Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wrapping Up

We are wrapping up our trip to Ohio. Bob caught a hop back to Andrews AFB on Wednesday (big thanks to Ed for hanging around his office to meet Bob there and bring him back home). Before we left home, we called the passenger terminal, and there were flights to Andrews about every day. After we got here, the flights just sort of dried up! We were thinking that he'd fly home Monday or Tuesday, but there were no flights. It actually was really nice to have Bob stay for so long. We really got to relax! We had our double date, and we also would go hit the local hotspots after the kids went down--you know, Walmart, Meijers, etc. We're wild like that. Bob was also able to play a lot of games with the boys, go on walks to the playground, and do things like that.

We went back over to Amy's one evening, and we also had some playdates here. Tami, who used to live with my parents and was also a friend from high school, came over with her 3 kids on Monday. Her kids line up almost exactly in age with Caleb, Jonathan, and Anna (she has 2 boys and a Hannah!). Amy and Jacob came over on Tuesday, and on Wednesday afternoon, 2 of the Turkish women Mom works with came with their little girls. One girl was about Anna's age, and one girl was born in December. Anna is just not sure what to do with little girls that are her age and walk around! She's got the baby thing figured out--no threat there. But she is quite a bit more taken aback by ones who move around and play with the same toys she likes, LOL. We moms had a good time visiting. They were amazed that I just lay my kids down and don't rock or nurse them to sleep, so we had some discussion about that.

I was amazed at Azra, the girl who is Anna's age--she was playing, and then she came over to her mom and said something. Immediately the mom took her to the bathroom. When she came back, she told us that Azra was potty-training. I was so impressed! She obviously could feel the urge, since she told her mom! My boys were so clueless about potty things until . . . well, until close to 3, LOL. I've heard girls are easier to train. I can only hope! Anna so far has shown no sign that she has any clue what she's doing though. I thought I'd be doing well if she was trained b y 2 1/2!

Last night I met Amy at her mom's house, and we all scrapbooked together. When I lived here, we would do this about once a month. Now you can see why I was so caught up when we left, and why I am so behind now! I worked on pages from the summer of 2005--Nathan's 8th birthday, 4th of July downtown, our medieval feast, a trip to Rose's house on the lake, and our trip to Virginia Beach. Only 2 years behind! It was so fun eating pizza and talking. Grandma and Grandpa watched the kids, and Grace cooperated beautifully again with her bottle. A great way to end a wonderful trip!

The vacation isn't actually over however. Tomorrow we all (Grandma and Granda too) drive to Pennsylvania, to White Sulphur Springs, for the Wright-Patterson AFB OCF retreat. We'll be there until Monday, when we'll drive back to D.C. Bob will drive up tomorrow and meet us there, and then we'll caravan back home. So we'll be having fun riding horses, square dancing, listening to interesting speakers, making smores, and eating good food that I don't have to cook!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Funny Story From Last Night

We wandered through Books and Co. on our double date last night as we tried to make room for dessert after our big meal. Right after we walked in, Bob picked up a "Calculus For Dummies" book, which he leafed through as we walked around. On the other side of the store, one of a group of girls asked Bob where the educational books were, because she was looking for a book on anatomy. "Oh", I pipe up, "I know I saw Grey's Anatomy books over there", pointing by where we came in. The girl laughed and said rather dismissively, "Well, I really don't think those would help me with my biology class."

I was pretty puzzled--umm, hello, you said "anatomy", and that is THE classic anatomy text--until Bob said, "You know, I think she thought you meant a book about the TV show 'Grey's Anatomy'." Yeah . . . it all makes sense now. I hope she's not planning on becoming a doctor, LOL!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Double Date!

Tonight Bob and I took advantage of the free babysitting here at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and we went on a double date with Amy and Jason. We went to "The Greene", which is one of those ritzy new shopping concepts--an outdoor mall/town experience. In reality, it is a fake downtown, which is funny because while it thrives, downtown Dayton goes to pot. Bob asked if there was "faux crime" as well, LOL.

We ate at a Mongolian barbeque place, which was quite tasty. I don't think I've eaten Mongolian barbeque since we were in Colorado before kids! I picked out beef for my meat, and a pile of veggies, and I mixed an Asian teriyaki-type sauce. It was yummy!

