Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas at Home

I love our Christmas at home. We agreed a few years back that we would neither travel nor have guests on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. That we would attend our own church and not entertain. I am so glad we did that. These are the things that will shape our kids memories for years to come.

Now don't get me wrong I am not antisocial or unwilling to cook or host for a group of friends and family. I do that all the time, I just don't want to do it on those 2 days of the year.

I noticed a few years ago that we seem to get so focused on cousins or us adults on the other adults, that we rarely spend face time with the 5 members of our family when we have company. We didn't want to miss out on any opportunities to be face to face with these boys especially as we try to celebrate Christmas in a way that would honor Christ's birth.

We open gifts on Christmas morning, 3 for each kid and lounge around in jammies and eat, nap and play. Great family time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Making Gingerbread Houses

Our local library has some great activities for kids.

This year we were able to take each child individually to make a gingerbread house.

It was completely free! Amazing when you consider it must have cost a good amount of money for all the supplies were were given to make these edible houses.

It was great fun. Here are the houses we made. Check out the fence and Christmas wreath Caleb made, he was really creative.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Book That Eats People

I admit that over the years I have not only begun to understand but even sometimes enjoy Baierl humor. They are a funny lot - those Baierls. Dry, witty humor is their specialty. I am more of a slapstick humor girl but I am learning to adjust.

So no surprise that the book Grandma Rose sent us is a HUGE hit!

"The Book That Eats People"

An especially great encounter for Caleb who is really reading like a champ now. Not only did the boys delight in getting a package with their names on it , but the book was Baierl Humor at it's finest.

They all gathered around and read it together with Olivia my daycare girl. Now, she is not subject to Baierl humor often, so she was actually scared of the book and believed that it would indeed eat her. Ha. Poor newbie.

The book has no happy ending and is a tad dark in its "BEWARE!" humor. But my boys all love it. They read it all the time and noone is the least bit scared. Thanks Grandma Rose!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nathan Jams

It seems new toys always make for more blog 'fodder'.

This is 3 minutes of great footage we got of Nathan jamming to his new mp3 player and silently mouthing the lyrics to an unknown song.

I'm still laughing even as I type this!

Nathan, you rock!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas with the Kuphals

Here are a few pictures of us at my brothers house.

We don't get to see them often so it was a special treat to spend time with them over Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We were greatful to connect with Grandpa Paul and Grandma Lynn too!

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Caleb - Mr. Sensative Smell

Frequently Caleb will comment on how something smells.

"What is THAT smell?!?!"

He comments on my morning coffee "argh that smells gross!"

He comments on the Christmas Wreaths at Fleet Farms entrance.
"Oh I love that smell of Christmas"

I always have him sniff the candles at the grocery store before I buy one.
He has an exceptional sniffer.

Well today - his smeller gave him something to talk about.

Someone broke a bottle of something unrecognizable in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.
I have to tell you I can't even identify what that is - or what that was. Yuck.
Well we were there this morning buying milk and Caleb noticed.

" OH PEE U! (add gag reflex)
What is THAT SMELL!!!! (add nose hold)
Smells like Moose Poop!"

"moose poop?" I ask. What does moose poop smell like Caleb?"
He points out the van door - "Like that - blaah quick shut the door!"

I laughed so hard all the way home that my tummy hurt by the time I got to the driveway.
Moose Poop - LOL

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Santa Visit

This past Saturday, Santa came all the way from the North Pole to Evansville to take pictures with the kids and collect their Christmas wish lists.

We got some great footage of Caleb and Nathan visiting with Santa this year. Both of them are at that perfect age where Santa is no longer "scary".

Afterward, Jenny and Nathan went for a ride with one of Evansville's finest, while I took David and Caleb next door to the library to make a Christmas tree ornament craft. Karen met us in town and was able to get post-firetruck-ride footage and an interview with Nathan.

We had such a fun time!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Building life-skills

This is John posting (doesn't happen very often). I got some footage last night that I'm sure you'd be interested in seeing.

As you know, Caleb is learning how to read and doing such a great job at it. It's so wonderful to see, right before your very eyes, how this life-skill becomes the foundation of another life-skill, Godly character. We're so proud of him!

And to add a little twist and action to the plot, Nathan decides he wants to do it too. He shows proof that humans are born with a sinful nature, not 100% innocent like some people think.

This is more real-life than any reality show you'll ever watch.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nathan's Heart Check up

Yet another trip the UW Children's Hospital. Nathan had an Echocardiogram, EKG, and Exam/consult this past week.

His levels are still the same as last time. Peek gradients of 70's, but no ventricular thickening or damage. That means when his blood pressure is 102/60 on his arm it is actually 172/60, in his heart. So his case is in review with the Pediatric Cardiology Intervention Surgical team.

