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Monday, April 21, 2014

April 13-19

 After trekking out to North Platte for church and the fellowship meal we got caught in an awful snowstorm on the way back (awful in terms of 3 jack-knifed semis, countless ditched cars, at times complete white-out conditions . . .).  Josh and I were quite relieved to make it back home safe and sound . . . and then we discovered our power was out and the house was 58 degrees.  At this point all I wanted was a nice hot cup of tea.  And because my hubby loves me so much he went out to the garage and got a blow torch and held a pot with some water over it for like 20 minutes.  We never did get a full boil, but it was good enough. ;o)
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 When losing your own teeth is several years off yet you do the next best thing--tackle your brother and wiggle his tooth for him.
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Owen wanted to do school today . . . I got amused at the furious writing, followed by the tucking of the pencil oh-so-carefully behind his ear. 
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 How Marissa cooks . . .
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 The grape hyacinths I literally through out on the ground a few springs ago (I had grown them inside, and just tossed them when I was done with them) re-emerged again.
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Marissa's Girls of Grace "Farewell 6th Graders!" tea party was held in Grandma's dining room seeing as all the tea rooms in Lincoln had closed.  Grandma had the dining table set beautifully and I got to help the ladies prepare all the wonderful tea foods to serve.  I'm not sure they could have gotten a better authentic "tea experience" anywhere.  Hopefully it will be a special memory for all the girls.
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Josh's birthday and an Omaha zoo trip for us.  Coincidentally, my brother Jared and his family were in Omaha visiting his wife's family for Easter and they were at the zoo as well, so got to meet up and spend the afternoon with them (and get a family picture too!). ;o)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 6-12

The kids and I drove into Lincoln on Sunday to set up camp at Josh's parents' home for the week.  The kids were thrilled to be able to catch Julius (he is truly for the poster cat  for all cats out there, and mostly just loves Grandma--and absolutely hates Josh!!).  As Grandpa/Grandma had been doing a lot of traveling over the last month we think he was just desperate enough to allow the kids to love on him. ;o)
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 Popcorn and movie night--love the mesmerized look on Emmett's face.
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 Headed down to my parents' for the afternoon, but first stopped at my brother Louie's house so we could meet his new pot-bellied pig, "Panda." She is a bit shy around people and doesn't really want to be petted but we were all entertained by the dog/pig chases as well as feeding her apples.  
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 And seeing as we were still in Lincoln for the children's zoo to open we headed over on opening day.  I convinced the kids to all sit on the caterpillar . . . while my older children were sweet to comply, they were a bit embarrassed and I realized our "caterpillar picture days" are numbered. :o(  How did that happen?
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 Pioneers Park to feed a few geese and ducks and walk around the nature center.
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 Home again, home again.
Jackson made up for lost time reading Josh's "how to beat Zelda book" (a week away must have been too long!) That thing is so dog-eared--Josh laughs at how when he bought that guide he never saw the day when it would be the favorite reading material of his children.
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Music competition day!
This is Marissa's vocal teacher in Arapahoe--we are so happy for the wonderful year Marissa has had being a part of the choir.  Her teacher has given her so many great opportunities and experiences.  Marissa came out of the day with a first place on her strings solo and a third place for her vocal solo.  We were happy and excited for her--she works so hard at all she does, and it is nice to see it pay off.  (and I did survive accompanying her, although if you see the video there is a part where Marissa kind of turns and eyeballs me while continuing to play her solo, wondering what on earth I was up to over at the piano . . . but all's well that ends well!!). ;o)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

