Monday, September 29, 2008

Yeah! More Visitors

visitors isn't the right word, neither is guest, bc Janelle & gang are definitely like family. but we're very happy to have them here with us. We're super excited they braved the 20 hour's of driving time to come hang out with us. K spent the last couple days before they got here telling everyone we saw that his friends were coming and then counting down the hours until their arrival. Monday we made it through the wait for their arrival with a big long bike ride. and seeing how T is changing so fast. He's gotten to be a very good walker is getting more and more opinions of his own- he doesn't always agree to big brothers' toy swaps now. But he has learned to give them sweet kisses. He also understands more things like "sit down," "put your shoes on your feet," "don't hit." That doesn't mean he always does those. He does like to close the dishwasher (whether or not you want it closed & only when he's not trying to climb in.)
Tuesday afternoon the wait was over- four excited kids jumped out of their van while 3 kids bounced up & down with excitement in the driveway. We spent lots of time playing outside Tuesday afternoon & Wednesday- football, soccer, skating, biking, walks, ...While the little ones napped, the big boys picked egg plant & tomatoes. The kids looked for birds on our walk through the state park and found lizards, spiders, & other strange bugs in the yard. We also saw a baby snake. We're very glad we made sure the kids stayed away from the snake, especially when we ID'd it tonight. Tomorrow we're going to the museum.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fun Weekend







Friday morning the boys were a little less sad about Nana's leaving bc we headed to the children's museum for Fun Fridays as Nana left for Florida. Even with two school buses of kids there, we had a good time. But we did spent most of our time in the toddler room playing to get away from some of the madness- although I think we really just moved to our own madness since we had lots of little ones there too!

We were thankful Thursday that the rain held off through almost all of K's soccer practice- he was very excited that Nana got to go to soccer! And glad again Friday afternoon when the rain let up so we could play outside with friends who came over for dinner. We had 6 little boys over for pizza- the oldest turned 5 last week. And they brought Cheesecake Factory cheesecake- nice Friday!!

We were having a great time but our friends headed home a little early so we could get ready for a busy day Saturday. We left first thing this morning to see friends in VA. It was great to see Amy's little boy again (he'd grown lots since last time when he & K were 1) and to meet Sara's little guy who is super cute. I had a good time catching up with Erin, Amy, & Sara- it had been too long! & Lots of funny moments- K & C telling all about monkeys eating bananas, Amy's son calling Erin "Big Erin"- that's a first!, and the fun of 5 little boys playing together. We did spend as much time driving as we were there, but it was definitely worth the drive. K & C showed everyone the dancing skills they showed James on the video cam too- should have gotten a video of that! Our super tired T slept until 8 Sunday morning. We still made it on time to 9 am Executive Place. The boys had a good time- such a good time everyone could hear the 4 year olds playing their whistles during the sermon (right as the preacher talked about David's music driving out the demons.) But when they got home, you could really tell they were tired. a tad grumpy- so I really loved (and need it) when T started giving his brothers kisses- too sweet!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fall Fun










I always enjoy & appreciate visitors but I know I do even more while James is gone. Tuesday we had great success at PWOC- My Mom helped with taking a snack for PWOC & I got my cloth diaper back from last week. (Last week I'd been surprised to find C wearing a disposal diaper and no dirty cloth one in his bag. We went out in the pouring rain to try to find the diaper but didn't. We were very glad to get it back this week. And also glad that it wasn't a dirty diaper that sat there all week!) Then off to the grocery store- amazing how much you need to buy when you don't go to the store for 3 weeks & are expecting 5 wonderful guests next week! We also did some pumpkin painting- even T joined in the painting.

After lunch, Nana & boys napped while I went to my first OB appointment. I love to hear the baby's heartbeat- 150-160 yesterday. (Some say they means a - we'll see.) The Dr did recommend I see the perinatologist just based on my history- something about 3 C-sections, vasa previa, ...

We went on several bike rides around the neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful fall weather & to tire out little boys. After napping, we went to the fair. The boys had a blast! we watched Joe Clown juggle, the boys took driving lessons & got their Toddler driving licenses, saw lots of cows, pigs, & chickens. They picked apples & potatoes & gathered eggs and got up enough courage to ride the ponies- but not the camels! After dinner of corn dogs, Chinese, & fried banana pudding, the boys did their favorite thing: ride the cars! Everyone was sad to leave but had a great time!




