We were pretty stuffed after we were done, so we walked around for awhile before going to Coldstone Creamery for dessert. The Greene is a very pleasant place for walking, and it did seem like a nice, friendly town, albeit one very crowded with people. It turned out that this weekend was the one year anniversary of the Greene, so that explained the crowds. It did mean that Coldstone Creamery was giving out coupons for $1 off as well as providing free waffle bowls or cones, so we did quite well for dessert. Bob and I split some sort of chocolate/peanut butter cup creation that was delicious. We ate our ice cream while listening to a band out by the fountain. Although at the end of their set, they played one of Bob's favorites, "Should I Stay or Should I go", by the Clash, he refrained from singing along.

So it was a fun evening, and the best part of it was that Grace drained her bottle with no problems for Grandma! Yay, Grace! Of course, she also totally blew out her diaper all over Grandma, so that was not so good. Not so good for Grandma anyways. For me, relaxing with my best friend and our hubbies, eating good food, and not worrying about diapers, bottles, nrsing, etc., it was just fine, LOL.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Creation Museum

We are having a great time here in Ohio, although it has been HOT and humid. Schools are actually closed today because the heat index is so high, and most of the buildings don't have air conditioning.

On Wednesday we took a trip to the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum. It's on the Kentucky side of Cincinati, close to the airport, and it took a little over an hour to get there. It was pricy, but it was very well-done, and we were quite impressed. Adults are $19.95 (there was a $2 off coupon though), and kids 5-12 were $9.95. Bob got in free because he was active-duty military (yay!).

The framework of the museum is the "7 C's": Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation. When you first walk in, you see a pool with fish and turtles in it, and above you, there are animated models of dinosaurs alongside children. Jonathan was pretty impressed by the moving dinosaurs, LOL.

The first exhibit deals with differing worldviews, and it shows 2 paleontologists owrking on a dinosaur dig. A video shows the 2 men talking. One man is a creationist, and he explains that he and his colleague have the same facts in front of them, but they just interpret those facts differently because they begin with idfferent assumptions. The evolutionist gives his take on the dinosaur fossils--several million years old, died of starvation maybe, laid there for awhile and became fossilized, etc. Then the creationist gives his interpretation--several thousabd years old, was caught in a flood and fossiled, and so on. There is no condemnation of the evolutionistic viewpoint, just a pointing out that it is not based on the Bible. It was very well-done. The next part of the museum contrasts man's view with what the Bible says on various issues, like how man came about, and how animal diversity happened.

Then you wind around through an exhibit on God's word, and how it came to us. Then there is a part on the Scopes trial, which is where evolution was really introduced into our society. The consequences of that are in the next part, Graffitti Alley, where it is dark and trashy, like a New York back alley. On the walls are newspaper headlines about gay rights, abortion, horrible crimes, and other bad things in modern life. Around the corner is how the church has bought into the evolutionary culture, compromising the truth of theBible so that people really don't have a strong foundation for their faith and leading to problems within the church just like outside of it.

Then you go into a theater where you go back to the beginning by watching a video on the 6 days of creation. The next room has many beautiful pictures and videos running simultaneously on things like common design features in creation, the similarities of DNA and language, and the solar system. Then you walk through a large room that is a big representation of the Garden of Eden. There are many plants, realistic animal models, and Adam and Eve in various scenarios (naming the animals, Adam receiving Eve, them both in a waterfall with a big serpant in a tree overhead). There is next a series of dioramas detailing the Fall, and more scenes from after the Fall showing the effects, like Cain's murder of Abel.

The next big part is a room showing Noah building the ark. The display on the ark was so interesting, with small models of what the ark might have looked like, and plaques detailing early middle-eastern shipbuilding techniques that Noah might have used. After walking through what looked like the inside of the ark, with several video presentations, the next room includes information on how small-scale catastrophes, such a floods and volcanic eruptions, have caused small-scale geographic disturbances in brief amounts of time, like canyons and rock stratas. This room had lots of videos as well, and they all were very well-done and informative.

There was an exhibit on the confusion that followed the Flood, including the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel. The tour ended up with a mive called "The Last Adam", which finished the last 3 "C's", Christ, Cross, and Consummation. This was a very powerful video where "Mary" talks about how when she was growing up, her father made her whole family watch the lamb be sacrificed because he wanted them all to know what a heavy price sin required. She ends by saying that another name for her son was"the Lamb". The centurion who watched over Jesus' crucificion also told what he saw in the video. It was very moving.

There was also a "Hall of Dinosaurs", where they had lots of dinosaur skeletons displayed, but I was nursing and didn't go in there. I did watch an interesting video on dragons and other mythical beasts while nursing, LOL. There was a planetarium where we would have loved to see a show, but again, it was too hard with all the little ones. Outside they have a botanical garden, but it was so hot we had absolutely no inclination to walk around there at all! Obviously we'll have to go back again when all the kids are older, and when it's not so hot.

