Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Evening Update

I don't think that I have anything remarkable or insightful to say, but I do want to keep this blog fairly up-to-date, and Sunday evening is a good time for me to do it. The kids are in bed (Nate is actually asleep too- rare for him to fall asleep before me, but he isn't feeling great and took some cold medicine that wiped him out). I'm enjoying my "day of rest" and letting the house go until tomorrow, so I have time to write!

I had to look at the calendar to remember what we did this week - it seems like it flew by. I accomplished my goal of going to the gym every day (Monday through Friday), and I was sure sore by the end, but I feel great now and I'm excited to do it again this week. I have a great friend who is doing it with me which makes such a huge difference for me.

Sam went to his best friend Thayer's birthday part on Saturday - he has been looking forward to it for weeks. He got to ride the bus home with him and then they went (with a bunch of other kids) to play Laser Tag and other fun games. He had such a great time and keeps telling me that we need to go back so that he can show me all of the games (Thanks Tiina!).

Isaac and Grace had a great week together. They are really enjoying this new routine with Sam back in school all day. They play together so well and they are doing "Preschool" together. I agonized for months over where I wanted to send Isaac to school. There are some great programs around here, and I also have some wonderful friends who I did Preschool with last year for him. He loved it, but I just wasn't sure how well I would be able to teach Preschool with two younger kids trying to get in on the action. It is also hard because even though all of the families were in our ward we are really spread out, so most of them live about 30 minutes away. That made it hard because I didn't want to drop him off, drive all the way home and go all the way back so I ended up usually staying or just sitting in the car, and I didn't want to do that all winter with Jonas and Grace. Also, I just didn't feel like either of those options would really meet his needs. Isaac is very smart- he has a great memory and a quick mind, and he has already mastered the alphabet and sounding words out. He is good with numbers, and he loves stories and games. What he needs is one-on-one help with his fine motor skills and his pronunciation. He can't seem to master holding a pencil correctly, and his drawing and coloring is about the same as his sister (who is almost 2 years younger). So, we are practicing every day - he is writing his name pretty well now, and we are doing some informal speech therapy each day as well. He really loves it. I'll need to make sure that I arrange some play dates for him more often, but he loves doing his worksheets with me and reading to his sister. They both remind me every day that we need to do school and they sit up to the table together. It is so sweet, and I am loving this time with them. I was so worried about keeping him home, but I know that this is the best thing for him, and I am glad that I did. I think that I was worried that other people would judge me for not sending him, I don't know why.

This weekend I went down to "Time Out for Women" with a group of women from my Stake. Friday was crazy trying to get ready to leave and I was feeling bad about leaving Nate with all four kids because I knew that he had things that he needed to do on Saturday. I almost wished that I hadn't bought the ticket - but I had - so I wasn't going to waste it. Nate was so supportive and encouraged me to go and have fun and I really did. I enjoyed the music and the talks, and it was great to spend time with friends and make some new ones as well. Of course, I also left with a few goals (in no particular order):

1- Write handwritten letters more often
2- Do family service projects
3- Give compliments freely (5 "split-seconds" a day)
4- Stop comparing my worst to everyone else's best (a constant problem for me)
5- Tell my kids every day how much their Heavenly Father loves them

To be honest, I thought that the speakers were good, but I didn't feel "in need" of most of the stuff they talked about. Not that I'm doing things perfectly - not even close - but the focus was on having "joy" and I think that I do. I have challenges and frustrations, like anyone, but I fully recognize that I have been extremely blessed, and I love my life. I am doing what I choose to do. I have an amazing husband who supports me in every possible way, and wonderful kids who love me unconditionally and who teach me new things every day. I have a home to live in, a car to drive, food on my table, and clothes to wear (although I can't say that I like any of my clothes - I really need a personal shopper ... and a clothes budget :).

The first speaker was a counselor/therapist who talked mostly about improving your relationship and communication with your husband. He was great and said some neat things, but to be honest I don't have any problems communicating with Nate. He is a great listener, he lets me vent whenever I need to, and he doesn't get bored or annoyed when I don't want to follow his advice. He vents to me also and we usually feel the same way about things. I think that we have the best marriage in the world (and I hope that you all think that yours is the best!)