Monday, September 22, 2008

Beginning of Fall

What a good weekend. Grandma came on Saturday and Nana last night. The boys were very excited to see them both. Of course, they asked each "Where's Uncle Brian?" and "where's Papa?" & "are they coming next time?" K said he wanted to wait up for Nana to arrive but thankfully they both went to sleep.
Monday morning after guess what- yes oatmeal again, another morning with the "peach teacher." K got to go fishing after doing his letter cards. T practiced saying bye-bye with Nana while C did lots of puzzles. Afterwards we went back to Mazarick Park where we'll do our Sophie's Walk for Vasa Previa next week. Our trip didn't quite go as planned (I couldn't get the pedometer to work, T didn't think he should nap in his stroller, & K was surprisingly sure a long bike ride wasn't in his plan for the day), but it was beautiful out and I'm excited about having our walk there next week. T has been showing what a good walker he is now, which helped tire him out for all of us to take good naps.

I woke up Nana & C so they would be able to sleep tonight :) and then we headed to West Produce. There are pumpkins there & mums now. The boys always love seeing the animals. Today we got to see the pig, cows, & sheep right up close and the new baby chicks. Then the boys & I enjoyed playing outside while Nana made dinner! The boys picked some tomatoes which we ate with dinner.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Worn Out Boys

I guess after getting up before 7, a soccer game, playing with grandma, no nap, playing outside, and 2 mile bike ride little boys were very tired. I didn't hear a peep from K & C when I put them to bed at 7. We all had another really good day. I had to dig out jeans for C & T for the first time since the weather dropped down from mid 80s last Saturday to maybe 60 today. C was pretty sure that he should be able to play in the game; somehow the sidelines didn't sound like where he wanted to be. T was happy to have grandma to rescue him from the captivity of the stroller. They both attempted to make their soccer playing debuts. K had a blast playing today. Last week I think he confused being a guard (I hope that's the right word) with staying still. This week, he didn't stay still at all; it wasn't necessarily running towards the ball, but he was moving around and excited. Fun is what it's about when you're 4.
Since grandma called this week and said she was coming down, K has been making suggestions about where I should go. He was very excited when I said I was going to a baby shower and I was equally excited to go to a baby shower without 3 little helpers. I knew they were having a good time with grandma and I was able to eat lunch & have whole conversations with friends. It was so nice! My friend Paula is having twin baby s and Heather did a wonderful decorating job! I'd never seen so much pink!
We showed Grandma our "Daddy's Far Far Away" DVD- K is getting very good at keeping up with the pages. Then saw Grandma off and played out in the yard. The boys ate the last apples off our tree and we headed on our longest bike ride yet. Dinner, baths, & right to bed and the beautiful sound of sleeping boys! We are so thankful for all our blessings!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Even more blessings!













You can tell I'm not really computer savvy by seeing these captionless photos that aren't where I meant them to be. So here are my captions: who knew grits were finger food, here's another favorite daily game: hide & seek, look at all my baking: bread, focaccia, monkey bread (which needs a new name bc it's too healthy to be called that!)

Other than my computer struggles, we are really being blessed. We had another absolutely beautiful day- perfect weather! We went to a playgroup in our neighborhood Thursday morning. K & C rode their bikes all the way there & back- watch out Lance! I was so proud of them. They had a blast playing with the other kids, played together nicely outside after lunch, and took very good naps! K & C had a good time at K's soccer practice. Apparently T worked up quite an appetite playing in the dirt. He ate 3 pieces of pizza at Jeff & Jenean's house after practice.


Would you believe that we were invited to another friend's house for dinner again tonight- three nights in a row! Wow- we are so blessed! And on top of Janelle's frequent phone calls to check on us, a wonderful woman from PWOC who I don't know very well called tonight. She said she remembered I said I thought Friday nights would be my hardest times so she called. How sweet!

