Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who is Here?

I noticed recently more people are reading this blog from places I don't know... i.e. Latvia. Who the heck is in Latvia reading this page? So, I'm beginning to wonder if I should make this blog access restricted. It would mean you would have to log in to be able to read it. Would that stop you? Would you still come read my thought and see my pictures if you had to log in first?
Just wondering.
Feel free to comment and tell me your thoughts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things... in no particular order

March Madness! I love creating brackets with my friends and then comparing what good guessers we end up being. I think this started with my brother-in-law, Danielson... who is always up for a little competition. And my long-lost friend in Virginia invites me each year. And this year we did one with our Strong Rock friends, except that it wasn't very many. I have 3 brackets running... 3 very different brackets. My first attempts (very little thought) is 1st of 3. The second (even less thought) is 6th of 7. And my VA one is 3rd of 3... I always lose to Michelle. It's just part of the process. I'm ok with that! It was also "auto-fill" this year because I had run out of time and couldn't pick with thoughtfulness. So, we'll blame the popular pick auto-fill bracket on the people. The voting public. Yeah, not MY fault!



Salad! Curtis made this salad for us several weeks ago. He was proud of his creation and took pictures as he was making it and while the kids were eating (or pretending to eat). He grilled chicken with yummy seasonings and then chopped it all up in bite sizes. We had salad again this week and I lined up all the ingredients in their own little bowls and let the kids do their own creating. Kind of like a Ruby Tuesdays salad bar... only smaller, and at our home, and cheaper. And we have no sneeze guard or handy little cleaner-upper dude who wipes away your spills. But it was almost the same! Maggie, who didn't like green peppers last night, put green peppers all in hers and liked to pair them up with her grape tomatoes. Speaking of tomatoes.... well, nevermind. I'm sure we don't want to be reminded of how expensive they are and 10 years from now when I read this I'll scoff at my own discontent at $5 tomatoes. And they were organic, bright red and delicious!!




Legos! I like to see the creativity Legos brings out in the kids. They are always so proud of what they can come up with and even surprise me by taking their own pictures so when I check the SD card I find them. Bad sentence grammar. I hope you can follow that thought train.


Babies! I have never denied loving babies. This week, I especially love my own littlest baby. She registered for Kindergarten. She's not ready but I guess the teachers have to have SOMETHING to do in the fall. I'm hoping she can at least learn her letters (just saying them) before August. She still skips a few groups and ends in a very dramatic, operetta style X-Y-ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! One morning I walked in the door after dropping the kids off a school and she was just crawling out of bed. I just sat down in the middle of the kitchen and scooped her into my lap to snuggle all that warmness and morning scents she exudes. I squished her. She giggled. And then we had breakfast. Less than 5 months left to enjoy this baby like this.
We also have a friend who is very sick this week. She's six. It makes me sad to think her parents' world has just been rocked. How do you cope when your baby is in ICU and you can do nothing to help her? She's six. It's makes me sad that my Ruth is having to deal with a friend this ill. She's six. And then it scares me as a mother to think this could possibly happen any day to any one of my own kids. Thank you Jesus for health and protection, no matter how long it lasts. She's six. SIX!


Cousins! This weekend we have a cousin in the house. And it's not even the usual cousin. This one is MY cousin and she brought her whole family all the way from Illinois just to see us! Ok, well it wasn't JUST to see us... but at least they're staying with us. They have an 8 year old girl, like Maggie. They have a 6 year old boy, like Ruth. They have a 14 month boy, like Lydia. Wait... Lydia's physically older than that! :) We're going to the American Girl store, Build a Bear, and BabyLand General. We 're also going to eat food... food that Jody cooked. You remember her? She's my mother and she wanted to make chocolate sheet cake for Tim. So she cooked all day and is going to bring it up and serve us after a long day at the mall. Pictures soon, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sponsorship

One who assumes responsibility for another person or a group during a period of instruction, apprenticeship, or probation.

Compassion Bloggers: Kenya 2010Right now a group of bloggers is on a trip to Kenya with Compassion International. I read a couple of their blogs on a very irregular basis. One is Mckmama, who tells the story of raising her 5 kids. Number 4 child was a mckmiracle to even be here and she chronicled her pregnancy and his first year of life with all the medical interventions and such. He's now "normal" since November.
Another one I read is This is Reverb. He's a pastor/minister from Chicago (I think) and often contributes recipes to The Pioneer Woman's website. He's very interesting to read.
I've read a couple of their entries and looked at a bunch of their pictures from their trips. Apparently, Compassion only takes trips with bloggers so they will blog and thus encourage others to sponsor more children. I hadn't heard this before, but it's a great resource to spread their work to those who may otherwise not hear about them. But then it feels a little odd too. Someone told me they don't take normal, non-blogging people on trips to meet their sponsored children. Weird. Even if we pay all the money? I didn't research this, so if you know differently, please tell me.
Anyway, their trip (well chronicled) is a good read in all websites.

