud of how well he's handling high school and the transition to the increased work load. Then I cajole him in to getting up 30 minutes early in order to prevent the alarm from waking everyone up and head downstairs.

When I get to the bottom of the steps I stop, wrap my arms around myself and silently thank the Lord that my son is growing up. He's turning in to what I pray will be a strong man of God. With integrity and a positive attitude. I realize I need to change my way of handling him. I need to treat him more like the person he is becoming and not the person he was. And I thank the Lord that I have that opportunity. Here. At home. Every day. All day. Where I get to enjoy his wonderfully developing personality with warmth and humor much of the time.

And then I remember that yes, I get to spend all day, every day with this wonderful person. Even if he spends far too much time spitting out puns... I guess there's a downside to everything, eh? :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It Can't Be!!!

It seems that there are many effects to working out, specifically with weights and so on. For the past year, Matthew and my Dad have gone three days a week to work out at the gym. They both have a routine and they move from machine to machine, strengthening their muscles and bonding at the same time. And in true family fashion, Dad not only shares his knowledge and wisdom with my growing son, but throws in some puns along the way which is making life around here ever more interesting. How many other families spend time making up jokes with wordplay?? Yeah, I didn't think so. And as a friend so wisely said today, the Lord says we are to be a "peculiar people". I guess we take that very seriously around here.

Anyway, as my very hormonally laden teenager headed upstairs for a much needed shower today, it seems he decided to check his weight. Why? Who knows. I check it far too often for my enjoyment. Apparently he's smarter than I am. For a few moments all is quiet. Then from upstairs I hear "190!!! 190!!??!!?? I can't weigh 190!!!! It Can't be!!!! came screaming down to greet me.

I must admit I had several reactions. The first was to smile. Just what does he think all of that weight-lifting and working out is doing? Yeah, his initial motivation might have been to get a tighter bucket so I'd hurt my hand when I whacked it as I walked by instead of making his bucket sting, but since then he's realized the time with Poppy is what it is really all about. Well that, and those muscles he's so diligently crafting. I guess it is time he learns that muscle weighs more than fat.

But my second reaction is the one that I hope will add to my motivation to be healthier. I'd love to weigh 190. Yes, really. How awesome it would be to weigh less than my teen son. After all, he's taller than I am. He's obviously stronger than I am. And he isn't done growing or working out yet. So there you have it. Another motivator to lose weight and get healthy. I think I need to make a list. And then blow it up along with a few choice, not-so-flattering pictures from our beach week, and post them in the pantry and the frig. Maybe that, along with a few scriptures, will do it. Just think... I won't be the heaviest one in the family any longer. Wouldn't that be awesome?!?!?! I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 08, 2008

By George, I Think She's Got It!

Yes, indeed. I do believe she's actually got it. Down pat, even. Or maybe I should have said 'dry pat, even'. Why? Because she's done it. She's actually done it. Our "Potty Princess" really is, finally, a true, full-fledged, verifiable Potty Princess. Not because she wants to, mind you. But she has done it in spite of herself.

Almost every morning she wakes up with dry pull ups. And after doing her thing, she will find a pink pair of big girl panties and put them on. Well, perhaps after a bit of 'naked baby' running just because she can. :) Our big girl is finally big in yet another sense of the word. And I couldn't be happier. But I am considering buying stock in Potty Toppers...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Influence 'R Us

I realize that there are many families who have gone before me. Many have raised a daughter after having a house full of testosterone. It is so very common. I just don't know any up close and personal. Oh, I have several friends who have one son for instance, and then a daughter or two. And I have friends who have a few older sons and a younger daughter, but they also have an older daughter or two to help balance that out. Not here. Nope. We're exploring the joys of a daughter who idolizes her brothers. And it is a testament to God's nature more than the nurture she receives from her brothers that she prefers dolls to guns, and Care Bears and stuffed 'My Little Ponies' to Star Wars and lego war sets.

This morning the whole realization that she needs an older female example now and then came blasting, literally, through to me once again. Laura was rough housing with the boys. You know, the "let's have a good time and run through the house playing hide and seek and so on while we should be picking up and getting the house cleaned" thing. As a lull came in order for them to catch their breath, Laura was standing over Matthew, who was laying prone on the floor on his belly, waiting for him to get up so she could chase him. However, Matthew relaxed just a bit too much and it seems a little fluff was released. Okay, a not so little fluff was released. It echoed even. And then just a second or two later I heard the pitter patter of little feet retreating and a very sweet voice yelling "RUN FOR YOUR WIFE!!! RUN FOR YOUR WIFE!!!" And then a very quiet male 'excuse me' amidst the rolling laughter.

