Wednesday, January 30, 2013


So...I've been potty training Samuel.

He's not even officially two yet but a few things moved me past my natural lazy impulses: One morning a few weeks ago Samuel woke up dry, he had been kicking me in the baby belly every time I'd change his diaper and his 2-day-younger cousin Grace is like completely trained already. I started as a kind of experiment and am committed to it now.

I think people think I'm a little crazy, but I am motivated since we have #4 coming in just a few months and he'll be a boy. Boys are harder to train. Evie, at 2 and few months was so much easier. Noah, at 3 and a half or so, was difficult. So perhaps this will all backfire on me and I'll regret it, but I hope not. I hope this makes the transition easier.

And, by the way, Samuel is doing pretty well. He knows what he's supposed to do and does it every hour when I take him. #2 is another story. Well, Rome wasn't built in a day and potty training takes months as far as I'm concerned. So I think he's doing rather well. And I'm getting a workout running up and down the stairs.


Terry taught Noah how to play chess a while ago - I can't even remember when. Noah really enjoys it and that's great for me because then I don't have to learn how to play in order make Terry happy. He's content to play with Noah. 
This morning: Daddy lets Evie move his pieces so she feels involved.
Back in November I found a local elementary school, Grandview, that had a chess club for third to fifth graders and contacted the coach about letting Noah play. He's only first grade but he's nearly eight and he already knows the rules so I thought he'd be fine. And he has been - Daddy goes with him since the school is just down the road from the church so it's been great. 

Chess club has even evolved into more. The coach asked Terry to take over for him in this new year and Terry agreed. He even takes along a youth group student to help him out. He typed up his lesson for their first meeting last week and everything. :)

Poor Noah is a sore loser though. He lost this morning and needed some comforting. So, you can see how this is a very good experience for him. He's developing good sportsmanship, how to control his emotions, socialization and even smarty-pants intellect (because everyone knows chess players are brilliant :D ).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

it's a...

Hence the blue color I added.

We had our 20 week ultrasound on January 10, 2013. We even took Evie and Noah along because we thought thought would enjoy seeing the "moving pictures" of the baby inside mommy (of course little Samuel couldn't come because he's the destroyer baby). 

Evie had been so sure that she was going to have a baby sister. From the very beginning when we told her about the baby, she'd say things like "When my baby sister gets here...," etc. So we started to think, maybe, perhaps she was right. Really, I was feeling pretty sure that we were going to have a girl. But as time went on, this pregnancy began feeling and looking like Noah and Samuel's and not Evie's. So I began to prepare myself for finding out it was not a girl. And that's just what we found out. The ultrasound tech said she was 99% sure and printed us off a photo that leaves no doubt. 

So, this 6 pack is going to be heavy on the boy side! Hopefully he's not as rascally as he looks (the tech said that wasn't his tongue. perhaps he's just very friendly and was waving to us all!).

dungeon playing

The flying turtle play area known as the dungeon has a limited number of days left. How many, I'm not sure. But progress is being made since the garage storage area is complete and now houses all of our  storage stuff. So, this I know, the dungeon will be converted to a bona fide family room soon. Soon-ish.

In the meantime, the kids can still have fun on their flying turtles down there instead of waiting for spring. Noah likes to experiment.

Samuel likes to imitate Noah's experimenting. And by the way, Samuel is too cute rolling around on that thing. Seriously.

And Evie likes to dance... ("Don't you bite your lip!"). But she can still do that once the dungeon is converted.
 And check out that intense train track! They got more Thomas stuff for Christmas thanks to an awesome garage sale we visited last summer.

star wars

What to do on a cold, wintry day off?

Stay inside and watch Star Wars of course!

How appropriate is Noah's Millennium Falcon on this photo?! He loves that thing. So do all the students that come over for bible study on Monday nights. They all crowd around the thing while Noah explains how each little piece works.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Christmas island

 After having planned and cancelled several times, we finally ventured out to Storybook Island, on one of the last nights they were still open, to see their lights. We ended up with pretty good weather, considering, but you can see there's still snow on the ground. I think we've done this two or three times as a family before when we were visiting from Nebraska so you'd think it'd be easier for us to get out and do it! Unfortunately, there was no one to take my picture. No big deal. Look how great the rest of them look at Pooh's house!

This view is from the pirate ship looking across the park.

Nearly done at the Wizard of Oz.

We (Terry) even caved and paid to let them go on the train. Brrrrrrr.

Waiting for the big kids to get back. Fun times. And yes, the lady behind Terry brought her iPad to take pictures with...

Monday, January 14, 2013

ranch sledding

What's this handsome dude doing all bundled up in the snow on a 4-wheeler, you might ask? 

Taking these punks for a sledding adventure ranch prairie style! The very first time I hung out with Terry before we'd even considered dating, this is what we did. Awww, good memories

And aren't Noah and Evie so cute? Evie has no idea what's in store for her.

The weekend after Christmas we headed back out to the ranch for some sledding. The temperature had warmed up enough to make the snow better for sliding - it was too fluffy before, not to mention it was way too cold out. So here Terry is taking the kids around these few trees in a field and they're having a grand time.

He must have took the corner a little too sharp and didn't even realize he had dumped the kids. 

Noah was immediately up running to daddy to tell him how fun that was. Evie, however, just stood there crying as if to say "How...(howl)...could this... (more howling)...have happened...(more loud howling)?!!!!!"

She got over it.

But when we got back to the house, she was so done. So daddy took Noah out by himself.

