The audio didn't really come through at first. Before opening presents, the kids spent a few minutes each praying - thanking God and praying for other people. It was really great.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I am reminded each year of Thanksgivings in the past as I prepare this year's bird.
Today I was reflecting on 3 memorable Thanksgivings from my adulthood.
The first Thanksgiving is one that I always remember. I am certain that this moment will be one of the memories that flash before my eyes at the end of my life.
It was the very first time I ever prepared the holiday meal. John and I lived in Maine and we were unable to return home to Wisconsin. My friend Rasha and I decided it was time to undertake the planning and preparation of the feast ourselves. I was 18 years old (21 years ago!) and we invited an army of Airmen from Loring Air Force Base to fill the large rectangular table. Many of our friends serving in the Air Force at the time were unable to return home and we were blessed to give thanks with them. True to Maine weather, it snowed over 12 inches that Thanksgiving morning, making the scenery beautifully white. Inside Rasha's house we prepared 2 large turkeys and all the fixin's. It took all day and we cheated and made stuffing from a box. The pies were from scratch (Grandma Inga's recipie), the potatoes real and whipped, the cranberries were abscent, but we figured it was not necessary. Boy did it smell wonderful in the kitchen. Rasha and I fretted over how to get all this done with one stove and keep it all warm with 4 burners. After a few minutes of deciding what dish went where, we decided it really didn't matter anyway. Rasha and I layed out a table cloth and place settings from her mom's pretty white dishes, and began to welcome our guests as they slid into the driveway in the snow. After all the GI's arrived, we began to bring out the feast. What I wouldn't give to have a picture of that table and those who sat there. I haven't seen most of them for over 15 years, including Rasha. Now, I have served many guests a meal. I have hosted many Thanksgiving dinners complete with all the fixin's, but never in my life have I ever served a more thankful croud than that first Thanksgiving meal. I don't know if I felt that way because I had never before made the bird myself, or if it was because these men were used to governement prepared chow hall, but it was a day to remember. I don't remember having any leftovers that year. Maybe we did and I don't remember. More likely those guys ate it all gone. Several of them needed to be shoveled out when it was time to leave, but we all agreed it was worth the effort. I wonder where they all are today and who will be sitting next to them this Thursday. Thank you to the men and women who faithfully serve our country!
The next memory I have of Thanksgiving is the first time as a parent. David was an infant and we got a "Happy Turkey Day" bib for him. I fed him sweet potatoes from a jar and he ate it enthusiastically. It was later when changing his diaper,that I laughed and laughed because sweet potatoes make your stool orange. Surprise! Now we have 3 boys, but none are infants any longer. I still have a baby spoon, but I don't have any more babies to serve.This is well with my soul.
The third Thanksgiving memory is unique and I was only reminded of it in an instant due to a distinct sound. The sound of our neighborhood electrical transformer box popping. From time to time an unfortunate squirrel will decided to chew on some of its wires and "boom" fried squirrel! The box that controls our elecriticiy is located in my next door neighbors back yard. The grid for our street separates down the middle of the road. Therefore my neighbors across the street are controled by a sepearte city elecrical box. I just heard theirs blow and watched their lights go out, but ours are fine. I laughed out loud because this happened to me 4 years ago when I had my bird halfway done on thanksgiving day. I had 8 guests coming over and no electricity and a half cooked bird! I never opened the oven. Thankfully it remained hot on its own residual insulated heat and the city got our elecrticity back up on 40 minutes. The turkey was fine and noone skipped a beat. It was a tense 40 minutes though. I thought just maybe we would be eating PBJ. Wouldn't that have been something?!
So this week as I review my list of things from which I am thankful, I will include those Airmen, Rasha, my 3 little men, and my working electrical box. (and many many more blessings!) For this girl is richly blessed and thankful.........
Monday, November 19, 2012
Caleb was very excited for us to attend his class musical. His class had a dance to do in addition to the singing. It was a Russian Troika dance. Caleb was flung around in a square dance type dance with his 2 other buddies. It was comical. Everyone remained on their feet and we enjoyed watching them dance the Troika.
Caleb is in a green shirt, front row, farthest to the left.
The quarter has concluded and we received Caleb's first report card.
We also had our first parent teacher conference.
Caleb is doing very well. His reading level is 5th grade! No surprise there. Hooked on Phonics baby! Worth it's weight in GOLD, I tell you!
His math scores were way above his schools average and the national average.
An interesting observation is that our school district has lover than national average scores in all subjects tested. Hmmmm... That isn't a good sign.