Nathan and luke really got a lot out of the museum, so it was well worth it for them. I think it really connected the dots about why Jesus really had to come in a very visual way. Caleb and Jonathan definitely enjoyed the Garden of Eden room, as well as all the moving dinosaur models the best.

I was worried that the museum would be chintzy and not very professionally done, but that was not the case at all. All the exhibits were not only very thought-provoking, but also well-constructed. I definitely recommend spending a day there!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


We made it safely to Ohio on Sunday, and we hada really good trip. The weather was quite pleasant, and the car was not noisy, thanks to our new seating arrangement. Here's how it looked:

(driver) (passenger)
Grace Caleb Nathan
Jonathan Luke Anna

This way, Caleb was able to keep putting Grace's pacifier in, and he did an outstanding job of keeping her quiet. Kudos to Caleb!! Luke was charged with keeping Anna occupied, and he had free rein to shovel food at her, even if it wasn't an officially designated snack time. Her snack bag had teddy grahams, animal crackers, and toddler fruit snacks, and he just kept feeding them to her.

With all the quiet in the van, we were able to listen to a book on CD. This trip's selection was The Swiss Family Robinson. It is a very exciting book, so it certainly kept our attention. It is also unwittingly a hilarious book in that it was evidently written by a man long ago who had read many encyclopedias on various plant and animal life, and visited some zoos perhaps, but had no real understanding of animal habitats. So, the Robinsons met on their tropical paradise flamengoes . . . and penguins . . . and porcupines . . . and kangaroos . . .and buffalo . . . and onagers . . . and trout . . . and salmon . . . and all sorts of other animals, birds, fish, and plant life from vastly different climates and parts of the world. And of course they immediately shoot and kill whatever weird animal they have found so that they can identify it. No real worries about preservation, LOL. So this is not a book that would be written today, that's for sure, but we are enjoying it tremendously. I love how the father is always mindful to thank God for his goodness and mercy to them, and I like how the father makes sure his sons talk nicely to each other, aren't lazy, and in other ways demonstrate good character qualities. Again, not a book that would be written today!

Yesterday we spent the day over at Amy's house. The boys played around in the water outside, and fortunately the rain held off until they were done out there! Anna once again was terrified of their fat old cat, Pumpkin. I'm ready for her to be out of this stage, LOL. It was a fun day, though. Amy made a delicious chicken salad for lunch, and baked ziti for dinner, so we ate well too!

Today Bob is taking the boys bowling at Wright-Pat. Nathan has been dying to do this. This morning Bob had an incredible brain wave, wondering if we could get Nathan's ID card here, instead of trekking all the way to Bolling AFB. We called and Bob will take him on Thursday. Yay! How convenient! That's my man--always thinking!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Reading Assignment

We are getting ready to drive to Ohio on Sunday, and I am busily packing and doing loads of laundry. Once we get there, I am sure blogging will be light. With that in mind, I'm leaving you with an article to read.

Our church is a 9 Marks church , and I was poking around on their website a few days ago. Our pastor went to a conference in July, and he wrote a travelogue about it. Mike has always reminded me of my brother Dan, and this article sounded to me just like something Dan would write! So all of you who know my brother (and those who don't--feel free too, LOL), read this travelogue and tell me if you think I'm right.

Update on the Bottle War

Wednesday evening, for the feeding right after dinner, I tried giving Grace a bottle with the new silicone nipples. That did not go over well either, and she put up quite a fuss. She was mad even at the milk that just dribbled in her mouth! Finally she ended up drinking about 2 ounces, but only if I was walking around with her facing out from me. If I was sitting or in any sort of ocmfortable, supported position, she would just fuss.

Last night we tried again. This time Bob was home, so he did the honors. She fussed around for awhile and wouldn't take it, but finally she just sort of gave in and drained the bottle (less than 2 ounces--I figured why waste the breastmilk?!). So that was a surprise! I think that, depending on when she needs to eat, we might take a bottle to Bible study. This will be the true test of whether she has truely given in, or just retreated last night to regroup, LOL.

**Update** So before Bible study, Bob did give her a bottle. She drunk it right down, 4 ounces, with NO fussing. Praise the Lord! I am hopeful that she has just conceded this battle. We'll see when we go to Ohio I guess . . .

