Happy 2017

Well it has been quite some time since I have taken time to write. What is nice is that it doesn’t plague me as a burden so I don’t feel guilty, I just don’t have time. But today I decided it was the day- mostly because we have a break from our home fix-up projects because my husband has what he calls “some African virus” (I would call it a cold). At least we know it’s not Ebola- blood is not oozing from all his orifices…yet. The way he’s handled it, you’d think it was Ebola.

As we speak, Adrian III is taking his national EMT certification test. He passed all the practice exams, and ALERT requires a higher passing test grade than NREMT does, so I think he’ll do well. He leaves for Texas this Saturday, and assuming there are no injuries, he won’t be home until May.

Hailey and Mike are the ever happy newlywed couple. Mike has been working for us on home improvement projects with Adrian III while applying for new jobs. Funny, we’ve seen Hailey more lately. Hmmm. We’ve been bugging them for a grandchild, but their standard answer is, “Well, you’d better pray!” To which I always reply, “Oh, I have been!” They feel outnumbered. Feel free to outnumber them with me.

So, according to our Christmas card announcement, we are expecting baby 11 in July. A bit sooner than I would have picked, but a blessing none the less. Israel and this baby will be 16 months apart (J’onn & Cory are the closest- 15 months apart). I’m always open to the Lord’s will in my life for babies, but I kind of have to blame Israel on this one. He refused to nurse past six months. As in- screamed like I was torturing him when I tried to nurse him. It definitely hurt my feelings! 😉 Well, it didn’t take long after I stopped nursing him to make him an older brother.

People ask if I feel like I know what sex it is. All I can say is that I have been “boy sick” rather than “girl sick.” For example, Israel was the first baby since Tristan that I didn’t “know” what I was having when I went in for the 20 week ultrasound. He was either the sickest boy pregnancy or a mildly sick girl pregnancy, but he was in that gray area and I just didn’t know. With this one, I have actually only thrown up once- due to a smell (which I have been very sensitive to), and I did have a stomach virus (which after realizing it was a virus and my morning sickness wasn’t getting worse, I was so thankful!), but eating consistently and the miracle of Zofran keeps the nausea under control. But there is no remedy for the exhaustion. How did Sarah do this at over twice my age??? The OCD in me hopes for a boy only because I have had all my boys in pairs between all the other girls. So keeping up with that pattern makes sense to my brain, but I realize that could be broken any time.

Anyway… Last night, My husband, Adrian & Mike were painting the kitchen and I was sitting at the table watching and talking when I told Adrian that earlier that day, Cory came in and asked me if he looks cooler than Adrian. I said, “Of course,” and he looked rather confused. I immediately modified my answer to, “Well, I mean, Adrian is really cool, but today you look cooler than him.” And he skipped away with a big grin on his face. With this information in hand, we started calling the kids in.

J’onn was first. Adrian asked him, “Who is the coolest guy in this room? Me, Adrian or Mike?”  We explained that there were no right or wrong answers, just his opinion, and after nervously laughing, he pointed to Adrian. Then Adrian asked him who the strongest guy in the room was. He said, “If there was a bad guy in your room downstairs and you had to go in there, which one of us would you take to fight them off?” J’onn then pointed to Mike.

Score: Adrian- 1, Mike- 1, Dad- 0.

Cory was next. When asked who the coolest guy in the room was he quickly replied, “Me.” (like, duh?!) OK. So we then asked who the second coolest guy in the room was and he said, “Mike.” Then we explained the bad guy scenario, and the strong guy Cory would take downstairs would be: Adrian.

Score: Adrian-2, Mike- 2, Dad- 0.

Next was Presley. She tends to be politically correct, and later tried to change her answers with explanations, but we told her that her original answers were the right ones and they were fine. Coolest= Mike. Strongest= Adrian.

Score: Adrian-3, Mike-3, Dad-0.

Eva was asleep so I later asked her the same questions. Her answers: Adrian was the strongest. Mike the coolest. (Coolest defined to a three-year-old as someone you would want to be like.)

Score: Adrian-4, Mike-4, Dad-0.

Dad had to tell the winners last night not to take it personally, but he was going to have to hurt one of them just to prove a point. I think he can live with not being the coolest, but not being the strongest? Not being the one to rescue them from a bad guy? Well that was just too much. But we did get quite the laugh.