He struggles with being internally distracted. He is always thinking, thinking, and thinking. "Hmmm what ingredients do I need to have to make solar panels?" Unfortunately, his teacher isn't finding this to be a valuable asset to the class. TeeHee. One comment he got from is teacher was: "He needs to improve on his use of time." I couldn't agree more. He is often in "Caleb's World" and couldn't really care any less about about the rest of the class or our family. Caleb is truely his own unique little man. We are so very proud of him.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
After a day of homeschooling, running to guitar lessons, and getting a stop at Kwik Trip, I finally get to the housework.
I bought 3 gallons of milk for this week and a gallon of orange juice. Everything is in the fridge and the laundry is getting washed, dried and folded. I sweep and mop. I put away the towels. Within 10 minutes of having the floor washed and the towels put away, disaster happens.
My beloved son helps himself to a glass of milk. He drops the full gallon of chocolate milk. It busts wide open all over the clean floor.We use every towel I just washed to clean the mess. We have no more chocolate milk, no more clean floor and the towels are back in the wash. Why did I bother? The store is still open, I imagine I will be running out for more milk now.......
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
As promised, following is the letter David wrote regarding his trip to Guatemala:
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Today we left at 5:30 AM.
We went on a 2 hour bus ride.
After that we got on the plane for 2 more hours to Atlanta.
At the airport we bought Nathan maracas.
Note from Jenny:
They arrived home at 11 pm exhausted!
I think I received the biggest hug ever from David. He seemed taller and older. It was weird.
We stayed up for some time talking about all that happened. I think he grew up 5 years in one week.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
"Today we dedicated the well.
I noticed that they didn't do it in the name of Jesus,
but in the name of Carlos Vargas the leader of Hope of Life!
We also distributed Bibles to a village that had none.
We also traveled to a village that had never seen Americans before!
Sally our guide, said they were saying Why are they giving us this?"
A note from Jenny:
David mentioned that the village they distributed Bibles too was very difficult terrain.
In order to reach a house you needed to climb over uprooted trees. It was very steep and
he mentioned that here is where he noticed that everyone has their kitchens outside their houses.
He also talked to us about them dedicating the well in the name of Carlos Vargas. I think some of the message was lost to David in the translations of the language. I was able to watch a video that John took of the well dedication. Clearly communicated is the message that the water was a gift to them from God. Josh did an outstanding job of telling the village inhabitants that the water they were provided was because of Christs love and sacrifice for them. They should be reminded each day they come to drink of the daily provision of water and also the living water provided thru Christ. Can you imagine going without clean water? I sure can't.....
Monday, October 22, 2012
David made an interesting comment this morning,while doing our school work, regarding how men and women think.
He says:" A woman's mind is like a big ball of rubber bands.
It is able to have many things wrapped around it all at the same time. A man's mind is like a Rubik's Cube. It can only move 1 piece at a time."
My mouth drops open and my eyebrows raise.
He then informes me that he heard this description at Crescent Lake Bible Camp, from his camp counselor,during their mens class.
I think to myself, maybe a few other people I know should attend this mens class! Because that was a pretty good visual picture of just how a multi tasking women's brains work. The visual picture of a Rubik's Cube is a great description of being single threaded in a thought process.
I have to admit though, my rubber band ball, is having a hard time wrapping itself around my son's knowledge of a woman's brain.
"Today we went painting more houses.
There was a kid who is 10-13 years old that helped us paint all day.
I thanked him alot.
At lunch I played Uno.
I went to the orphanage and played baseball with some kids.
There were a couple of naughty kids there and one that kept pinching my cheeks.
ne naughty kid there bit dad and a third one kept repeating everything we said while sticking out his tongue.
Yesterday, Toni had a frog in her toilet!
Today she found a frog in her bathtub!
At dinner we tried a bunch of different types of Guatemalan food.
There was a lot of bugs today for some reason."
A not from Jenny:
David felt sorry for Toni and Mary. But he also chuckled a lot while he told us abut their creature companions. Toni is a former Sunday school teacher of David's. He knows her very well. She was very repulsed by her creature companions, especially the bats.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Yesterday, I saw a scorpion.
Toni and Mary's room has bats!
The ant invasion stopped.
The ants disappeared.
We painted three houses today and handed out stuffed animals.
We saw some coconut, lime, and mango trees today.
We met a woman named Jesus but it is pronounced
Hey Zews. Her husband committed a crime and has run away.
He is wanted by the police. He has not been found."
Note from Jenny:
After David returned, I had many people from the trip tell me how much of a hard worker David was.
