Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Hobbit's Birthday

Ok, not a hobbit, but Mitch.  He's actually much to tall to be a hobbit.  But there are some qualities of hobbits in all of us, don't you think?  And Mitch is just barely an "adult" by hobbit reckoning (hobbits come of age at 33)! 

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We celebrated by just Mitch & I going out to dinner at La Casita (a mexican restaurant)...yummmm.

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Then we came home for dessert with the kids--a German chocolate cake with frosting I made myself (although Patrick says it's not really "German" since none of the ingredients came from Germany and I want to know how Mr. Smarty Pants knows that???).  It is Mitch's favorite, though, and it IS traditionally a German recipe and Mitch's whole family is of German decent, so there. 

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(Remember just barely an adult by hobbit reckoning...)

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Oh boy, Tirzah was pretty excited about the cake.

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Will Daddy share?

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One more of the girl who steals the show...see how her hair is beginning to curl up!!  We're seeing a lot of that lately.  :)

Mitch's birthday was on Monday and I'm just getting around to posting about it now since our week was so busy.  You might read that as I had other more important things to blog about, and that is definitely not true.  :)  But the poor ole boy deserved a prompt post on Monday and I just didn't get 'er done.  Happy Birthday, Honey, I'm so glad to have another year to celebrate with you! 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fishing

Fishing is what Micah loves to do. So much that he will not only let me take his picture, but he'll actually smile at the camera too. Last night he and Eden stayed overnight with Papa and went fishing this morning. About bed time last night, Malachi came in my sewing room and we had this conversation:

Malachi: Mom, where's Micah?
Me: He went to Papa's house.
Malachi: Oh, he's looking for fishies?

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They "found" some fishies!

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Papa and Micah each caught 12, and Eden caught 7. They brought home the 6 finest northern pike to eat, many of the 31 they caught were too small to keep and the limit is 3 per person.

Micah said that Papa let Eden drive the boat, and she put it on full throttle.  Papa, Micah and their stuff was all on one side of the boat, and Eden made a hard turn and almost tipped over.  Papa turned the steering wheel just in time.  Micah shouted to go slower, but Papa kept speeding her up after that.  Sounds like fun.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Patrick's Boat

Patrick needed to build a boat for his Physics class.  This was quite the project!  The teacher supplied him with a motor (which he will return), but he had to purchase or find the rest of the supplies needed for the boat.  We had a lot of fun scavenging toys (and alarm clocks) in our house trying to find parts we could strip off for his boat!  We actually found at least one other motor similar to his as well...cool.  We procured 4 propellers from the Lego bin, and my silly boys thought that the 3 matching ones should ALL go on.  Anything we couldn't find at home (especially the balsa wood and aluminum rods for the propeller to attach to) was purchased at a craft store.  There were many small details that needed to be overcome, and I found this a particularly daunting project, so other than digging for spare parts, I tried to stay out of it during the problem solving stages.  Yesterday the class put their boats into rain gutters filled with water to try them out.  When I asked him how it went, Patrick tried to be modest about it (you know I would have come home yelling and whooping), but his boat not only had THE BEST TIME IN THE CLASS but it also drove very smoothly and quietly compared with some others.

Here are the pictures...didn't he do a great job???

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{A reflection of his talented parents!}

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His friends teased him and accused him of cheating...said he must have used some secret German technology. ;) Maybe it's computer-powered by Ubuntu?

Lily & Hope Reunited

I love happy endings.  :)

Neighbors spotted Hope up in a tree yesterday evening and called researchers.  They were astounded that she was 2 miles away from where Lily had left her.  They caught Hope and put her into a pet carrier, then easily tracked down Lily.  There was concern that Lily would no longer be lactating and therefore would not take Hope back.  However, she did!



For more of the story, be sure to visit the bear center page for Lily and Hope.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lily & Hope (Bear Update)

Remember the bears I posted about a couple weeks ago?  Have Fun with the Bears

Lily and Hope have been separated since Friday.  Hope is still too young to survive on her own, and researchers are torn as to what to do.  They can track Lily through the GPS collar she is wearing, but they cannot track Hope.  A neighbor reportedly saw Hope in their yard last night, but she ran away.  Lily has been moving away from the tree where she left Hope (and Hope obviously didn't stay), marking her territory and otherwise doesn't appear to be searching for Hope.  The researchers' main job is to do just that--research by observation--and intervention must be handled with great care.  You can follow the story on facebook or on the North American Bear Center website.



