Friday, August 21, 2015

A Few Pictures

Because I can't think and just need a moment...

 {Morning Sunrise...I was unhappily up too early, but it was too beautiful to ignore}

 {The bunk beds are coming along nicely!}

 {Tired Mercy!}

 {A little surprise we did for Eden while she was away camping. Life is too short to be serious all the time. Too bad I can't jump in that Tardis and get me a little more time to get ready for school...}

 {The wasps are horrible this year. Obi got stung yesterday. He said it was "not cool."}

{Adorable baby Genna}

School Starts Monday...


I'm not ready.

Not even close.

Like, this is the worst it has ever been.

The least prepared I've ever been.

I'll take 4 more weeks of summer, please.



Oh goes nothing!

Micah and Eden are doing 100% of their coursework at the community college this year through the PSEO program. They are registered for classes (I think Micah for 12 credits, and Eden for 15). Parking pass has been purchased. Books were picked up. Their schedule is all typed into my google calendar and synced to all our phones. We are a go for launch.

Caleb is starting his first year of high school. Here is his course line-up:
  • Notgrass World History. Covers History, Language Arts, and Bible. I am seriously thrilled with this curriculum so far. We will see if that holds out.
  • Apologia Biology
  • Responsible Driving (another driver in the family already?!?)
  • Saxon Algebra II. I almost didn't. I asked him no less than three times if he was sure he wanted to stick with Saxon (because their Algebra II and Advanced Math courses include Geometry and are technically 3 high school math credits, but it's a LOT of hard work).
Zeke is in 6th Grade.
  • History and Language Arts are built around IEW's Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons. We are using the TruthQuest History Guides for extra literature but following the timeline presented in IEW's course. I have done exactly zero preparation for this. Unless I miraculously stop time, we will not be starting this for a couple weeks yet.
  • Science is fun--we are using Science in the Ancient World by Dr. Jay Wile, so it all comes together nicely. But let's be realistic. Science is my lowest priority and only happens if it's able to happen. It's the first thing I axe if the day is not going well.
  • Zeke will keep practicing keyboarding.
  • Also we will keep working through All About Spelling.
  • We will use several resources I have for practicing grammar--Fix-It! Grammar from IEW, Winston Grammar, and some worksheets from the Critical Thinking Company. 
  • Math-U-See for Math
Josh is in 5th Grade and Malachi is in 3rd. They will do the same stuff as Zeke, except they are both learning to write cursive this year. If you listen carefully, you can probably hear Josh still whining about it.

Tirzah is in 1st Grade. She is working on reading, writing and arithmetic. We are using All About Reading, A Reason For Handwriting, and MUS Alpha.

Big goal #1 this year:
I want my kids to know who Jesus is.

Other goals:
What "kindness" is and how to show it
Learning to do chores responsibly
Having fun together
Parents reading aloud to kids every day

Ok, I'm not any more ready for school to start (in THREE days--YIKES) than I was a few minutes ago, so I really need to run now...

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Bunk Beds

Well, where do I start? Before the summer began, I made a list of projects I wanted to accomplish during the break from school. Mitch added to the list and we began to chip away at the easy ones. One of my big wishes was to transform our lower-level family room into a useable space. Last summer we had emptied our garage attic so that our roof, which was leaking, could be replaced. Many of our storage tubs came down into the family room area. By May, the room looked like this:

Mitch built shelves out in the garage and I sorted clothing, and eventually we got it looking like this:

Since our carpeting was also removed last year, we hadn't taken up the tack strips. We were still trying to decide if we wanted carpet again. Carpet is warmer and softer, but with Zeke having asthma and both Zeke and Josh having allergies, carpet is also a nightmare. So it was finally decided: up come the tack strips.

And then we had to pause. Mitch was headed to Ukraine. We weren't decided on flooring yet. While Mitch was gone, Obi, who has slept in our room since he was born, whined about not having his own big bed (he was sleeping on a toddler bed). He said when he gets bigger like Micah he is going to buy his own big bed. Ha! So I sat down on pinterest and researched bunk bed ideas to put four boys in cramped space. Cramped space is about all we have around here anymore. ;)

Mitch came home and I shared my pin board with him. I am not sure that he was planning on spending the rest of his summer on this particular project, but whatever projects he had in mind he pushed to the side to accommodate this one. A couple days later my mom Janet arrived and she graciously jumped right in to our mess and helped us. We examined every room in the house and considered our options. The final decision was made: our lower level family room would become a "bedroom," we would paint the floor, and we settled on a design for the bunk beds that would give each boy some privacy.

First, the room needed to be emptied. We found a good home for our treadmill. The thing is a beast! It had to be disassembled. We took a trailer-load full of stuff to the local thrift store, too.

Next we used concrete filler to fill all the holes from the tack strips. Those tack strips are so nasty. Carpet? Never again. Mitch did a little test and only filled some of the cracks in the basement floor. The ones he filled turned out really nice. Lesson learned: fill the cracks.

 After that had dried, we sanded the glue from the carpet and sanded the filler down smooth. Only it didn't really "sand" all that well. We just did our best.

 Empty, clean, sweep...

Mom and I mopped and "etched" the floor to prepare it for painting. Coincidentally, this is the only picture I got of us together during her visit! LOL It was probably the hottest day of summer in Minnesota. I was miserably hot.

 Mom and Mitch did the painting. It was nearing evening time. We took the screens out of our bedroom windows so that we could go to bed through the windows. That was interesting!

