Family PIc April 2015

Family PIc April 2015

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Curls are for girls!"

Daddy says, "Curls are for girls."

Mommy says, "Curls are cute, cute, cute!"

But, admittedly, John's "curls" were cutest right after bathtime...otherwise, they were sort of limp and long strands.

So, John had his first haircut last night - at 1 year and 2 weeks old.

He loved it!

I took photos while Daddy performed the hair cutting.

Silas, the very responsible big brother, held the keepsake strands until they could be placed in a tiny bag for safekeeping.  Eva labeled the bag of curls.

It was a family event - sort of.

In any case, it gave me a chance to get back to this blogging thing.  ;)

Funny how these little milestones are making me sad these days...I'm pretty sure I'm getting old. ;)

And, just for the record, curls are NOT just for girls! ;)


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's No Accident

Lunar Eclipse Observation 101 - Oct. 8, 2014

Kids awake by 4:15am... (No, I am not a morning person...and, yes, I got called "grumpy" by my 11 yr old. She was right, and I am not proud of this...but I did straighten out my act after being called on it. Go, Mom!)

Much excitement...(just picture a 3 yr old little girl running through the house in pink fleece footie pj's at 4am)

At one point, the "moon gazing" evolved into "star gazing", b/c the clouds kept covering the eclipse...

Part of my moon-gazing, star-gazing crew...
The outside light was on only briefly,
b/c I couldn't get my camera to take a pic in the darkness.
And, the Ritz cracker box -
this was a homemade pinhole box we made several weeks ago
to view a SOLAR eclipse.
Samuel grabbed it with excitement and thought we could view the moon with it.
Nope, little man, sorry.  You can see the moon much better with your own eyes.

So Gregg showed them Jupiter (and 1 of its moons) through the telescope.

At the time of total eclipse there was complete cloud cover, and we were very disappointed.

"We waited 2 hours for THIS?"

"Ummm...this is interesting...but highly overrated."

"Well, at least I TRIED to make school fun.  Do you understand what a big deal this is?  Even when an eclipse occurs, it's rare to be able to see it in YOUR town.  And, even then, the weather conditions have to be just right.  At least we were able to see part of it, right?" (I did well keeping my grumpiness at bay...Go, Mom!  I'm not sure they were convinced it was worth it, though.)

But...then the clouds parted for about 30 seconds! (Thank you, Lord, for answering my spoken prayer from just minutes before!)

We were able to behold the "blood moon" just after 6:30am.

Honestly, I think the kids were tired by then and less enthusiastic than I had hoped.  (and naptime will not come soon enough!)

But, we managed to grab a few photos, and we discussed the physical logistics of how an eclipse occurs.

We talked about how God does, indeed, have an order to our universe, and He gives us glimpses of this every day in "ordinary ways" and sometimes in some "not so ordinary ways."

The heavens truly behold His's no accident.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
                                    Genesis 1:1

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Solar System - part 2

Finished it... (well, almost...still need to repurchase the missing Uranus, paint it, and add it to the dangling wire that marks it's placement on our model)

I was hopeful the small Styrofoam ball would show up, but it hasn't.

All-in-all, I think it turned out pretty well.  The kids learned some neat things about our Solar System: 

1.  God did amazing things when he perfectly designed each planet's mass and gravitational pull to keep it in it's orbit.  And the Earth's position in our Solar System is perfectly compatible with life.  A little closer, or a little further from the sun, and we have NO LIFE. 

Could that REALLY have happened by accident?  Seriously, I don't think so.

2.  Our model is not built correctly "to scale", because it would be very difficult to do.  In reality, the sun is so much bigger than the planets...and the real distance between planets would require a much larger model.

3.  One time around the sun = 1 year.

4.  There used to be 9 planets in our Solar System.  However, in 2006, Pluto was deemed "not a planet" according to a revised definition made by the International Astronomical Union.  So, now we have 8 planets.  Yes, scientific "facts" sometimes change.  It's important to note this.  (I joked with Isaiah, who is 8 years old and very strong-willed, that his birth must have shaken the entire Universe b/c even the planets changed the year he was born!) 