I cam home to a house that was even cleaner than I left it and kids who were happy and well cared for (and luckily starving - leaving a nursing baby for 24 hours and forgetting to take your pump is not a good idea). Somehow Nate had mowed the lawn, taken the trash to the dump, cleaned the garage, mopped the kitchen floor, and done 3 loads of laundry - all with the 4 kids underfoot. What can I say, he is a Super Dad.

We had great church meetings today, and this should be another good week, but even busier than last week. Sam and Isaac have set some new goals and we made new chore charts today- hopefully that will help them to be more successful at meeting their goals. We were able to confirm that the city league basketball doesn't play on Sundays (at least not in Sam's division, next year it looks like we won't be so lucky), so he is thrilled that he will get to play. That doesn't start for another month, but he wants to add that and go back to gymnastics so I told him that he has to show me a few weeks of being able to handle everything that he has already committed to before we can add more (but I do really want to get him back to the gym - he does so well and he really loves it).

We are looking forward to a big ward campout this weekend, Nate running a half marathon and having his aunt and uncle visit the next weekend (and General Conference), and his parents visiting the next weekend (and I may run the Tuft's Women's 10K in Boston on Columbus Day, I'm still deciding). After that my sister Ruth is coming to visit and is leaving her kids here while she and her husband go to a conference in Vegas for a week (7 kids for a week will be interesting - ages 9 months, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and barely 7 - but the cousins are SO excited to see each other. It will be great - as long as I don't have to go anywhere with all of them!)

Next month is also packed with Young Women's meetings - one big meeting with all of the YW Presidencies in the Stake, meeting with 3 new Presidencies to train them, our first trek council meeting, a dance, and then we start in on all of the YW in Excellence programs in November. It just never slows down but I love it, this is such a fun calling.

I just hope that sometime in the next month we get to go on a date. Our weekends have all been overscheduled, and the friends we used to trade babysitting with have moved away, so it has been a while. Hopefully we will figure that out - although we are working in the temple together on the 14th, which will be like a date. So, that will be nice. With Nate home most nights now it feels like we get a date every night when the kids are asleep. I'm getting so spoiled! He'll be done with this client (in Boston) next month, and then he'll go back to traveling every week instead of just once or twice a month. It will take some adjusting again, but luckily we'll have the holidays to break it up.

Sorry, this post is SOOOO long - I really should write more than once a week. If you held on this long you must really love us - we love you too! Have a good week!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

He Reached the Beach!

So, Nate's team finished at around 4:10 PM on Saturday. They did great - coming in ahead of their anticipated time, and only about 20 minutes slower than last year even though they had added some new (slower) runners (like Nate). The kids and I arrived to see them cross the finish line ... about 5 minutes after they crossed the finish line. Oh well. The kids hardly noticed. We had stopped at Zion's Camp to drop off firewood and water and attend the first part of the Stake Activity (Nate pointed out to me that the activity was actually right on the way to the finish line of his race, so I was able to do both - sort of). It was great to see him and the team he had run with, and the kids LOVED the beach. This is the closest ocean beach to our house (I have to say ocean, because I have the kids convinced that the lake beach right hear in town is just as good!) but we had never been there before. It was beautiful. Sam had wanted to pack the big beach bag, swim suits, etc. but I told him that we were not going to be swimming. Silly me, you would think I had never met my kids! Of course the boys jumped in about 2 seconds after they saw the waves crashing against the beach. At least they took off their shirts, socks, and shoes first. Grace was more hesitant- we took off our shoes to wade in, but even that was making her a little nervous. Then she saw that Aunt Lora was out with Nate and the boys (who were diving into the waves). She took off running to go get Aunt Lora and got bowled over by a wave. I had to run and grab her, so I ended up with soaked pants. I had originally intended to have Nate drop me off at Zion's Camp on the way home so that I could catch the end of the activity, but that idea pretty much ended with the soaking-wet-covered-with-sand-didn't-even-bring-a-towel pants. Oh well, we had fun, and it was nice to just go all the way home with Nate and spend the evening with him. He is still trying to talk me into doing it with him next year - it all sounds great except for the running part!