March 30-April 5

 Big brother was quite fortunate to have "arrow fetchers" while practicing his archery into the back wheat field.
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 Child labor.  
While I love to vacuum, mopping and I aren't exactly BFF. I finally landed on a way to keep the kitchen floor clean (I'm a slow learner sometimes).  Delegate!! ;o) Monday is Marissa's night to mop, Thursday is Isabella's.  Sometimes Owen feels the need to assist (and somehow he ended up with the mop?).
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 Marissa came home from choir on Monday all excited to learn that her choir teacher had signed her up for a violin solo at the middle school music contest (which I am thinking must be like the district music competition that high schools do?).  I quickly texted her violin teacher requesting the accompaniment to the piece Marissa would play.  And so Tuesday I brought home a seven page accompaniment to learn in a week and a half's time.  The good news?  I have played it before.  The not-so-good news?  Marissa likes to play it about twice as fast as the last person I accompanied. After we listened to it on the cd, I was relieved to discover it wasn't quite as fast as she was going.  But she informed me her way was more exciting (if by exciting she means her poor pregnant mother passes out at the bench?).  Hopefully we reach an agreement soon. And may I go on record to say that Baroque is just really not my favorite? I'm much more a classical/romantic kind of girl. ;o)
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 Awana awards night!  Our three year stint of traveling to the Holcomb E. Free Church officially has come to an end.  The kids were all thrilled to bring home their book awards, and oh is Owen just a cute little cubbie. ;o)
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 Marissa enjoying an afternoon snow shower. 
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 Practicing being a big brother!
This is the one "big purchase" I have made for the baby.  For the most part my generous friends have been loaning me or giving me baby items--a huge relief since we got rid of everything and I don't really want to re-purchase baby items for one baby to use.  I had seen somebody using this rocker/sleeper on facebook and thought it's small size and portability would be perfect while we stay at my in-laws as well as not take up too much space in our bedroom during those first weeks (or months . . .).  I got it set up and Owen tucked his piggy inside.
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Because it is not every day that a helicopter flies over your house and lands at the track field across the street (no emergencies, just some sort of practice going on). 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 23-29

 A (choke-hold) hug from a freshly bathed Owen.
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For the most part I have packed up the majority of items we have in the boys' room.  You kind of would never know that though . . . 
But the Legos will stay out, until the very end because it is THE VERY MOST FAVORITE THING and keeps them busy for HOURS ON END. 
 The living room . . . filling with boxes, randomly placed furniture, a chalkboard still sporting its Christmas design . . .  I kind of hate that nothing in life feels very organized right now--like there is no pleasant spot for my eyes to land.  Every room is slowly getting dismantled, and while I know this is part of the moving process, I admit, it is hard for a person who has suddenly flown into "nesting mode" to for the most part be "un-nesting."
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 The temperature may have hit 70 degrees briefly this day, but it really didn't feel it, due to the crazy wind.  Never-the-less the boys thought it was SO HOT and decided to set up the slip and slide.  They quickly discovered their folly.  I think each took one (maybe two?) turns.  
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 My little bed buddy while staying at Grandpa and Grandma's.  The kids and I made a quick trip back for my appointment, and seeing as I would have an entire king bed to myself I didn't see the point in pulling out the trundle for Owen.  He was happy to keep me company (such a snuggly little fellow he is . . . ).  
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 Because my days aren't entirely filled with boy shenanigans--there is a lot of sweetness too. ;o) I am so thankful for my big girls who have been such good help as bending and lifting and things of that nature get tougher and tougher for me.
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Off to prom! ;o)
Signs you are officially old:
1. You want to rush around to all the girls saying "Bless your heart!" and hand them a shawl.
2. You only recognize about three songs during an hour's worth of music.
3. You move away from the speakers because you fear for whatever hearing you have left.
4. Your date patrols the dance floor making sure there is "enough space" between dance partners.
5. You call it a night a 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 16-22