5.  We can name the planets in their order according to distance from the sun.  Why does it matter?  It doesn't really, I guess...except that it helps us begin to get a sense for the beauty and wonder of the Universe.  It "sets the stage" for exploring more of God's creation.

As it turned out, it wasn't really necessary for me to be a "control freak" over the project.  Eva played that role quite well.  Maybe it's a "girl thing." ;)

positioning the sun

taking it outside to show it to Daddy

Yes, sometimes we climb on the furniture...

I really wanted to add Pluto...but, it was deemed "not a planet" in 2006.
Who knew???
Things have changed a bit since I was in school!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Beginnings of a Solar System Model

It was the perfect day to start work on our model of the solar system.   My younger kids are all studying Astronomy this year.  Soooo much fun!  Seriously.  It's going to be great - I hope.

I admit it...I don't do well when it comes to little people and PAINT...or little people and CRAFTS for that matter.  I want to stand over them and tell them EXACTLY what to do - what colors, what brush strokes to use, what materials they need, and how we need to put it all together JUST RIGHT.

And, when it turns out not-as-neat as it could've, it stresses me out!

But, 9 kids has a way of teaching you to let go of some of the CONTROL FREAK in you.  At least I feel like I'm getting better at it. 

I'm trying.  I really am.

So, today, we went outside and started painting our sun and planets. ( our faded bathing suits...on a plastic-covered table...b/c, did I mention that I don't do well with kids and craft paint??)

Sometime between yesterday afternoon and today, we managed to lose Uranus.  Have NO IDEA how that styro ball disappeared!  One of the kids probably ate it.  We'll try to replace it the next time we make a run to the store...or maybe we'll just pretend Uranus just got catapulted out of our Solar System all together!  ;)

They managed to use an exorbitant amount of orange paint - even for a star as big as the sun.  But, hey, I love the color orange - so it's all good.

Jupiter turned out red with black stripes.  Cool.  Different...but definitely cool, right?

All in all,  they did very well - AND they had a blast.

They can even tell you where the missing Uranus is supposed to go in the order of things. 

Success. :)

Hopefully, we'll finish putting it together tomorrow.  (minus Uranus, of course) 

It's gonna be great...just wait and see!

Oh, how I LOVE Kedesh's face here!! Didn't even know
I captured that look until I was going through the photos afterwards. :)
She really did have fun - promise!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Never a dull moment...Minor surgery at home

As anyone with little boys can imagine, there is never a dull moment here...wrestling, running, projectile items...LOTS of wildness.

Multiply that by 7 boys and you get a glimpse into our home.

We've had countless cuts, scrapes, bruises, 2 broken bones, several "busted" heads...the list continues.

And sometimes in-home minor surgery is necessary.

Last week, Isaiah was climbing down a wooden ladder in the shed, slipped, and somehow managed to catch his finger along the wall made of OSB.

The result:  THE WORST splinter I have ever seen. ((cringe))

The splinter went into Isaiah's finger, underneath his fingernail, and reached PAST the fingernail bed.

All I could think was how bad it must hurt and "what in the world are we going to do if we can't pull that thing out in ONE PIECE??"

Amidst tears, we gave Isaiah a small amount of liquid ibuprofen and soaked his tiny finger in olive oil.  Gregg recently learned this "trick" during some of his safety training at work.  Apparently, this is something that emergency responders do to help treat wooden splinters.  From what I understand, the olive oil soaks into the wood, acts as a lubricant to help the splinter slide out more easily, and also may cause the wood to contract to ensure that it pulls out.  Who knew??

After soaking for about 10 minutes,  Gregg gently used tweezers to pull out the splinter.
I held Isaiah's hand and prayed that it would come out - completely.
And, praise the Lord, it pulled out easily and in ONE piece.

Some antibiotic ointment, a Band-Aid, and 20 minutes later, you'd never know it happened.

The next day Isaiah was boasting, "It only hurts when I push on it like this!"

