Thursday, June 27, 2019

And Another One's Gone, And Another One's Gone

...and another one bites the dust.

This has been our June.

First there was Grammie. She tripped and fell on a threshold of door and broke her knee cap (technically this happened two days before June, but let's just say June for the sake of argument).

On June 1st, Zacky broke his tibia. I've already written about that.

Friday morning, June 14th, I got a call from Hume Lake. I had already received my one call from Livvy and my one call from Sam, so I knew something was amiss. It was from the volunteer doctor in the infirmary. "I'm here with your son, Sam." My heart stopped as I thought he was going to say something about Sam hitting his head - he's hit his head one too many times! Thankfully, all he said was that he was pretty sure Sam had broken his wrist rollerblading the night before. I was relieved. A broken wrist would heal. The head is a little more complicated.

After a super fun-filled, faith-boosting week, Sam got to participate in most of the last day of camp events before getting on a bus and heading home Saturday.

Monday morning, June, 17th, exactly two weeks from when we brought Zac in to get his leg looked at, we were back at Northern Arizona Orthopedics Urgent Ortho Clinic. They recognized us.

After getting his wrist x-rayed, the doctor confirmed that Sam had chipped his scaphoid bone and a couple other chips closer to the tip of the radius. As he was getting his cast on, the doctor that put on Zac's cast added some more cast to the bottom of his foot because he was wearing it thin.

I joked with the doctors that they should have a family plan, or at least a two-for-one deal.

And another one's gone.

Back up a couple of days, Saturday, June 15th, we brought back the four boys that had been at Oma and Opa's for the week attending their church's VBS. They had a blast going to VBS, swimming and playing with cousins and friends! Sunday morning, however, Ben woke up not feeling well. He plopped down on the loveseat and basically stayed there for the rest of the week complaining of a belly ache and fever.

On Thursday, we decided we should take Ben to a doctor, to figure out what was going on. She was just as stumped as we were - appendicitis? mono? allergies? After getting blood-drawn for some really expensive tests, Ben woke up Saturday morning back to his old-self. 100%. Go figure. We're still waiting for the test results.

And another one's gone. And another one's gone. And another one bites the dust. Almost literally.

Wednesday night after cleaning houses all day, Livvy went to a friend's house to watch the Christy series. Safe, right? Well, it's Livvy. She was standing up on the back of a Polaris (which is totally fine and they do it all the time...but it's Livvy, remember) when her hands got sweaty and she just flew right off onto the ground. She got some pretty nasty scrapes on her left elbow and hip. My friend Sara cleaned her up and off they went to watch their show.

He wasn't really sad about having
old cast cut off, he was just in
desperate need of a nap.
Now for some good news. Monday, June 24th, Zac had his 3-week appointment to look at his leg. They took off the old cast and took some more x-rays. The doctor was very pleased with how his leg was healing so had Zac put in a half-cast. Zac has his knee back! This time he chose a black cast to match Sam's.

It's almost July. I've threatened to bubble-wrap Jon and Danner and lock them in jail .

No more visits to the Urgent Ortho! No more sick kids on the couch! No more calls from friends bandaging up my kids!

Please, no more. Thank you!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Randoms From the Week

Our first official week of summer is coming to an end. It's been a busier than usual week, especially for summer break. Livvy and I commented that we hope all of summer isn't like this week.

Monday started off by spending 2hrs at the urgent ortho. Zacky broke his tibia on Saturday morning
(we didn't know it was broken). He and Danner thought that they could lower the tailgate of the utility trailer all by themselves. Danner came running to the house, "Zacky's smooshed! Zacky's smooshed!" Zac was pinned under the tailgate. His head and back had a couple of minor scrapes, but he immediately wanted ice for his leg. There was no bruising, no swelling. Nothing that would indicate anything serious, so we gave him some ibuprofen and just kept an eye on him. As Sunday was winding down, we knew where we'd be heading in the morning. Turns out, Zac has a spiral fracture of his left tibia. He must have turned around as the tailgate was coming down. Poor kid! He's quite the trooper, less than one day with the cast on and lots of TLC, he's hobbling around, no problem. 

