Thursday, October 30, 2008

What a Week!

This has been a whirlwind week of parties, fall fests, trunk or treats, end of soccer season- lots of things to keep us busy and trying not to dwell on missing James & waiting the 6 more days until my ultrasound. Monday was a pretty normal day. T did start putting God's Word in him- "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the Lord our God." (I'd be happier about it if it went into his understanding instead of his stomach as he chewed on one of our Experiencing God memory verses. We did go to Art Attack at the Fayetteville Museum of Art. The art teacher told a story and talked about the wooden sculptures. Then taught them how to paint trees & flowers.

Tuesday was another good, routine day of PWOC. Except, my friends won't believe this- I went shopping. I actually went to the mall, went into a couple stores, and bought a few things. That doesn't sound like me, does it? K really needed shoes and socks.

Wednesday was when the excitement began. We got to have dinner in a mansion- the boys were so excited. Our tour of the house took quite a while to make it through all the rooms. The chef prepared a wonderful spaghetti pie dinner which my boys devoured- I'm pretty sure T ate more than my friend's 8 year old- we may need to buy a cow before the teenage years! After fun playtime, we headed to Trunk or Treat- 3 superheroes, a lamb, a butterfly/ballerina, and a bumblebee- very cute! The kids had a blast going from decorated trunk to trunk. I wasn't sure that I would be able to get any of the boys out of the bounce house.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Party Time!

Sunday we went to a birthday party and a fall festival! The boys were so excited to go to their friend's birthday party. There were lots of little boys there- I think 8 boys five & under! When T had a piece of Grandma's cake yesterday, he figured out that cake is something he likes a lot & was pretty excited to see the birthday cake (I'm glad he doesn't know about icing yet!)
After the party, 3 little boys got in their costumes- we'd planned on Superman, Flash, & Spiderman, but Superman changed to Super Eeyore, and then to Eeyore, so of course Flash changed to Pooh. Even though Tigger was a tad small, you can't have Eeyore, Pooh, & Spiderman so we squeezed the big belly into Tigger one more time.
My boys & their friends (Dorothy & two super heroes) had a great time playing the games (ring toss, bean bag toss, milk bottle, duck pond, ...) I think they were a little excited about the candy too! Then they went trunk-or-treating. I tried my hardest to convince K that it was trick or treating but he wasn't convinced. Maybe we'll try again Wednesday!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


What a weekend! I did some crazy things Saturday while Grandma watched the boys: I went inside a convenience store and bought a drink today-yes, I know I didn't need to waste $1.50 on a drink but it was just so crazy to only undo one seat belt that I had to do it! Then I went to Bible study, the commissary & two other stores all by myself- it doesn't get much crazier than that! K found my shoes for me this morning before Grandma got here to make sure I was ready to go. They were very excited for her visit! Now they're all asleep before 7- I don't know if it was the fun of having Grandma visit, not taking a nap, coming to visit me during the night, or having a friend over to visit last night. Friday night when my friends brought their daughter over, I think they left a little worried as 3 little ones raced around the house plus T not far behind. But, pizza quieted everyone down and then homemade playdough, books, and bed.

Saturday night T started blowing bubbles in the bathtub- maybe he'll be our swimmer! He is so sure he's one of the big boys now!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

575, 576, 577, ...

Reason Number 575 I miss James being here: having to reconfigure the computer router
576: a riding lawnmower is harder than it looks
577: I just miss him.

C was so sweet the last couple mornings- he woke up and said "I love you Mommy & I love Daddy. and God loves me." We did Skype video chat today. The boys loved seeing James on the whole laptop screen. T waved lots & lots. K said "Daddy looks like blocks."

We haven't been eating much meat lately- mostly because it's easier not to cook meat. We had butternut squash soup Sunday, lentils & rice Monday, baked potatoes for dinner Tuesday. Last night, I made a big pot of black beans for black beans & rice Wed night, southwest salad for lunch today, & southwestern egg rolls tonight. My little carnivores are good little veggie eaters now!

This morning, we went to K's speech therapy and then Toddler Playtime at the rec center. The boys got enough playing to tire them out so we all napped this afternoon. Yesterday we took a friend to the park with us & this afternoon one went to one of K's last soccer practices for the season. K heard someone talk about next week's CiCi's pizza party & still happily ate his dinner- which wasn't pizza! Boys are definitely meant to play hard; then they eat and sleep much better. (I didn't even have any boys come to our bed last night!)
Thank God for more answered prayers: Ty is in Walter Reed and improving- he's been awake some and is trying to breathe on his own. Anna sounds good and is very thankful for all the prayers. Virginia is in Japan and will bring the kids back to the states next week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

James Pics

We were so excited to get pictures of James on his recent trip away from the palace. He sent pictures from the helicopter flight, with a Market America energy bar, and in front of lots of Army equipment.