Since he is getting older and his body growth is on track, his heart condition will be reviewed to see if now is the time a Balloon Valvuloplasty would be most effective. We won't hear any recommendations until Christmas time so we will keep you posted.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Update on AWANA

Well we made thru our first month of club.

We had 2 BARF (bring a real friend) nights and now have a larger club. We had 13 guests on the first night - 7 on the second night. 9 of those kids signed up to come weekly. So now we have a regular attendance of 54 kids. Isn't that something - we are thrilled beyond measure. 20 Truth and Training kids (Grades 3-6), 16 Sparks (grades K-2) and 18 Cubbies (3-4 yr olds). 25 of the kids who come are not a part of the church and are outreached from the community.

As a side note, on our first BARF night I, Jenny, actually got barfed on. Go figure. It is cold/flu season and the most adorable Cubbie (4 year old girl) was playing in game time. She told her leader that her belly hurt. The leader got me, I talked to her and decided to call her mom. While we were waiting for mom to arrive, I looked over and just knew she was going to get sick. I picked her up and ran to the bathroom. We made it - sort of. The first vomit was in the stall but not in the toilet - rather we got it on the toilet, stall walls and my lanyard and arm/hand. The second vomit got in/on the toilet and the 3rd vomit was a direct hit. I guess I get better with practice. Whew - can't have a dull moment on a AWANA night.

I was thankful I had a split second to notice the look of certain vomit - one that I have seen many a times from my boys. I was so thankful it did not happen in game time all over the AWANA game square or in my hair. So it will go down in history as a great AWANA night story.
Gettin' barfed on during BARF night. I will be more careful on our naming of theme nights in the future. HA.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another post

Here's another post
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Some pictures of trick or treating
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


For 9 years John and I have served in AWANA. It is just a ministry we really believe in. But as the years have unfolded we have seen a greater need to serve the kids who live in our town.

They are everywhere and our van can only bring 2 extra kids to club each Wednesday. So we presented the idea to a local church here in Evansville to start a club under our direction.

That was in June. By August we got the "yes" and things started to work in rapid fashion.

In September, we left our most loved church in Madison to begin our work here in Evansville. In 3 weeks time we had 17 volunteers who needed to be trained, equipped, and encouraged to be ready for our launch date of October 13. God is so good - all the time.

It was a full time job for about 3 weeks, but on our first night of club we had a whopping 44 kids. So very many of them are boys! I frequently see a picture of a wheat field and a sickle in my hand when I pray about our club. What a fantastic response from the clubbers and the volunteers and the church leadership. Clearly it is of the Lord. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

You should see the smiles on those kid's faces last week when they earned their first awards for memorizing their verses. It was a moment that I won't forget.

I am so thrilled to see so many boys and girls who will be trained to Know, Love and Serve Christ right here in Evansville. The desire of my heart is that as David, Caleb and Nathan grow up in the Lord that they will have a peer group who will stand firm with them and choose right. Some of whom came to the saving knowledge of Christ in AWANA. I know that God's word does not come back void and so we will be busy planting those seeds in our kids and any other kid who we can reach with the gospel of Christ, and then train them to serve Him. Let me challenge you to join us. What else is worthy of your time?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

School updates

David has now been moved to an accelerated math class. His math assessment scores were really high. His homework this past week was so hard, I had to call John in for help. I am no math dummy either.

John used an excel spreadsheet to help David grasp the math concepts and I thought to myself: Whatever are we going to do next year? I need to blow off the dust on my thinkin' cap.

Caleb is reading like a champ now. He now knows all his long vowels and we are learning all the "Exceptions" in his Hooked on Phonics class. I had the best moment last week when I gave him 6 scriptures and he could read them all by himself. Now that was an ear to ear grin for me.

When your son can read the word of God on his own - that is something terrific. Frequently now he will independently pick up a book and begin to sound it all out. His confidence level has shot way up and I am standing back with a proud smile.
Life skill of reading: Check that off the list. 2 down, 1 to go.