Today was a double-ward-conference day. Nashua 1st Ward at 9:00 and Merrimack (my home ward) at 1:00 (they both meet in the same building). So, I left for meetings at 8:30, after setting out clothes for the kiddos (didn't pack a diaper and treats bag, oops, sorry Nate - actually sorry kids who ended up at church with no baby wipes and nothing to amuse them, although he did grab some fruit snacks). The meetings went well, I accompanied musical numbers in both Sacrament Meetings with no big mistakes, held Presidency meetings during both Sunday school hours, had an AP/YW meeting (with lunch) during the hour break between meetings, and spoke in the second ward YW meeting. We are doing a slightly modified format with the ward conference meetings for the youth. We start out all combined and President Durham (the 1st Counselor in our Stake Presidency - he is over the youth programs) speaks to everyone. He always does a great job and the youth LOVE him. Then the young men split off into their quorums. The Stake YM Presidency is working with them on how to effectively conduct meetings, so they wanted them in smaller groups. So far I have had the young women all stay together, and we have done slightly different formats depending on which ward it is and what their needs are. Today I had my 1st Counselor and Secretary speak to the 1st ward, and my 2nd Counselor and I spoke to my ward. I wasn't sure if I wanted to speak in my own ward or not, so I let each of them chose their assignment and I took what was left. I think that it turned out well. They are all dynamic women, and the young women love them. They each bring such a unique and important spirit to our Presidency. I am blessed to know them and to call them my friends.

It has been a nice Sunday afternoon, and we are looking forward to what we hope will be a productive week. I am going to "Time Out for Women" in Springfield, MA on Friday and Saturday and Nate is going to be home with the kids. I haven't been to one before, but I am looking forward to it, and I am sharing a hotel room with two of my good friends (one is my 1st Counselor, and the other one is the previous Stake YW President, so hopefully we'll get alot of good ideas for future events/activities).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Making Progress ... but painfully #3

Coming to you live from a strip mall parking lot in NH - recent updates to hour progress.

I just finished my second leg in the last hour. Lora is in the middle of her second leg. For me the second leg was better (better split time, more enjoyable), but some of our car has posted slower times. It could have something to do with starting the legs for our car just prior to 2AM and with getting only about 2 hours of sleep on a High School lawn. Interestingly, the High School was the wrong transition point and we actually had to back track to the previous transition area, but it worked out okay.
I'm still pretty wired from my leg, but I think I am going to crash pretty soon. Teppo has to finish his leg (after Lora) and then we have about 4 hours until our next (last) legs. My calves are a little tight and one of my arches feels like it's cramping, but all in all I feel pretty good and I would definitely like to do this event again.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Making Progress ... but different ... #2

So this will be a quick one. We are bedding down for the night on the lawn of Belmont High School in Belmont, NH. Our team has run nearly 100 miles and everyone is still feeling good. Our car starts running again in about 2-3 hours (around 2AM). We are making good time over our estimates, having gained nearly an hour; though some hard legs are coming up so we will see if that holds.
For dinner we ate at this place called Giovanni's in Meredith. The highlight, beyond eating after nearly 9 hours without a meal that included a run of 4-6 miles was the pianist who played, not at the same time, Chopin, Eric Clapton (he sang as well - not well), and Christmas music. Strange though it was, it was nice. Well, I've got to get to bed. More coming after the next leg.

Making Progress ... but different

So this is my first post, on my first blog, on my first time on the Internet ever (can you say "Troglodyte" or "Luddite"). Actually I have been on the Internet before and, in fact, I am posting this blog from the middle of the woods in Northern New Hampshire (yes, it's proper). How's that, "Mrs. and Bro. So-You-Think-I'm-Such-A-Troglodyte-and/or-Luddite"? (he said with great feeling)
So, why am I in the woods in NNH? Rachel alluded to it, but I will expand. I am in the bottom of the first third of a 200 mile road ... thing (to call it a race for our team would be generous). Our team of 12 is running 36 relay legs over around 30 hours. The first, other, car of 6 started this morning just before 10 AM. We are now waiting for the first runner from our car to finish her leg. I start running in about 2 hours and Lora runs after me.
It's been fun so far. We've been admiring some great scenery and I had a great hamburger at a roadside diner; but only after we had a lively discussion about the relative merits of protein vs. complex vs. simple carbs approximately 4-6 hours before running. It was decided that hamburger would be an appropriate choice, which is good because I was probably going to have the hamburger anyway.
It's time to go cheer our first runner. I will keep you posted as we progress.