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not Giving In

Last night my ladies' Bible study had dinner out. We went to a new Italian restaurant and had a great time. As we were getting up to leave about 9:00, my phone rang. It was Bob, saying that Grace was absolutely refusing to take her bottle. Grrrrrrrrrr. She was taking a bottle just fine for the first 2 months. Three weeks ago was the last time I was at Bible study, and she also refused it then. My mom was here, and she tried it first. Then Bob took over, with the same results. NOOOOOO! I can not have a baby who refuses the bottle! I've never had one before, and I don't want one now!

After school today we went to Walmart. I bought some silicone nipples. I have a feeling that is just a desperate attempt, but who knows, maybe her discriminating palate will accept these new nipples, as opposed to those common latex nipples every other child in my family has been happy to suck.

You know, I used to worry that someone would reject the bottle, because I've certainly heard of it happening to others. But when even Luke, who was a more particular baby, had no troubles with it, I relaxed and figured we just skipped out on that problem. Allergies--yes; fake nipple rejection--no.

But I am not giving up. Now, somewhere in my schedule, I just have to carve out a time every day to fight with a crying baby by giving her a bottle even though she clearly doesn't want it and it is tons faster to just nurse. Easy! I really don't want to give up though. I hate the trapped feeling that I can never be gone for a feeding. That Bob can never put all the kids down and I come home to a quiet house. That I have to accomplish anything I need to do by myself, away from the house, in a 2 1/2 hour window.

Off to sterilize the new nipples . . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

High School Memories

I didn't mention this in my last post, but Johanna and I went to the same high school, good old Dayton Christian. In fact, we had many classes together, and we also ran track together! Seeing her always reminds me of high school (in a good way, LOL!), and so when I saw that Dy had these high school questions on her blog, I decided to steal them.

1. Who was your best friend? My best friend was, and still is, Amy. We carpooled together from Xenia, we cheered together, and we were super-duper lab partners. And then we went on to be roommates (and lab partners) at Cedarville! People warned us not to room with a best friend. We both thought about it, and then promptly paid no more attention to those people! It worked out great! We knew we were wired the same way and would have no troubles getting along. Still haven't! I can't wait to see her again on Monday!!

2. Did you play any sports? I was a varsity cheerleader, and I also ran track.

3. What kind of car did you drive? 198o-something VW diesel Rabbit whose name was Wally. He was loud car, but he was faithful. He reached about 250,000 miles, thanks to my dad's mechanical skills, before finally being put out to pasture. People could hear me coming from blocks away, and many people could run as fast as he would go!

4. It’s Friday night. Where were you? Bible study, I guess. I can't really remember. Obviously nowhere too exciting. I think my high school boyfriend, Craig, and I would go out some on Fridays.

5. Were you a party animal? Not in the slightest.

6. Were you considered a flirt? No, not that either, LOL. I was the girl who wrecked the grade curve, although I did defy stereotype by also being a cheerleader. But I was not really a flirt.

7. Were you in the band, orchestra or choir? Yes, I played first section clarinet since 5th grade.

8. Were you a nerd? Sure.

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled? No. In fact, I never even had detention. I never even used up all my allotted tardies each quarter. I think the number was 3, which for the longest time I thought meant total, instead of per class. I never even got 3 total. It wasn't until I started having kids that I began running late all the time!

10. Can you sing the fight song? I don't think we had one. Or if we did, I didn't know it, LOL.

11. Who was your favorite teacher? Probably Mr. Minor, my chemistry/physics teacher. He was such a godly and nice man. I also liked my math teachers, Mrs. Bragg and Mrs. Brandt.

12. What was your school mascot? The Crusader, although I read that it changed a few years ago.

13. Did you go to the Prom? Yes, although it was called "Junior/Senior" and it did not involve dancing (because a lot of denominations thought dancing was sinful, so there just wasn't any).

14. If you could go back, would you? Well, in some ways it is tempting because I would like to correct a lot of doofy things I did and said. But I am quite glad to have gotten through it, and I know the Lord used all the experiences I had to make me who I am now. And I like me now a lot better than the high school me!

15. What do you remember most about graduation? I had to give a speech because I was "total person" award winner. This is taken from Luke 2:52, where Jesus grew in "wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man", so the idea was someone who was well-rounded. I detest giving speeches, and I was quite nervous.

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day? Did we even have one? I'm not remembering anything, so if we did, I didn't participate.

17. Did you have a job your senior year? No.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? The cafeteria. We weren't allowed to go anywhere else. DC was downtown, in a sort of rougher neighborhood.