I have loved watching Lily and Hope and find the research extremely interesting.  Like many others, I hope that the two are reunited, and I struggle to accept "nature's course."  I find it intriguing that as humans we have such a capacity to care for the wild animals such as these.  This compassion must be God-given, however do we also sometimes over-sympathize?  Do we tend to project human emotions onto animals?  Maybe I'm just sounding a little weird here, but hang in there.  These two wild animals are loved by thousands of people around the world, but especially those closely related to the research.  The bears are completely incapable of earning their love and of returning it. Does that not reflect the story of God's love for us...just a little bit? 

So I want to be careful not to be carried away emotionally, but I also pray that no matter what the outcome, God may be glorified even in the story of these two bears.  :)

Book Review: Friendship for Grownups by Lisa Welchel


I just finished reading Lisa Whelchel's new book, Friendship for Grown-ups: What I Missed & Learned Along the Way.  Lisa invites the reader to join her on her own personal journey to develop healthy, intimate friendships in her adult life.  She tells warm and engaging personal stories to help the reader understand her own deep struggles in forming true friendships.  Lisa is open and honest, and draws the reader in to feel like already a best friend.  Lisa interweaves scripture as well as quotes from respected authors (especially Henry Cloud and John Townsend).

While I don't personally struggle with developing intimate friendships, I found this book WONDERFULLY refreshing to read.  It highlighted many things I have to be thankful for in my own life, especially my best friend Kristin, and other close friends I have.  There are many, many good principles here that may be applied to other areas of life (good psychological stuff that doesn't come off as "clinical" to read), and Lisa breaks it down very well to a level that is easy to relate and understand.  Lisa also gently draws the reader in and presents the Gospel in a beautiful way.  I highly recommend this book and if you are a member of a Mom's group or Bible study, I suggest you consider reading this book in your group (study questions are already included)! 

Since this is my third book review for BookSneeze, and my first two were somewhat negative, I'm also thrilled and relieved to give a positive review.  I will definitely be looking to read some of Lisa's other books (I have read and recommend "Creative Correction")!  I am so excited to loan this book out to my friends.  :)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Boundary Waters Teaser

I wanted to post about the guys' trip to the Boundary Waters, but that's a little hard for me to do since I wasn't there.  Patrick was working on a post, and wanted to close it without publishing it.  Well, blogger automatically saves every couple seconds...and we could see that it was saved...so I told him to close it and it would be under "Edit Posts" the next time he went in.  I do it all the time!  Guess what happened?  His post was there, but it was completely empty...all the pictures and text just gone.  :(  So now he says he doesn't want to write it again.  I hope he changes his mind!  I tried to get Mitch to be a guest blogger and write for my blog, but so far he hasn't taken the bait.  Oh well, for now here are some great photos Mitch got.  Unfortunately I had the camera (Canon Powershot A610...not my D80) set on the lowest setting (640 x 480), so none of the pictures are high-res.  I am sooooo bummed.  Patrick and the other guys on the trip have lots of great photos, but that doesn't make up for not being able to print these.  At least they look great on my blog, don't ya think??

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Planting

It's time to transplant our little plants and plant seeds!  We had a couple weeks of rain and really cold temps (we even had a freeze while the guys were away on their camping trip), and that has finally passed and given way to sunshine.  We're pretty confident we're in the clear now, so Mitch is all about planting.

Here's a bunch of photos to chronicle our little plants' beginnings:

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{Baby cucumbers}
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{Peppers}
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{Father, Son, Daughter}
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{Tiny pepper plant hiding in there}
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{Corn, radishes, carrots, lettuce, and I am not sure what else are all going in our raised bed garden.}

Also, I got a filter for my camera lens. I was ordering some arborio rice for Patrick from Amazon.com (it's over $1/lb cheaper that way) so he can make milk rice. I needed to spend $3 to get free super saver shipping. Couldn't figure out what to buy. I had a $5 gift card too from swagbucks. Sweet. So I finally decided on a $6 polarizing filter for my camera lens. Look at this (both are with the polarizer, just turned different ways):

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I wish I would have thought to take one without the filter on at all. But I'm going to have fun with this one, for sure. I love how I can eliminate reflections off glass, and I can't wait to try it out with water scenes as well. :)