Making progress

It has been so great to get "back in touch" with so many of you via the world of blogging! Why didn't I do this ages ago? Who knows. But, it's funny- lately I feel like there are so many things that we are finally getting done. I don't know why it is all happening at once, but Nate is making major progress on getting his dissertation done, I am almost done with my last class for my degree, we have made some big changes in living a healthier lifestyle, we are getting our house de-junked and re-organized, and we are making some good progress towards meeting some big short-term financial goals. I don't know, it doesn't look like much in type, but it feels good. It feels a little less like my days are spent treading water.

The baby's cold seems to be getting worse this week - when you have had a "cold" for 7 months it is all a matter of degrees, but the poor little thing is just not his usual chipper self, and his eyes and nose are much drippier than usual. As a result, I am hesitant to leave him tomorrow, so now I'm really not sure what to do about attending the stake activity. If Nate would be home to watch him that would be fine, but he is off on his race. These are the times when it feels like life would be so much easier if we lived close to family. We do have Nate's sister Lora an hour away, but she keeps a pretty busy schedule, and she is off running with him this weekend (come on Lora, why can't you just be lazy like me!). Last night he was trying to convince me that I should run on this relay team next year. It all sounds great except the running part, but maybe I should give it a try. I do really want to do the women's 10k in Boston in October... at least I do today. Half of the time I just feel like it is a silly idea. I really can't run, and I don't want to slow anybody down or do it alone. I know that there are some women in my ward who are planning to run/walk it - I just need to get serious about training with them. Also, now that I think about it that may be the same weekend that my in-laws are in town, and I would much rather take my mother-in-law sightseeing. We REALLY have to go tour the Louisa May Alcott's home in Concord this time - it is becoming quite the joke that every time she comes out we intend to go there, and never quite make it (we did make it once, but we missed the last tour by 10 minutes and couldn't go inside). So, we are definitely going next month (they are coming out for a quick visit for Nate's Dad to attend a dental conference in Boston).

Today I am watching a couple of extra kids, getting caught up on housework (yesterday was packed full and the house is showing the neglect), and hopefully finishing a book I have been reading about the handcart companies. I am getting so emotionally wrapped up in this Handcart Trek that we are planning for our youth. I just don't know how to strike that proper balance of helping them understand the sacrifices that were made and the sorrow and pain of that experience, while also helping them see the hand of God in it, and in their own lives so that the story becomes inspiring instead of depressing. But, I know for certain that this is the experience that our youth need to have this next year. I've been doing presentations about it at Stake Council, Bishop's meetings, Stake Youth Committee meetings, and AP/YW committee meetings and every time I talk about it I get chills. I just feel this huge excitement about how it will be and what it will mean in these kids' lives, and I also feel the crushing weight of responsibility. Luckily, in the next weeks the High Council is extending calls to the committee heads, which will allow Brother Newey (the Stake YM President) and I to shift some of that weight. That will be a big relief - maybe I won't lay awake at night worrying about it so much (this is still 10 months away - not a good sign that I'm already this stressed!)

This is becoming a really long post, but this is pretty much it for my journal right now, and it is my blog so I can write as long as I want, right? Feel free to stop reading anytime . . . still here? Okay, well I was thinking about that quote from one of the survivors of either the Willie or Martin Handcart company who said that He knew that God was with them because they became "acquainted with him in our extremities." Isn't it interesting how true that is for all of us. In the extremities of life - big blessings, big trials, pure joy, devastating sorrow - it is so easy for us to see the hand of God. In the more mundane lulls of everyday life we forget to look for his hand. I love something President Eyring has talked about - how he kept a journal where everyday he would write down some way that he saw the hand of the Lord in his life that day. I think that if we look for it we will always find it.