 We used a garage floor paint.

I taped over doors and the stairs to remind kids not to go downstairs or on the wet floor. At some point Obi slipped away from us and went through our bedroom window. He ran across the wet paint and came upstairs. He said, "Mom, the floor is not wet, the paint is wet!" Ohhhhhh!!!

The paint was dry the next morning and we were all excited to view the results. It looks so good! It probably could use one more coat on top of it, but we decided to just be done. The paint dried shiny, and Obi's footprints are clearly visible, mapping out a path from our bedroom in the back to the stairs in the front. It is funny.

 And of course some paint on the carpet. (Getting rid of the carpet on our stairs is a future pinterest project for us.)

At this point, it was time for Mom to go home. :( We sure do miss her! She was an amazing help. We began the next stage of building. Since we were not following a pattern, Mitch framed in the bunk beds inside, then disassembled them and took them outside to sand and paint. At this point I got the brilliant idea to do a timelapse video. I had no idea how to do one, and it's not like we could just put the project on hold while I figured it out. So I looked up a "how to" and quickly set up my camera. It's a learn-as-you-go project!

Be sure to watch for the "blue moon" (second full moon in July).

We still have a ways to go to finish our project, but it sure is looking good! I have worked harder on this project than I ever imagined. It has been stressful, but it's coming together nicely.

This weekend Mitch remodeled the closet in the family room where we previously stored food to now store the boys' clothes. It's impressive that we have all four boys' clothing in one closet. ;) We did some rearranging upstairs for the food to now occupy a different closet. We will remodel the boys' old room and Eden will move into that one. She may have to share the room with Mercy for a while. That's to be determined. In the future I think that Tirzah, Mercy, and Genna will all share a bedroom. But that might be thinking too far ahead. We added lamps to the boys' beds, and will add curtains to divide each bed and cover the openings, so that each boy can shut off his own space. The upper bunks will get guard rails. Mitch will build shelves in each bunk area and is going to build under-bed drawers as well. We still need to purchase another twin mattress (right now Obi is using his crib-sized mattress with pillows piled around it). I hope that each boy will personalize his space. In a few months we will add a space heater to warm the space a bit. Also I have my eyes out for an area rug that has a rubber back (so as to not scratch the floor).

Through this whole project we have been rearranging spaces, cleaning, and purging. It feels so good to get things organized and to use our space more efficiently.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Half a Year Old!

I can't believe it has been 6 months already!

Big news this month, Genna
~ is up to about 18.5 lbs.
~has started eating some solid foods. We have tried rice cereal, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, applesauce, and bananas. She seems to like everything she tries, but sometimes she just can't get her tongue going in the right direction to keep the food in. 

 ~is getting mobile! She rolls around everywhere,
~turns her body,
 ~stretches to get toys that are out of reach,
 ~and uses her feet to push forward slightly.
 ~got a big girl crib! This is HUGE people! I haven't had a crib since all cribs were recalled a few years ago. (We used a pack-n-play for kiddos since then, and mostly they just slept in my bed. Co-sleeping just hasn't been working good for me anymore.) As part of our big project, I rearranged furniture in our bedroom. Now when she wakes up at night I actually have to get out of bed to reach her. By that time I have enough presence of mind to sit in the rocking chair and nurse her instead of laying back down in bed. As a result, I put her back in her bed to sleep, meaning a more restful sleep for me as well! So far she is only sleeping about 3 hours at a time, but occasionally she sleeps 4 hours. I'm longing for more sleep. Today started at 5:30 am. Oye. She loves her crib, though. I love our little corner nursery. I'm thrilled every time I walk in the room.

I need to get more good pictures, and will work on that this week I think. In the meantime, Genna also
~is sitting up on her own for several minutes at a time
~loves to "jump" on our laps
~coos and tries to interact with her siblings
~gets so excited when the other kids are around
~naps 3 times per day
~wears mostly 6-9 mo clothing and size 3 disposable diapers

And I think she's ready for a nap right now...I am pretty sure I wanted to write more, but my brain isn't working. :)

Monday, August 03, 2015

Ukraine Pictures

I realize I shared all (and more) of these on facebook, but it's easier to find them on my blog, so here they are. :)

 {Outside the church}

 {Ukrainian Flag}

 {Mitch's favorite candy, a gift from Zhenya}

{Zhenya and ladies preparing food--such a blessing to our team}

{Andrew preaching on Sunday morning}

{Oksana, Barb, Heather}

{Micah wants to stay in Ukraine}

{Butterfly testimony...hehe...nice framing?}

{American crowd draw...they dressed up the Americans and drew the crowd!}

{Birthday party food}

{Micah and Andrew leading sports}

{Teaching Ukranian kids rugby...only my boys don't know how to play rugby}

{Men's Bible Study}

{Young ladies made towels for our team members}

{Formal meeting with the college president (the college is where they have the VBS)}
{Mitch taught a few kids how to say 'naughty' in sign language}

{These children are receiving their first Bibles}

{Packed in like sardines on the way out to the village}

{Adorable! Miroslav}

{At the village}

{Mitch said, "One of the hardest teaching moments. I had to help this very shy beautiful girl to make this bird using only the words yes, no, hi, dog, and good morning."}

{Zhenya spoiled Mitch with triple servings of dessert!}

{Youth outreach}

{Zhenya's hot house and gardens...they ate a lot from there}

{Micah giving his testimony}

{The Khorol church}

Our team with Pastor Grigori and family, and AJ (translator)