Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Here's what happened yesterday shortly after dinner:

Tom and the kids were around the island eating sweet pickles just pulled from the refrigerator.

Ting-a-ling-a-ling.  Ting-a-ling-a-ling. 

It's...(wait for it)...

"The ICE CREAM man!!!!"

Serious BIG eyes look excitedly from one person to the next.  Tom's being the biggest.

Tom grabs his wallet and races the kids to the door.

Thankfully Jon had just finished nursing or else he would have had to been detached.

By the time I made it to the door and out to the street, I see Tom, Livvy and Sammy (Ben didn't have shoes on so he was pussy-footing his way over the rocks) halfway down the road running after Archuleta's Ice Cream Truck waving wildly.  Unfortunately, the driver didn't check his rear-view mirror.

They turned around running back to me yelling, "Mom, grab the keys!"

So I went back inside, grabbed the keys, and met them at the van with baby Jon in my arms.

We all piled into the van and headed off down the road.

We met up with Mr Archuleta himself on the next street over and order the goods - chocolate ice cream sandwich for Tom, Dora head for Livvy, Spiderman head for Sammy and Ben, and a Chaco Taco for me.

YUUUMMMMY! The sweet taste of success!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Boys, Boys, Boys

They go by the names Sammy, Ben, Jonathan, Andrew, Timmy and, of course, Tom. 

Last Sunday night our friends the Finney's dropped off two of their boys, Andrew and Timmy (number five and six in a family of six boys and three girls), for us to watch for the week.  Suzanne and the two eldest boys were at our church's youth camp and Lester was working out of town.

Our time of watching them just happened to coincide with Livvy's "Oma Camp" - a time for Oma (my mom) to have with the two oldest girl cousins to do fun crafty, girl things.  Monday morning we met my mom in Camp Verde (about an hour for each of us to drive) to give her Livvy for most of the week.  Sammy will have "Oma Camp" in a couple of weeks for the two oldest boy cousins.

As soon as we came home from dropping Livvy off, the boys were off. They road their bikes, dug in the sand box, hunted rabbits, ran through the sprinklers, wrestled, they... they were very active, and very dirty.  Livvy is a very active girl and she can get dirty too, but somehow it was different...or maybe it was just sheer numbers.

Without Livvy in the house, there was a lot of testosterone.  I was sorely outnumbered six to one.  I hadn't realized how different all-boy-directed play would be.  There was no, "You're dad and I'm..."  It was, "I'm the bad guy and I'm gonna..."  Instead of playing outside for a time and then coming inside to quietly look at books, color, play on the computer, the boys were always on the go.

To keep them busy and their dirty little bodies out of the house, I tried to come up with energy releasing activities everyday.

After dinner on Monday, we all went on a bike ride.  Tom pulled Ben in the bike trailer and I wore Jonathan in my Pikkolo while the other three road their own bikes.  Since Andrew and Timmy have bigger bikes, Sammy lagged behind them.  I decided I would hang with him, develop some leadership skills in him by letting him lead me through the thick cinders and dirt. 

Once he knew that mom was following him, he became "the man".  "Mom, follow me over here," "Mom, now come this way," "Hey mom, there's dirt ahead, it'll be easier,"  "Now, Mom, you can ride where ever you want".  The dialogue was constant.  I couldn't help but smile and chuckle to myself.  I loved how he stepped up and took charge.

Tuesday we went with my friend Sara and her four girls to Pump House Wash.  After a short hike we came to a place where the trail crosses the creek - a perfect place for kids to play.  We laid out the picnic blanket and let the kids loose.  They all had a blast splashing in the water and hunting craw-dads. 

Wednesday morning we stayed home and got a list of chores done.  As soon as they finished, they disappeared outside.  I took the opportunity to sweep and vacuum the floors.  As soon as I was done though, little dirty boys started appearing back in the house - I don't know why I bothered to clean at all.

After lunch and rest time we hiked part of Fatman's Loop.  They had fun hiking, searching for caves and hunting lizards.  As an incentive for no whining, I promised them ice cream when we were done.  TCBY has $1 waffle cones on Wednesdays, so after our hike we headed over there to get a nice cold treat.

