Monday, June 21, 2010

"I am nice"

This boy tells us he is nice. And he is right.
"Mom. Would you snuggle me up?"
"Let's play nice fish."
"Let's play I am a nice bear and I do talk."
"Yes, I am nice."
His daddy asked if he wanted to play camper and bear one day. This is a game that has been played with other boys in this house. I suppose you can guess what a bear would do with a camper.
Why don't you think about that for a moment?
Silas wanted to be the bear.
This bear snuggled up and slept with the camper. Yes, he is nice.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

All five of them again

They all just happened to be sitting there on the couch. Miriam was in a very happy mood. Jake was ready to smile nicely. Eli would have, if only Sammy would stop letting that balloon go off in Eli's face. Si would look great, if only he hadn't rubbed a sooty hand across his eyes when helping me make a fire that morning. And if Sammy could manage to look at the camera and stop messing with that balloon...'s life around here. How do you like the rip in Eli's shorts? The dirt on Jake's jeans? Sammy's socks? Can we say "play clothes"? It's a novelty I didn't grow up with. Steve did. My play clothes were my leotards for gymnastics. Steve spent his play time in clothes such as you see here (minus the pink booties).

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Whenever Si gets hurt, he has a few things which help him.

1) A kiss.

2) Shaking the hurt body part. "No, it okay. I just shake it."

3) A sock.

An unfortunate treadmill accident prompted the need for a sock during breakfast. It made him feel much better!

Jake turned 11 last month. Here's the only picture we ended up taking. I'm so bad at birthday pictures. Every year I lament that I never took a picture of the party guests. Poor Jake ... not the greatest shot. But it does highlight his choice of play clothes and the damage done to the back of the cake by Silas prior to the frosting. It was unable to be repaired.
Jake took a couple friends to a local indoor skate park for his birthday. Steve skateboarded, too, and they had a great time.

Speaking of Daddy ... oh boy ... this makes my heart hurt from happiness:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter!

Well, this picture fills me with pride. After all, this is 9am on Easter morning while Steve was on shift. Everyone had their egg hunt, their special Easter breakfast, is completely clean, the breakfast casserole to take to church was cooked, the house was clean and they are all smiling! It was a minor miracle.

And, Sammy is smiling a natural smile instead of the silly faces he normally makes.
And here is a bald little butterball on her very first Easter. I haven't ever put anyone in pink eyelet and a bow on Easter morning. Or tights. Or bloomers. It's fun.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

If she can find this!

If Miriam can only find this on a regular basis, I think life will be pretty happy around here. Forgive me for being excited about a possible thumbsucker. We haven't ever had one of those ... so unhygienic, so cute.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


How do you like these ruffles? Can you see the bow on her head? Yep, we have a girl. :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life at our house

On Valentine's Day, Sammy announced that Miriam was his valentine.

He later told me that Miriam had a smelly diaper.

I promptly went to change her, only to discover his little trick. She wasn't smelly, but here is a picture of what I found zipped in her jammies (with Eli's name substituted since he pulled a copycat later in the day and that's when I took a picture). I wonder how crinkly and uncomfortable it was? She didn't seem to mind a bit.

She already has admirers. I'm so glad they are her brothers and daddy.

We received a special delivery recently. Right to our doorstep. It was a Silas. The little boys took turns being taped inside the box and then having me summoned to the door to open my package.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Three months

Miriam is three months old. Smiley and sweet and social. She learned to giggle, but things are only funny once to her. So don't count on a repeat laugh, as often as you try. She seems to be settling into a pattern and rhythm. She is so loved, it's unbelievable. She snuggles. She sleeps okay (but is growing, so that sleep is a bit compromised recently). Her naps are improving. She weighs 13 pounds to the ounce. Her eyes won't decide on their color, although blue seems the most predominant. She found her hands. I think it is so funny when she just stares at her fist. She is grabbing things and is as uncoordinated about it as most babies are at this age. I love the "misses" when she tries for something and her hands snap together with nothing between them.

Someone didn't want to be left out of the "I'm three months old" pictures.

And wanted his own. I guess we'll call this, "I'm three and a half years old." Because he is. He turned 3 1/2 on Sammy's birthday. Their birthdays are six months apart to the day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Sammy turned six this month. Last year, when being 5 years old was pretty shiny, I made him promise to turn five again this year. I thought I could have this five year old unchanged for two years - you know, pickle him for awhile.

I love watching our children grow up. Children are delightful (and other things, of course). Every year, I still love them dearly, and the new year brings new treasured times with them. But there is something about looking at your child and knowing the way they say those words, their mannerisms, even the cells in their body are being gradually replaced. Sure, it is the same soul in the changing body. But I know I'll never see that particular child again other than in digital form.

I have a dear older friend and mentor who says she misses those days when all her children were under one roof and she could provide what they needed and know that they were safe. I know I'll miss these years, too. I already do, really.

And this little guy who requested a candy cake and had his candles blown out before the song was over (before they had even been lit long enough to show their "magic" and relight) - he holds a special place in my heart. Happy Birthday, Samuel!