So what else…. We had our car stolen off our front lawn before Christmas. We did get it back, but it is in the shop being fixed due to some serious joy riding. The person responsible was a newly released felon who had been picked up for a different infraction at the same time new renters found our Expedition in their backyard as they were moving in. The key fob the thief was carrying, along with Adrian’s boots he was wearing and Adrian’s backpack with his personal items inside connects him to the car. Unfortunately, Adrian had some Christmas gifts he was hiding from me in the car (think Dyson), and some camping equipment that was all sold in the 4 days time he was enjoying our car.

Adrian flew to the Bay Area to pick up my new van/bus. Whatever. It reminds me of a UPS truck. 15 seats plus cargo (9 ft tall, 22 ft long). I am fine driving it, parking it- everything- except the attention it brings. People are always staring and talking to me about it. It’s obvious from their questions they think it is a lot more money that what we paid for it. So that kind of attention makes me uncomfortable, but I am thankful and appreciative… here it is:

IMG_4631.JPG (Couldn’t even fit it all in the pic)

img_0507 (inside pic)

vehicle(Online pic)

 

We took our first real family vacation since Tristan’s Make-A-Wish trip 9 years ago. We drove to San Jose for Thanksgiving (nice and comfortably in my new van/ Space Shuttle Transport vehicle). Adrian III flew in from Texas a few days earlier and met us there. We even picked up Hailey, Mike and Shauna from the airport Thanksgiving morning. Friday we drove to Carlsbad- Legoland. The Hotel was just as much fun as the park. I think our favorite thing was riding on the elevators:

The Kids’ Dance Club in the hotel each night was a big hit. The Jester DJ and the pirates and princesses made it a lot of fun. And… if you go… the food at the Bricks restaurant (buffet) is amazing. Free at breakfast (yum!! Oh- and 2 chocolate muffins fit nicely in a coffee to-go cup for later!), expensive at dinner- but worth it. Basically all you can eat prime rib (delicious) and things like that- with a kids’ station, too!

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J’onn was chosen to be in an audience-participation play, which he loved:

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The fact that the rooms are themed (we stayed in pirate rooms) is super fun. Here are some pics of us at the park:

img_0443img_0341img_0357img_0456img_0397img_0392img_0449img_0370img_0493Madeline’s favorite part of the trip- she was communicating with the Jester- it was amazing!

We loved seeing our family (it had been over 12 years since I had been to San Jose)- many of whom we had not seen in 8 years. But the best part of the trip was unplanned. After we were already on the road, we found out that some friends of ours were heading to Pleasanton (about an hour north of our first destination). We ended up meeting up with them in Bend, Oregon for dinner and swimming at the hotel. We also headed home on the same day so we met in Bend once more. That was such a blessing. We love the Pfening family so much!

img_0237They have 3 kids: Christian, Colin and Maggie. Our kids LOVE them! Joe is hilarious, and people confuse Allie and I all the time. (Two blonde Allies the same age, same church… It’s a lot of fun.) We actually do have a lot in common, and the fellowship with them is always a blessing. Actually, we just went to the Wandering Table restaurant with them- what a treat! This is what awaited Adrian upon our arrival:

img_0800How Joe talked McDonald’s into letting him borrow a tray is beyond me. But Joe and Allie treated us to a Chef’s Special- where you get course after course of the Chef’s choice. That was amazing. In fact, it’s in my top 5 best food experiences! (Del Monicos, The Cut, Capitol Grill, Churchills & this night!) Our meal consisted of: (Yes, I wrote this down to remember!) Bacon Maple Deviled eggs (OMG!) and a citrus salad for Adrian (who said he wouldn’t eat mayo or fish), a yummy quinoa salad (first quinoa I have liked) A Meat, Cheese, Crackers tray with pickled jalapeños, olives, garlic, candied walnuts on it, Halibut with pear sauce and blueberries (pork belly for Adrian), Steak Tartare (I skipped that one being pregnant), Flank steak with cheese topped potatoes, roasted half quails (I tried it, but it looked like a baby, so while it tasted good, I mentally couldn’t do it and Adrian finished mine), Basalmic Braised Spare Ribs followed by a dessert tray with Applewood Creme Brûlée, Purple (Huckleberry? Blueberry?) Coconut ice cream, brownies topped with iced milk, apple slices with caramel drizzled on top, and cinnamon covered donut balls on a pumpkin spread. It was a fabulous four hours, time always flies with Joe and Allie, and we loved it.