Today was our first Fun Friday. The kids had a great time & it was fun to be there with old & new friends. We went to Honeycutt Park. C climbed to the very top of the big kids' rockwall- then he realized it's harder to go down than up. T thought he's ready to get out of his stroller & onto the playground. K did so much running around that he napped again today- yeah! He's been coming up with lots of questions/ thoughts about heaven lately- like today's "do we need our fingernails cut in heaven? what about our hair?" and "I don't think there are any flies in heaven."
I'm also excited that I learned a new way to make steel cut oats. I saw a recommendation to soak the oats overnight. They take less time to cook and I read that "soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight in warm water will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.”

"To ask why a good God would allow suffering is like asking why would a doctor put a needle in the backside of a baby with a needle to innoculate them? ... God is a God of purpose. Although the purposes for suffering may be hidden from us in this present life, His reasons are always wise, specific, and good." JONI EARECKSON TADA










Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blessings

video

I'm trying this video upload again- T is getting to be such a good little walker. We had a good day today. The weather was our first great fall day. We had eggs for breakfast which K requested to have again on Saturday so his "legs would be strong for soccer." Then we played outside. T is getting fast. He raced up and down the driveway while the boys rode bikes and made pinecone scarecrows. All his racing tired him out for a couple hour nap which the big boys loved so we could do preschool. We did dry erase boards, blocks, puzzles, and drawing. Then we went on a long bike ride- the boys did great. K even did good going down the hills. He prayed for God to help him like He helped Gideon. He was so excited. He wanted to go down the big hill over & over. He said next time we need the camera. Hungry boys sure eat well- T wolfed down lots of broccoli. We were so blessed by dear friends who invited us for dinner & mowed our grass. We had a great dinner and the boys loved playing with friends. We're so thankful to have such good friends!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Changes






Well, our boys still wake up at seven, eat yummy breakfast of oatmeal or whole wheat pancakes with blueberry spinach syrup, play, ask for their favorite sandwich (PB or cheese) and then go to their rooms to nap. But since James deployed K has started getting up from the guest room & coming to my room which I knew bc he keeps waking me up. Yesterday when I went in the boys' room after C's nap I found all his napping things (Brian Bear, dinosaur, big blankie, 2 little blankies, and a book) in T's crib (not that T ever sleeps there).

Another change was at PWOC today. The nursery workers apparently changed C's diaper which I discovered as I changed him before his nap. He had a plastic diaper on; unfortunately his cloth diaper never made it home. We even drove back to the chapel and found no diaper. That was one expensive diaper change.


Last change (well we had lots of other diaper changes which I won't describe) is T turning into a little boy. He started walking before James deployed and is getting better & better. The video is taking a long time to upload so I must have more changes to talk about- you can see most of the floor in the office; some of that is from actual cleaning & some from stacking the boxes on top of each other. I am a stacker; I'm sure Fly Lady would not approve at all but she is welcome to come clean herself if it bothers her. While I've gained a new job at home (remote controller), I've learned (even more than I knew before) that there is nothing good on TV. Another change, we're trying out having no glass door on our entertainment center. That wasn't really a choice; the glass door fell down tonight as I was trying to clean up. So again, glass half full- it fell but didn't break. One last change I actually let the boys watch a movie today. We watched Gideon Tuba Warrior (Veggie Tales) as part of our Family Time. We won't make it a habit but it did good messages; pray & trust God & God can use whoever He selects for whatever He decides. I didn't exactly plan this; I missed the fact that VT got to the top of our Netflix list. Well, I did get pics added today but I tink I'll have to try adding video another day.


Half Full



So I've been trying to add some pictures for a couple days now. I've also been trying to look at the bright side of everything. I did manage to come up with a few positives of this time that James has to be away: we're getting paid more, there are fewer clothes to wash, & we're spending less on groceries since we eat less & can use powdered milk without complaint. These are not close to making up for his being gone, but part of my glass half full! Here's K & C sliding- they've grown up a little since our last sliding pic in Kansas. I haven't figured out how to add captions but I think you can guess which pic is from here.









Monday, September 15, 2008

Fun Times

Last night we went to our first My Manna Connection night. Our church started having these cell group sign-ups right when we left for Kansas. It was a lot of fun- the church was filled with tables which had either food or a display about a cell group. K & C helped me make a board about "Fun Fridays." They even helped me carry it in- along with a dump truck to help the people know we had little boys! During cell group leader training, the cell group coordinator described the night as "fishing in a bucket." He was really right- it was great! I talked to so many women who seemed very excited about getting together with other moms. Should be fun!