Boys are tough. 

Strong-willed boys are even tougher. 

Anybody who remotely knows our 'saiah-bug knows he is in the latter group.

I'm just thankful for answered prayer, tidbits of knowledge at just the right time, olive oil, tweezers, and SUCCESSFUL minor surgery at home.


Friday, March 14, 2014

"Momma! Daddy! The dog pen is on FIRE!"

This past Saturday evening, March 8th, Gregg and I had just finished sending all the kids to bed, and were breathing that last sigh of "some peace and quiet and rest" when we heard Eva start screaming...

"Momma! Daddy!  The dog pen is on FIRE!!!"

I snatched up the window shade to see into the back yard, and there were flames greedily licking up the building we refer to as our toolshed and dog pen.

Taken from just outside the back door

Eva had noticed a strange glow from the side window on the house, looked out, and realized quickly what she was seeing. 

Gregg grabbed jeans, t-shirt, and shoes...

Nathan ran out wearing only his long pajama bottoms...

Caleb forgot his shoes.

I immediately called 911 and tried to calm my younger children while confining them to my bedroom. There, they frantically watched from the window until I could try to calm myself and them.

As I talked with the dispatcher, I tried to explain exactly what I was seeing, gave specific instructions the firemen might need to know upon their arrival, and frantically talked about what Gregg and the boys were doing.

I couldn't see Gregg b/c he was behind one of the other storage sheds.  Gregg was shutting off the electricity to the out buildings.  Caleb was running to the greenhouse trying to get more hoses. (He busted open his toe in the process - no shoes, remember?)  Nathan was desperately spraying the hose...and losing the battle quickly. 

At some point, Nathan ran inside and grabbed an insulated hunting suit, b/c he said the fire was just too hot for his bare skin.

Everything felt so much like a strange dream.  I was amazed at the power of the flames.

Nathan trying desperately, in vain, to spray the flames...he seemed so small...

The flames were beginning to climb nearby trees

I was scared to death that the gas cans, paint cans, or other flammable items might explode...or that the flames would turn and envelope my precious husband or my sons.

I couldn't keep my legs from shaking...and I kept asking the dispatcher "Where is the fire truck!?!?!"  When I told her it felt like it was taking forever, she said we had been on the phone just 3 minutes. 

Really?!?!  It had to have been longer than sure felt like about 20 minutes already!

Once I yelled at Gregg and heard his voice, and saw both boys, I was okay.  Precious material items were burning to ash...but those things could be replaced.

Naturally, I grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos from the back door. (As a photographer, I've begun to see life in pictures, and I know that they really are "worth a thousand words.")

...Miraculously, all of the adult Beagles were able to be rescued as soon as Gregg and the boys got to the shed.  They were unable to find the puppy that had been born just a few days earlier... 

When Gregg realized how intense the fire was and how quickly it was spreading, he instructed the boys to try their best to keep the adjacent buildings as wet as possible - in hopes to keep the fire from enveloping more of our out buildings. 

The intensity of the heat shattered the glass on the door of the building to the left, and melted plastic play equipment and a trashcan inside the door of the building to Nathan's right.

Within approximately 15-20 minutes, the fire trucks arrived. (I'm not quite sure of the timing, b/c I had lost all sense of time.) 

When the fire trucks arrived, I felt SUCH RELIEF!!

Gregg and the boys stepped out of the way, and I joined my husband outside.

The firemen immediately sprayed water along the two front buildings and surrounding area, and then attacked the fire.  Within just a few minutes, the flames were diminished to smoke and ash.

It took a couple of hours to fully extinguish the fire and complete the inspections.  The structure and its contents were deemed a "total loss."

A couple of our nearest neighbors came to see what was wrong and to be sure our family was safe.

One of the main wooden beams along the left-hand adjacent building had been charred, but the fire did not enter that building or the other one.  The fire also reached a couple of the nearby trees, but there was no significant damage or spreading of the flames.

Gregg, Nathan, and Caleb had held the flames at bay until the fire department arrived.  And the firemen quickly did their job with skill and poise, keeping the damage confined as best they could.