Our Airbnb is going very well. It's super fun to meet people from all over the United States and beyond. We've met people from Texas, Ohio, Utah, Phoenix, and even South Africa! It's a pretty nice gig. The family that just left had a nine year old boy that Ben, Jon and Danner played with. They thought it was pretty cool to import some new friends.

There are rubber bands all over the floor. It's one of Danner's favorite toys (he reminds me of Ben and how he played). I want to take them away, but he enjoys them so much. It's a great, creative toy that allows him to tie up all his action figures, etc. He plays with them in some make-believe world for an hour or more. But, it's costing me a bit of my sanity. He tries to pick them all up, but somehow he misses 2 to 15 of them and then I'll randomly spot them lying in every room of the house. 

I thought I made an appointment at USPS to get Livvy and Sam passports for a missions trip we're doing in January. After waiting 30 minutes, turns out, I didn't. Somehow I didn't hit all the right buttons to confirm the appointment, and I'll have to try it again.

I forgot Ben's NAU speech and language appointment on this morning. I didn't think we were starting this week so I didn't put it on my calendar. We went on Tuesday after a phone message on Monday said we were starting this week. Talked about coming again on Thursday, but...I didn't put it on my calendar.

Sam bought a new pet. He's a three year old pin-striped ball python. Beautiful colors and markings. Sam's in heaven. He named him Thor.

 Ben and I went on a date last night (one parent takes one child per month, then we switch parents). We ended up at Sonic. Ben had a grape slushy with nerds. I ate too much of a Peanut Butter Master Shake I bought for Tom. We also play a game on our dates. Qwirkle is a favorite. Ben won.

Danner has been hunting bugs. He grabs his little bug net and is in the yard for hours hunting. Patiently hunting. Every now and then he'll come in to show me one if his finds. An ant (yes, just one). A very tiny beetle. A grasshopper. Or two.

Ben and Jon have been very occupied with completing the Missions for the library's summer reading program. They really want to get all the points as soon as possible (with maybe not to have to actual read a lot) so they can get the prizes. They look like they're going to be good. Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Your Pie - Yum!

Liv and Sam have been working on the reading program as well. They just sit and read for hours. They've also been gathering items for Hume and putting everything in their bags. They are very excited for camp! They leave this Saturday morning and come back next Saturday evening.

Livvy's also been busy flipping the trailer, babysitting, and getting some fun hanging out time with friends. It's hard to keep up with the life of a busy, non-driving teenager. I'm loving the times with her, driving her here and there. I know that this time will soon pass and she'll be off on her own. I'm soaking in all the time that I can.

Ben, Jon. Danner and Zac will head to Phoenix this coming Sunday. They will spend the week with Oma and Opa, go to Northwest Community Church's VBS. Hopefully they'll have fun, be good and get a lot of swimming in.

That means, Tom and I are ALONE! For ONE WHOLE WEEK!! We get this week every year and it is a glorious thing! I have a list of things I want to get done. School stuff. House stuff. Read a book. Tom is actually taking two days off so that we can work on our over-filled, neglected garage, and paint or wash our orange brick fireplace. We usually eat out a couple of times. I'm excited!!

Here's to summer!

Saturday, June 1, 2019


Saturday. Day to do chores. Day to catch up. Day to recoup from the week. Day before Sunday's rest.

Waffles have been made, consumed, and the leftovers put in the freezer for Wednesday morning. I've swept and mopped the floors. The kids have done their individual chores. They've played their computer time. The house is clean, momentarily at least.

Livvy cleaned the Airbnb and got it ready for another guest to show up tonight. Turning our camp trailer into an Airbnb has been a fun new venture. I'm the hostess, Livvy is the housekeeper (with Ben stepping in to clean the toilet), and Tom and Jim are the maintenance men.

Then the boys helped pick up all the miscellaneous junk from the property and load it onto the trailer. Some of them are on the way to the land-fill with Dad. Ben is biking with Livvy to Dollar General to buy some candy for Hume Lake and a birthday present. Zac is taking a nap.

 It feels so good to have one day when good work is happening all around. Productive busyness. Work that you can see a completion, a change. Clean floors, stocked freezer, picked up yard, etc. Visible work. It feels good.

Unfortunately, parenting is not as easy. Parenting doesn't have that feeling of accomplishment as a productive day of Saturday chores. It's a good thing, really. I would never know how much I lack, how much I struggle with sin, with faith, with trusting God, if it wasn't for parenting, or marriage for that matter. It's good to be brought low. It just doesn't feel good. Not like Saturday.