This morning we went to K's speech therapist (AKA by C as peach teacher!) Everyone enjoyed it-C &T play with blocks & puzzles while T "works" on his speech- he has gotten so much clearer. But the most fun was taking the boys' bikes to a track at a nearby park. They had a blast. We go on lots of walks/ bike rides in the neighborhood, which I mostly like (except for me saying lots "hurry up, catch up or wait up"). On this flat track, they cruised around like little Lance Armstrongs. We all loved it- you could tell by K & C's big grins & T's sweet snoring! After two laps, we played at the park and made some new friends. One of those times that just felt right. The fun day continued when we got home with hungry boys eating all their lunch and then everyone taking good naps- yeah!!
I even got a nap, was able to chat with James, and had success with my camera. I was a little worried that my picture taking was coming to a stop and I would have to wait for Janelle's arrival to take anymore. My batteries died & I had never changed them. But I've added that to growing list of things that James usally takes care of that I'm doing now (unclogging toilets, downloading pics, weedeating, mowing (although a good friend offered to help with that!, operating the remote control, the list is growing & growing- just adding to the reasons we can't wait for James to come home!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

We made it through our first James-less weekend

Well, my title isn't quite true. We're not James-less (or tealess or toastless for you Pooh fans)- he's just far away and as the boys remind me daily he loves us lots even far, far away! And we did much better than survive. God gave us lots of fun things to do this weekend. We started off Saturday morning with a quiet house- no boys were awake until after 7:15- it was so nice to make coffee, pancakes, & eggs to the beautiful sound of silence! Then, off to K's first soccer game. The kids were so cute in their green jerseys (which went to their knees unless you were smart & crafty and hemmed them- not me!) C was excited on Friday about cheering but Saturday morning he was pretty sure he needed a jersey and ball. T was happy with ers on the sideline. I think we had a flashback to July weather so everyone was pretty tired (parents included) after the game. We did have enough energy to go celebrate the first game at Sonic- the boys even got to drink cherry limeade (not in my usual short list of approved drinks for them!)
We got home to good naps for all and then got ready for a birthday party! Yeah!! We had a great time over at a friend's house- there were lots of boys there- her 4, my 3, another friend's 2! The boys loved playing with new toys, friends, and cake & ice cream. T had a blast- he thinks he's a little boy now, not a baby! I dragged 3 tired little boys home to bed. I followed them soon after I got to "chat" with James.
We went to a new church service today which I loved! We got the same great Manna music, the same great message, but without the crowds! The boys loved their new rooms. I loved seeing lots of friends there. We definitely enjoyed the old Manna building too but this was great! We'll definitely be back next week! And added bonus of the 9 am service- we were home by 11. The only bummer was paying $4.09 a gallon for gas on the way home- I guess that's better than the $5.50 some gas stations yesterday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where's Daddy?

Every morning C wakes up and says "where's my Daddy?" K asks "what country is my Daddy in? Does he have a camel to ride?" T doesn't use as many words but he's pretty clear about what he wants- milk, food, and to walk! I went to a Dr appt yesterday and the boys' had their first baby sitter here (Nana & Grandma are family- not sitters) Everyone was sleeping when I left and happy when I got back so it was a success. The only tears were C that Mommy changed his diaper instead of the baby sitter- I should have come home few minutes later!
Well, I almost cried since I missed James' phone call while I went to the Doctor.
But the Doctor's office was near a health store so I picked up some needed carob covered peanuts, flax seed, and steel cut oats. Although I'm not sure if you can still call them "steel cut oats" if they're blended smooth. I thought that loving SC oats was part of being a Lewis boy but as T cried with every bite I'm not sure. I put his in the blender and suddenly he loved them!

Each night before bed K asks "do we have something exciting tomorrow?" Before James deployed, I was happy to have James' coming home as our excitement. Now, I'm kind of with K, we need a little something exciting. So we were very excited to get invited to a birthday party on Saturday. We're glad to be here with good friends, a wonderful church, and near family to help us through this time. And a big big God to take care of us.(As K always says "God's the biggest!" He added "He has the biggest neck" after we saw the giraffes at the zoo.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The sun did not shine

We woke up this morning to more rain. (K's praying that the rain finished today so he can play soccer tomorrow & Saturday.) We had a good day at home. T is pretty sure he doesn't want to nap in the morning anymore- probably because he wants to show off his new walking all day. Somehow "The Cat in the Hat" came to mind:

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold cold wet day

I sat there with three boys.
We sat there, we four.
And I said, "How I wish
we had one person more."