*sigh* Yes, she's being raised with teenage boys. Somehow I have to think God's preparing her for something. At least I hope so. After all, why let her knowledge of boys go to waste??? LOL

And so it goes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Summer

On the boardwalk in Wildwood

As I wrote the last post, I had this deep desire to revisit our days at the beach. It was such a peaceful time. Despite the whole bathroom situation. :) So here are some more pictures of our time at the beach. Can't you just smell the ocean?

Jonathan spent a lot of time searching for shells. Especially the elusive, unoccupied whelk. I believe this was one of his first...

And this was Matthew's first.

And Jonathan found more.

On the day that we headed down to Sunset Beach, we came home by way of the Cape May Lighthouse park. This is part of what is left of some military bunkers and so on. Initially the Seth, Mackenzie, Jarryd, Mikayla, Jonathan and Matthew were not expecting the spray.

But for this picture they knew it was coming and the girls knew it wouldn't get them wet.

Matthew really loved this beach.

Matthew, Uncle Scott and Jonathan explored the old military bunkers.

And the boys tried to dig trenches but the ocean kept ruining all of their hard work.

We spent some time in Cape May strolling the shops. Laura, Jonathan and Uncle Scott found a fountain.

And after we were done, Laura and Kenz found a place to rest back at Scott and Brenda's rental.

I had to include this photo. It is of Scott and Brenda's mirror as we crossed the access bridge over the sound approaching Stone Harbor. In it you can see our van, complete with clam shell on the top, and you can also see Brenda taking the photo. Cracked us up!

Back in Stone Harbor, the boys found one of the few Horseshoe crabs we found this year. They are big suckers. And I mean big! Very slow moving. Very scarce.

And finally, the boys after conquering another day at the beach. The sun is setting and we must all head back. Oh how I wish I were on that beach again. Just for a few more days!!!
At least we have next year.

Summer Sunshine

Remember this? "I'm walking on sunshine, woo - oh, I'm walking on sunshine, woo - oh, I'm walking on sunshine, woo - oh, and don't it feel good!!" Or how about John Denver singing "Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy. Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. Sunshine on the water looks so lovely... " Or even "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You'll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away." Ah yes. Sunshine. We have enjoyed its warm fingers and colorful joy much of the summer. After all, we haven't had much rain so the skies have been wonderfully blue and full of sunshine for awhile now. And then there was our wonderful trip back to the beach. But all good things must come to an end. Including our summer. And even though I'll miss it, we can remember the good times by strolling through some pictures.

I know it has been a long time since there have been new pictures and stories of the life and times of the troops, so I'll try to make it up to you. Here are a few of the things we did this summer besides the beach.

As usual, we had picnics on the deck at Mom and Dad's. Senta attends now and then, and seemed to enjoy the attention Jonathan lavishes on him. Senta's a wonderful dog. Very calm and quite well-behaved.

At picnics, it is common for Dad to allow the boys to light the stuff piled in the fire pit and make roast marshmallows or make s'mores. Matthew and Seth are our family fire makers. Maybe they enjoy it just a little too much!

Laura spent the summer wearing her patch for three or more hours a day and it seem to be helping. We won't go for a check up until the first week of October, but her 20/2100 eye seems to be seeing things better as we give her quick checks every now and then. I pray the Lord takes care of this as he's done with so many of her other issues.

Mom and Dad took the kids to a Museum where there were some wonderful outdoor things to explore as well. Here Poppy is doing his best to give them all a great ride - much to the surprise of his muscles! He pulled something doing this and sported a large bruise for weeks. He's such a good Grandpa. :)

These are the slides they had. You'll note that it was never an option to do the smaller slide, even for Laura. After going down the Jonathan...

And then Matthew...

And watching Poppy do it all by himself...

She braved the slide herself! Needless to say, she loved it.

Here's Jonathan making a run for it on his own, too. Note Laura walking back towards the ladder for another round on her own, carrying her sack as she goes!

Matthew decided to try 'surfing' the slide and did it quite easily. Until he saw the sign that said you couldn't do that. So back to the bum he went.

The boys also spent several mornings before the rest of the street woke up learning the physics involved in flying little airplanes. Here Matthew is coaching Jonathan in order to get the best 'lift' that he can get.

The happy pilots.

And Laura vying for attention as she was feeling left out with all of the pictures I was taking of the boys. Poor thing. Do you think she has a future in modeling? LOL

She's so grown up, isn't she? Where did my baby go???

As the school year starts up once again I will miss the sunshine. But I look forward to more adventures as we explore new avenues in our history, preschool with Laura and the joys of high school. And secretly, I really am glad we're back on some sort of schedule once again!!! Shhhhhh!!! Don't tell the boys. I think I'll let them figure that out for themselves.