On Thursday morning we headed back down to Camp Verde to pick up Livvy.  She had had a wonderful time!  Instead of going home for lunch, we headed over to my friend Amanda's house (she's also the boy's aunt).  They all had fun playing with friends and cousins, getting her house dirty :), and hunting bugs (notice a theme.  Because Timmy kept wanting to kill things for the sake of killing them, we had to create a rule that if he kills something, he had to eat it).

Even though Friday ended up being very windy, we headed to Lake Mary (just 30 minutes from our house) to meet up with Amanda and her kids again.  They played on the dock and on the waters edge for hours.

Here they are in order of oldest to youngest, minus the two babies, Natalie (6 months) and Jonathan (2.5 months).
Andrew (8)
Hannah (7)

Timmy (6.5)

Livvy (6.5)
Isaac (5)
Sammy (4.5)
Nathan (3)
Ben (almost 3)
That night Lester came and picked up Andrew and Timmy.  Even though they were great kids, never really whined or complained, did what they were told most of the time, it was nice to be down to just our 4 kids, especially with the one girl who tends to take charge and mellow things out just a bit.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

School Room

It's finished!  Well, not 100%, but it's finished enough that I've started the move.

Before I show you the good stuff, let's do a short recap: 
My last post regarding the house ended with painting the walls and laying down the padding for the laminate flooring.  As soon as the padding was down, Tom started working on the flooring.  It seemed to go fairly smoothly and easily, which is nice for a change.

Once that was installed Tom got to work on my ( :o} ) built-in bookshelf (it's disguising the hole that the existing closet used to be).  Well, to say that he got to work on it isn't quite right.  His mind went to work on it.  There was a lot of figuring, measuring, re-figuring and remeasuring to make sure that all of my school stuff fit and was properly supported.  It's funny, but we went around and measured all of the kid's workbooks, binders, plastic bins, etc. to make sure that everything would have a home.

It took several trips to Home Depot and several Saturdays, but here's the building and painting of the bookshelf:

And walla (sp?)...isn't it beeaauutiful?!

 And here's what I did today, I had so much fun:

I'm sure I'll be moving things around for quite some time.  For those of you who know me, you know that I love the process of getting organized.  I love being organized.  I don't necessarily always stay organized, but I function so much better when everything has a home and it's home is functional.

Here's the one other area that I've been able to work on so far - the reading nook:

I need two little bean bag chairs to go right under the window.

Well, there you have it.  Now all I need is a table, some chairs, and...some time to get organized :).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jonathan 2 Months Old

Here he is, 2 months already.  He loves to smile and coo.  He loves to be held and talked to.  He is also quite content to lay on  the floor and stare at the ceiling.  He's a pretty perfect little baby!


Tom has lots of friends in his home-town of Ashland, OH.  Or better yet, Tom has lots of friends.  Most of them are guys (and now their families) that he discipled years ago.  They call him Sow (hence, why I'm "sowswife").

One of those friends is Dan Donatini, his wife Julie and their three girls, Mya, Sara, and Chloe.  Through FB we learned that they were heading out west to CA on their first stop while Dan is a traveling PT for 15 months (something that we're very interested in doing, and now, just a little bit jealous of the adventure God has for them).  Thanks to FB and e-mail we were able to get in touch with them and asked them to swing by Flagstaff on their way out. 

After driving a crazy amount of hours, they arrived in Flagstaff Sunday night.  Even though they were exhausted, we stayed up late talking until midnight at least (something we repeated the next night as well).  It was a sweet time of catching up and fellowshipping. 

Monday we all went to the Grand Canyon.  We hadn't been since 2004.  We had a very nice time seeing "the big hole in the ground" and riding the bus - the kids favorite thing to do.  Besides those moments of fear when a kid got too close to the edge, it was a very fun and relaxing time.

