Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jonah and Bridget

Bridget just made my day. This morning she was outside riding her bike and Jonah and I were inside playing a game. Jonah was trying to give me an Indian snake bite, so I was pretending to try and pinch him back. Bridget walked in as Jonah was screaming, "No, don't get me...don't get me!!!"

Bridget marched over and in her best 'mommy' voice, sternly told me, "Don't you hurt my JoJo! You leave him alone." She was so was very sweet. I'm glad to see that she's willing to stick up for her big brother! :)

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sweet Henry

I was talking with my wonderful new neighbor yesterday and the kids came crashing through the living room where we were sitting. I don't remember the exact context of the conversation, but I started teasing Henry about something. He was loving the attention, so I said "And he's really humble too, can't you tell?"
He answered, "No, mom. I'm not humble. I'm not humble at all. Just sweaty."
I love my sweet sweaty little boy! :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bridget Updates

Bridget has always had a way of making us laugh...she knows just when to use her sweet little smile to lighten the mood. She is now nearing three years of age and the things she says sometimes are just precious.

My kids all have a really good vocabulary (and please don't think I'm taking any credit for this, it's just something they've all possessed from a fairly early age), but Bridget still cracks me up with her words sometimes. The other night Sam had given her a bath and gotten her pjs on her and she went running away before he could comb her hair. When he asked her to come back, she stopped walking away, pointed her pudgy little finger at him and said, "No Dad. I'm going downstairs to have a conversation with Mommy." It was just the cutest thing.

This afternoon I gave Bridget a glass of milk. While she was drinking it I asked her if she knew where milk comes from. She shook her head no. I was holding a little foam cow that she had gotten at the library this week and I said, "We get our milk from cows." She responded by saying, "Oh!" and then saying, "Oink, oink!" followed by hysterical laughter. What a weirdo. Then I said, "You know cows say moo, right?" to which she replied, "And sheep say 'Baaa'!"

In other Bridget news, Bridget potty trained this week! On Tuesday I woke up and realized we hadn't made any plans (which is unusual since we've had a VERY busy summer thus far!) and spontaneously told Boo that she was done wearing diapers. She reacted fairly positively, so we proceeded to work on it. That first morning I sent the boys outside with instructions NOT to come in for anything other than water breaks or emergencies. They complied quite nicely, which allowed me to give my full attention to Bridget.

She did wonderfully! She wasn't sure about it at first but had only one accident during the training. She had zero accidents yesterday and only one today, so I'd say she's officially done! (And to be fair to her, the accident she had today happened IN the bathroom while she was trying to get her shorts down. She knew she had to go, but she just waited a moment too long!)

I'll still put her in diapers at night for the time being, but the last two nights she has woken up dry. Way to go, Bridget! It's amazing how this simple act has made her seem so very grown up all of a sudden. While I'm ready to be done changing a two-year-old's diapers, I wasn't quite ready for her to seem so independent all of a sudden! Goodness, the time goes quickly, doesn't it? It's like the old saying goes, "The days are long but the years are short." SO TRUE! :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Henry's 7th Birthday

Here's Henry all decked out in his cowboy gear. He got the fancy new vest for his birthday (hand made by the talented Aunt Kelly!) and the belt buckle was a gift from Sam and me.

On May 27th, Henry turned seven years old. Wow. I can still remember the day he was born like it was yesterday, and I suppose I always will. That is the day that forever changed my life and gave me a new name and title--Mommy.

Henry started out his birthday morning by opening presents. He was so excited to find out that the HUGE box that had arrived from Grandma and Jim was a set of REAL golf clubs. He also received a new belt buckle (see above), a camo hunting hat, and a slick flashlight that has knives and tools built into the handle.

Later in the day two of Henry's good friends came over for a sleep-over. Cole (Henry's cousin) and his friend Elijah came around lunch time. The boys ate lunch, played outside and had all sorts of adventures in the fort. After a while we headed into town to meet some other friends (Bella and Ian) at Chuck E Cheese for some more play time.
While we were there we had cookie cake and drinks and played lots of games. They all cashed in their tickets for some great prizes before we left. The sweet lady working the prize counter helped the kids all come out mostly equal with their little trinkets, which made my life a little easier!
After we left Chucky's, we headed to the local farm/ranch store. I had told Henry earlier that we would have to stop by there to pick up some chicken food that Daddy had forgotten to buy. He wasn't too disappointed with an extra stop since he loves that store. He was actually pretty excited to show his buddies all the fun things like baby chicks and bunnies.

