Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Lazy Update

I found pictures!  I figured out how to get the shots off the phone's camera.  Yay!  Here are more of Claire on the day after her birth:

Too cute!

Sleeping Sweetie:

Waiting for brother to get out of school:

I've discovered putting a wee girl in bows and ruffles is more fun than expected.

 On Ranne's Fall Break we were going to take the boys balloon chasing.  It was a Friday.  Because of low clouds and rain the officials canceled the event, but NOT until we were nearly to the lift-off area.  So, we thought to take the train to Santa Fe and back since it's fairly inexpensive.  The train schedule would not have gotten us home until mid-afternoon, so we scratched that.  We tried going to a park but it began raining after arriving there.  Yikes!  We ended up going to McDonalds and waiting for Explora to open.  It was a very long morning and we had very sleepy children by the end. 
 Here Dad and boys watch a fountain dance.
Ranne is flying an airplane.

Trey is playing with an air table.

Toby's looking at vibration patterns.  Very fun!

I'll put Toby's birthday on here next but have to hunt down the camera.  I'm a disorganized mess....

Beautiful Work

Yes, Claire is beautiful work, but I'm talking about the editing. Brother Brendan took out the ugly warning sticker on the carseat from this picture. She may need a warning sticker later but not yet.

Friday, September 9, 2011

She's Here, Right On Time

Anne Claire

Dad and daughter make acquaintance. Scott did another wonderful job of catching the baby, meaning he didn't drop her or pass out. After she was done being messed with by the doctor and nurses, he and she had some nice time.

I'm not sure what's going on here, but it does clearly show one of her "sides".

Super cute. She came back like a puppy from the groomers with bows glued in her hair and smelling sweet.

Meeting her big bro for the first time. He likes holding her a LOT.

Lots of wonderful visitors came. I have pictures of a small fraction here, still needing to figure out how to load the ones off the phone onto the computer. Shouldn't be too hard.

Going home:
And some of you have asked if the boys like her:
Too cute.

Sweet Trey.

September 7th was the due date for the arrival of our daughter. We expected her to come early, as did her last two brothers, but apparently she isn't one who likes to surprise people. She was quite punctual.
John and Betty, Scott's parents, came a whole week early and have been a great help. You know in that last week, just getting around and thinking straight is a major challenge. They have helped tremendously just by loving on the boys (they have the laps for book reading that mom lost about two months ago). Of course, Betty and John being generous and wonderful, also helped a lot with chores here and even getting/taking Ranne to school. I'm thankful.
Yet, everyone still seems very glad that the waiting game is over and our sweet girl has arrived. She's been cuddled and sung to and kissed and changed often. She's very girly so far.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Take Me Out!

Just to the park.

Tuesday night we used coupons the boys earned through a summer reading program to attend an Isotopes game, minor-league baseball. The game was fun. As you can tell from these pictures, we had the time wrong in mind and arrived 45-minutes early. While hot, it was actually a super low-key, nice time for our family to wonder around and play a little without a crowd. Student Center people arrived for the game on time and we spent an hour over there with them and Scott's co-worker's family. Our neighbors, who the boys adore, were also there so all the kids could play a while. What a nice summer night!

Why their interest in this display or their desire to take this photo, I do not know. The amazement never ends.

You can tell we're early. The stands are empty. They nearly were anyway, but not too this extent.

On the park's playground. HOT days.
Take Me Out fits our week to a T.
Ranne's first week of school, Tuesday through Friday, went fine. He had some obvious, quiet trepidation about going in each time but took a deep breath and marched through the door.
This week has been different. We get there a few minutes early and play on the equipment outside, but as soon as that bell rings he's full of tears and fears. On Monday night, he had nightmares all night and every morning he tries to sleep in. AAHHHRRRRG. I had hoped this transition would be easier on us both.
Today I tried to treat the boys, especially my bummed-out Ranne, to happy hour slushies from Sonic. Toby, trying to put Trey's straw back in his cup for me, gouged it through the bottom of the full drink. In my round state I couldn't get to it very fast so the new vehicle has nice sticky red drink spillage front to back. Sheesh. Take me out! I managed to clean it but am just now remembering a spot on the carpet I will have wished to have remembered sooner. Yet, on the bright side, I now have very clean car seats as I had to wash Trey's and so did the others as well.
Despite that mess, I'm actually pretty proud of today: picked up soil for Ranne's class' planting project (and the little costs begin); dropped him off; stopped at the post office; vaccuumed out the car; fed family lunch; napped the boys and caught up on reciepts and bills before baby comes (last baby, I forgot to pay the bills); cleaned, folding and put away all laundry; stopped at Sonic; picked up Ranne; cleaned car seats and Trey (who the drink spilt on; R finished his homework; fed all a strange dinner; we had a movie night and they're now in bed. I'm going to address some thank you cards and tuck myself in.
Goodnight all as well as a congratulations to both my dad and brother on their new jobs! I feel oddly relieved for them to have a change or just...work. God is very good. Dad said on the phone tonight that he's not sure he's been so happy with a previous employment situation. That is very exciting.

Friday, August 19, 2011

From Twig to Branch

Ranne is growing up too fast, faster than I can blink. Lately when looking at him, I have a strange overwhelming urge to just sit on him to make him stop.

Here the boys are on Ranne's first day of school. Yes, his pants are rolled up. Being the mother I am, I was not going to buy him new pants for school and have him grow out of them in the first week. I tried getting a serious picture as well, without his brothers, but the sprinkler soaked my backhalf as I tried to edge further from the house into the yard, all as the neighbor came up to talk. We were late.