Blogging Addict?

I'm not sure if I'm addicted or we've just had a lot going on! Some of our most exciting news is communication. T started sign language yesterday- he's now saying "please" lots! I think he may think he's saying Eat because that's what he seems to be asking, but it's very cute to see him especially so proud of himself. Yesterday K said the Lord's Prayer. He also said lots of F words (like fish, fork, five). I'm really glad he's going to speech therapy- he really enjoys it and he's gotten so much clearer.

Sunday after church and family naps, we went back out to West Produce. The boys are so excited to see all the animals and played for a long time in the kid's farm. C became quite a good cow milker- maybe he can do that when he grows up if he doesn't become a clown.

Our excitement Monday was watching the sprinkler man finish repairing our sprinkler- he said it was the worst installation he'd seen. He was great with the boys- he told them to pull up a chair and watch him work. The boys loved it until C couldn't stop himself from playing with the dirt. So they helped me pick lots of tomato and basil.

Blessings and Prayers

I was so glad to get a phone call from my Mom which said that Ty was stable enough to be medevac'd to Germany, Anna was enroute to Germany, and Virginia enroute to Japan. Then I got an email from Jena with this link to stay updated on Ty: I was very thankful for God's healing today as I read that Anna & Ty are enroute to Bethesda, MD. They still have a long road ahead of them so we will continue to pray, but thank God for answered prayers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Praying for Anna & Ty

Last night I was surprised to get a phone call from my friend Jena from Madison. We call each other every once in a while but not usually late Saturday night. I knew something was wrong when she said you haven't talked to our moms (who usually keep us each informed on the other.) Then she told me that her cousin Anna's husband Ty had been shot in Afghanistan. I've only met Ty a time or two but he and James talked a lot the times we were together & I've known Anna since we were little kids chasing crabs together at the beach. Anna andtheir son & daughter are in Okinawa, Japan. Her family is trying to get to Japan to get the kids so Anna can go to Germany where doctors plan to medevac Ty when he's stable. He lost a lot of blood and is in a coma. Sunday morning I learned he'd been on a convoy and at least one other marine was injured when their convoy was attacked. I know that God is the Great Healer and can heal Ty but my heart aches as I think about Anna and their children. I lift the whole family up to God. I just heard the radio announcer talking about the Michael W. Smith song they just played. He said that after Michael W. Smith's family tragically lost their daughter, he wrote another verse to the song and really learned to trust that whether you're in a horrible tragedy or good times, it's all in God's hands. He is good. We may not understand everything this side of heaven, but we must trust Him. Please pray for Anna & Ty and their families.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good weekend

Fun Fridays was really fun this Friday. We went to the park by the library on post & met lots of old & new friends. The time flew by although it was harder since now I have to keep up with 3 boys at the park. I had a few easy months where K & C could do almost everything by themselves & T was content in the stroller. Now he's gotten a taste of freedom & doesn't want to stay still. Yesterday he found a set of stairs that he went up over & over & over. The big boys were excited to share their pumpkin muffins with friends. All were worn out & had good napping so we were able to go to Cadence hospitality house for dinner. I met Joan (who along with her husband Mac is the interim missionary here at Fort Bragg) at PWOC a couple weeks ago and she invited us to the House (as regulars call it.) Cadence International ( is an evangelical mission agency dedicated to reaching the military communities of the United States and of the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We had a great dinner & enjoyed meeting with everyone there. Everyone was super nice & we had a good time except T but next week we'll try setting up a bed for him there.

I tried telling the boys that we you go to bed late you can sleep in but 4:30 didn't seem like sleeping in when C came to my room. neither did 5:00 when K did. Thankfully they went back to sleep until 7. It definitely taught me that the family bed is not for me- not that we were considering it but it's impossible to sleep well with two little boys beside you. K's soccer game got rained out today but we went to Truman's Pumpkin Patch. We met several friends there & had a good time. The 10 kids all loved all the bounce houses- even T bounced for the first time. I didn't think I was going to be able to get him out. We went out a hay ride & a train ride. We did miss the ponies & petting zoo but the boys were very excited to pick out another pumpkin. I am so glad that God keeps putting great people in my life. I really look forward to getting to know new friends more! We had a slightly crazy trip to Wendy's with everyone- after we got our food all was quiet, it was just getting food ordered for 4 moms & 10 little ones that was hectic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Elephant Stampede

This morning at 0530 I heard a herd of elephants storming across the house. I thought please let this be part of my dream. I love my little boys but would really be happier to see them at 0700. They did manage to stay quiet enough not to wake up the little one.