Nathan has moved on to graduate potty skills and is "standing like the big boys".
Nathan also started Cubbies in AWANA this year and is beyond excited to have his Cubbie Vest, book and bag. He is so much smaller than the rest of them (He is the youngest one), but he has no problem memorizing the verses and references.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Harvest time

I love u pick places.
We u pick strawberries in June, raspberries in August, apples in September and Pumpkins in October.
Here are some cute pics of Caleb, Olivia, and Nathan at Epplegarden in Fitchburg.
We enjoyed an indian summer day pickin' apple pie apples. YUM!
Now my freezer has 4 pies worth of apples ready for Thanksgiving dinner.
I think fall would be my favorite season if it wasn't followed by winter. sigh.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Visit from Grandma Rose

A few pictures from Grandma Rose's visit.
We sure have enjoyed our California family coming back for fun family time.
We wish we could see you all more often. We are due for a plane trip there now.
The first picture was taken about 3 minutes before Nathan peed on Grandma Rose's lap.
Poor Rose is still getting peed on. Never a dull moment here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Been awhile

It has been a while since I posted last. It is certainly not for a lack of material.

Since my last post we had so many things happen.

We had a lovely visit from Grandma Rose.
John got a promotion at work - during a terrible economy.
We refinanced both houses - what a load of work that was!
We had our first parent teacher conference for David's 4th grade.
We left our beloved church family of 15 years at Monona Oaks. (Love you guys!)
We joined a local church and started an AWANA ministry. (44 kids the 1st week -PTL) I could write a whole book on this experience alone. What a priveledge to start this club in Evansville.
The van was in the shop not once, but twice.
My cell phone broke the week before AWANA started - grrr.
I injured my right foot - spent half day getting it xrayed but it's not broke - whew!
Almost wrecked the van at school turnabout - terribly dangerous distracted driver (not me).
We celebrated our 16 year wedding anniversary.

That enough? I'd say yes. As soon as things settle, I will have more time to post about them all. But, we are blessed.
It is a different type of busy than when the boys were babies and I love it.

Time is going faster and faster now, and we are trying hard to savor the goodness of our great and mighty Lord. Hope you are too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nathan turns 3

My baby is 3!

Grandma Lynn and Great Grandma Inga came to visit for the day. That was so nice. Nathan was willing to sit on Great Grams lap and let her sing to him. Those days are limited. He is getting longer and chunkier and hard to lift!

Aunt Kiki, Aunt Brenda and uncle Matt and Zach and Sam came later in the day for cake and ice cream.

His favorite gift was from Grandpa Paul. No surprise there it is usually the favorite gift of all the kids on their birthdays. He has been wearing the football outfit almost everyday since!

I made Nathan a Backyardigans cake in the shape of Austins head, his favorite character. Here are a few pics from the big day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to school

David is back to school. Summer was grand but all good things must come to an end. Davids 4th grade class is LARGE this year. 25 kids to 1 teacher, a lot more than in previous years. But the good news is that all David's buddies are now in the same school. Since 2 of his best buddies were younger or held back a year they were still at the elementary school last year. But now they join the ranks at the intermediate school and are on the playground during recess and before/after school.

Caleb is continuing his Kindergarten home school and progressing well. I love watching the reading light bulb illuminate. When my boys are older, I think I will go back to tutoring.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baierl Family Reunion and Meisinger Visit

One last summer push of excitement and a great ending to a very busy summer. That is how I would describe the last 2 weeks of August.

Amy, Tyler and Tori Meisinger came for 8 wonderful days at Casa Baierl. Nathan was sweet on Tori, always asking if she could jump on the trampoline with him. "I want to jump with HER!" he would say and point to little miss cutie Tori. He adored her.

David and Caleb wanted Tyler to sleep in their room with them because older cousins are SO Cool!

We visited the Dells twice, rented bikes and took the day around Madison via peddle, visited Ellas Deli , stampeded with half the town around the capitol square for the Saturday morning farmers market,and spend many a time on the trampoline and around the fire pit. What a jammed packed week of great company and fun.

The last day together, we met in Marshfield to attend the Baierl Family reunion. It was so enjoyable to be with Art's sisters and sister in laws. They really doted over Nathan, playing Jenga and getting him treats. Oh it is good to be 2 years old. He soaked it right up. He kept saying Marshmellowfield instead of Marshfield because it got laughter from the ladies.

David and Caleb enjoyed the outdoor play facilities and the older cousins. Everyone got along really well. Then if that wasn't grand enough we ended the day by watching Uncle Chad fly back to CA in his plane (after we climbed in and took the controls for a minute). What a great picture that was waiving goodbye to him from the private airport.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our new backyard toy

It has to have a safety net! It was my only condition to buying this monster.

The kids sold the playhouse to contribute funds and now we have something new to mow around.

We are having a wonderful time on it and I can see that the toys just get bigger and better.

Ahhh good bye toddler toys - Hello big boy toys!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

EAA Airshow reconnecting with old friends

We were so blessed to see some old Air Force buddies at the EAA airshow this past July. (It would have been 20 years of service had they all stayed in - WEIRD!)

