Monday, May 31, 2010

Wanna see what I've been up to?

Then check out THIS post!
We love you sweet southern friends!! And we will most definitely do it again!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Big Backyard

So we're slowly learning about this here yard that we have. For example; see that reddish colored tree that's growing up right next to the house?? I was going to rip it out because it's only going to get bigger and it's already growing into the siding. It was planted way too close to the house. But then my dad calls me (after hearing my "rip it out" plans) and informs me that he just saw the same kind of Japanese Red Maple at Lowes for $199.99 Hmmmmm....I guess we're going to keep that $200 tree afterall! And please tell me...what kind of people spend that kind of money on a tree??? Not me! But I do appreciate the fact someone else did, so now I will just enjoy it!

We were delighted to find that four different colors of Iris bloomed this Spring! It's been so fun to be surprised by all the different blooming flowers.

You might remember that we moved in during one of the blizzards we had this winter, so we didn't have a clue what was buried under all that snow! But we're enjoying the surprise!

And look at that tiny little peach!

Unfortunately the peach tree really needs to be moved since it's growing out of the side of a holly tree. Not quite sure what to do about that, but it was fun to discover little baby peaches looking all cute and fuzzy!

I haven't a clue how to take care of rose bushes, but I'm set on figuring it out!

Can you guess what that tree is?? You'll never guess because honestly I didn't know they existed. My dad didn't even know they existed and I consider him a tree expert!
Did you try to guess yet?
It's a Honeysuckle Tree. Not a bush or some vines growing into a tree, but an actual tree. It's way in the back of our yard and I can still smell it when I walk out the door. Love it!

According to our new neighbors the people who used to live in our house had a whole yard crew who worked on their landscaping. Ha!! That explains it! FYI....our yard crew consists of a 30-something mom, a dad who works a lot (so he doesn't really have time for the yard) and a four year old who thankfully thinks pulling weeds is fun!
I've just decided that I'm going to take lots of pictures of it looking pretty right now because after a few years of us living here I'm sure it won't be looking so perfect! I just can't keep up with it. The picture above is the landscaping around the shed. If it were up to me I would have never landscaped around the shed because it's unnecessary and just more work, but since it's there and looking so perfect I'm going to do my best to keep it looking pretty!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Flood

That little orange cone in the road is supposed to warn of what's ahead.
And it doesn't look too bad does it?

Hmmm...that's a corn field, it's not supposed to be a lake.

And look at that rushing river. Oh wait a minute...that's wasn't a river yesterday. That ditch didn't even have a drop of water in it just 24 hours before this picture was taken. That river came out of nowhere!

That's my parent's neighbor's yard.

And that's my parent's house. You would never guess that the basement was totally filled with water. Thankfully the sun came out today and the rain stopped. That definitely helped improve all of our moods. When I got to the house this morning, I was delighted to find that so many things were already dry. All of the pictures that we peeled out of albums and carefully laid out were dry! Yay. And the basement floor was pretty much dry. Fans, dehumidifiers and heaters were getting the job done. The house smells damp and sort of like wet cardboard, but the sun is supposed to be out again tomorrow. Time will tell if the drywall can be saved. I have a feeling it might just need to be ripped out. We already had to ripe out all the carpet. What a mess!
When I picked up Christian from preschool today I asked his preschool teachers how their houses were. They both live in the same area that my parents do. One of his teachers started crying as she told me about the water that poured into her house out of nowhere. She's lived in her house for 26 years and never had a drop of water in her basement. Her neighbor had a rain gauge that measured 9 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. That's an incredible amount of water and it just didn't have anywhere to go. I have a feeling this is probably just a once in a lifetime kind of flash flood, but try telling that to my dad. He has a major case of buyer's remorse. I think the hardest part of all of this is the emotional toll it's taken on my parents. They are having a rough time. So keep praying for them. They definitely need all the encouragement they could get. But overall I would say that today was a better day. Thanks for all your encouraging comments and prayers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bad Day

I think the title to this post might be an understatement.

This is a day I do NOT wish to repeat.

My parents have not even lived in their "new" house for a week yet and they have been having all kinds of issues with it and of course it's all stuff that won't be covered by the home warranty. And then my dad cut his scalp opened on the track for the garage door while he was painting. So he ended up with 8 staples in his head (and the oh-so-compassionate doctor gave him those 8 staples without an ounce of pain medication).

And my dad's tractor stopped working yesterday.