Today I signed K up for Karate & C for gymnastics- although C says he wants to be in K's class. Then, we went to the park by the airstrip on Pope AFB. I'd forgotten that it's such a nice park & the boys loved seeing the planes fly overhead. We met some new moms & kids there & are looking forward to Fun Fridays tomorrow.

I don't know if it was the 5:30 wakeup or all the playing at the park but K & C both took good naps & were excited to wake up to see the Sprinkler Man here. He was very nice to the boys; they told him all about their bikes, their Daddy, playing soccer, & everything else important to little boys. Between their questions, he was able to find all the places our sprinkler system was falling apart.

We've had some yummy smoothies recently. K asked for a Funky Pig today but was happy with his pumpkin smoothie. I don't have a recipe for a Funky Pig- we do have Funky Monkeys (peanuts, walnuts, cashews, powdered milk, water, banana) & Funky Horsies (same but apple instead of banana.) Powdered milk is so handy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Science Wednesday

Today we did our first science experiment. Actually, second- today we started with a repeat of dancing popcorn that Janelle showed us late week. Another lesson learned- popcorn doesn't dance in sprite that has been open for a week. After that didn't work I looked for another experiement that a 2 & 4 year old would enjoy. I found this website: They really liked getting the egg to float in salt water. I should have just stuck with that but I thought we'd try some more. One was supposed to be putting drops of water on a penny & the other dropping pennies in a cup- I can't say that either really looked like that but there was lots of water everywhere.

I baked spaghetti squash for dinner; we had spaghetti squash marinara with half & spaghetti squash pie with the other half (mock coconut.) I planned to attach the recipe but you can find it at We all liked dinner a lot- even the green spaghetti sauce.

K is very excited about our costume party coming up. He wants to invite all his friends. He's asked several parents at soccer & on our daily walks if their kids can go & today he wrote an invitation on the driveway. In case the writing didn't show up dark enough, K wrote "Keegan's dress up party"- I couldn't get it all in the pic but pretty cute!

I got to talk to James today. He's back in Baghdad now; hopefully we'll get pics soon. Boys were worn out today & went to bed a little after 6 pm.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Battle with the Hippo

It was long, grueling, messy, but I finally won the battle with T's hippo chair. we have loved the chair (& still do) but it had probably gone a little too long since having a bath so hippo really thought it should stay where it was. Thankfully I succeeded & continued on a cleaning frenzy for at least another 10 minutes until 3 boys turned into little pumpkins. They really did- both in cute ways & not so cute as you can tell by the pics! Very cute PJs on very tired boys- they were so excited to open the box & put them on but then were ready for bed!We also took a pic of our big pumpkins from West Produce & our jackolinas which the boys painted- I'm not sure if that's the right spelling but I'm a little sad that K said Jack O'Lantern today instead.
We are really enjoying going to the 9 am Executive Place- our same church meeting in a different place. Same great singing, preaching, but without the crowds- it's great knowing most of the kids in the boys' classes & seeing tons of friends in the halls! Here's a pic of our boys in their church clothes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Learning Lots

So T is sure that he is a big boy now. He is starting to talk. He gets very excited when he see a banana and says "Ba" over & over. Today he reached for his milk & said "Ma". Then after dinner, I said it's time for a bath & he said "Ba" and tried to take his clothes off as he ran towards the bathtub. He couldn't get there quite as fast as the other boys who are super excited about Thomas things in their bath!

C has learned how to use the brakes on his big boy bike. If he'd learned a month ago, he wouldn't have holes through the toes of his shoes, but he is very excited about it now. Although now that he's learned to do the brakes, he doesn't want to- he's figured out how fun it is to fly down the hill.

K is learning how much he likes coloring, especially connect the dots & color by number (I think they fit his slightly OCD thoughts!) He loves coloring pictures for Nana, grandma, the Cole kids, and especially Daddy. He also amazes me daily with his observances- like "we used to drink milk for every meal before JPEA came. we have enough milk now."

I've learned lots of things. Here are a few: there's really nothing on TV, I really miss James being here, I don't know how to fix doors or sprinklers, there's even less on TV when MLB is on, I really like our new church service, I'm glad I started the Fun Fridays group, I can squoosh bugs although I don't like to, you don't need all the ingredients from a recipe to make dinner, you don't even need a recipe, I could go on all night but I think I'm headed to bed. I was up early like usual- I even made pancakes, two recipes of banana bread, & a loaf of pumpkin bread before 8 this morning. (I mostly followed the recipes too!)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rutabaga anyone?

