Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What we've been up to

Things are not slowing down here yet at all.  It seems like my life has been full-speed-ahead ever since the water heater broke, and I can't seem to catch my breath!

Some of the "big" things (well, big to me):
  • Mitch wrapped up the school year in Royalton, and immediately went to work at NorthCrest Gymnastics & Dance where he has worked many other summers previously.  He is working 4 days/week various hours.
  • I am watching extra daycare kids who are home from school for the summer, plus a new little guy started.  My days are full and long and chaotic.  I crave quiet.
  • Kids are having their annual (or biennial) doctor checkups.  Malachi was super shy and literally crawled under the chair trying to avoid Dr. Tjaden.  He didn't show her his million-dollar smile nor any of his other cuteness.  We're going to have to work on that.
  • Our car blew a head gasket (and subsequently gained a hole in the radiator)...ouch.  After a week in the shop and $1500 (we also replaced the timing belt/water pump while the engine was already apart), it's running again.  I hope it's running GREAT. 
  • We finally got some warm weather and thus started working/playing outside a lot more.  Zeke and Josh both learned to ride two-wheelers at the same time.  I missed this exciting moment and still haven't managed to get pictures of them on their bikes. 
  • I put away winter clothing and got out summer clothing for several of the kids (trust me, it's a LOT of clothing).
  • We have been cleaning, organizing, and purging neglected areas of the house.  We literally filled Paul's trailer with donations for our church's garage sale.  We also threw away nearly that much.  The purpose of the garage sale was to raise money for the Abba Fund, a fund started to provide interest-FREE loans to couples seeking to adopt internationally, with special needs, or from the Minnesota Waiting Children list.  They raised over $6,300!!
  • I began working on my third diaper pattern--the Pampered Cheeks Growing Cheekies Pocket & AI2.  I didn't meet my personal deadline, but I have made reasonably good progress.
  • I found a lost part to my tripod while cleaning, saving us from buying a replacement (!!!).
  • I shopped and got some good deals on clothing for Obadiah and Tirzah to fill in the gaps over the next year.  I also gave away a good amount of clothing (hard for me to do since I have a "save" mentality when it comes to clothes).
  • Mitch has been working on the garage and has some space to finally do some work out there with the tools.  He's going to build stuff!  It looks really, really good.  Two of our kids (at different times) commented that "Wow, we could park a car in there!"  Their visual/spacial sense is a little off--we can't really get a car in it, but the effect is the same--there IS a lot of freed-up space in there.  It's starting to look like a real shop.
  • Mitch also started building a block shed under our lower deck so we can store our bikes in it.  He has to get the roof and a door on, but he's working on it.  I'm curious to see what the finished project will look like.  It's something I've hoped he would do for a few years now, so it's great to be started on it.
  • Caleb won the "Edible Turtle Contest" sponsored by his favorite author, Donita K. Paul.
  • We caught a summer virus--it starts with a sore throat, then is followed by a runny nose and coughing.  Malachi seems to have the "sleepy" version--he slept all afternoon/evening, woke up a little for supper, then slept all night and all morning right up to noon.  He is feeling better now. 
  • Kathi is away this week on a missions trip with the youth group--Operation St. Cloud.  This was a GREAT idea by our youth leaders.  The team is staying in cabins nearby, about 20 min. away, and doing various ministry activities in St. Cloud.  The costs of such a trip are minimal, and the impact is going to be equal to a missions trip that requires travel.  I hope she has a fun week, is encouraged to grow in her faith, and also stays healthy!
  • One of our church elders came by and laid the carpet back in the boys' room.  He has to come back to do the hallway a different day.  We got the boys all moved back in to their room.  I still need to do some cleaning in the family room downstairs, but we're getting there.  What a relief!!
What is coming up in the next few weeks:
  • I have two non-fiction books to read for reviews.  They are both on topics that I have been pondering lately anyway.  Good timing.
  • Karen and Marc are coming up to visit for a week.  They'll be here this Friday.
  • I have oral surgery next week.  Ick!  I'm trying to guess what to expect.  My friend Kristin asked if I have ever had my wisdom teeth out.  Yes, I have.  I certainly hope it's not that bad!!!  Waking up from that surgery was awful and I was miserable for the next couple of days.  I was sort of hoping I would be back to daycare later that afternoon (with Mitch's help, of course), so let's hope it's not quite so awful.
  • The kids will go to VBS next week at our church, too.  At least some of them, some of the days.
  • The last week of June we will go on a big trip--we're going out to Colorado for a family reunion.  Then we will head north to Yellowstone National Park for a few days before driving home across South Dakota.  We hope to stop and stay in the Mt. Rushmore area too.  We are just now forming our plans and making reservations (it's been too crazy to plan much sooner).
  • A couple weeks after that we will have another vacation at home--Patrick and his family from Germany will be here to visit.  We are sooo excited!!!  We will have our whole family together for the first time--all of "our" kids!  Expect pictures.
  • At the end of July we will say goodbye to Kathi and release her safely to the care of her family in Germany.  :'(  Saying goodbye stinks.
 Sad news:
  • We won't be able to host an exchange student next year.  The Department of State made some new regulations with a tighter screening process.  The problem is that they don't just screen us out for closer inspection, it excludes us altogether with no exceptions.  Currently I'm quite angry about it, and it definitely deserves a "sound off" all of its own.  You just might get that in a later post.  What you can do:  consider hosting an exchange student.  I don't know about all areas, but I know in ours we are having a hard time finding families willing to host students.  They have no clue what they're missing out on!  Also, if you happen to know Hillary Clinton or anyone of power working in the State Department, ask them to give me a call.  ;)


  1. That thing about no exchange student stinks. I might even try to track down a phone number or address for you.

  2. I am so excited to hear that Patrick is coming for a visit. I started following your blog back when he got off the plane to stay with you. I could feel from your posts how close you all became while he was here. I am sure your entire family is super excited to see him. Can't wait to see the posts for that visit. You can visit me at www.cabininthewoods-diane.blogspot.com. For some reason the select a profile won't let me comment with my blog address.