The toolshed contained almost all of Gregg's hand tools, chain saws, lumber, plumbing supplies, etc.  And, when one of the firemen asked if there was anything of great value in the building, Gregg told him there was a hand saw that belonged to his great, great grandfather.  It had been hanging on a nail on the wall. 

I knew how hard this was for heart broke for him...I knew he was thinking of the heirlooms that were surely lost.

Do you know that one of the firemen went into the remains of the building with a flashlight and looked where Gregg told them the handsaw should be hanging?  There were hopes to retrieve it.

Indeed, it was still hanging on the nail.  It was on the one wall still intact after the fire...The handle was severely charred, but the initials of his great, great grandfather were still visible.   

And, although most of the tools and other items can eventually be replaced, there were several other sentimental items and heirlooms lost...things Gregg had planned to pass along to our boys one day.  Things like small knives, hand drills, and saws.

Each of the boys' tackle boxes and fishing lures we've bought them over the years...the fishing rod Gregg bought me when were lures that belonged to Gregg's grandfathers and were passed to him...

But, I couldn't help but think of what could've happened...

What if Eva hadn't noticed and we had all gone to sleep?  Thirty minutes could have made an enormous difference. Would the flames have reached our home?  Would the fire have burned the woods and reached other homes in the night?  Could we have lost each other in the night?

When the fire trucks finally left and the night was quiet and dark again, we told the kids that "stuff" can be replaced.  It's hard to lose things, but they don't mean anything compared to what we have in each other.

The past few days we've had more inspections and have begun sifting through the ashes for anything that could be salvaged.

The shattered glass on the door - it was double-paned

The charred beam of the nearby out building

The kids' toys - melted

All-consuming devastation

A few metal items that may be usable again

Some hand tools that are sentimental - found in the ashes 

Where we believe the fire originated...Jan's dog box was along the outside of this wall

Shelves, that once held items, burned and dumped their damaged contents below

Items literally melted or disintegrated as they hung on the walls

I was amazed at how things had been rearranged by the power of the flames
and by the water used to extinguish those flames

The flames had not reached this area when Gregg arrived at the shed,
so he was able to get our male dogs out and to safety. 
Nathan and Caleb found our 2 females trapped at opposite corners of the kennel to the right of this photo. 
They were able to free both girls before the flames consumed the rest of the building. 

Nathan found Jan at the furthest corner of the fence in this picture,
pulled up the fence and dragged her underneath.
The puppy was found along the fence 3 days later, just beyond the gate.

We are almost certain the fire was caused by a light placed inside a dog box where we were attempting to keep a mother beagle and her puppy warm for the night.  We think that somehow the light may have gotten knocked down and ignited the straw inside the box. 

Three days after the fire, we found the tiny puppy near the edge of the fence...just a few feet from where Nathan had dragged Jan, the mother, underneath the fence in order to rescue her from the flames.  There was no way for any of us to know the puppy had been there.  Jan was such a good mother...she had tried her best to bring her puppy to safety, and I couldn't help but think how desperately a mother will try to save her children.  It's truly a natural instinct.

Now, we begin the process of clean-up, rebuilding, and replacing.  Many people don't understand that it really wasn't just a makeshift shed with a few hand tools that burned up.  What was inside wouldn't really be of a lot of value to most people...

But, inside that building were the things that my husband used to make memories with our children.  Those tools were the items that he used to teach our boys how to be to work with their hands, how to fix things instead of just throwing them away...

They were the tools he attached training wheels to bikes, the saws used to build tree houses, rakes used to build piles of fallen leaves into which the kids could jump....

Those items represented TIME Gregg spends with our children. 

Many of those items are things Nathan, our oldest son, has used to learn much about small engines and working with his hands.

So, it's strange not having so much as a hammer to use right now.

Please pray for us as we go about replacing the many things that can be replaced...

And praise God with us for the things we still have that simply can't be replaced - memories, time with each other, and the future.

We are so very blessed!!