Many of them mentioned how he worked so hard painting in the heat this day. I guess it was a 100 degrees.
David realized that probably the man who commited the crime would never be found and that he abandond his family. He had a few questions about how come the police are different than they are here.
He also said that he was certain I would freak out over his scorprion discovery. I didn't.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
"Today I was able to the dump.
I served the drinks and there was a lot of them.
the lady who was giving the tortillas was practically mobbed!
Inside the dump, people would walk barefoot into the hot burning coals
and the smoke to get pieces of trash.
They built their houses right next to the smoke!
If Nathan or Caleb start crying and whining abut how unfair it is that he doesn't get a stuffed animal
then look at the people in the dump!
There was a lot of CDs at the dump for some reason."
Note from Jenny:
The days following David and John's return, David spoke a lot about the dump.
He told us how Hope of Life go there to distribute a meal, 3 times a week.
He said many of the people (kids) only eat 3 times a week.
He was amazed that they were so filthy and picking thru the trash.
He also said that the drinks he served them, he pured into their bottles. Many of those bottles they picked out of the trash to get filled by Hope of Life volunteers. He was saddened by the state of these people and many times talked abut the literal stench of the place and the people.
Several times as we have sat down to lunch or supper he says this.
Monday, October 15, 2012
"We went to church today.
It was hard to understand the lyrics, but some songs are the same ones we sing back home, except they are in Spanish.
We got to go and see the baby rescue center, orphanage special needs center and the hospital.
We decided to take the road to dinner and got lost.
When we got back to the rooms we saw there was an ant invasion in our wall!
In fact there was a nest inside one of the walls of our room.
Como-say-yama means what is your name.
I used that phrase a lot today."
P.S. Guatemalan girls think I am cute.
Side note from Jenny - Everywhere David went, he would have a group of girls following and commenting about his blond hair. David began to recognize the word Canche. Which means blond.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
"Today was one of the best days of my life!
Both times on the plane I had a window seat next to the right wing.
On the plane we flew right thru a cloud!
I got to see the cockpit!
We looked for the volcano, but we couldn't see it.
Dad bought me the book "Hunger Games"
Our room came with 2 beds, one green and one red.
Also a personal bathroom.
The toilets don't fill up and then drain.
They just drain.
By the food area there is an alligator pond and a creaky bridge that leads over it.
There are 2 ways to get to our room from the eating area.
You can go down 257 uneven steps or take the bus.
Today was very much fun! I miss you guys."
A note from Jenny:
Four days before the team left for Guatemala, there was a volcano eruption there.This was not close enough to the area they planned to serve, so it did not inhibit the teams' trip. Those who were going
knew they might be able to see the volcano from the plane. Unfortunately, they didn't see the volcano while airborne. That is what David is referring to in his day 1 entry.
While they were away, I asked David to keep a journal. This was an English assignment for him to record the days' activities. From this journal he was to produce a personal narrative/thank you letter to anyone who supported him financially.We will post the letter he wrote in one of the next entries.
The next several posts will be excerpts from his trip's daily journal.
Before the posts begin, I would just like to say how very blessed I feel for David and John to have the opportunity to go on this mission trip. I was glad for them to go together and grow closer to each other and the Lord as He directed their days. It was an absolute tear filled joy to read his journal entries.
For those of you who contributed your prayers and financial resources, to you I will be forever grateful.
It was the joy of my mother's heart to read and hear of David and John's trip from the writings he made each day. What an amazing opportunity for an 11 year old boy.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
Saturday, September 8, 2012
David doesn't have many hobbies. He is an insatiable reader, he enjoys video games, he likes difficult paper airplanes, and he makes lego creations. That pretty much sums up his free time activities.
Just a quick blog post to show off his latest lego airplane. This was not a kit. He made it up by himself.
If you would've asked me which super hero Caleb is, I would've told you it was the Hulk. He has a similar short fuse and you really won't like him if he is angry.
Now, I might say: "Move over Green Arrow, your predecessor has arrived".
Caleb has taken a serious liking to our bow and arrow. He regularly sneaks off outside for some quiet "squirrel hunting".
If he someday runs thru the door exclaiming: "I got one!" I am going to be in a heap of trouble. After all, we are big believers in the saying: "If you kill it, you eat it."
The drought was hard on the produce picking this harvest.
We were fortunate to grab a couple Hionis boys and go raspberry pickin'at our favorite Blue Sky raspberry farm.