 Emmett received four Lego kits for his birthday.  Before we had even served lunch on Sunday three of them had been built (the 4th he opened on Monday, otherwise I'm sure it would have been built too). I'm almost certain we said something about "only opening one" and waiting on the rest until we got back to Arapahoe . . . hmmmm.
A "cheater" picture . . . Monday was so busy, I had my midwife appointment in Lincoln, we packed up, we drove to walk-through the acreage we will be renting, we had supper with my friend Tiffany and her family in Shelby, we toured the high school (we saw Curtis Tomasevicz working out in the school gym . . .) and we got home at 11:00 that night.  So many picture opportunities, but alas, I didn't have my camera handy.  The next day I noticed how green the wheat field had gotten while we were away.  I'm certain I would have snapped a picture of it on the 17th had I arrived home before dark . . . right?? ;o)
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 Reuben Sandwiches for supper.  We had to delay our "St. Patrick's Day" feast until we were home.  It wasn't a whole lot of a feast (corned beef, mashed potatoes) but I just didn't have time this year for green punch or anything like that.  Maybe next year? ;o)
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 Marissa got Owen out of the bath and followed his request to "wrap him up like a burrito and carry him around like a barrel." And being the good big sister that she is, she humored him.
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 Owen decided to get his old (cobbled together) bike out of the garage and what do you know, he can ride without training wheels!  We had seen last summer that he could keep his balance but he was too scared, so we didn't push it.  But you know, now he is four and fearless.
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 Really, the cats are outside most of the time, regardless of what pictures show you.  Part of Emmett's morning routine is waking up and rounding up a few cats to snuggle/wrestle/vigorously pet.  Oddly enough, I think they like his attention.
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Isabella and Owen made cupcakes.  Earlier in the week Marissa had made cupcakes.  Extra bakers in the family are doing nothing for my waistline . . . *ahem* 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

All I have needed Thy Hand has Provided . . .

When Josh went back for his 2nd round of school so that he could become a teacher (I believe it was the winter term of 2009?) I began praying at that point for a job for him.  And if we want to get specific, I prayed for a job that would be in the Lincoln area, so nothing in my life would really have to change.  God did provide a job, but that job took us three hours from where I wanted to be.  Since we moved here I have prayed God would find a way to bring us back.

Of course, during these going-on-three-school-years, God has worked to change us.  We have learned to enjoy life in a small town and grown accustomed to long commutes.  We have seen what we just couldn't replace (our Lincoln church) and learned what we could do without (daily errand running for example).

Last fall when I learned we would be adding a 6th baby to our family I crumpled a bit inside.  Not because this new life we are expecting isn't a blessing, but because I just didn't know how I could do things like "Kearney days" with an infant (and the five others in my care . . .).  And then Josh's brother died.  The desire in our hearts to be back closer to family intensified fiercely.  In January, there was a job posting for science in Auburn, Nebraska.  It was a bit further than we had looked before, an hour outside of Lincoln, but at hour sounded better than three hours.  Josh applied.  We waited and waited.  They took the posting down . . . and we hoped for a call that whole week for an interview.  It didn't come.  I had some very low moments.  Even though I knew it was early in the hiring season I just felt so very sad. The weekend came.  A new posting was up for a job in Shelby, Nebraska--which just so happens to be a place a good friend from high school, Tiffany, lives--a place where her husband is middle school principal.  I contacted her and she gave me "the scoop." When it was all said and done Josh ended up with two interviews Monday, February 17th, one in Auburn and one in Shelby.  The very next day, the evening of February 18th, Josh got a phone call while we were walking around the track.  Shelby was offering a job.  We went home, crunched numbers, talked it over, and then officially accepted.

There is something scary about making that decision to "leap."  Even though we had prayed and prayed and prayed, we had gotten used to the "no" answer.  What do we do with the "yes?"  There is a safeness staying where you are and knowing what is expected of you.  In Arapahoe Josh loves his teaching and coaching jobs, loves the students.  We have a suitable place to live.  We know what our life looks like.  But what would life be like in Shelby?  And then there is the whole relocating a family of soon-to-be-eight.  Let's face it--there aren't a whole lot of homes available to fit us all!  When I looked online only one house popped up for sale with a Shelby address.  That made me nervous. I did the only thing in my capability to do--pray.  Josh (of course!) wasn't worried a bit, "Would God really provide a new job for us and not give us a place to live as well?" he asked me.  It's not so much that I thought we would be homeless but I figured where we would end up would be a less-than-ideal place we would have to make work for a year until we were ready to buy.