Henry was totally shocked when I told him the real reason we were stopping there was to let him pick out his new rabbit! Henry has been wanting a rabbit for a long time, and Sam decided that this was the time to get him one.
He picked the most adorable one there and named her "Carrots," which was suggested by Cole. Isn't she cute? She always looks like she does in this picture, with one ear up and one ear down. Henry just loves her and so far has taken VERY good care of her.

When we finally made it back home, the kids enjoyed a lovely dinner of corn dogs and french fries (as requested by the birthday boy), played on the trampoline a while and then settled in for a movie. They had popcorn and watched on of the Ice Age movies before finally going to sleep. It was a late night!

The next morning we had a big breakfast and then headed up to the pool to swim a bit before the boys had to go home. It was such a fun time.

You'd think the birthday celebrations would be over after all that, wouldn't you?

Not quite.

Henry still had another party coming. He invited some more friends and family to celebrate with him that weekend out at the lake. So there was more cake and swimming with friends.
I'd say that Henry had a pretty memorable 7th birthday! :)
Whew. Now I just have to gear myself up for ONE more birthday...Bridget turns three in a little over a month...then we'll have a break for a while. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jonah shares his math workbook

This was from a while back (when Jonah finished up his preschool math book) but I just found it again and thought I'd post it here. I just love this sweet boy! :)

Henry the Golfer

For Henry's seventh birthday, Grandma and Jim bought him a real set of golf clubs. When we went to visit them in Arizona a few months ago, the boys enjoyed playing on the putting green in the backyard. Henry spent WAY more time golfing than he did swimming in the pool! It was decided then that we should do something to nurture his interest in this area, and Jim was really excited to pick out a set of clubs for Henry.
Last week Sam took Henry to the driving range to practice putting and hitting a bucket of balls. Sam taught him how to properly hold the clubs and a little bit about course etiquette (you know, like not letting your club slip out of your hand mid-swing and fly toward your neighboring golfer--not that that actually happened, or anything).
Henry loved every bit of it! He can't wait to go again, and for now spends his mornings hitting practice balls around the front yard. :)
Thanks Grandma and Jim for the wonderful gift! Henry is so excited to be a 'real' golfer now. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Funny Bridget

Bridget got out of the shower yesterday and I was drying her with a towel. She wriggled away from me, walked across the bathroom to grab her clothes and then turned to me with a complete look of surprise on her face. One arm shot straight up into the air and she ran back over to me, saying, "Mommy, mommy! My little pit hurts!"

(She had a little bug bite in her underarm, but the whole scene just cracked me up!")

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Fun

Summer is barely here yet (actually it's not 'officially' here yet, is it?) and we are already busy having fun in the sun. I haven't quite closed out our homeschool year but we've already taken an extended break. All our friends are out of public school, the weather is perfect and I've decided we ought to enjoy it! We'll be doing some school throughout the summer, in order to retain what has been learned this past year, but it will definitely be a lighter load than the actual school year.

In the past week alone we:

. . . were invited to swim at a church member's house with friends . . .
. . . went blueberry picking at the farm up the road . . .
. . . chased each other around the yard with the hose . . .
. . . pulled out the slip-n-slide for some backyard cooling off . . .
. . . went to a Lowe's kids event, then met up with family for a trip to a local museum . . .
. . . and those are just the events I photographed! We also joined a Bible study at church (the kids enjoy time with their friends while we meet), made it to the local library story/craft time and had our weekly meeting with the group of camp counselors we mentor. And Jonah had his end-of-season t-ball party and we went swimming at the lake yesterday afternoon, before having dinner with Sam's folks.


No wonder I'm tired. Summer hasn't even truly started and we're running fast, determined to wring some serious fun out of this year!

I've found a new freedom with our kids at the ages they are...Henry is 7, Jonah is 5 and Bridget is 2 (almost 3). For some time we've been limited by young ones who were nursing or not quite walking or needing long afternoon naps. There are still necessary naps, but we can be much more flexible with them. The kids all are able to handle staying up later and they all love being on the go most of the time.

Sum-mer, sum-mer, summer-time...Summertime! Time to sit back and unwind.

Time to have some fun in the sun! :)

Elkhorn Ranch Updates

Sam has often spoken of his desire to have goats on his property. Until living in the place we are now, we've not had enough property to have something like goats, so it has always been something fun to talk about but not actually reality. Now we live on a 6 acre piece of land, and Sam has fenced the entire property and sectioned off the back and side pastures. This spring he built a couple of small buildings to use as animal shelters. We were all set up but still waiting.

I believe I've already told the story of the goats here on the blog, but here are the original six:
The donkey (Sky), arrived the very next day--after the coyote attack which took two of our goats.