Tirzah vs. the Slide

Tirzah loves the slide, but it goes pretty fast and has a nice drop off at the bottom, so she usually needs some help.
{You can tell by the expression on her face, she's excited to go.}
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{But in the middle of the ride, she's not looking so sure.  Big sister Eden is there to catch her.}
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{She went back up the stairs all by herself to go down the slide again.  She's pretty excited.}
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{She's going to do it by herself.}
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{Oh...well...this may not be working out so well after all.  She was grabbing with her feet and hands to try to stop herself.}
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{Daaadddddyyyyy to the rescue!}
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{Off she goes again!}
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{Looking a little like he just threw his kid down the slide, don't ya think??}
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Patrick is playing tennis

And I'm trying my hand at sports photography!  :)

Yesterday Patrick had a match in Sartell.  I told him to call me when he knew what time his match was.  It so happened that all the daycare kids were gone for the day when he called.  So we loaded everyone into the van and made it a family trip.  :)

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They lost the match, but I thought they did great playing overall!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm so glad it's Monday!

Just like anyone else, I normally love the weekends.  Weekends represent a change of pace around here--fewer kids (ha!), time to sew, time to go to church, Patrick is home from school, sleeping in (ha!)--I could go on and on.  I think I mentioned before that Mitch, Patrick, and Micah were heading up to the Boundary Waters this past weekend for a canoe/camping trip, right?  Well on the home front I think I just barely survived.  :)  By noon Sunday I was pretty sure I was never going to let Mitch go anywhere without me ever again.  Before they come home to tell their exciting stories, here's how my weekend went down.

Thursday night Mitch decided Caleb could go with them.  The weather Friday was looking cold and wet, so he was concerned for Caleb (and really didn't want any extra whining), but the rest of the weekend was looking so nice.  They spent the evening packing up their things, then tried to get to sleep around 10 pm.  They were up at 1:30 am, I kissed Mitch goodbye, and didn't hear them again.  Since this story is about me, I need to mention here that before I went to bed I was already feeling ill.  My neck felt very stiff and I commented, "Wow, I haven't felt this bad in a long time."  So I took some tylenol before bed.  Tirzah woke up at 2:30 am...yay me...and was up for an HOUR.  Ugh.  Little rat.  :)  We have some daycare children that come at 6 am, so I was up early.  I actually woke up before my alarm went off because I had so much trouble sleeping.  I noticed right away that I felt terrible.  My throat was sore.

Fast forward a few hours.  I gradually felt worse and worse and began running a low-grade fever.  Took some more tylenol.  It was hard to focus, but I forced myself through the steps of the day.  What else was I going to do?  This sure was a lousy end of the deal!  By 4:30 my temperature had finally hit the magic 101.6 mark, and I got an after-hours appointment at the clinic.  I dropped Tirzah off at Holly's and had Eden watch Zeke, Josh, and Malachi at home.  The verdict?  Strep throat.  I have never had strep throat.  At least not in my recollection.  I have been exposed MANY times in recent years.  I attribute my susceptibility now to the fact that I had my spleen out in January.  :(

Picked up some amoxicillin.  (Pause.  When Mitch has pneumonia, they give him a z-pack.  Sweet--1 pill per day for 5 days.  The girl with no spleen gets what?  2 pills 2 times per day for 10 days.  The same girl who can't remember a daily vitamin.  Grrrrr.  Unpause.) Headed home for the couch and a movie.  We watched the movie Hachiko: A Dog's Story.  It's a good movie, but never ever watch it when you have strep throat.  Or when someone you love is away.  It's kind of slow and boring, unless you are like me and love the music.  By the end of the movie my fever had hit 103.4 even with tylenol.  I waited up until time for the next dose of tylenol, then collapsed in bed.  In the middle of the night I woke up VERY uncomfortable.  My fever was 104.8.  That pretty much freaked me out.  I kicked off all my blankets and opened the window, and started to cool down.

Saturday was better.  I took it in bursts.  I would get up and do what needed to be done, then either sit or lie and rest for a while.  Thankfully the weather was nice, so the kids got to play outside a long time and were well entertained.  Bonnie came to my rescue and ran to the post office for me, then later brought us pizza for supper (thank you, Bonnie!!!).  Then she and Eden ran the little kids through the bath tub...nice.  The day wasn't a total wash--I got lots of little things done that needed to be done.  I went to bed thinking that we would stay home from church on Sunday.  I should have went with that thought.