And then they got over 6 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Of course their house couldn't handle that and so their beautiful, finished basement, that they've been using as a staging area for all of their boxes, ended up with 7 inches of water in it.

You can only imagine how devastated they have been. Actually, I think it's a little hard to imagine until you actually experience it yourself. There is a distinct sick feeling that sinks to the pit of your stomach when you see something you love completely destroyed and you know it can't be replaced.

One of the boxes that was completely submurged contained all the children's books we would read at Christmas time when I was little. And I have enjoyed reading those same books to Christian and McKenna over the last several years. I just wanted to sob when I realized that they probably couldn't be saved. All those sweet memories. And so, while we keep telling ourselves that they're only "things" and that we can't take any of it to Heaven with us's still hard. There is such a feeling of loss. And my parents are tired. They've been tired for months. Moving is terribly hard and this just made it almost unbearable for them.

As I was driving to their house (while crying) I just prayed that somehow I would bring encouragement to them. Thankfully McKenna does a pretty good job of that. She loves to hang on her PopPop's leg and say "Much you. Much you, so much." That's her way of saying "I love you so much."

My parents could definitely use some prayer. They feel beaten down and I know that Jesus is the one who can lift them up. I'm praying that the Holy Spirit will minister to them and bring them the encouragement that they need.

On a positive note (because I should say something positive in this post), WE HAVE AWESOME FRIENDS!!! I mean seriously! You know the David and Jonathan kind of friends? Well, I think we have some of those. makes me cry to even think about them. But these are the kind of friends who jump up out of the middle of a church service, go home and grap their pool pump out of the pouring rain, and come to your parent's house to spend 7 hours pumping water out of their basement. They are the kind of friends who don't just speak it, they live it. And we are so thankful for them!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dear Grandparents,

You're probably starting to wonder why you haven't gotten any new portraits of your grandchildren in the last year. Well, it's because they will never both cooperate at the same moment. Someone always seems to be grumpy. I have no idea how people with four or five kids seem to get these lovely family portraits with everyone looking in the same direction and pleasant expressions on all their faces. We can't seem to pull that off. So in the meantime, this picture is just going to have to do.

Friday, May 21, 2010

His Birthday's coming....

Christian told me tonight that he wants to have a HUGE birthday party. He wants all of his friends and all of the people he knows to he can get lots of presents.

Hmmmmm.....Clearly we have some work to do!!

I hate to tell him but I was planning a party that included just two friends.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A McKenna Update

McKenna had a rather eventful doctor's appointment today. She's had a cough for over a month and I thought we had it under control at home, but I knew by the sound of it this week that it was bronchitis. So off to the doctor we went. She'll be better in no time with her new antibiotic and an increase in her breathing treatments. I'm so, so proud of her. She used to HATE breathing treatments and they used to be a family event. I would hold her and daddy would play peek-a-boo behind the door and Christian would bring her toys, just to try to distract her during her treatments. Now she sits in the chair by herself or in my lap and holds the tube up to her face all by herself. She still won't put it in her mouth, but as long as she's breathing it, it doesn't really matter.
We found out that one of McKenna's tubes has come out of her ear drum. I was so disappointed, I almost cried. Those tubes have been the best thing we've ever done. I am so sad that they didn't last longer. I am convinced that they are the reason we barely went to the doctor this winter. The tube is still down in her ear, just not in her ear drum. I think it might be bugging her because I've seen her pull on that ear. The doctor told me not to worry about it, so I'm going to let it go for a week or two, then call the ENT if it doesn't want to come out on it's own. Any advice on that one? Have any of you had a child with a tube in their ear, but not their ear drum?
The other big news it that they referred McKenna to an Ophthalmologist to have her eyes checked. McKenna is extremely sensitive to light and it might just be the way she is or it might be an underlying issue. She has to wear a hat and sunglasses anytime we're outside. She complains of it being too "sunny" in the house sometimes. We take a pillow in the car just so she can cover her head if the sun happens to be shining in her window. So we're going to be safe and have it checked out. That should be interesting. I have no idea how they're going to look in her eyes and actually have her cooperate, but we're going to give it a shot.
And then there are McKenna's continuing belly issues. For those of you who are interested (Which it surprised me how many of you have had similar issues or know someone who has...I'm glad I blogged about it b/c I can't even tell you how many people have asked for my advice now on the subject. Which I don't really have any great advice b/c we still haven't worked it out. I guess it's not something mommies ever really talk about, which I sort of understand). McKenna is now taking a prescription stool softener. She's been on it for a month and we haven't seen much improvement, but we are increasing the dose and our problems should disappear. I hope! We've been dealing with this DAILY since February. The med. she's on is called Lactulose. It's not something that her body become dependent on, so we can stop it cold turkey anytime. It's not a laxative. Putting a child on a laxative would not be a great idea. I've had more than one doctor tell me that, just so you know. They have said not to potty train until all these issues are resolved. We are sort of toying around with the idea of potty training. McKenna got a new princess potty seat, but she pretty much just carries it around the house. One of these days we'll actually use it!!! And I should also say that we watch McKenna's diet. She eats lots of fruits and veggies. She adores cereal, so she's getting tons of fiber. She hasn't eaten a banana in awhile b/c bananas and white starchy foods are things that are not good for her to have at this point. She also shouldn't be eating a lot of cheese, but we cheat on that one. She loves cheese!
Was that just an overload of TMI??? Probably, but that's the latest and now it will be recorded forever when I make my blog book. McKenna's just going to love that, isn't she??! Ha!
I love my sweet cuddle bug so much! And am so thankful that despite some of the issues she's been having she is delightful and full of joy all the time!