19. Have you gained weight since then? LOL, yes. 10 pounds over the next 6 years, and then 10 more pounds stuck after I had Jonathan. (Grrrr) And right now is not really a good time to ask this, since I am still dealing with 15 (gasp) pounds left over from Grace. Those WILL go away, however *threatening look at belly*.

20. What did you do after graduation? Went off to Cedarville. Actually, I met Bob within a few days of graduation from high school. He had just gotten stationed at Wright-Pat to get his master's degree. He was dating someone seriously from his last assignment, and I started dating a lieutenant in our singles OCF Bible study that summer. Neither of us was remotely interested in each other!

21. What year did you graduate? 1991

22. Who was your Senior Prom Date? Justin . . . someone. Hmmm, his name will come to me. He was short, a junior, and he ended up marrying Katrina N. in our class. A funny guy though, and a good friend, especially after Craig and I broke up (Craig is who I went to Jr/Sr with my junior year).

23. Are you going/did you go to your 10 year reunion? I did; in fact, Amy and I planned it. It was fun! Of course, we were stationed in Ohio back then. I'll probably try to go to our 20th too.

Out With A Bang

We are packing a lot into the last few weeks of summer. The boys had a tremendously wonderful time at Idlewild on Saturday. They went on the big rides, "all the ones we never go on" ([when you are with us] was clearly implied, LOL). Even Jonathan rode a lot of these rides, although Bob said there was an interesting phenomenom going on there. Jonathan rode most of the rides and regretted it many times (culminating in wild panic in the middle of the roller coaster ride). Caleb sat out several of the rides, although afterwards he wished he had gone. LOL! Idlewild is actually a great amusement park for kids because the rides (even the "big" rides) are normal, not the terrorizing "people just died on this last week" type rides that you seem to find most of the time in your big amusement parks. So really I was not alarmed to hear that my precious babies were riding them or anything, LOL. They didn't get to the hotel until close to 10:00. At that time, I was happily down in my cool basement, scrapbooking and watching HGTV in blissful peace and quiet. Well, you know, we can't all have those thrilling excitement-filled weekends!

Sunday they went to church, and then over to Bob's brother's house. The kids swam in the pool and played on the trampoline with their cousins. They got back here about 9:00, tanned (only Jonathan got a bit burned) and tired, but bursting full of stories about what fun they had. I've still listening to them!

Yesterday we went over to Johanna's house. Nathan calls it "the coolest house in the world". For one thing, her boys have a huge Lego collection, so that built up massive cool points right off the bat. They also have 4.6 acres, both wooded and cleared areas, a boy's dream. Nathan and Luke played football with Russ and Zeke, and then they all played in the 2-story treehouse. They topped that off by swimming awhile in their lovely in-ground pool with a diving board. So now maybe you can see why Nathan was so impressed, LOL!

The only problem was that they have 5 dogs, including an adorable little puppy and an ancient husky. Anna was terrified of each and every one, no matter how unthreatening they were, or even how near they were. One dog was outside, looking in the windows, and you would have thought he was on top of Anna, for how loudly she cried and how she tried to shimmy up my leg like it was a tree trunk. Good grief. Hopefully this stage will pass soon for Anna, since animals are not the only thing she acts this way for. She also is terrified of women who cover (like Muslims), and since we live in a very multi-cultural city, this can make a simple trip to Walmart quite embarrassing and humiliating.

Anyhow, it was such a fun day, and we're hoping we can do it again before the weather turns cold. Of course, with how hot it's been recently, it's hard to even fathom when that might happen!

Sunday we leave to drive back to Ohio for 2 weeks. Bob is going to drive out with us, and then he may or may not catch a hop back to Andrews, depending on what the planes are doing. At any rate, we'll drive to White Sulphur Spring for the Wright-Pat OCF retreat Labor Day weekend, and then home that Monday. THEN school will officially start, along with soccer, co-op, and all the other things we have going on! Summer will truly be over. But first . . . a visit with family and friends.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Just Us Girls

This morning at 8:20, all the testosterone in the house left.

Bob took the boys to a small amusement park not too far from his parents' house in PA. The company Bob's dad retired from has an annual picnic at Idlewild, and today was the big day. We didn't go last year because of the new baby, and I certainly wasn't going to go this year with essentially 2 babies, so Bob took the boys by himself. Pretty much all of Bob's siblings and their families are there as well, so the boys should have a lot of fun.