Henry brought his son Eli, and Dave's son Collier over to our house for a fun sleepover. Collier is David's age and Eli is Caleb's age so it was extra fun for everyone.

Then at the air show we reconnected with Gino, but missed seeing his sons since they didn't arrive until after we left.

We laughed and laughed as we always do when we are together.

Funny how those men all had sons and not daughters. Hmmm.

Here are some pics.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Caleb's 1st loose tooth

Caleb seems to accomplish his "milestones" earlier and with greater gusto than David. If David was in the fast lane, Caleb would need to be in the faster lane. (Let's hope that doesn't mean Nathan will be in the fastest lane!)

Caleb has been wiggling his first loose tooth for about a week now. It turned grey today and he was able to twist it 90 degrees. He just wanted it out and endured a good amount of blood and wiggling in order to just be done with it. Finally dad was able to just pull it out. I was so excited for my Caleb to have his first jack 'o lantern smile!

He is a thinker, that Caleb. He doesn't like to be with a lot of people, and isn't exactly a socialite. So he spends a great deal of time watching, thinking and calculating. He isn't fooled that there is some 'fairy' coming into his bedroom at night to bring money. (as you can imagine we don't do much pretend play that involves fairies here) So he just comes right out and asks if mom and dad are the tooth fairy. John told him yes, we are indeed the tooth fairy. After a second he asks if he will still get money, now that he knows the secret. Of course! He is broad smiled, dimple faced. Not only does he get money, but he is in the "know". He has a secret from Nathan and he and David both have the inside scoop. This is great!

So one last time I read him the book "My loose tooth" and I can feel the radiant smile next to me as I read: " Hooray, hooray, hooray, I shout! My tooth, my tooth, it's finally out!" I turn and see this brilliant jack 'o lantern smile. What a great moment, worth every cent of the dollar that will be slipped under his pillow. And in my head I hear the song "You're gonna miss this.... You're gonna want this back..." I will live off that jack 'o lantern smile moment for a long time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bye Bye Diapers

9 years and 26 days, but who is counting?

That is how long we have been changing diapers. Thank goodness that is over. The diapers budget will now slide over to the grocery food budget; which is rapidly increasing.
(David is up to my chin now and Caleb looks like he is pumping iron in his spare time.)

Once more we commando toilet trained a son. Nathans' first day was about enough to make me quit, but by day 3 he was getting it. Did I mention we have no carpet in the living room anymore. We have beautiful wood floors now that I LOVE!!! Good thing because he peed on it alot.

We haven't had a single accident since day 5. I don't even have to ask him if he needs to go. He tells me with enough time to make it to the bathroom. Good Job Nathan!!!!!
We are now going in public again. Good thing too, because we had the 4th of July festivities, and all those baseball/tball games.

Now that the carpet is gone and Nathan is out of diapers, I wonder how long it will take before I get bugged repeatedly for a dog. HMMMMMM.

Here is a picture that I just couldn't resist

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

David turns 9

Half way to 18 - unbelievable!

David went to Crescent Lake Bible Camp the week of his birthday so we did not have a big party like normal. His birthday was on a Sunday so we had Grandpa Paul and Grandma Lynn here. We had a sleepover with the cousins and that was a good time.

At church this Sunday I noticed a family with 2 grown sons (early 20's my guess) standing in front of us. I was struck but just how fast these 9 years have gone and just how fast the next 9 will go. That soon our pew will look more like that one, but will have 3 wide shouldered sons.

Our food budget is growing and our fridge is always empty. I am always cooking. I am trying hard to remember to stop and enjoy the moments, taking mental pictures to file away. Life is so

Play Ball

A picture of Caleb at his first Tball game. Trust me when I say this coach doesn't stand behind him when he has bat in hand any more.

The boy is all gusto. His swing is full of force and purpose. However he has little to no use for playing the outfield. He checks out mentally until it is time to bat. The way he plays is picture perfect for his personality. He is overjoyed that he has his own cleats,, he is convinced they make him run faster.

Between his and Davids games and practices we are at the ball field 4 nights a week, and loving it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School this year had a wild west theme. We were privileged to bring our day care girl Olivia with us and and got a few cute pictures.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Strawberry pickin'

I love June! Our strawberry patch almost tripled from last year. We enjoyed picking them from our yard and also from Hazeltines.

It is a summer tradition for us Baierls. The pickin is so much fun. The berries were beautiful this year and the boys are all so much more independent pickers. Each of our kids have been placed in between the rows of strawberries long before the could walk. As babies they would sit and just eat what was near by.

It was a bit odd to have them all be this independent, but I am not complaining. Less and Less mom is needed for every single task.

Here are some pics from the time we went with the cousins.