So... we've been sponsoring a few children of our own through World Vision. What's the difference? How are these organizations different from our standpoint? From the child and community's standpoint? I really have no idea. I know we send in a monthly amount and get and send mail back and forth. They send us a yearly update on the child's progress in school, health, family, etc. They send us a yearly photo. One of the first things they do is provide clean water. A well.... more than just water for your sponsored child, but clean water for the entire community. Then it's food, education, supplies, etc.
We do not send as much as I want to. I have a pile of stickers and small things to send each one but I rarely make a package until World Vision sends me the Christmas/Easter/Birthday packages to just sign and send back. Sometimes I remember to have the kids make a card. We have their pictures on our board. We try to remember to pray for them regularly. But pretty much it's more a financial thing for us. World Vision uses the money we send to provide for this kids and their families. Their parents. Their siblings. They all live in Africa. All in different countries. All in war tore, AIDS infested(?) areas. I'm not sure of the correct term for being in high risk AIDS areas.
All this to say... if you aren't sponsoring a child (and ultimately, their family & community) I would urge you to consider it. Either organization. Any country. A commitment. Every month. Give!
For kids like Hlompho (Lesotho), Diane (Congo), Lwenziwe (Swaziland) & Giny (Tanzania).
Chile would be a good place to start looking.
As Pastor Ryan says... give til it hurts. I'm not sure we are.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Christmas Story



Here is a Christmas photo of the family. We didn't do adults this year... just the grandkids. We didn't even do the color coded thing either.

Anyway...

front row: Tyler, AnnaGrace, Esther, Ruth, Titus, Briella.

middle row: Grandma, Bennett, Adam, Micah, Jared, Grandpa.

back row: Emily, Maggie, Zach, Marci, Lydia.


Ok, there's a story that I caught on film (really, film?) and I wanted to share it with you.
It was a beautiful Christmas day... as you can see. With 15 of those things running around we had sent them all outside to play for a while. What started with a bunch of boys "playing" football... turned into more of a wrestling match... which then pitted cousin against cousin.

Never a good thing to pit cousins against cousins!

So then they had to chose sides.


Was it girls against boys?

It may have started that way.

But Esther was NOT having everyone pile up on Micah - so she defected to the boy side.



Everyone sizing up the enemy...
Titus and Maggie squaring off. The faces are for real. They are not messing around. You are on the wrong side of the line in the sand Mister!


Jared comes over to take her down. (In my best asian accent) "you killa my brudder... now you die"


This doesn't look too bad. He's still holding a weapon. She has two hands. Surely she can hold her own!



Jared's One Armed Take Down! yes, she's going down!
Trying to hold on to hope. Titus coming in... just in case!

THE VICTOR!!!
Gloom, despair and agony on me.


Woooooah!

You see... the problem wasn't that Jared was stronger and beat her. The problem can be found on her right knee. Mud! Dirt, moisture, etc. Not happy about being dirty.



That's my story for the night.

There is a final picture.

Restitution was quickly made and they were once again playing. See, she even let Micah walk next to her.
Cousings are awesome!

Hey - It's March 4th!

In case you weren't sure of the current timeline... my friend just reminded me that it's March 4th. The funny (odd) thing is that I was actually logging into blogger to post a post, blog a blog, make a comment... and she reminds me how long it's been since I have done such things. So, here I am. Once again, the wee hours of the morning. I worked the past two days and I should be tired. Really I am, but it's quiet here- except for Jay's ridiculous ramblings in the background.