As for me . . . well, I'm trying to have fun here, sigh . . . LOL!!! Woo-hoo! Just me and the girls!! First off, I had my friend Christine and her 1 month old baby over for lunch. Her husband is out of town for the first time since the baby came, and she wanted to do something other than just sit at home and stare at her 4 aparment walls. We all just hung out the whole afternoon, talking, looking at pictures, nursing. It was fun! It was so nice to be able to visit without almost constant interruptions from needy little boys, LOL.

For lunch we had chicken salad with crescent rolls, cantaloupe, and I made gingerbread wtih lemon sauce for dessert. Yum! And the best part was . . . I made one tube of crescent rolls. I made a small bowl of chicken salad. I cut up half a cantaloupe. I did not double my ginger bread recipe. AND I HAD LEFT-OVERS! Wow! It's hard to remember what it's like to cook for something other than the swarm of locusts I usually feed.

I'm trying not to have high expectations about getting a lot done this weekend. Last time I did, when Bob took the little boys away for the weekend back in June, I ended up with mastitis and spent the whole weekend on the couch. So that was disappointing. I guess by virtue of the fact that I am not sick, this weekend is already a great success!

In June, I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish--backing up my pictures onto a CD, cleaning out the storage room, going through pictures and updating the boys' scrapbooks, etc. But since Grace has been pretty cooperative lately, I've been able to do those things anyway, so I don't feel like I have a list hanging over my head. The one thing I would like to get done is Nathan's scrapbook. Then I would be all caught up, except for starting Anna's.

You know, it really isn't a hardship for me to be left home. I'm not a big fan of hot, crowded amusement parks even when I'm not nursing. It's been so nice just to hang out today. And tomorrow--I'll only have to get 2 other people ready for church! Or maybe we'll just take the day off! I haven't decided! (Our pastor is out of town on his vacation, so I know I won't be missing one of his sermons.) Ahh, it's like a mini-vacation, except I get to sleep in my own bed instead of in a hotel room with 7 other people.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Odds and Ends

1. Bob is furiously working on the take-home final for the class he's been taking. It's due Wednesday. Only one class left for the certification after he's done with this one!

2. I think I solved the mystery of Anna's fever last week--Fifth disease. She had the classic rash starting on Friday. She is clearly feeling better this week. Apparently you are contagious for 4-14 days before the rash, and once the rash comes, you aren't contagious anymore. Sorry, Emily! You were exposed. It's a pretty common virus, and I think all my other kids have had it. The fever is the worst of it, so it's not a bad one, as viruses go.

3. "Hershey's All Natural Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate--60% Cacao" is really, really terrible. Don't get it. Ghiradelli dark chocolate is good. Trader Joe's is great. Hershey's--not so much. It is in a shiny, fancy bag, but it has a terrible aftertaste, and it's not very creamy at all. Blech. I do like their Special Dark, but that's pretty sweet as far as dark chocolate goes. Not the healthy kind, LOL.

4. I finished up Luke's scrapbook for last year. Now I'm on to Nathan's, and then (if I'm really on a roll), I'll start on Anna's. The nice thing is that Grace has been having her last feeding around 8:30 or 9:00, so she's going down when the other kids go down, and then I have some uninterrupted time before I go to bed to work on things.

5. Funny comment of the week: at Walmart, the cashier first asked if Caleb and Jonathan were brothers. They did have matching shirts on. I said yes. Then she asked, "Do you make a lot of money doing this?" and she sort of nodded over to the kids. I was confused ("Shopping at Walmart? No, I spend money here, LOL"), and so then she said, "Daycare--do you make a lot of money doing daycare?" Wow, lots of people ask if they are all mine, or if I do daycare, but no one has just assumed before! Too funny! She was a bit taken aback when I said they were all mine. LOL, she must be friends with my OB and think that any family with more than 2 kids is simply unnatural!

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Eulogy

Today we donated our faithful Pathfinder, so a tow truck came and took it away. As you can see, it had gotten a little smooshed up, through no fault of our own. It really wasn't worth much even without the smooshed hood, so donating it seemed to be the best option. It was a good car for us, and we have a lot of great memories in it!

It was a 92 Nissan Pathfinder, but we bought it the summer of 95, a few months after we moved out to Colorado. We just drove our Mazda 626 out there, which Bob took to work every day, so I was pretty much stuck in our 1 room temporary apartment for that summer while we waited for our house to be finished. Most apartments didn't have air conditioning in C. Springs at that time (maybe they still don't!), and our apartment faced south. On the third floor. With only one window. It was so. very. hot. every afternoon, close to 100 degrees in there. Bob started dropping me off at my grandma and grandpa's house before he left for work. I would take my snack, book, etc., and he would pick me up on his way home. It was fun to spend time with my grandparents (who did have A/C, incidentally), but I did feel a bit like I was at day care, LOL!