I thought I would eat leftovers from the fridge for the next month (although most nights we didn't have any leftovers with our 9 eaters here!) Instead this morning I decided to make Eggplant Parmesan & cook rutabagas. They were both a big hit with the boys- C was very excited about the rutabagas- I guess I don't have wacky taste buds these days.
I took my camera with me to the soccer game this morning & didn't take any pics. K loved the game- he had a good time & ran near the ball the whole time! We all napped after lunch and then got to video chat with James for a few minute- well, video is a stretch since we couldn't see him & he couldn't see us, but we could hear each other. The boys could see us on the computer so they did some dancing.
Then, we finally made it to the haz waste disposal- this was our 3rd trip. K was so excited that it was actually open this time- so was I. After getting rid of lots of the previous owners' paint, we went to the children's museum. All three boys had a blast- T was content to watch for a little while and then needed to be in the mix. He climbed right up into the news truck with the boys, turned the gear, & was a terrific mail sorter in the mailroom. After our yummy dinner, the boys were very excited to try out their new Thomas bath toys & sesame street tooth brushes.
I was reminded tonight of a question a new friend asked at the park yesterday. C told her "I'm 2" and she was sure that he wasn't bc he talks so well. Tonight K picked "Jesus and the 12 Dudes who Did" for our night-night book. C said "there's a song about that" and then sang almost all of it. He got as many disciple names right as I do- that doesn't sound very 2 does it? That reminds me I need to go look up the rest of the names, I always mess up the end. We miss you James!

Friday, October 10, 2008

She's not kidding

All day today I've heard- "Mommy, Aunt Janelle said they're coming back soon & she wasn't kidding!" I quickly figured out that's why K wasn't upset as the kids all said their goodbyes last night before bed. (Same reason he's been okay with Nana & Grandma leaving- he knows there's another visit coming) What a great visit! I'm sad to see the Cole's go home, but we're really happy they came! Most people I told that Janelle was driving 18+ hours each way with four kids 7 & under to spend almost 2 weeks in our house thought we were both crazy! They don't know her kids are seasoned travelers (the many 9 hours trips to KS helped) & that our families really fit well together. I did force myself today to think of good things about our dear friends heading home. I managed to come up with four
-Rob missed his family lots- although we can't be with James now, it's good for kids to be with their Daddy
-I can see my kitchen counters again :)
-C hasn't tackled anyone today
-four people eat much less than food than nine- with our leftovers & stocked pantry, I won't have to cook or go grocery shopping for a month! (Although I will have to start picking out meals again since my (what's the word- not controlling, not strong willed) helpful friend is gone :) I hope that's taken in love like it's meant.
After our grown-up day where the kids stayed with sitters Monday, we went to see the tanks on post Tuesday. The boys were all so excited to see the tanks & loved seeing the soldiers & Army equipment all over post. Then we all enjoyed PWOC- Janelle & I learned about Operation Bandana & about Cadence Hospitality House.
Wednesday afternoon we met friends at West Produce for a tour. The boys loved the hayride, seeing all the plants & animals, being a farmer for a day, and picking out pumpkins. When we got home, they helped pick lots of our basil and Janelle made pesto for a chicken pesto pizza. We had pizza a night early this week since our friends were leaving Friday early. (I improved this week on my pizza crust making.) Thursday we did notice we had lots of tired kids & two tired moms- I guess ten days of togetherness & tons of playing can wear kids out! We played lots of soccer this week & really enjoyed the beautiful fall days. We said goodbyes Thursday night & our friends headed out early this morning. Again, we had good timing for good-byes, since the boys were excited about going to Fun Fridays where they got to play with new friends. T has his first stroller free day at the park- he's pretty sure he's a big boy now. he can walk, run, & climb. He plays peek-abo, brushes his hair, & tries to get into everything he can reach. Janelle got my webcam working so we were able to video chat with James a couple times this week.
I have one more to add to the list that was too long to write (reasons I'm sad to see Janelle & kids leave), the boys are having a tough time going to bad. While our friends were here, they were worn out every night & went straight to bed even when we put them to bed at 6:30.