We went to the American Childhood Cancer Christmas party and J’onn brought the house down singing his all-time favorite song. The college kids he’d been befriending were screaming his name- it was fun. (Worth watching until the end):

After this song, I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas) started and the MC just handed J’onn the microphone and walked away. (Here’s a small clip of that):

Then we had a nice Christmas: we went to church, came home and opened gifts. The kids’ main gifts this year was Legoland. I did, however, do some awesome “stockings” in pillowcase -like  Christmas bags with drawstrings- which is how I think we’ll continue Christmas- no wrapping!!! Eva did ask after EACH item she pulled out of her bag, “Is this mine?” From each little Playdoh to her Superhero Girl dolls. “Is this mine?” “Yes, Everything in that bag is yours! Yes, yes, yes!” But it was fun.

Ok, well I’m almost a month late taking Adrian III to his birthday lunch, and he is on his way home from the test so I have to go. Maybe we’ll talk soon! Happy 2017 to all!

 

 

To my faithful followers (as few as you may be)

OK, LaDonna, this one’s for you (and Rose, who is apparently the only other person besides you to follow me!)

I have been swamped lately. That’s my continual excuse for not writing. Not writing here, that is. I did just write a “2500 word or less memoir” and submitted it in a contest. Don’t expect a follow up on that! 🙂

Actually, with baby Israel projectiling half of everything he eats on to me, my mother-in-law’s recent visit, HAILEY’S ENGAGEMENT (!), and a plethora of random appointments, I really have been swamped.

Wait- did I mention HAILEY’S ENGAGEMENT? My girls have been begging for her room since she met her husband-to-be (Mike Lindell- sorry, it’s official so you, Mike, are officially blog material now!) last October! These lovebirds can’t wait to exchange their first kiss (ever!) at the altar, so no long engagement here! 11 weeks (9 now) and busily counting down! In all truthfulness, I believe the Lord brought these two together and they are a great match for each other. But we all know what that means (all three of us married ladies that is, LaDonna and Rose!)…as iron sharpens iron! Growth hurts, even with the person you love the most in the world- let the good times begin!

Adrian leaves for ALERT in 3 weeks. If he wasn’t flying home for the wedding, we wouldn’t see him until mid-November. Fortunately, he will be able to fly home to be in the wedding so we’ll get a couple of days with him. His first class is SCUBA Career Diving. How do I feel about Adrian diving 150 feet into black water with God only knows what creatures, relying on oxygen in his tanks HE has calculated the appropriate of dive time and depth for? Let’s put it this way: When the kids went on their yearly trip with my parents, I told them (about 100 times) “DO NOT FALL AND DIE IN CRATER LAKE! I would much rather have had you fall and die in the Grand Canyon a few years ago, but don’t die in deep water!” That about says it all.

OK, so just some quick tidbits:

How is it possible that precious, tiny baby boy has MAN GAS?! I was sitting on the floor last night with Israel between my legs talking to Mike & Hailey. The next thing we hear is Israel erupting ferociously! (How that does not hurt his body is beyond me.) My only comment was that I wish he wouldn’t do that with his booty less than a foot from me. Like anyone who didn’t know him would think those noises came from that precious little thing!

So this wedding thing is a lot of work. Hailey always wanted a small wedding, so we are trying hard to grant her that wish. Mike’s list of family and friends has about 70 people on it. SO HOW IS OUR GUEST COUNT AT 250??? I went with them to register at a few stores. It gave me an idea about how to extract information from supposed terrorists. Send them shopping with ga-ga eyed, indecisive, can’t let-go-of-your-hand-so-we’ll-have-to-pick-up-this-crystal-vase-together twenty-somethings. In no time we will have the names and addresses of every terrorist cell in the U.S. because the torture is cruel beyond measurement. Enough said on that.

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(Mike & Hailey)

I was looking at some old notes on my phone the other day and found a sweet story I think I’ll insert at this point. On April 9, 2014 (Presley would have been 7 1/2), Clara and Presley had got in trouble for playing the “blame game” over who lost a DVD they wanted to watch (which happens way too often in this house- losing the DVD not the arguing- I hope). Presley came to me sobbing, telling me that she didn’t want to have sin in her heart. I was busy, so I told her to go pray, that talking to God in a quiet place was just like talking to me. “Do it in a quiet place, and He will hear you,” I said. Well, I quickly forgot because I became engrossed in whatever had me occupied before she came in. About a ten minutes later, she came in and stood next to me. When I realized she had returned from a specific mission, I stopped and asked her, “Well, what did He say?” She replied, “He told me to do what I know is right.” And that was it. So matter-of-fact that it took me by surprise. I wish I would get such clear answers in ten minutes!