We started looking around for a second car, and we decided that we should get an SUV (why not, everyone else in Colorado had one). We looked at Toyota 4-Runners, but we decided they were too expensive. We bought our Pathfinder from a guy who was coming off a lease, and I think we got a fairly good deal on it. Many times through the years have we wished we spent the extra money and gotten the 4-Runner though--it was just a little bit bigger, and the rear widow rolled down instead of just popping open, like ours did. That would have been very convenient for the dogs! Hind sight and all that . . .

My scrapbook from that time shows lots of trips in the old Pathfinder. We had no kids, and Bob was working this weird shift schedule in Cheyenne Mountain (NORAD), where he was basically on an 8 day week, so his days off didn't usually correlate to the weekends. I wasn't working, so we were free to cruise around the state, and so we did! Right after we moved into our house, my brother Dan and a friend from his college, Dave, came out to visit. I drove them up Pikes Peak in the Pathfinder, which was a bit scary for me. The first of many trips, though! One of my favorite trips was in September, 1996, when we took a camping trip down to Mesa Verde and over to the Black Canyon of the Gunnson on the way back. We had our big dog, Pascal, who was half black lab, and half Alaskan malamute, along on all these trips. What fun!

We got a second dog (Aspen, a Great Pyrenees), and had 2 kids (Nathan and Luke). Bob got a job with more regular hours as the aide to a Navy admiral. We still did a lot of camping though, now with our friends the Ls who had finally followed us out to Colorado! Those were some fun trips, and we loaded the Pathfinder to the gills! Once we rented pop-up trailers from MWR and went trailer camping in October at Rocky Mountain National Park. The Pathfinder did a great job hauling the trailer around!

One of my all-time favorite trips we took in it was up to Telluride in October, 2000. We drove up to the Tomboy mine, which was 11,200 feet above sea level. That was a hair-raising drive, if I have ever had one. The "road" was only one lane, and on one side there is a steep cliff, and on the other side, there is a sheer drop-off of several thousand feet. There were lots of washboard ruts, where the Pathfinder really leaned and bounced. When we got up to the old mine site, we literally had to peel Bob's fingers from the stearing wheel. And then we still had to get back down! I had wanted to visit there ever since reading Tomboy Bride, a book about Harriet Fish Backus, who was a newly-wed there (her husband was an assayist) in the early 1900s. The book was fascinating, and I wanted to have a better understanding of what all she talked about. The drive made it all come to life for me, that's for sure! My only regret, since we went to so much trouble to get there, is that I didn't take many pictures. I think it was just such a nerve-wracking drive, and then I was very anxious about Nathan and Luke, who were scrambling around on the ruins of the town. I didn't want them to fall in some big shaft or down the side of the mountain! The Pathfinder really proved himself on that trip though!

We also traveled across the country several times in the Pathfinder. I think we drove from Colorado to Ohio and back in it 5 times! We were a bit crowded, but it seemed fine at the time. Now that we have driven our Odyssey and Sienna, we look back and wonder how on earth we stood it--that thing was so loud and bumpy! We could hardly hear each other talk, and we bounced around like popcorn!

The Pathfinder was great in the snow and ice. It always gave me a lot of confidence knowing that Bob was driving it when he had to be out in the snow. In fact, he drove it to and from work for awhile last February when we had all that snow and ice here! Guess we'll have to make do next winter, LOL.

After we bought the Odyssey in March 2000, the Pathfinder became the "second car". Then right before we left Ohio, Bob tore a muscle in his calf. Driving the Pathfinder (which was a stick-shift) really hurt his leg, so we bought a used Camry for him to commute in. Then the Pathfinder became the third car, barely used, just taking up space on the street. I would drive it to the library if I went in the evenings without kids, just to keep it driven! We let various people borrow it, so it did serve a useful purpose, but it really won't be any big loss to us. Except in sentimental value! Also, it was weird sitting in it last night and thinking this will probably be the last stick-shift vehicle we own. I don't see anything but minivans in our future for quite a long time, and they just aren't manual! I think driving a stick is a lot of fun . . . ah, those carefree days without kids!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Our Week Without Nathan

We pick up Nathan tomorrow at WSS. We've missed having him around--the family dynamic is different when he's not here. I will say that we've gotten a lot accomplished without him here, although that is mainly because we didn't do school this week.