I have so much to be grateful for, and such a good life. It is sad that I have to keep reminding myself to focus on that and ignore the things that I just can't change right now. I am loving this stage of life right now with my adorable kiddos. Isaac is just continually cracking me up (although yesterday I was MORTIFIED when he slammed our shopping cart into a poor little employee at Walmart - needless to say he spent the rest of the trip in the cart) - I think that so far the first 6 months are my very favorite (I know many of you disagree but I think that newborns are just the greatest thing EVER), but those are followed closely by 4-years-old. They are old enough to express their feelings and needs clearly, and young enough to still think that you are perfect and that you know everything. They haven't been exposed to the outside world enough to pick up bad habits and language so all they know is what you have taught them (for better or for worse).

I never know how to end these posts. So. The End (for now).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

So much energy!

So, we ended up not taking the canoes back last night, Nate got home late and I doubt that either of the families are planning to canoe in the rain this week. So, we just had a regular lesson. Nate taught from Preach My Gospel on the principle of "patience." The lesson was fine, but the kids were so wiggly! Finally Nate showed all three of them how to lace their fingers together and hold their hands clasped in their laps. They did this so well until he finished the lesson, but as soon as they put their hands together their legs started swinging back and forth. It was so cute I giggled (not helping with the reverence- sorry Nate). They just COULDN'T sit still. They were trying, and they really did quite well, but they just have so much energy!

I wish I had that kind of energy! I am the opposite - if I could curl up on the couch all day I would (with my red blanket and a good book). Alas, I have things to do! Today was Sam's Open House, so I went in to meet his teacher, tour his classroom, and learn about the schedule and protocol for the year (a big THANK YOU to Susan for watching my younger three kids!). I really like his teacher, and I think that she will be good for him - she isn't going to put up with anything, which is great. The only bad thing is that I somehow ended up volunteering to be the room mother! I'm still not sure how that happened or how I will pull it off, but it will be good for me to be involved with his class. I just told him about it and he is thrilled. He is listing all of the things I need to do for the Halloween party (bingo, balloons, pinatas, homemade root beer, lots of chocolate, etc.).

Jonas is trying so hard to stand up and walk. I keep telling him to just be a baby, but he's not having it. Luckily, he is still so cuddly and sweet. He gives great big slobbery kisses, and drools all over my shoulder (I think that he is teething).

I have been trying to make some plans for Saturday. Nate is running in a relay marathon (called "Reach the Beach") and we are having a Stake Youth Activity up at Zion's Camp. I thought about taking the kids to the beach to see his team finish, but I'm a little daunted by the thought of taking all 4 kids to a very crowded beach by myself - especially with the rainy weather we have been having lately. Also, I really feel like I should be at the activity. It isn't that I don't think they can do it without me (they can), or that anyone would be bothered if I don't go (I already talked to my 1st Counselor and the Stake YM President about it, and they would be fine), but I just feel like that is where I am supposed to be. Sometimes I feel like this calling is taking over my life - I have NEVER put this much time, effort, time, prayer, time, thought, time and TIME into a calling before. But, it is already very rewarding, although I am still just stumbling along trying to figure everything out. We are in the midst of making some big decisions about our Handcart Trek next year as well as Girl's Camp (suggestions and input welcome!). I am always second guessing myself - "Is this inspiration, or is this what I think?" So, I just do the best I can and have faith that God will make it work. He always does. We have great youth and leaders in our Stake, and I have so much support and help. Even on the days when I am totally overwhelmed I know that the only problem is that I'M NOT DELEGATING ENOUGH. I need to have some faith in people and get a few of these things off my plate.

But, I can't delegate the Mom stuff, so off I go to the land of homework, violin practice, making dinner, etc. Nate is going to the temple with the youth tonight so we are on our own - he probably won't be home until 10:00 pm. I'm hoping to make that mound of clean laundry in the guest room dissapear by the time he gets home - wish me luck!

Monday, September 8, 2008

We miss Uncle Ben, and other updates

We were so lucky this summer to have Uncle Ben (Nate's younger brother) stay with us for 4 months! Granted, he worked a ton of hours, so we didn't get to spend as much time with him as we would have liked, but we LOVED having him here. He was great with the kids (as you can see, they all adore him), and Nate and I both really loved having him here. Unfortunately, we got into a pattern of really late nights staying up to talk, but how many times in life do you have those opportunities with your siblings (other than when you are young and don't appreciate them)?