A few weeks later, my darling husband and his friend drove out to the middle of nowhere, TX which holds a weekly goat auction. He took one male to sell at auction and came home with three more female goats (from the auction) and three baby goats (that he bought from a lady he met AT the auction).
The babies were a few months old at the time and they are just the sweetest things.
Two of the three babies let us pick them up, pet them, do pretty much whatever we need to with them. The third is shy and will follow the other two around, but will not come all the way to us.
A few weeks after that, Sam brought home even more goats! The camp that he works at uses goats for an outdoor education program that runs during the school year. At the end of the year they sell the goats at auction and Sam happened to hear about that at just the right time. So we now have 12 goats of various ages. At least one of them is likely pregnant (won't that be interesting!) and we plan to breed them all eventually. Yikes! What have we gotten ourselves into??? :)

Another fun thing we were introduced to recently was a farrier. When we brought Sky home she was three years old and had never had her hooves trimmed or touched. Donkeys are notorious for being unruly when it comes to having their hooves trimmed, so we weren't sure quite what to expect.

Our friend Matt is a farrier and was willing (though not particularly excited) to come out and check out her feet. Sam had noticed a nail in the bottom of one of her feet and the back two were quite overgrown. He got right to work, holding her front leg between his legs to file it down to a proper shape. See how her leg is twisted back and sideways? She just stood there without protesting through most of that! I thought it was fascinating to watch him work.
Eventually she started swinging her head back trying to hit Matt, so he suggested we tie her up to a tree so she couldn't hurt him. He was easily able to work on the rest of her hooves, and the whole process took only about 20 or 25 minutes. Sky really tolerated having her hooves filed quite nicely. Even Matt was pleasantly surprised that she is so incredibly gentle. God was so good to provide her for our family. We've not had any experience with a larger animal, and He knew we would do best with a calm, gentle, sweet little donkey. :)
We have also recently acquired a rabbit. Henry has been wanting one for quite some time and looks at them longingly every time we visit the farm and ranch store in town. He even decided that he was saving his money toward one and was well on his way! A few months ago, Sam decided he would get one for his birthday, as a surprise. He built a rabbit hutch, telling Henry and the other kids that it was a 'chicken hospital' in which we would keep sick chicks that needed to be quarantined from the others. ;) Henry bought the story and didn't suspect a thing. It was a wonderful surprise and he picked the most adorable rabbit that they had. She's a little ball of fluff and calico colored, if you ask Henry. He named her Carrots, and he gives her one every single day. :)
That's all the news from the Elkhorn Ranch. I'll be sure to keep this updated as we have fun changes out here in the country!

Henry's soccer spring '10

Henry had another amazing year with his soccer team, The Jayhawks. He has been playing since he turned four years old, in the spring and fall, and it has been so fun to see the progression.

When he started, the kids just ran around in clumps sort of following the ball (or just watching it go by). As they started figuring it out, whoever got the ball would try to kick it into the goal. Next they started working on moving it down the field. The coaches were right there with them directing them this way and that. This year the kids moved up to a bigger field and the coaches were no longer allowed on the field. They had to figure out how to handle a goalie and how to pass the ball to their teammates.
Henry was on the youngest team in the league, but they still managed to win half their games! We were so proud of those little guys. It seems around age seven a lot of these kids really hit a growth spurt, so some of our opposing teams looked like giants next to our kids. Our boys and girls still got right in there and played aggressively all season. We even had a couple of quite memorable games played in the pouring rain. We're hoping that taught them perseverance (or something at least, we don't want to imagine that was for nothing!). It really was fun to see the strides all the kids have made in the past few years.
Henry had a good sized fan club on the sidelines of every game. His grandparents came for a few games, our friends Beth and Austie made it out to a few games (Ingrid, where were you???), his sister, brother and mom and dad made it out to every one. Jonah is an ever-faithful fan, paying attention to every play and shouting words of encouragement to Henry (and his buddy Ian, of course). Bridget enjoyed the games, but she didn't watch much. There was always somebody there to keep her company, and at many of the games it was Daxton. She and Dax are very close in age and they had a lot of fun together on the sidelines this year.
Go Jayhawks!
(L-R: Coach David, Jase, Ian, Henry, Dillon, Cody, Brock, Kaylee, Bella, Tyler, Coach Lyle, missing Brett)
It was a great season! Henry is a really good soccer player and he loves the sport. Can't wait to see what next season has in store for us! :)