Monday I worked in our playroom (also known as our formal living room, LOL, but since we have no furniture in there, only toys, it is truly just a playroom). I was able to weed out a lot of junky old stuff. Then I moved a bunch of Little People and one town thing into the family room, switching that stuff for the baby toys that were in a basket in there. Anna never plays with them anymore, but she doesn't like to play in the playroom unless someone is in there with her. So she has been enjoying the Little People in the family room, and it's fun to watch her discover how to push the little cars through the garage door and down the ramp of the car wash.

Tuesday I spent a great deal of time backing up a year's worth of digital pictures on the computer onto a CD. Now I can rest assured that all my precious pictures, including ones of the births of 2 children, won't be lost forever should something happen to our computer! Then Wednesday I made a CD with pictures I wanted to have printed off, and we took that to Sams.

While we waited for those to be ready, we ran over to Walmart and had pictures taken of Caleb and Jonathan. The last time we have individual pictures taken of the boys, Jonathan was 16 months, the same age Anna is now! I thought it was time, at least for Caleb and Jonathan, since they have changed a lot in 3 years. The photographer had a heavy accent, and he really just wasn't all that into getting big smiles from the boys. You know how the good kiddie photographers have a big bag of tricks involving trills, feathers, stuffed animals, etc.? Well, this guy had no tricks. He just stood by the camera and said "Say 'stinky feet'", which since he had an accent, was pretty undecipherable, especially to Caleb and Jonathan. They just looked blankly at him while I hopped around behind him trying to get them to smile. Finally he miraculously hit upon "Say 'Chuck E. Cheese'", which made Caleb's face light up with a huge smile and Jonathan look pleasant because, unbeknowst to him, Bob actually was taking the boys to Chuck E. Cheese that night, as a special treat while Nathan was gone, and Caleb and Jonathan had been EAGERLY anticipating the outing. Caleb did great for his individual pictures too, while Jonathan put back on the solemn formal face he usually has for pictures. You could tell he was trying really hard to smile in a serious way, but he has such a beautiful spontaneous smile, and that just wasn't there on Wednesday. Oh well.

After all that, we went back to Sams to pick up our 147 pictures. After lunch I got busy sorting them into piles for the boys' scrapbooks. I keep an individual scrapbook for each boy, and I add 4 pages each year after their birthday for the previous year. This year I never did Luke's, Jonathan's, or Nathan's, and I need to start one for Anna. Since I am totally behind on our family scrapbooks, this is the one thing I feel like I need to keep up on, so I am a little anal about it, LOL. The thing about digital pictures is that I never get around to having them printed off, so I don't have the pictures I need to do the scrapbooks. Well, not anymore. I sorted everything out and then cropped all of Jonathan's pictures. I was able to finish his pages last night after the kids went to bed, so I really felt satisfactorily accomplished. Now on to Luke's.

Today the big project was starting on the storage room in the basement. For the past 2 years or so, I've just sort of thrown boxes in there, and if I've needed anything out of a box already int here, I would just take it into the middle of the floor, root around in it, and then leave it. How nice! So the room was pretty much a dump of clutter with Lincoln Logs and plastic army men scattered strategically all around the boxes. After lunch the boys went down and cleaned up the army men and Lincoln logs, and then we got started sorting shoes into different boxes by size (we now have 3 large boxes filled with boys' shoes. I should start a store, LOL), and going through boxes. Unfortunately because of time constraints, I couldn't really go through all the boxes very thoroughly, but I was able to combine some boxes. We also turned around our old entertainment center, which was facing the wall, I think to protect the glass doors on it. I decided we might as well put all our old video tapes, including old home videos, on the shelves of this entertainment center. Luke and Caleb were very helpful in putting 3 boxes of old tapes onto the shelves, which cleared out a lot of room. Someday I will really go through these and donate or toss lots of them (NOT the home ones, obviously, LOL), but for right now, it was good to get them out of the middle of the floor. We also threw away several empty boxes for things we no longer own, like the light Anna broke, and an old DVD player. It feels so great to get rid of junk! Grace cooperated very nicely by taking a 3 hour nap, but eventually she did have to be fed, so the rest will have to be left for another day.

We were supposed to go swimming with friends this morning, and so probably none of the storage room cleaning would have been accomplished. Unfortunately, Anna had a fever last night, and she woke up several times in the middle of the night burning up. I had to call our friends this morning and cancel. Today her fever has stayed down so far, but she has been a major El Crabbo all day long, so she is definitely not feeling well. Hopefully she will feel better tomorrow, since that is when we have to drive up to WSS. Please be praying!