After about 30 minutes of pickin', we were done hunting for the few ripe berries remaining on the plants. We were able to find about 2 pints and that was the end of the ripe berries. A fun half hour and a good reminder of just how valuable rain really is.
Remember that moment in your childhood when you heard and recognized that sound was the ice cream truck coming? Well, we are living in that moment with a little help from our friends.
Captain Jacks ice cream treats is making that memory for us each Monday as he brings his ice cream truck down our street. Since his son is one of our Awana Sparks, it makea it evem more sweet. Pun intended.
Shouts of " ICE CREAM!" and running feet are going to be remebered long after those calories have been consumed.
Thank You Captain Jack for making a sweet childhood memory for my boys.
Today was an amazing day. Our baby of the family turned 5 years old.
Nathan was excited to celebrate his birthday with his very first soccer game. He is so excited to be old enough to participate in sports.
We went to Perkins for a birthday breakfast. They sang to him and he wasn't shy about it. He was thrilled to get the giant chocolate muffin.
The afternoon brought friends, a movie, popcorn from our new air popper, and cake and ice cream.
His buddy Asher came and they played glow in the dark soccer in our hallway. Olivia came too. It was nastalgic of preschool days gone by. We hadn't had her come over in a long time. Nathan was teary eyed when she had to go. I think he misses her daycare days with us.
I was reminded of how sweet the Lord has been to Nathan so much today. As I made his cake, I added eggs to the batter and recalled how in his first birthday his cake was egg free.
Now his multiple food allergies have been healed and they no longer rule his dietary choices.
Also, as he ran around the soccer field, I smiled at his physical abilities. No way would you guess he has a heart valve issue. Four years ago we thought he would need surgery long before his 5th birthday. Today he reached 5 years old and has participated in all normal boy activities and his heart is holding strong with no outside intervention. He even visits his pediatric cardiologist less times per year than before.
God has been so good to him and us. What a blessing Nathan is to our family. He is a true testimony to faith.
He is surrounded by friends and family that love him, and he has enjoyed continued health and healing in his body. It is easy to get busy and forget to reflect on the past blessings in your life. Today I was overwhelmed by how blessed Nathan is by his Heavenly Father.
It was a grand birthday celebration indeed.
Friday, September 7, 2012
There's just something special about ages 2 - 5. So much growing up, innocent naivety, and just plain fun. They are magical years.
Tonight is our last night of living with a 4 year old. Nathan turns 5 tomorrow.
I'm really happy to see him turn 5, but am already missing 4.
Love you, Nathan!
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
It has been 8 years since we fed the deer in the WI Dells. David was 3 and since he was at camp, I took the other 2 boys.
I have been wanting to go back for some time. I was glad to go this time of year because the bucks' antlers were amazing.
The boys really enjoyed how gently the deer took their crackers. 'Lots of grins and giggles.
Once again David went to camp for a week this summer. We had to reschedule him since he broke his arm. But, it all worked out in the end. He was able to attend the last week of camp cast free. It sure was quiet at our house with him gone.
I'm glad to have him back but equally glad he got to experience camp again this year.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The Jelly Belly Factory was a blast! We rode a train around learning how the jelly beans and other candies are made. Then we got to sample any or all the jelly belly flavors there are. Caleb even tried the Skunk Spray Jelly Belly. He liked it! BLAH! See video below.
It was cheap and fun entertainment. the tour is free. You receive a bag of Jelly Bellies each for free. I gave each boy some spending cash to purchase a memento from our visit. What they each bought was completely representative of each of their personalities.
Caleb purchased the Been Boozled game. This is a pack of Jelly Bellies that has the gross beans mixed with good tasting beans. The are the same colors so you don;t know which is which. It comes with a spinner and you play a game with the box. You spin and whatever it lands on you have to find that bean. You could get the blue bean. It would either be toothpaste flavored or blue raspberry. You might get the orange colored bean. It could be peach or it could be barf! Maybe you get the white bean. It could be buttered popcorn or rotten egg! John was a good sport and played the game with the boys. It was hilarious.
David bought the best value for his money. They have what they call belly flops. These are candies that taste the same but either stuck together or weren't the right size. He went for volume of candy for his dollar.
I can testify they were tasty.
Nathan bought a Christmas ornament. He loves looking at pretty things and playing with trinkets. I was amused at their purchase choices.
After Jelly Belly we walked the shore of Lake Michigan. The kids were amazed as a group of teens where jumping off the ledge into the lake. It was a mild weather day and we saw a number of sailing ships and other boaters. It was a beautiful scene.