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling much better.  I still had a sore throat, but the aches and fever were greatly diminished and I was well-rested.  Since everyone was clean and I was feeling so much better, we decided to try church.  The first bad thing about this decision was that I had to drive the big van.  I love the big van.  But I love it more when I don't have to drive it.  It looks nice sitting in my driveway.  It's fun to clean.  I even like rearranging the car seats.  But I can't say I feel very comfortable sitting in the driver's seat.  At least the view is nice.  I am having a hard time adjusting to it.  The second bad thing about this decision is that we take all our children into church with us, we do not cart them off to "Children's Church".  Well, two wiggly little boys and one screaming toddler were too much for even a healthy mama.  Church had barely even gotten started when Tirzah was screaming in my arms and Chi and Josh were hitting each other.  My friend Devona came to my rescue and sat with my two boys.  I tried everything to get Tirzah calmed down, but finally relented and dropped her off in the church nursery.  Now it's manageable, right?  Wrong.  Malachi normally will sit the entire service on Mitch's lap, and will even fall asleep there.  Not this time.  He was bent on kicking the chair in front of us and squirming, and generally causing a {quiet} fuss.  As the cherry on top, before service started I had a chance to talk to Bobbi, whose hubby is camping with our boys up in the Boundary Waters also.  She asked if I'd heard from them.  I said no, of course not, Mitch was sure they'd have no cell service so he left his phone in the van.  But she had heard from John!  What?!  So here I am having just about the worst weekend ever (I'm prone to exaggeration at this point) and my hubby has NO idea but I *could* have been able to tell him.  I mean, I know he said he will be praying for me while they are away, but I have kinda been thinking--I would feel better if he at least knew WHAT to pray about.  I was jealous that Bobbi had talked to John (good to know they are not starving and the weather is nice), and I tried hard not to fume the whole way home from church.  Well, that is after I managed to herd all the children out the door, get them in the van, and navigate the parking lot without hitting anyone.  Yeah, I pretty much had to pray all day that I would not be bitter.  :)

Hope came over on Sunday afternoon and watched the kids so I could do my weekly grocery shopping and save whatever shred of sanity I had left.  I continued to pray that the seeds of bitterness would not grow in my heart.  I replayed in my mind over and over again what my first words to Mitch will be when he calls home to say they made it out and are on their way home.  I focused on this:  some bad things happened, and some very good things happened too.  We knew it would be hard work for me this weekend here alone, we just didn't know it would be THIS hard.  But do I want my focus to be the bad?  Or can I focus on the good?  Or how about if I don't focus on me at all, can I do that?  And then something amazing began to happen.  God began to answer my prayers.  My perspective shifted slightly.  I am genuinely excited to hear all about their trip.  I am sure they had some bad things happen, too, but I hope they had many more very good things happen.  I can't wait to hear each person's perspective, too.  I'm sure that Caleb will have some interesting stories to tell, as well as Patrick, Micah, Mitch, and Paul.

Today is Monday, and it's almost over.  They will be taking down their camp and canoeing out.  I can't wait to hear from Mitch.  I am praying that I hear FROM him first, not him hear from me first.  :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quite the Princess

Even though I try so hard to dress this one up and have her be "pretty", she constantly shows me that she is a toddler bent on following her brothers into trouble and getting dirty as often as she can. No worries here about this little girl, she knows how to hold her own! So this weekend I tried to capture her cuteness along with the dirt.

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{Tirzah with her big sis, Eden}

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{I was thinking, ok, this is good photograph material. It definitely tells a story.}

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{This one tells the same story, different perspective, right?}

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{Does this one make you cringe?? LOL}

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{Or how about this one? Is she going to do it?}

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{Yep, she did it. And I kept snapping pictures...no big deal, right?}

Well...it kind of was a big deal. A little while later I was putting groceries away and not keeping a eye right on my girl. She found some water to go with her dirt.

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{Not so happy right then, but she was definitely happy to get in the tub. She loves taking baths, and was pretty excited to score some tub time! Eden put Tirzah, dress and all, right into the bath tub. Both cleaned up nicely.}

Oh my, what a princess!