Ben left on Friday to fly to Kyrgyzstan for a fall internship with the International Trade Commission (a division of the WTO). Isaac has spent the last few weeks begging to go with Ben to Kyrgyzstan. I don't think that most Mom's have to spend nearly this much time explaining to their 4-year-olds why they can't go to Kyrgyzstan (how many 4-year-olds have heard of Kyrgyzstan?) Luckily, Ben had to leave really early in the morning, and Isaac was pretty tired and just wanted to cuddle his Mom, which made him more content to be staying with me. I was a little worried that he would be trying to fit inside Ben's suitcase.

We did get an email this morning that Ben is safe and sound and settling into his apartment there. He will come back and visit us for a little while in December on his way home for Christmas, so that is good. Now if I can just make sure that his visit overlaps with my Sister Martha's . . . (don't worry, they are both well aware of my plans to match them up. No luck so far, but I'm not giving up!)

There isn't much to report from this weekend. We had a lovely Sabbath. The baby has a pretty bad cold, and Grace had a fever on Saturday, so Nate stayed home with them and let me go to church with the boys. I really enjoy those Sundays where I just get to go to my own ward (with my Stake calling that is happening less and less), so he didn't want to take that away from me, and he didn't have to teach today so it worked out nice (for me).

Unfortunately, I still didn't get to go to Relief Society. Isaac went in to go to the bathroom and in his rush he didn't get his pants down far enough and accidentally got them all wet. So, we had to leave early. He was not at all ashamed and was announcing to everyone in the hallway (this was between Sunday School and Relief Society) that we had to go home because he peed on his pants. Of course we had to go get Sam from class, which he was a little dissapointed about, but he was a good sport.

The missionaries came over for dinner, and we had delicious roast beef with potatoes and carrots and gravy, homemade wheat rolls (Nate even shaped them while I was at church, and he did a great job), jello that the boys made before church, and yummy cake and ice cream with warm cherry sauce (and I wonder why I can't lose weight . . .). Anyway, it was great, and then they taught us a nice lesson and we talked about how we can do a better job of sharing the gospel with our neighbors. Our Bishop has challenged us to invite a non-member family for FHE this month, so we are trying to decide who to invite. I'm not really great at these things, but we are committed to doing it! I'll let you know how it goes.

We had a nice evening working on puzzles (I love that Sam is old enough to do big puzzles with me now, and Isaac and Grace had their own little ones to work on). Nate and I tried to go to bed early, but that didn't work out very well. I ended up reading for quite a while and he was watching college football on the laptop. But, the kids all slept through the night and we have had a great morning so far.

Tonight for FHE we will be returning the canoes that Nate borrowed for the scout campout. This should be a good week- busy enough that we won't get bored, but a little time available for extra projects and some deep cleaning - just how I like it!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Samuel pics - part 5

Samuel on the first day of Kindergarten.
Samuel on the first day of First grade (with Dad)
Samuel on the first day of Second grade.

Samuel pics - part 4

Sam making rope at Nauvoo. If you come to our house he will proudly show you this rope he made - he is very proud of it!
Samuel jumping into leaves in our front yard. Sam never just jumps, he JUMPS (I love that his shoe flew off).
Samuel at his first gymnastics meet. He did fine on the rings, parallel bars, and high bar- but he was really amazing at his floor routine and vault (they don't do the pommel horse until they are older).
Sam on the "boogie board" in Kuna (they tie these up to bridges over the canal and ride the current). It was much to easy for Sam, so he immediately had to do some tricks - like no hands ...
... and backwards.

Samuel pics - part 3

Sam at ski lessons - I think that he is 4 in this picture.
Sam on Grandpa Kirk's boat. The boys sure love that boat (mostly because they love being with Grandma and Grandpa and their aunts and uncles).
Sam pulling a handcart at Winter Quarters (with two kids we don't know). What a cute little pioneer. He was strong too- she put a rock under the wheel to show how hard it was to pull over rocky terrain and they just pulled right over it!
Sam helping Grandma Cherie cook. He LOVES to cook (I'm not sure why he was wearing a swimsuit under his apron!)
Sam really, really, REALLY loves jeeps. Last summer when he found out that Nate's cousin Robby drives one he was so excited. Robby was so sweet to come pick up Sam and take him for a ride. It was the highlight of his summer!