So Little Adrian and J’onn are salty not sweet people. I mean that a literal sense (no, I have not licked either one lately- or ever- I hope), I just mean they prefer to eat those flavors. Because I had brought the little kids some candy, I also brought J’onn a Push Pop- the only candy he’ll eat. For those of you who don’t know, a Push Pop looks like this:

 and the sucker inside pops up to be slathered on by drippy, sticky tongues. Well, Eva (still two-years-old) had finished her Goobers, and apparently that was not enough for her. She came into my school room and grabbed a glue stick, that looks very similar in shape and size to her brother’s Push Pop. As I turned and realized what was happening, she took the first lick. Needless to say we had a discussion about glue and why we shouldn’t eat it. Yum.

Speaking of snacks…

Madeline is hilarious. She’s been speaking in sentences lately. Kind-of. Today we were in the car and she spoke a new sentence. I’m guessing she picked up on something from her toddler Sunday School class because she said (while signing the word for EAT): “Ga-Gan ga Gan ga nak.” I understood her instantly (which often doesn’t happen). Wait- how sad is it that I speak Ga-Gan? Anyway, it was obvious she said “It’s time to have a snack.” So we laughed as I told her, Goosey, it’s time to have a snack,” and she would relpy “Ga-Gan ga Gan ga nak!” It became even more funny when I SPOKE Ga-Gan to her: “Goosey! Ga-Gan ga Gan ga nak!” (Major laughter…followed by) “Mom! “Ga-Gan ga Gan ga nak!” Eventually we went through the DQ drive-thru and I let her finish my snack:

I would have shown you the video of her speaking Ga-gan to me, but I DIDN’T press the video button to record it UNTIL I was done, when I ended up recording my hand as I put my phone down. Oh well, you know the old saying- “Don’t drive and do videography at the same time.”

I wish that writing, surfing the web, and online shopping was conducive to weight loss. Unfortunately I think it has the opposite effect, especially since I like to snack while “working” on my computer. Why would they deceptively call it surfing then? Like Marcia’s delicious taco salad, or my mother-in-law’s strawberry salad- neither encourage weight in the right direction as salads should, but both are so yummy! My excuse for that right now is, “I just had my tenth kid!” I figure I can say that until he turns two. I’ll have to come up with something else at that point. And the only other thing I have to say about that is, “Nice timing for wedding photos, Hailey & Mike. Thanks!”

Ok, well I actually have “real” work to do here, so I need to go. I hope this was enough for now, my two adoring fans. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Strangers

Well, looking back I can see that I have not written anything for about 3 months. My kids have been bugging me to write something new. While there has been plenty to write, writing time has been in short supply.

I’ll start by announcing that Israel Arrow Tristan was born at 5:52 pm on March 14, 2016! He was 7 pounds, 7 ounces (my smallest boy), 19 3/4″, with plenty of blonde hair. He’s very sweet and pretty easy overall. Here are some proud mommy pics:

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Newborn

Israel little bro tee

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Easter

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So now he is 3 1/2 weeks old- and time flies! There are already precious outfits he has grown out of. Adrian has been talking about having another one. Hmmm…. The scale tells me to wait a bit, I’d feel better if I lost this baby weight first! But having him reminds me that life’s greatest blessings are in no way material, or financial. In fact, our “standard of living” takes a hit each time we have a baby! But they are worth every penny.

Q. “So, are you done?

A. The “agony” of pregnancy is worth every limp I take, every Zofran I pop so as not to throw up (Thank you, Lord, for providing medical assistance as our DNA deteriorates!), every sleepless night because my hips hurt so bad, each horrible Tums I choke down every time I lay down to ease the heartburn. Motherhood is a sacrifice from day one of pregnancy, one that the Lord has yet to tell me to proactively prohibit. So even though responses are not always positive (“What were you thinking?”), it’s nobody else’s business, and is determined by God, and my obedience to what God has instructed us to do; not by what I, or Adrian, or anyone else thinks is best, no matter the justifications. Am I done? Well, He has yet to limit my ability to carry a baby. So am I done? The article I read yesterday about motherhood was entitled: “Is 50 the new 40?” I have 9+ years to go to reach 50. So then, am I done? The bottom line is this: I am done if the Lord returns soon (Maranatha!). If He tarries, well, I just don’t know, but I am available for whatever the Lord chooses.

My friend, Amber, shared a blog article that I appreciated. It’s not long, and it is worth your time. [A side note to the article: I agree with it 100%, my only caveat is that people should be walking with the Lord, meaning also raising their kids unto the Lord as well. Many are not (even “Christians”), and therefore may not be ready to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). I highly recommend the book, The Faithful Parent, by Peace & Scott to understand Ephesians 6:4 on a deeper level.]