As a side note: here's a great way to be able to entertain your baby sister when your mom won't let you hold her.

She likes it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It's a girl! I'm not used to talking about "my daughter", and the newness hasn't worn off a bit. She is three months old now, and we adore her. Silas calls her "Mim". So the boys have taken to that little nickname as well, in spite of the fact that Silas insists that he is saying "Miriam".

We are so thankful for her.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A little school

We have a homeschool co-op of four families which meets twice a month to do science experiments and geography. We really enjoy each family. We moms take turns handling each section, making for a nice break.

For geography, we are moving continent by continent. At the end of every unit, each child must present a report on something of their choice from the continent studied. It's been a really good experience for them to be in front of a small crowd.

Sammy's first report was a laugh. Literally. That's all he did. He giggled and barely said anything about the Indonesian houses he had studied. As a mom, it was all I could do to keep myself in my seat and not go "help" him. I silently suffered, pretending he was in a classroom and had to fend for himself a bit. I wanted to avoid what I think is a disadvantage of homeschooling; Mommy always being there to assist you. I try to be quite unhelpful now and then.

Sammy chose the Alps for his second report when we covered Europe. He loved painting his prop. And he did a fine job actually giving the report. We were proud of him for working so hard on what he was going to say. It was a big improvement. Of course, he didn't have far to go to improve from his previous laughfest!

Eli's European report was on Spain. His favorite things to tell about were their enormous annual tomato fight and the Running of the Bulls. He must be a boy. Like Sammy, he did much better the second time around.
Jake chose Austria. Being in fifth grade, he had a little more work to do and complained nearly every step of the way. From the research and notetaking to the rough and final draft writing and finally the practicing of giving the actual report, he realized just how much work goes into a full report. He almost bailed at the last second and then fully enjoyed it. I don't have a picture because his report was a size that could be saved. That's my way of getting rid of salt dough maps and other unwieldy projects: take a picture.
Miriam's job is to be an appreciate audience. But I just deleted her picture by accident. I'll pop it in next time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Do you see what I see?

I guess it was only a matter of time. And not that much time, apparently. Would someone please tell me where young boys find beetles in the dead of winter? This picture was taken at the beginning of January. I wanted to be horrified. But what can you do? At least they didn't feed it to her.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What color will those eyes be?

After three brown and one hazel ... a momma with blue and a daddy with brown ... what will Miriam have? When each baby was born, Grandma Jan would announce that THIS baby would have blue eyes. She's been wrong every time. Until possibly now.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A hard year and a great wedding gift

On our wedding day twelve years ago, my Uncle Bruce and Aunt Jen wrapped us a box of Christmas ornaments as our gift. It was a delightful gift to open and use. That little box was actually where we acquired our oft-repaired Christmas pickle which has brought lots of fun for four boys. And for a newly-married couple, having something to put on our Christmas tree was wonderful. We hung those, added a few of our own and tied bows made from Christmas fabric on all the empty branches.

There is one ornament in particular from that box that has seen a little hardship over the twelve years. The lovely couple has lost their heads.

I still have those missing heads wrapped in paper in one of our Christmas storage containers. And I still hang our headless ice skaters every year, wondering why I feel compelled to hang a broken ornament.

When I was packing the headless couple away this year, I showed them to Steve. He took one look and said, "It's been a hard year."I giggled, but he was right. It has been. Insomnia for Steve - the complete exhaustion of this pregnancy for me - the extra work of adding on to our home - the boys having a lot of trouble with all our transitions - multiple extra stressors for Steve ... I could go on, but it was just really hard and stressful.

I was thinking this year about my reason for loving that ornament so much. I really think that, to me, it represents our marriage. We made a point in our wedding ceremony of saying the old vows that we didn't think should be considered old-fashioned. "Til death do us part." And we meant them. We know the other person is broken, but we don't turn on them when life is hard. Instead we still go on actively loving them. I'm not going to trade one broken person for another. I'm going to go through life as a team with the one I promised to be a partner to.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Almost midnight

A new mommy of five not sleepy? I really don't know why. We had an active night with our children and three little visitors darting around along with one crying Miriam. But I'm wide awake (and really thankful that Miriam does seem to be improving with me beginning to cut out dairy products).

Speaking of her, here is a sweet sight of Miriam with her pink calico pig which Grandma Mary made it for her. I love it. I can't wait until Miriam can fully enjoy it. Grandma Mary is so special to each of her grandchildren. And she probably doesn't even know just how special she is to her daughter-in-law. I think it's especially fitting that she made Miri a pig. The boys have been calling their sister "Little Snort", because she does just that.

And a not-so-pretty sight -
It's fake. But it's funny. To me anyway. You'll have to ask our nephew just how funny it is to him. We left the four boys with him and his sister (our niece, of course) while we attended a Christmas party. From what I hear, they were having a great time, and when a spill occurred, they took these funny pictures of the boys pretending to vomit.
Not long after ...
... they started vomiting for real. What kind of a babysitter actually cleans your children's vomit for you? The poor guy caught the stomach virus along with the rest of us within a little over 48 hours. And then he moved out of our house.