On Tuesday, Tom worked a half-day and we went down to Slide Rock in Sedona.  The men had to relive the glory days by jumping off of perfectly good rocks.  Again, besides fighting those fearful thoughts that some kid would slide off some ledge or a husband would land on rock instead of water, we had a great time soaking up the sun, splashing in the water and cheering on the husbands as they jumped, "Go Daddy!  Go!" 
Total rabbit trail - I've been writing a blog in my head for a year or so...someday I'll actually type it out.  Until the, all I can say is that I resist fear.  Look up "fear" in the Bible and you will find verse after verse that we are to "fear God", not men, not life, and certainly not death.  It's a lot easier said than done, I realize that.  I have fears that easily fly around my heart and head, but I try not to give them a place to land.  Anyway, there's so much more that I want to say on that subject, but I'm supposed to be blogging on something else.

Ah yes, the beautiful red rocks of Sedona.
Rock-throwing boys.
The hunky honey and pretending-to-be-camera-shy Livvy.
Mya and Sara.
Julie and Chloe.
Dan performing a 360 degree tuck.
Tom demonstrating a spiralling flip.

I'm sure the men would want me to say that the jumps pictured above was from a small cliff.  The other jump was a 40+ foot jump from under the bridge.  Now that's the real thing.

Check out Julie's blog for more pictures, read her side of the story, and follow them on their adventures.  She pays us an undeserved compliment, which all I can say is that we're trying and we're getting better.

Donatini's - It was great to hang out with you!  We're so excited for you! Let's do it again. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quotable Quotes

For awhile now I've made it a point of writing down cute things the kids say or things that I've read or heard that I want to remember.  The quote is scribbled down on what ever paper(s) I can find in my purse, diaper bag, or in my journal.  The idea is that I'd write it down and then blog about it or add it to some kid's baby book.  Once I write them on that piece of paper, however, the quote is almost immediately gone - my brain must know that the memory is now safely written elsewhere and it is no longer responsible for keeping it.  That's a good thing.  The bad thing is that I forget that I wrote it down at all until months later when I'm rummaging around my purse looking for who knows what and find that random scrap of paper.

So, here I am with a small pile of random papers in front of me with cute, interesting, or encouraging things that I've heard or read in the last year.  Here they are in no particular order:

John Wesley regarding money:
"Gain as much as you can, save as much as you can, so you can give as much as you can."

Sammy praying:
"Jesus, Thank you that Mr Cross gets better, but if he goes to heaven than he gets to see Noah first."

Ben praying:
"Dod, Sank you Desus died on tross..."

"He is risen.  He is risen indeed!"

Livvy to Sammy:
"You're doing what Daddy does.  He says, 'Yeh, that's nice,' but he's really not looking."

"God's not busy.  He's just waiting for His children."

Sammy (3-15-11)
"Yeah, mommy can't move the couch 'cause we don't want another dead baby."

"Rid me of myself, Lord I lay me down."

"Hey Mom.  All the kids are wearing tennies.  I bet God has the biggest tennies of all."

"Mom, you're supposed to be slow to get angry."

"No throw Desus down laundy choot.  No puke at Desus."

"No.  We have 4 boys."

Sammy & me:
"Mommy.  Are their playgrounds in heaven?"
"I don't know, maybe.  The Bible doesn't say anything about playgrounds.  But it does say that the streets are paved with gold and that Jesus went there ahead of us to prepare mansions for us."
"Wow!  That'd be da best I 'py game ever!  'I 'py somesing gold.'  Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Ben & me:
"Where's Desus?  Me no see Him."
"He's in heaven.  But God is everywhere.  He sees and hears everything we say and do."
"Me no see Him."
"Nope.  We can't see Him."
"Me no like Desus."
"He heard that."

"Mom.  Can I hold baby?  He's so stinkin' cute."

"How old is Noah?"
"Well...  He went to heaven 1 year ago."
"No.  I mean how old is he?"
"What do you mean?"
"Maybe God can tell you you're adult and than you are.  Or that you're 10 and you are."

Me every night as I put the kids to bed:
"Tomorrow is...  We're doing...  and we'll have fun because we're together."


I'm sure I'll do this again.  There's bound to be more cute things that I write down and I'm sure to find more little pieces of paper floating around somewhere.