Parenting maybe is more like Monday. Monday everyday. Knowing that there is a week of work ahead. A week of showing up, putting in all you have, of pouring yourself out. There are certainly joys, incredible joys in the week, even on Monday. I love my kids. I love my job. This job of parenting...most of the time.

But it's only Monday. And honestly, I'm not sure how the week is going to play out. Will all this hard work, this pouring out of myself, culminate like a really productive Saturday? Will the visible result of my work (our labor of love) be good? Feel good?

There's no guarantee. I know there is hope. Hope that the weekend is coming. That Saturday will be bring all things together. And really, that Sunday is coming. The real day of rest. The day you can sit back in peace, knowing that God is good. He has a plan. A good plan. His way is good.

But...hope is hard to grasp on Monday. When the littles are needy and the bigs are bickering. When wisdom seems like something only to pray for, but never given. When I'm grasping to trust that God is in the midst of all this.

There are a lot of days in the week of parenting before Saturday. Before Sunday. I will press on. I will lean on Him more. I will persevere. I will embrace the week. I will take joy in all things. With His help. Clinging to hope. Working toward an accomplished Saturday.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Goodbye 2018!

I think besides the main factor of having less time, I think the other reason I don't blog as much is that I can't come up with an opener. I remember writing papers in high school or college and not being able to write anything until I go that first line written, or at least thought of. Livvy complains of the same thing when she is writing papers for English or history. Every good read needs a good opener. That something that draws you in and keeps you reading. This is not it.

In the past I would blog in my head through the days or weeks. When I got the chance to sit down, it all spilled out nicely. Now, I don't. It doesn't. Maybe I don't have time to think, maybe I'm just in a season of uncreativeness. I don't know. I do know that I wish I did blog more. I love that I can go back through the years and remember what the kids were doing, what Tom and I were doing. I don't want to forget what we're doing now.

I am thankful for 2018 being behind us. As far as the life of an average American family, it was a good year. Progress was made on the house. Kids were healthy and for the most part happy. Tom's job is going very well. I was able to get more involved in things that I love and be with my family. Good stuff. Right? Yes. was one of the hardest years I can remember. Things in a key relationship seemed always at odds and there was a lot of discontent in my heart. I watered that weed and bitterness grew. I was willing to settle. To stop fighting for the relationship. Unfortunately that's my gut reaction - when the going gets tough, Jenn gets going. Not good. God's working on changing this in me.

Thankfully God stepped in. It's crazy to remember the details because it really could've been bad. But God...He changed my heart. He changed my mind. He pulled the weed. That was toward the end of 2018. Now that that is behind us, I am excited about what He will do. I just hope I do my part at keeping the weeds out of the garden.

End of 2018 Wrap Up
Ok. Now onto the good stuff. Hold on, it's going to be a long one.

We had a great summer. The three oldest kids enjoyed their soccer season. The three youngest enjoyed going to the park and watching the bigs play.

Danner and Jon suited up in soccer gear almost every Saturday along with the big kids. Danner kept asking when
he was going to meet his team. I told him it would be awhile. He was undeterred and kept happily dressing for a game.

 In July we got to attend a Campus Crusade reunion here in Flagstaff. It was fun to see so many people that filled my college years and get to reconnect with them.

Of course there was a lot of other summer-time adventures: fishing, hunting, Oma and Opa coming up, time with Grammie and Pop-Pop, 4th of July parade, Wet Beaver Creek, etc.

Sam and his buddy, Isaac, earned some money by walking behind some horses
- those two are excited about any kind of work.

Yes, Danner is in winter attire. The kid is completely backwards! He wore long
sleeved shirts and pants during the summer and, now that it is officially winter, he
faithfully puts on short-sleeved shirts and shorts every morning. Weird!

Zacky broke his elbow in July. It didn't slow him down one bit!

The spies were tracking down the bad guys.

We brought fall in with picking lots of apples at our Peaks house, going to the fair, and going to Prescott for our annual family camp with Oma, Opa, my brother and his family.