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

The good. We had a great day today. I thought Janelle was a little crazy when she suggested getting a babysitter- who could we find to watch our brood of kids? so we got two sitters! Their mom called this morning to confirm the time & offered to bring them early- yeah! It was pretty crazy to have 6 hours without the sounds of little ones. We ate lunch without fixing 9 plates, walked into stores without holding 7 little hands, and watched a movie that wasn't a cartoon! We saw "Fireproof" which was really good. I'd heard people say all couples should watch it & I really agree. I can't wait for James to get back so we can watch it together. What a good day!
The bad. I did get back to find 6 sets of very tired eyes staring at the TV screen after watching Shrek- wasn't planning on that for our little ones yet.
The ugly. I had to send exhausted K to bed early from dinner & he had quite the meltdown. While I was taking care of that, I returned to find Janelle cleaning up C's dinner after he tried to swallow all his carrots at one time. Thankfully I'm not including any pics from the ugly & the ugly only lastest about 1/2 an hour although it seemed like much longer!
I love our boys and love spending time with them but it was nice to spend a little time apart! When I got home, the boys and I got to wish my Mom a happy birthday! C thought I meant Nana was here so he went looking for her but then he & K both enjoyed singing Happy Birthday!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sophie's Walk for Vasa Previa

We hosted our third Sophie's Walk for Vasa Previa this year. The first two were in Leavenworth, KS & this year at Mazarick Park in Fayetteville, NC. We are always thankful that God saved our little boy & are reminded even more so each year in October as we walk in honor of the vasa previa miracles like C & memory of the vasa previa angels like Sophie. Just as we were blessed by God when C survived undiagnosed vasa previa, we were blessed this year with a wonderful walk. I was thrilled to wake up Friday morning to a beautiful fall day. Mazarick Park was a perfect location- a beautiful walking trail beside playground equipment & plenty of land for 20+ kids to run around. Happy kids meant I had a little time to talk with the moms about vasa previa. Some of the women there were friends who'd been there for us as we prayed for C's recovery & have heard me talk about vasa previa for years. Others were new friends who read about the miracle of C's birth and learned about vasa previa. It is an avoidable tragedy which must be stopped. I know that I will be checked for vasa previa with this pregnancy, but all women should be checked. It is so important to raise awareness for this pregnancy condition. One day doctors will check all women for this condition, but until then we must continue to inform others because it only takes a moment to diagnose life ...

Our crew headed out with a lot of moms & strollers, & kids with a lot of energy. We tried to keep up with the kids as they raced down the path. C even took a turn leading the way. It was great to talk with old & new friends along the way. T took over little AG's job of napping along the way. I pray that the women there will keep on spreading the word about vasa previa & one day soon there will be no more babies lost to this pregnancy condtion. We'll be back out there next fall. Next year with James and a new little one to nap along the way!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Time Flies when you're having fun

At least it goes faster. We definitely still miss James (AKA Daddy & Uncle James.) The boys have been drawing pictures & praying for James. This morning the boys each prayed for James before having a special treat hot apple cider. C said I miss my Daddy & want him to come home soon. They each had sweet prayers for James and then loved their yummy drinks!

After our snake scare, we decided to go see the Airborne Special Ops Museum- the boys all loved it! They were so excited to see Army soldiers. The soldiers at Sam's probably got a kick out of their big grins & excitement. I love that we can just have a good time hanging out instead of feeling like we have to go "do" lots of stuff. We did all go to K's soccer practice that afternoon -he was happy to have his friends go with him & he got to wear his cool jersey for pics! We came home to baked potato & salad dinner which got wolfed down by 9 hungry people!

Friday morning we had our 3rd Sophies' Walk (I'm going to do a separate post on that- it was great!) All were worn out- it sure is great for kids to run around lots- makes kids who eat and sleep very well. It's amazing how quiet this house gets with 7 little ones here. Friday night Janelle took a quick trip to Walmart & trusted me to make the pizza. She didn't know that James is the pizza maker in the family & I'm not a quick baking learner. The kids ate the pizza anyway & we made yummy ice cream cookies for P's celebrate days.

Saturday morning was a nice time to not rush out the door. We played around the house until K's 11 am soccer game. We've been playing a lot of soccer & football. The kids all love the sandbox- which ended up with a ton of sand in our bathtub today. We had another meatless dinner tonight- lentils & rice which was good with cheese in a tortilla. Janelle & I have made up for the lack of anything on TV with yummy food- ice cream, pumpkin fudge, hot apple cider.

Sunday was a good day of church & beautiful weather for playing outside. I even managed to get the grill turned on to grill hamburgers (which got halfway done before we ran out of propane.) Oh, how I miss having James here! The burgers turned out okay inside & a good way to check our smoke detectors for the second time today! After dinner, we had s'mores for J's celebrate days.