It happened again....the tooth fairy (that he doesn't really believe in) showed up.

So we now have a lovely collection of (3) lost teeth.

As if that's not grown up enough, Christian has also taught himself to whistle. He is immensely proud of this. Just ask him and he will demonstrate :)

And you already know that he rides his bike with NO training wheels.

And the big event this week is that he can now swing on his own. He taught himself how to pump his legs and he literally spends hours swinging! He tried to convince me to let him swing today in the rain.

And he's such a good big brother. I can mow the grass for over an hour and Christian will entertain McKenna and "watch" her the entire time. He loves being in charge and is very fair and responsible when he does it. What a difference a year makes!

We have been in the valley of decision with this boy trying to decide what we're going to do school-wise next year. Our public school is an all day program. Our Christian school option is also all-day (but every other day). And I literally spent the month of January feeling sick to my stomach about sending him to school all-day next year. I did not have peace about it, but I didn't know what to do. Homeschooling was a consideration, but we decided against that for several reasons. So after much, much prayer. After lots of discussions with lots of very wise people we have come to a decision. It's probably controversial, but we have complete peace that it is the right decision for our sweet boy. When I talked to Christian's teacher about it she told me to weigh the opinions of others, but that God gives us special wisdom for our own children when we ask him for it. I'm so thankful she said that because it sort of set me free from worrying about what anyone else would think. The verdict is that Christian is going to stay home for another year and repeat preschool. He doesn't turn (5) until the middle of June, so he has a late birthday anyway and that made the decision much easier. I felt such freedom after we made the decision to hold off on kindergarten for another year. I love the idea of Christian being one of the older kids in his class. And I love it that I get to be the main influence in his life for another year. I feel like I gained a whole extra year with him and I love that! We have worked so hard and come so far this year and I want to keep that momentum going! I almost can't even believe how far we've come just in the last (3) months. I just adore being Christian's mom :) What an honor!

There are three other boys in Christian's preschool class with summer birthdays who will be repeating preschool next year, so he will already have some friends going into the year. Christian has the best teachers ever at preschool. Christian said to me the other day; "Mom, we need to read my Bible every day, not just some days because when you read the Bible it helps you grow." And Christian's favorite song right now (which he learned at preschool) is "Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord." He's taught it to McKenna and it's the most precious time when all three of us snuggle up in Christian's bed and sing that song to Jesus at bedtime.

So that's where we are right now. This parenting thing certainly has mountains and valleys. Climbing up the mountain is sure hard but it's nice to sit at the top and enjoy the view a little bit, while recognizing that there are more valley's ahead. But I've got more confidence in my mountain climbing ability now :) And hopefully the next time Christian and I have a mountain to climb I won't be lugging him up it. Instead I have a feeling he'll be standing on his own two feet trudging along beside me as his daddy and I lead the way.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Please read this and pray and copy it on your blog too!

As many of you know, I love Samaritan's Purse!!! It's the organization that does the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. I always post about it around Christmas time. In fact we already have a tub of stuff that we've been collecting for this upcoming year. I just love it when Christian tells me not to open his Happy Meal toy so that we can put it in the "poor box." (That's not the best name for the box...I tried to change it to the "blessing box" but Christian is pretty stuck on calling it the "poor box" because we give the things in it to the poor).