He liked getting dumped. Hopefully Evie will come to realize that it's the best part. 

And I just really liked this shot with the huge trees in the background. Eagles hang out in those trees! I totally saw one.

Friday, January 11, 2013

garage storage

Our house has four levels and the fourth/bottom is unfinished. We would like to finish this area into a large family room before the baby comes. One of the problems though, is all of our stuff in the way. Where do we put it during construction since we don't have storage anywhere else?

So Terry and his dad came up with this brilliant idea to utilize the upper portion of our garage (since it's incredibly tall) for a storage space. Here's what it looked like before, looking out from the kitchen to the garage - and actually, this was before we moved in. 

So Terry and his dad spent an afternoon last week measuring and imagining and came up with a plan. They got all their lumber from Menards, the most important of which was this large support beam. You can also see Jerry beginning to put the long 2x6's which will support the floor. By the end of that day last weekend they had all the 2x6's in place and had thrown up some particle board flooring just to cover the space.

Today they finished it! It's about tall enough for Noah to stand up, though if he wasn't careful he might hit his head on the rafters. It's a fantastic space. We'll be putting our storage stuff up there (and the kids when they're naughty ;) ). That way we'll have all our storage out of the way when we start the basement project.

Terry is starting the railing support for the half wall.

Beginning to screw down the particle board wall.

This was after the project was completely done. He added some more railing supports and more support in the back. 

Here's the view from the kitchen. They even made steps up to the space.

Yay! It looks so great. I'm proud of my husband and he feels like a man now.

Oh, and it was a snow day while they got all this done.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

lego mania

We love legos around our house. Well, Terry and the kids do. I never was ever really into them. 

It took Terry and Noah most of the day after all the Christmas festivities were done to complete his new Millennium Falcon. I think this is Noah's attempt at a wink...

How cool is this thing? He has to keep it up high so Destroyer Baby doesn't get to it. But despite that, he tries to take it about everywhere with him.

Evie's girl lego house took significantly less time than the Falcon, but it's was still pretty intense. She didn't offer any help, but instead played with the little girls and the kitty that came with it. You can see Noah doing the same, though he might have been attacking her with a Star Wars lego person of some sort.

How cute is that? My favorite part though? Darth Vador with his light saber up. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 family Christmases

It was great to be with family for Christmas after missing out on it for the last two years. We were only missing Stephanie and Steve. :(

After our own Christmas morning we headed to my parent's house for Christmas dinner and presents with them. To pass the time Noah took on my brother, Nathan, in chess. Nathan was whooped pretty quick since Noah had a 6 week chess club under his belt and has gotten really good. This magnetic travel set was given to him by his teacher. Terry is going to take over the club this semester!

One of Samuel's first gifts, observed closely by his brother and sister. They wanted so badly to "help" him unwrap things.

Serving platter from my mom.


The following day we headed out to the ranch for Christmas with Terry's family. His mom found these adorable tiny stockings for the kids.

Noah and baby cousin Grace received their first cell phones... Gotta hook them in early to the matrix.

Terry's family!

From Snap and Samuel's perch on the back of the couch, you can see we had a white Christmas. It was too cold for sledding though. We did that the following weekend.

Bumblebee! It only took Noah a day to figure out the complicated steps to transform him.

We played Rook while Grampa helped Evie with the preschool games on Samuel's phone.

Cousins only 2 days apart. They are so cute together. Grace has always been bigger than Samuel but he  has finally passed her in height. In verbal abilities, she has far, far surpassed him though. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 Christmas

We had been very excited about celebrating our first Christmas in our new house to sort of break it in. It was a great time. Noah and Evie had new stockings crocheted by Gramma K. Terry and I both got up before the kids and had everything ready. Terry even started a fire but ended up filling the room with smoke because of a downdraft! There's nothing like opening windows in December. ;)

Once the kids were up at 8, they headed straight for their stockings and brought them upstairs to examine them. Evie is showing off the new big(ish) girl necklace she got. Noah and Samuel still look sleepy.

The night before I made our traditional Raspberry Coffee Cake breakfast so all I had to do was throw it in the oven. I love this breakfast. The kids are still coming around to it. Because they're crazy. Also, this photo was reassuring for me. I was 17.5 weeks pregnant at the time and already feeling huge. I didn't look as big as I felt/feel, but still bigger than my other pregnancies. Perhaps that's just how it goes after being stretched three times.

After breakfast Terry read the Christmas story from Luke 2. The kids were all pretty attentive except for Samuel.  

One of Samuel's first gifts was monster trucks. Terry's in the back opening up the kid's gift of clothes.

Evie got Disney princesses. Merida is her favorite but for the life of her, she can't remember the name and calls her "Brave." 

Noah loves him some Lego's. And what could be better than a 1,254 Millennium Falcon set?! He's even two years too young for it. It took most of a day for he and daddy to put it together.

Daddy liked the new Bible I picked out for him. His old EVS study bible was held together by duct tape. 

One thing Terry learned from his childhood was to not leave out the younger siblings and always get them similar gifts. So Evie got a sweet girl Lego house. She likes playing Star Wars with it!

Noah also really loved his Transformer Bumblebee (and his Angry Birds stocking hat that he has been wearing all the time). 

I thought this cute little box was jewelry (i even omitted my normal necklace when i dressed that morning because i was so sure it was a new one). How surprised I was to received an Ipod Nano from Terry! It's got Nike+ on it to keep track of my walks (with a pedometer) and runs. I really like it!