He's in Kuwait now
Too far to play ball
So we sat in the house
But can't do nothing at all

We started with dominoes
Then moved onto cards
After bowls full of oatmeal
I was ready for the yard

Our middle one said
"I'm a big boy now;
I can do it myself.
I'll show you how."

The smallest is very proud of himself;
He can walk all the way from the chair to the wall
And just this morning
He started throwing a ball.

The biggest boy is full of questions-
All day: "What, where, when, & why?
What's Daddy doing?
Tell him I squooshed a fly."

I've been working on moving the piles
Of laundry, papers, and all sorts of stuff.
I need the Cat's big cleaner
To make cleaning less rough.

We are doing alright
But really do miss
Our favorite fifth person
Who we'd all like to kiss.

My days stay busy
with Things One, Two, and Three
But always we miss
Amd pray he soon return to me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Positive Spin

8 SEP
So I tried to make today as good a day as possible for the boys- complete with a trip to the park with chocolate chip cookies from Grandma. We went on a long walk- especially far for 2 & 4 year old long legs, had green smoothies, cheese, and fruit for lunch, and went to see our neighbor's puppy. (The first dog Chase ever pet!) Then ribs, baked beans, & watermelon for dinner. After all those good things I wasn't sure what I would hear when I asked K what his favorite thing today was. His eyes lit up- he was so excited about seeing his daddy on TV. The boys all loved hearing Daddy talk to them & then read some of their favorite stories.


Wow- we can learn a lot from our kids. The boys didn't spend yesterday thinking about having the last dinner together, last ice cream together, and today thinking about the first time with James not here at night; they just enjoyed all the good things. I should do that.


9 Sep- well, we made it through the first night with James gone. I thought more about the boys' looking at the good (usually) like being excited about the trip to the airport instead of sad about Daddy leaving, so here's mine for today. Since everyone was up before 6 this morning, we had time to go to the recycle center and Child Youth Services before they got busy. Since I got lost on the way out of Child Youth Services, we were able to go on a nice long walk around the inside & outside of the building. I could have been upset when the toilet overflowed, but I choose to be happy that Keegan doesn't need help in the potty (except maybe more instructions on not using half a pack of toddler wipes!) I could be upset that I ally deleted pictures from today, but instead I'll add pictures of our boys. Here's K turning 4, T turning 1, and C at the beach.

OK, a dear friend told me that blogging was easy, but apparently you have to do something a little different. I really thought I followed all the directions but my pics and slideshow aren't there. Maybe my friend will have to drive across the country to teach me how to do it :)

Daddy's going far away

When you're 1, 2 and 4, taking Daddy to the airport is a fun adventure. When you're 34, taking your husband to the airport to leave for Iraq is a little different. Still I put on a cheery face most of the time and tried to enjoy their excitement about the escalator, airplanes, and video games. As we were leaving, C did ask why I "had pouties in my eyes." The last day or so I've tried (often unsuccesfully) not to think that this is the last dinner together, last walk together, ... I wrote on facebook that I was trying not to try and got lots of encouraging messages from wonderful friends. Then I read Psalm 51:11-12 "Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." God will be with me while James is far away.


I'd been thinking about starting a blog for a while. I love reading how Janelle & family are doing on her blog. I've cried as I read the blog "Bring the Rain." But I never felt ready to actually start one until this morning. We left the airport- me teary eyed, the boys excited about the fun trip to the airport - and headed to Mazarick park. I wanted to check out the walkway to see if it would be good for our upcoming Sophie's Walk. And I wanted a fun outing instead of returning to an empty messy house. We had a great trip- the boys loved splashing through the water from Hannah and looking for animals. As we walked, K kept asking where his daddy was now and where he's going next. He said "you know Daddy loves us very much even when he's far far away and I love him." C asked what's for lunch but he misses his daddy too. They talked about our trip to the zoo Friday and how Daddy showed them where he would be.