Anyway, yesterday (3) Samaritan's Purse staff were abducted by a group of armed men in Sudan. Two men and one woman, who is an American from California. Can you imagine? Please join me in praying for their safety and for their immediate release. My mind just keeps going back to this 36 year old, American woman, who is obviously just trying to minister to the poor and orphaned. We need to specifically pray for her protection.

This won't make the national news....although it should. So please spread the word. God has promised that he hears the prayers of His people. It's time for us to rise up in prayer!

You can read more about this HERE.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our Year of Moving

I feel like I've been moving or moving someone for the past year. Seriously...we put our house on the market in March of 2009 and we immediately started packing you know, just to stage the house...but we quickly had an entire storage unit full of stuff.

Then my sister, Amy, moved away in June of 2009. So I spent time packing at her house.

Then we sold our house in August of 2009 and moved into a rental in September.

Then we moved from our rental into our new house in December. As you can imagine, moving the week of Christmas was quite daunting. I don't even have one picture to document it. I barely have pictures of Christmas.

Then my parents moved from their home of 40 years in February Talk about daunting....

So Ryan assembled this grand crew to help!

That's my dad lifting up the powerlines so the truck could fit under them. I told you it was daunting :)

And loading a motorcycle with a dead battery was quite the task.

And then there were lots of projects like this one.
So my parents moved into our house in early March and guess what we've been doing now for the last two weeks.
We're moving them again!
Tonight is their first night in their new home. I'm so excited for them. They're exhausted. It's been way more work then they anticipated. And there's a lot of work ahead of them, but it will get done! The entire upstairs of their house has a fresh coat of paint. They're ordering some new carpet and should be settled pretty soon.
I should probably mention that in the last two years all of my siblings (Amy & Tim) and all of Ryan's siblings (Robert and Angel) have moved. What a relief that Ryan's parents are staying put :) I'm thankful that Christian will have at least one familiar place to visit!
And so I'm done with moving. I used to love "house shopping." I'm over it now. I just want to feel settled again. So I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks painting, organizing and trying to get settled for good. We're slowing moving all of my parent's things out and I'm enjoying the process of figuring out how I want to get everything set up. I still have boxes that have yet to be unpacked. I made some progress this weekend, eliminating 4 more huge boxes. So we're getting there.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Surprise Visitor

Christian was thrilled to be able to surprise Emma, Abby and Nathan with a visit a week or so ago!
Emma was going to have her very first orchestra concert and Grandmom and PopPop were not going to miss it, so they took Christian along as a surprise!

I wasn't there, but I heard that Emma was fabulous and very grown up.

And oh how Christian loves Abby. He loved spending the night in the same room with both Abby and Nathan!
And these two were just the best buddies. When Christian got home he was so excited to tell me about everything they did together. Then he went into the bathroom and when he came back out tears were streaming down his face. He missed them. And he has continued to miss them and cry very real and very sad tears. I think I had forgotten what a huge part of our lives they were. Emma, Abby and Nate were much more like siblings than cousins to Christian and they might live a few hours away, but we've got to do a better job of seeing them. Summer is just around the corner and I hope to have lots and lots of cousin playdates!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So Proud!

This handsome duo had a preschool concert the other night. Christian and his buddy Carter were looking pretty sharp and they did such an awesome job!
Now let me give you a little background info here....I love music. It's always been a big part of my life. I love to sing, etc. So it was pretty disappointing to me that I ended up with a little boy who asked me to "be quiet" whenever I would sing. He didn't like for me to sing to him at bedtime. And he never let me teach him any cute songs when he was a baby. (Thankfully McKenna is the complete opposite. My word that girl can sing).

And then there was preschool and much to my delight this little musical boy showed up. He gets soooo into singing. He was stomping his foot to a song so loud one time during the Grandparent's Day presentation that his teacher had to speak to him in the middle of the program. ha! A little piece of me wanted to say "Excuse me...please let him stomp to his hearts delight." But it was drowning out all the singing :)

His spring concert was delightful. It lasted all of (2) songs, but I loved it! Loved the smile on his face.

I loved the spark in his eye and the stomp in his step. It was the best!

He was so handsome and listened so well to his teacher. Preschool this year has been wonderful for him. We are so thankful for his teachers and thankful for all the learning he's done.

And here's a little video of him singing. The quality isn't that great. I was zooming in so far that the camera had a hard time staying focused, but you get the idea.