But Tiffany got to work (really, I think she should have been a realtor!), finding all these houses that are not advertised anywhere.  One in particular I loved, but we just aren't ready to buy this year.  And then March 5th she texted me a whole bunch of pictures of a 4 bedroom acreage she had found outside of Shelby.  There was a barn.  It had chickens (and *ahem* turkeys and rabbits . . .).  It was for rent and it was affordable.  On the 17th we walked through it.  It is an old farmhouse that has been updated here and there throughout the years.  There are parts that are great and parts that could "use some love." But will it work perfectly for us? Yes.  In fact, in my prayer journal I have this list of things I pray about for the house we hope to buy one day:
"Front porch . . . porch swing
Character (thick wood work)
Yard big enough for garden, pumpkins, sunflowers
(In the country if possible)
4-6 bedrooms (the more the merrier)
Shady spot for hydrangeas
Yard big enough for animals?
Chickens, etc."

While it does lack a front porch (it is actually set up to have one though, just hasn't been built!), and perhaps the woodwork could be a little thicker for my taste, I am shocked to discover it has every last one of my criteria--down to the chickens it comes with!  I have prayed about these things for the house we would own--never in a million years did I think God would provide them in a rental.

And that friends, makes me teary. Far too often, I sell God short.  Of course He could give me chickens at a rental. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5,6

I cannot help but notice how straight this new path has been--from the initial posting, to getting the interview, to being hired within a day, to having found a house within a month.  So simple and easy, and particularly at a time when I need simple and easy and needed to have a plan in place with this new baby coming.  So very much is changing for us in the next few months.  We are hoping to be situated in our new home come the first of June.  In the meantime I keep growing this baby, packing, decluttering, and planning for a new life so much closer to our families and friends.  We are excited!  And yet, I greatly would covet your prayers.  I've never packed up a house in the last trimester of pregnancy.  Box wrangling, taping, and stacking is a bit tricky with a big ol' tummy.  I hurt and I am tired.  I know it will all get done.  But I also know it is going to be crazy around here for awhile. I know I will have the summer with Josh around to recuperate--it is just getting to that point! ;o)  Overall though, I see God's hand in all of this and how perfect His timing is.  This house was the house our landlords raised their family in.  Even though they have gone onto build a bigger and better home up the road they didn't want to part with their old home place.  Until two months ago, their son and his family had been living there but he got a new job, relocating them.  It has sat empty and they weren't actively searching for someone to live there.  It has just been waiting . . .
"Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 9-15

 Seeing as we would be back in Lincoln for IHCC's pinewood derby Josh asked who wanted to make a car, and of course everyone thought the idea sounded grand. Here they all are sanding their cars smooth.
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 Since Owen's splashing puddle dried up he thought he would just make his own, this one more along the lines of a mud pit.  I may not have been so pleased to discover mud went flying everywhere (clumps on van, house, muddy hand prints on doors . . . not to mention the laundry).  Never-the-less, I pulled out the camera, because you know, this IS what life looks like now. ;o)
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 Discovered a "medieval soccer game" (or so I was told) going on in the boys' room.  I'm thinking the team there on the right might have a slight advantage . . .
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 Emmett came home from Awana on cloud nine because he had managed to lose his first tooth on the van ride home--pulled it out all by himself (just in time for that 7th birthday--our kids are late losers).
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 Isabella's colorful fashion sense--she likes to try new things. ;o)
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 Completed cars!
(Jackson's, Owen's, Bella's, Emmett's, Marissa's)
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Happy birthday Emmett!
Emmett and I made a donut run to HyVee for breakfast, then had to do some car tweaking, spent all day at the derby, and that evening headed out to Papa Roy and Granny's for hot dogs/hamburgers and ice cream sundaes. A very busy day!!