Jonah's first season of t-ball

Jonah had such a fun time learning to play t-ball this year. It was truly all he expected it to be and more. Having the best, most patient, understanding, caring coaches in the world certainly helped. :) This is Jonah with his head coach, Coach Kelly.
He is truly a man of integrity. Gentle with the kids but not afraid to tell them what they need to be doing. My favorite example of his care for the kids was at the beginning of the year when we were figuring out schedules for practices and games, Coach Kelly told us all that as soon as the twice weekly games began, we would no longer have practices. Most (dare I say all?) of the other teams continued practices, but our coach felt it was important not to burn out the kids. I just love that about him! We had a number of questionable happenings during the t-ball season (who knew there was so much DRAMA in t-ball???) and through it all Coach Kelly modeled good sportsmanship, encouraged the other teams as much as our own, built up our kids, showed them how to play and made sure they all had fun doing it.

One of the assistant coaches took Jonah under his wing. He's a big, gruff guy with a loud, gravelly voice. He would probably be voted 'most likely to scare small children' (I say this with the utmost respect for the guy!). Jonah for some reason just melted Coach Jeremy's heart. Coach Jeremy understood that Jonah didn't know anything about the game before his first practice. He made it a point to always make sure Jonah got to his position and he gave him the best pep-talks before each time up at bat. During the season he always greeted Jonah with a big ol' bear hug and at the end-of-season party he cried and cried when saying goodbye to JoJo. He may look tough, but he's a softy. :) Here's Jonah with Coach Jeremy.
Here's a couple of crazed t-ball fans...Bridget (r) with her friend Lily (l). They enjoyed playing in the sand dirt during most of Jonah's games.
I know I'll sound a little prejudiced here (I am his mom, after all) but Jonah was the heart of the Astros this year. He captured the attention of all the coaches and parents, and usually had both teams cheering for him when he was up to bat. Don't imagine for a moment that this was because of his stellar t-ball skills. When I say that Jonah loved every minute of playing this year, it wasn't because he hit a home run (never happened) or because he even got to second base (a rare occasion) or because of his amazing fielding skills (chasing down balls only to hold on to them while the runner rounds the bases and makes it safely home). :) No, he loved it because he was part of a team. Jonah is nothing if not a team player. He felt valued and important as part of a team and thought the other boys were automatically his new best friends (which some of them have become). He didn't ever know if they had won or lost the game, he just enjoyed the snow-cone awarded at the end. Jonah is quite a slow runner, he actually doesn't even really prefer to run if he doesn't have to do so. That didn't stop him from giving it all he had every time he hit the ball. :)

I think that very innocence is what captured the parents and fans that watched the games. Everyone knew JoJo by the end of the season.
Go Astros!
Coaches (L-R): Jeremy, Kelly, Cory, missing Coach JT
Players (back row): Garner, Sonny, Gavin, Taegan
(front row): Jonah, Ian, Casey, Carson, Miles, Zachary
What a fun year. I'm so glad that Jonah decided to play t-ball this year and can't wait for next season! Most of the coaches are moving up out of t-ball next year since their boys will be old enough for coach-pitch, so we're praying next year's coaches are at least half as incredible as the ones we had this year. :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Grandkids Camp

Yesterday we dropped Henry off at his Grandparent's house. He'll be there at "Grandkids Camp" with all of his cousins who are over the age of six until Friday. He was so excited to go! I recall dropping him off last year and feeling his anxiety and hesitation when I went to leave. This year I got a quick "Bye, Mom!" and a hug before he went running off with his buddies.

The theme this year is Cowboys and Indians. I only noticed two Indians when I dropped Henry off, the overwhelming majority were dressed as Cowboys. Henry is a cowboy, of course. It wasn't even a discussion. When I asked Henry which he preferred to do he said, "Mom, you know I'll be a cowboy."
We dropped Henry off in the morning, and then Jonah and Bridget and I headed to a local park that Bridget fell in love with while we were staying at Dave and Mary Beth's house. We had a picnic lunch with friends, then headed home. Later in the day, when Sam came home, we ran into town for dinner and to run some errands. All day long, whenever we went anywhere near the car, Bridget would say, "Are we going to pick Henry up now?" She is not at all sure about us leaving him out at Grammy and Grandpop's house.

Henry is going to have so much fun! He will be spending time swimming, practicing archery, ping pong, and chinese checkers, marching, learning Bible lessons, cooking and spending precious time with his cousins and Grandparents. We are so thankful for Sam's wonderful parents who are so intentional about their time with the kids. This is truly a blessing, and it's only because we live so close that we can participate and share every day life with our wonderful family! So glad that God brought us to Texas four years ago. :)