Samuel pics - part 2

Such a cute little traveler. He still loves to fly.
Samuel has no fear. He never has. He'll climb on anything, and luckily he knows how to land when he falls!
This was Sam's first season of soccer - when he was 4. He has played every year. He has been a green "kermit," a red "eagle," red "fire," and a gray "shark."
Sam at Mount Rushmore. He and Nate spent quite a while lining up this shot. In black and white it really looks like his face is on the mountain.
Sam making big bubbles at Grandma Linda's house.

Samuel pics - part 1

Sam in the hospital modeling his awesome sunglasses and hat (for when he was under the lights to treat his jaundice). Unfortunately, I don't have very many good newborn pics of Sam - he was whisked away to the NICU, and the pics we took in there didn't turn out very well. Live and learn. You'll just have to trust me that he was ADORABLE!
This is on the day that he was released from the hospital. He is being held by his Grandma Linda. See - I was right - ADORABLE!
Sam crawling in one of our favorite parks in Tallahassee. He was such a fun little guy (still is).
Sam enjoying some bubbles. I love that grin.
Sam was a seasoned traveller. I don't think we have ever calculated exactly how many flights the poor kid has been on, but I know that he was over 100 by the time he turned 2. I think that this is when he was barely 2 and we were on our way to California for a conference (and mini-vacation).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Isaac pics - part 3

Isaac is such a great big brother - he and Grace have such a fun time together when Sam is at school. This is last Spring - enjoying one of the first sunny days. He was teaching her how to play duck-duck-goose.
He is so sweet with Jonas. He loves to cuddle him and is always so concerned if he is crying at all.

Isaac pics - part 2

This is one of my favorite pictures of Isaac. Clearly the toys on the deck are not nearly as fun as the stopper from the kitchen sink! That expression is 100% Isaac.
Isaac really enjoying a piece of chocolate cream pie. How can you be upset about a mess when it is that cute?
These were taken when my friend Erika was taking Grace's blessing pictures. She let the boys play in her dress-ups, and these are totally candid- he didn't know she was taking pictures of him.
A dream come true for Isaac - he LOVES Buzz Lightyear!
Hamming it up for the camera after church.

Isaac pics - part 1

Isaac's Dad and Brother were so excited to hold him and play with him. He was such a sweet newborn (okay, they all were - really!)
Isaac's "special" toes. Two of the toes on his left foot are fused together. Sam has always found it fascinating, and when Grace and Jonas were born the first things he did when he saw them was check their toes - but Isaac is the only one with the special toes.
He was about 4 months old here.
About 8 months here. He looks so serious! He is a happy, silly kid, but he is "the thinker" in our family. He really takes the time to ponder and sort everything out.
He crawled so fast. I remember wondering if he would be a late walker because he got around so good. But, just like his older brother and younger sister he started walking before his first birthday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Grace pics - part 3

A current pic. I just want to kiss those sweet little cheeks.
Nate's favorite piture of Grace. I think that she was watching for Sam's bus.

Grace pics - part 2

Grace'sfirst trip to Disney World. She loved it of course (she is my daughter after all)!
Grace at Grandma Cherie's house last year - with that messy mop of hair and sweet grin of hers.
Grace enjoying some ice cream - we just couldn't convince her that she would get more in her mouth if the spoon wasn't upside down!
Grace in her Home Depot apron "helping" Dad in his workshop.
My little sleeping beauty. She fell asleep reading stories to her dolls and I just couldn't resist snapping a picture.

Grace pics - part 1

We were so excited to welcome Grace to our family!
She was a sweet little baby. I had (and still have) so much fun dressing her and doing her hair.
My sweet friend Erika took these cute pictures of her.
She has always been willing to smile for the camera.
I just love this pink swimsuit with the ruffles at the bottom. I am so sad that it is too small now!

Jonas Pics

On the day he was born. He was a cutie from the start!
When he got sick. That was probably the scariest night of my life. He got RSV and they had to put him on a ventilator and transfer him down to Boston. What was supposed to be a "couple" of days in the hospital turned into 16 days in the PICU, but he is doing great now!
It is so hard to capture his personality with a camera, but he is just the sweetest little guy. His big blue eyes, his smiles, and his giggles light up our house.
Not the greatest picture - but a good idea of how he looks now.