The month of February was spent (for me) concentrating on completing the girls' school's yearbook. This is the 3rd year I have done this. Somehow, I agreed to work on it and found that each year it gets easier - so it just makes sense to continue to do it as long as I can... especially since I'll be at that school for 3 more years (maybe 4 if Lydia doesn't get on the ball soon!). The first year I managed to do most of it on my own, between kids and work and life. I think something happened to my brain and I can't get that much accomplished alone anymore. Last year I took a week off work (yea!) and compiled pictures and pages and got it finished. It wasn't bad. This year, I took off TWO weeks of work (yea yea!) and had very few of my own pictures, very little time devoted until February, and bothered the teachers and staff repeatedly. You'd think I could get to the school and take needed pictures with just Lydia left at home. I have done very little at the school compared to years past. Ruthie's Kindergarten class just isn't the "hey come in and play/read/visit" kind of class. I don't think I've been off work for ANY of her field trips. Curtis gets to go... but it's just not the same. Maggie's class is all business too. Her teacher is very welcoming... but there's just not much you can do with the class other than read occasionally and help with their parties (which I've done). I know most of the kids in her class from years previous so it's lots of fun for me to be there and call them by name. After having spent 2 weeks in the school, each day more kids will smile and say good morning to me. Some even wave their little "I hope my friends don't see me talking to an adult" wave. I love being able to study their class lists and remember some names. Calling a kid by name is cool. And it surprises them! Makes them feel special... or worried. There's a girl from Maggie's 1st grade class that I still call Bob, and she calls me Fred. It's a thing we started. I couldn't tell you her real name. I don't think she'd like it anyway. Well, the yearbook is complete. Mailed it on Friday. Got an email today that it arrived at the publisher by the due date! That's a huge weight lifted!! The pressure mounts as I finalize all the lists, photos, names, pages... to make sure no face is seen too many times, to ensure all classes are represented, to hurt as few feelings as possible. There are always those "UGH" moments when I remember I forgot to include something I intended on including 1,593 times and still forgot. After it hits the UPS truck I remembered I never got that office staff shot I wanted. Ms. Debbie is happy about that but the kids won't be. I also remembered I forgot to go through an entire folder of photos I had saved. That's not such a big deal... but still reminds me of how old and forgetful I am. So, now we wait for May to arrive and the big brown truck will deliver 7 boxes of colorful, friend filled pages for each child to remember their year. I hope it lives up to their expectations! P.S. If anyone needs a yearbook company for next year I HIGHLY recommend the Memory Book Company.
We've had a "ton" of snow this winter. I have a couple photos somewhere. I was home for one day but the kids were unmotivated to be frozen popsicles even for their Mom. I tried to get the girls to sled down our neighbors hill... but by the time we accomplished getting dressed and over there... well, there was very little snow left. We have snow on the ground now and they were out of school the past 2 days... but they must be done with being snow happy because Curtis said they didn't go out at all. I was stuck at work. Doesn't do much for happy kids in the snow pictures.


Ruth lost her first tooth... a month ago. You can read all about it on my friend's blog since she did a better job with writing about it. We were celebrating Rob's 40th birthday while she was knocking out the tooth with a rock hard brownie from the Easy Bake Oven.

Ruth also had her long-awaited kindergarten performance for the family/friends. She was very cute... of course. She sang every song, did all the motions and had general love for the stage and attention. She also had a speaking line and did so quite well. :) Both sets of grandparents were able to be there... which made it all the more special for her. She tends to steal the hearts of those around her. Ask Grandpa Nelson about his little friend who now calls prunes - pru-ins, just like him. And she thinks that's correct! I'm not telling her otherwise.

This past weekend we participated in the Challenged Child 5k. Curtis and the big kids ran/walked while the little girls and I cheered at the finish line. I took the kids in year's past but this year we wanted to all go together... and my bum leg won't allow me to actually go the distance right now. Lame excuse, but I can't do it. I refuse to be too old or too crippled to play with my kids! I fell in the driveway the next day playing football with Bennett and busted my tail. As we all know... it takes a lot longer to recover as we age. He laughed at me... in case anyone doubted.

Here's my star runner. She really does enjoy it and seems to do well, without complaint!
I just love this picture.


Lydia sang with her preschool choir a week (or so) ago. She was horribly grumpy the first hour but had fixed her heart and sang with a smile for the second service.



videoShe is working on her motivation. Being the 4th child is often, um... well, she's very self-focused and does what she needs to make sure she's the top. We try working on pre-school material to help prepare her brain. She doesn't like to answer, even if she knows. "Lydia, sing me your ABC's"... a,b,f, oh I can't know them, she replies. I've a few spies who are trying to quiz her regularly as her performance is often enhanced by attention from friends. Dawn can get her to J without too much difficulty. :) Kindergarten registration is in 2 weeks and the teachers are going to wonder what I've done wrong!


Mom came to stay with the kids over Valentine's weekend. We had an adult dinner at church. She's convenient sometimes and the kids sort of like her. Dad was in PA keeping all the Rose kids... Mom was here. Good thing they're retired! :)
She has to come back for a WEEK in April and do it again because...

Next month Curtis and I get to go on a cruise with other couples from church... as long as his passport arrives! It better get here.





This is from our Valentine dinner at church. It was a snowy night outside but obviously warm inside.


I can't believe I just found the folder of all my Christmas pictures. I guess another post should follow soon.


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