Last stop was the Civil War Museum, They had a lot of cool weapons, a Morse code machine and a train that was really outstanding. The train had 8 different mannequins in each seat. The boys could sit next to one of the "people" and it would begin to tell you their story. This was really outstanding.
We did this whole day lunch included (but not gas for van) for less than $30. Much better than taking them to the fair.
Friday, July 20, 2012
When I finally went to bed, I climbed in next to him and spent several minutes just watching him sleep and running my hand through his crew-cut hair - something you can't do with a picture 14 years from now, and an opportunity that rarely comes up during waking hours.
The next morning, he got up and showed me his first loose tooth.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Today I got permission from David to post pictures of his broken arm.
So far he has had a gigantic blue cast for 4 weeks. This cast could not get wet and required a sling to hold in place.
Then David got a much smaller, red, fiberglass, waterproof cast. This one he wore for 4 weeks.
Now today he was fitted for a splint. This one is custom built for his arm and purple in color. He will have to wear the splint for 3-4 more weeks.
It has been a long road. David has taken it like a champ. So proud of his attitude.
Monday, July 9, 2012
That means soon, for the first time in 11 years, I will no longer have a preschooler.
As wonderful as snuggles and sippie cups are, they pale in compairson to having your child mature in front of your eyes.
I admit I miss the smell of a clean baby head washed in Johnson and Johnson baby wash. That smell is soooo wonderful. But that is why I volunteered for the church nursery! (So bring me your babies Sunday at 9:30 I am scheduled this week!)
In an effort to celebrate this upcoming monumental moment. I wanted to post a link to the most funny fake movie trailer ever! (Thanks Uncle Luke for sharing this)
This movie trailer spoofs Dora the Explorer. Clearly one of the most annoying kid shows ever made.(in my humble opinion if you disagree you may not want to click on the below link)
Blogger beware if you have a preschooler at home you will want to have on headphones or watch when they are in bed. Not because the language is bad (ok there is one line for sure I wouldn't want my kids repeating at church) but their little beautiful perception of Dora will get crushed if they saw it. If this movie had been made, it would have been PG 13. (and I would've gladly paid a ticket price for it. :)
Additional warning: the comments, as most youtube videos, are less then wholesome reading. So if you wish to share this with an older kid who would find the humor in it, beware of their ability to read those comments! Some are most cringe worthy.
Now in addition to the spoiler alerts I will tell you that I find it so funny that the people who made this fake trailer are in college! That means they must have known Dora the Explorer from their youth or have siblings with whom they have watched the show.
Why is Dora always screaming when she talks anyway?
Here it is:
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Caleb did not know who Mickey Mouse really was/is.
So this tune made no sense to him nor was it nostalgic for me.
But none the less it was his assigned piano piece.
Sooooooooo - Here is Caleb playing "Mickey Mouse March" in synthesizer brass.
The dude never plays in regular piano except at his lesson. At first I thought we should buy him a "real" piano, but now I am convinced the whole reason he plays is because of all the cool tones. For now, I don't care. I just want him to continue to love to play and to learn how to read and play the music.
Here's the link:
Friday, July 6, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
The water was warm and so clean. I just love the water at Lake Emily. The lakes by us can't compare.
Since we went the week before the July 4th holiday, it was not crouded at all. We borrowed 2 military cots to sleep on this time. (Thank you Josh!) They are the BOMB! We normally blow up air mattresses but these things are so much better. We wouldn't be able to fit 5 of them in the big tent though, so for now we are keeping with the air mattresses.
I can see this camping thing being our yearly vacation. As the boys get older they do more of the work. Noone needs to be back at the site for naps anymore and they are all old enough to shower without freakin' out. So nice. We used to bring all kinds of toys too. But now they just play with sticks, play with the dog and swim. My favorite part is there is no tv, no video games and the gathering place is the fire ring.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
We may have been "sitting at the dock of the bay." as the song says but we were for sure not"watching the sun roll away waisting time..."
We were catching some fish! We had a number of bites and near misses. After a moment of frustration we agreed it was time to ask the Lord to assist our efforts to move from fish waiting to fish catching. Sure enough He did.
Nathan caught an 11 inch brooke trout and Caleb caught a 15 inch rainbow trout. We grilled them up for supper. It was some good eats!
I am loving those 10 dollar spiderman fishing poles. Those trout didn't give up without a fight. Those poles were bending but not breaking.
We had a quiet family celebration for Davids 11 th birthday. I am amazed at how fast time is moving now.
He begins middle school soon. Before I know it he will be 18. I am so pleased with his heart towards others and how his character is developing. He makes his momma proud.