The house is looking so nice. We had a new driveway, sidewalk, and pad for a future pergola put in the front yard. We also added a covered back patio. Tom was up late several nights in a row painting the exterior - I called him the "midnight painter". And the most recent completions are almost fully remodeled bathrooms. I love the way it's coming together!

Opa built us a wood box. The top portion holds the computer and blue-ray player. The bottom
left part is for the kindling and the bigger portion is for the wood. Now that it's winter and
we're using the fireplace, it is so nice to load up the wood-box and keep warm and toasty! Love it!!
Pop Pop comes over every now and then to do some yard work - he likes to keep busy doing
odd jobs for us. He also serves as a very handy taxi for getting the kids to and from
different events.  We are blessed! 

School has been a struggle. We're getting everything done (for the most part), but it's just never become a fluid part of our schedule except for the two weeks after Thanksgiving. It just took a long, long time to finally figure out how to schedule everything around a very active two-year old who needs constant attention. Or else. I think I have finally have everybody doing together stuff and then on-your-own stuff while Zac is awake. Once he's down for a nap after lunch, we tackle the one-on-one stuff with Mom. Hopefully next week once we start school again I can regain that two-week groove and finish strong.

This year I'm doing another new thing as far as school goes. I am teaching high school biology at the one day a week Christian school called Cornerstone Christian Academy. I have 12 amazing students (one of them is Livvy, of course). I really enjoy biology and teaching, and I'm enjoying the challenge or relearning the material and sharing the information. It's pretty fun! While I'm teaching, the rest of the kids were also learning biology, PE, and missions for Sam, each in their respective grades - they loved it!

Livvy is 14 and is a freshman in high school this year. She's very independent and is quite capable of managing her time and schedule. Her curriculum includes math (because  we combined her 7th and 8th grade year she's been doubling up on her math lessons so that she can complete Algebra 1 this year - her idea. She didn't want to do math throughout the summer or be "behind"), world history, Spanish, Bible, biology, writing and literature during our Friday co-op with Mrs Finney, and voice. I was a little nervous to start high school stuff, but so far so good.

Sam is 12 and in 6th grade. I really need to find something else for this kid to do with his time. He blows through school so fast (and doing quite well) that he's usually done before lunch. Two afternoons a week he does a fun lesson and activity with Danner - it's fun for Danner and it's fun to see Sam take on that teacher role. His business, A Boy and a Rake, is on hold until the summer when Mom is free to chauffeur and people are wanting pine needles raked and weeds picked.

Ben is 10 and in 4th grade. He's doing great with math and his reading is improving. I'm hoping to get him into the speech and language clinic at NAU this coming semester to help with his reading, writing, and processing difficulties. He's very good natured (most of the time) about his struggles, but I want him excel and I'm finding it hard to give him that skilled one-on-one that he needs.
Jon is seven and in 2nd grade. He is a quick learner. He enjoys math and is starting to pick up little chapter books on his own to read - yay! It's so nice to have a kid that just naturally gets it after trying this and that to help a kid that doesn't.
Danner just turned five and is in pre-school. He's learning his letters and numbers and how to write them all. He loves to say that he's done his school because then he knows he can have 20 minutes of computer time.
Zac is almost three and wants to be a part of everything that we're doing. If we're doing Bible or history worksheets, he really thinks he should have one too. If I'm working with Danner on his ABC's, Zac is right there with us saying, "Me do mine ABCD's too."

A few more random things to add to the list of what we've been up to this fall:

Livvy was Charlotte Dennon in the Alpine Community Theater's production of Elf Jr.

Sam got skunked again on his elk hunt. He, Tom and Ben had a great time "hunting" and bonding, but no kill. Poor kid.

Livvy packed 50 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child! With help from friends and family, she was able to cover all the shipping costs for all 50, plus had some extra to go toward The Greatest Journey discipleship program!

Oma, Livvy, Livvy's good friend, Hannah, and I got to go to Fullerton, CA to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center. It was an amazing experience, one that I hope we get to repeat.

We were too close to the beach to not go. The girls HAD to go in. It was pretty cold, but they had lots of fun.

That's all for the last half of 2018. I'm excited for the new year and what God is going to do around me and in me. Choosing JOY, not living or parenting out of fear, following hard after God, loving my husband and children as they need are just some of my goals for 2019. Here we go!