God Created Birth Control

What else…

J’onn likes to wink. If I tell him “Thank you” for something, he’ll turn and give me a wink that says, “No problem, Mom, anything for you!” He winked at Clara the other day, and the wink was follow by: “That’s how I get all the girls.” Not quite sure how to address that one.

Eva is still so much fun. The opposite of being jealous of the baby, she thinks she’s his other mom. She really wants to breastfeed him, it has yet to work how she wants it to. The few times she has brought him to me, he’s been in the upright position (phew!). She gets bugged with me that I control bath time, but as a responsible parent I don’t see letting that one go. It is precious to see how much she loves “baby Israel.”

The other day I bought a new fruit basket- two tiered- for the kitchen table. And then I actually bought fruit to put in it. I mixed the fruit up and it looked great. Then it was Presley’s turn to clean the kitchen. After her true fashion, the next time I saw the fruit it was an lovely rows, organized by type, lined up like soldiers. I could not help but think of Hailey. But, Hailey would have probably put each kind in separate Ziplocks before putting them in the basket.

Clara just turned 13. I have nothing more to say about that because my fear overwhelms me.

Tristan’s birthday was March 23. He’d be 17 now. I am thankful he is with Jesus, but my heart still hurts, and I miss him terribly. I’m sure it will until Jesus wipes all my tears away some day. There is an obvious hole in my heart and in our family that I am thankful for. I am thankful that the hole reminds me of my boy. It reminds me that he is healed and with his risen Savior. It reminds me that this world is not my home, and my goal is to go to where T already is. So as much as this hole in my heart and in my family hurts, it is a blessing as well.

Speaking of Tristan…. Sometimes I am surprised he and Cory have never met. Cory got in trouble the other day and reported to our room wearing four pairs of shorts under his pajama pants. Tristan did that once, too. All I can do is laugh.

The older kids are well. They are so busy. Hailey works A LOT, and manages to keep a social life (yes, Mike is still in the picture!), so I rarely see her. Adrian went back to Texas in February/March to finish ERT at ALERT. He goes back in June for Diving and EMT-Basic. Right now he is working at McD’s and Spokane Gymnastics. Madeline is the same (no news is good news for her!).

Regarding my comment about Clara….

I’m not actually scared of her teenage years. Satan has filled our heads that teenagers are supposed to rebel and act out, etc…. Clara loves Jesus and is growing in Him. Rebellion is as of the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23), and my kids know this fact. Maturing and becoming more independent is one thing, rebellion for the sake of rebellion, or self-centeredness, or pride, is sin. Sin is something that needs rooted out of all our lives, not justified (“because they’re in those teen years”), or coddled. I know that if she is seeking God’s will for her life, Clara will be just fine.

I am racking my scattered brain to remember some of the funny things the kids have done lately. After each one occurred, I thought, “I need to put that on my blog.” And now I can’t remember. Maybe after a nap….

“Adrian?”

I love my son, Adrian, to death. He’s good with kids, a talented athlete (he loves racquetball and is a gymnastics/parkour coach), a hard worker (at the Gym, our McDonald’s, and as a care giver for his sister) and loves Jesus. But- and some of you will understand this better than others- he is a boy. At 18, he’s still a boy. We tease him (in love) a lot about being forgetful, unhygienic, and often brain dead.

For example, Sunday he went to Home Depot- TWICE- WITH SCREW IN HAND- for another screw EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ONE HE WAS HOLDING, and came back with the wrong size screw both times. It is this “brain dead” aspect which makes this video so funny.

Eva is 18 months and a big talker. She’s been speaking in sentences for several months, and for the most part people (even outside our family) can understand her. But not when it comes to this one word. Apparently “Adrian” is difficult for her. But at the same time it is soooo fitting in our teasing of him.

So, our own precious “Idiot” will be heading off to the International ALERT Academy in about 3 weeks. He’s starting with their Basic Training camp for 9 weeks. It is an amazing growth opportunity for boys who need to turn into young men. I’m super excited for him, I think it is a great fit for him, but it is the first time I will have been separated from one of my kids for this long. Of course, Tristan’s been gone for 6+ years (since November 7, 2008), but that is not by choice! I miss Tristan desperately, and I know I will miss my Idiot, too, but it is time for this boy to take some big steps in his maturity and spiritual growth as well. Maybe by June we can teach Eva to say Adrian, and he will no longer be our little “Idiot.”

Now I get to go play “Invisible Go Fish” with J’onn for invisible money. My only child who will have more fun with pretend cards than the real thing.

–Thanks to Becca (one of Hailey’s best friends & Madeline’s care giver) for catching Eva’s Idiot on video for posterity’s sake!