And then, what does he go and do but loose his first tooth, on his first day of school! The nerve. Scott took him to the dentist the day before so he could have that experience. The hygentist discovered his tooth was loose. Why did he never mention it? Perhaps it's similar to when I was his age and discovered my hair fell out; I thought I had cancer and was dying. I saw it happen in a movie and assumed I was a gonner but didn't tell Mom for months, sure it would crush her. Ranne was pretty giggly over his tooth discovery, though.
To add to the tooth story, he submitted to the 'Tooth Fairy" game, knowing it's a game and who the fairy is. He and I put the tooth under the pillow and had a big conversation about it to be playful. Well, the fairy is new to this business in the Free House, having just graduated (or been forced into the job). She FORGOT to put the prize under the pillow and woke to find a teary son staring at her as she slept. He tossed the tooth on the bedside table and said, "THIS is what she left me." AHHHHHHH. The pain. The sadness and disappointment. Why did I have to forget the first time! I made up for it the next night with the quarter and a note written in tiny fairy print.

Lastly, here are the new wheels--and gas tank. It, as the man who sold it told us, is not a sipper. But, it will get our people around, as well as a couple extras. It also keeps us, me, sober when deciding whether a trip across town really has to happen. Most often it's "no", though cabin fever has set in. We do have the Fiat for commuting around town when it's just Scott or myself. We hope to get that going fairly soon. Yet the Suburban is a 99 so has some work to be done first, like getting the doors to open from the INSIDE. We are blessed to have it. So blessed!

Otherwise, baby is active and progressing. We expect her arrival any day, hoping is sooner rather than later. Due date is, again, September 7th but she's already big and healthy.
God bless you.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I am humbled by this. On a day that it couldn't be less deserved, Scott and the boys show up with these after a late night at the ball fields. Scott often shows his pursuit, I think, of being Christ-like in that he will show so much kindness and love even when it's been undeserved and memorably one of my worst days. So, thank you, Love. Humbled, thankful and loved.

Scott took this on Sunday morn. All around the round mother....


He looks a bit like a vampire here, we think. For some strange reason, he's been putting soap in his hair while doing the hand-washing routine. I commented on it to Scott earlier that day so Toby decided to impress us with a full hair-load.

My summer swimmers. Cuties.

Buying Bourbon

We have gratefully been borrowing some friends' Suburban until we can find a vehicle. It's strange to be a family without any wheels at all, to say the least. A friend and I talked in Chick-Fil-A today about working toward an attitude of gratitude while purposefully living with less. It's hard to train a child's heart toward contentment we ourselves struggle while making sacrifices and trying to shuffle important things like modes of transportation. The urgency combined with desire to be wise with God's provisions can be a difficult mixture. I'm glad the search is over.
Since we've been driving our friends' vehicle, our two-year-old talks about going to get in the Bourbon. We've been a little amused by this. Well today we bought Bourbon, a 99 Suburban with 140,... miles on it. We've been praying that God help us find a dependable way to move our four little people around. Today we found the first reasonable option and our offer was accepted. We were able to purchase it and purchase a couple things like tires and brake pads for what we sold our two cars for minus what we've spent on vin number checking and mechanic checks on a couple other cars. This one has some work needed, but nothing we're intimidated by or can't do personally. We're thanking God and will continue to even when things break. At least we have a way to get to the doctor to have a baby!
Which reminds me, the church threw a beautiful duel shower for the babies coming. My cousin did the decorating for it and it was so pretty! Yellow, white, black and gray colors with a tea-like theme. The ladies made wonderful treats and the church was beyond generous. We're going through all the clothes and blankets with much anticipation ('I' would be more appropriate; Scott's tolerating the mess as I try to organize). The other woman is Marin. She's due about a week-and-a-half before ours.
Otherwise, Ranne begins first grade on the 16th. We take him in for registration on the 11th. I am very jittery about this and worry about whether or not he's ready. They've said NOTHING about our home schooling him or asked to check and see where he's at academically. I worry a bit with his dyslexia as well as wonder whether the fact that some letters he hasn't figured out how to write properly will be a problem. But I'm sure he'll catch up fine. He reads well. I know he'll be a precious boy in class. It will be good for this silly mom to see the school and meet some people. Sigh. I feel like such a nerd.
Here are some pictures from the shower:

Friday, July 29, 2011



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oh Sad Day

The emphasis people can put on things amazes me, especially when I'm the person. Instead of the thing itself being so important, I just have to be thankful!
The Jeep is on the 'for sale' postings. How can a vehicle hold so many fond memories?
My parents' old Ford broke down at Castle Rock, CO. The Monarch had deep seats, allowing a child no vision other than parents, the night stars on long trips, power lines, and raindrops shining in the street lights some nights. I was so small in that car. I remember how immediately tall I felt as a 9-yr-old girl in the new Jeep Cherokee, looking out the windows and DOWN or across at other cars. Dad and Mom purchased the Jeep there in Castle Rock, used. It had been returned by a woman who didn't like the grease the tire rack deposited on her skirt when she unlatched it, so it had very few miles.
Memories from the Jeep are plentiful! We spent hours in the Jeep on multiple moves, our only dog riding in the back. One time we were bringing our dog Lacy home from the groomers and her big blue bow caught on the door handle, opening the door, as we turned. She was nearly lost.
We sprawled on the top of the Jeep some nights, Dad having drug us out of bed to witness special celestial events.
We took the Jeep 4-wheeling to Middle Fork Lake on Mt. Wheeler, a strain on both Dad, the driver, as well as the vehicle. I had bought in Red River a whistle that inserts into the tailpipe as a joke. He pushed and banged up the Jeep so much on the drive up there, it was VERY funny to put that whistle in for the drive back down. What had he done to cause such a shriek!? He'd stop the Jeep, check under the hood, start it back up, stop it....
I remember when moments with Mom became strained, we'd often just leave town and take a drive. The conversations in those miles were priceless. I also remember her teaching me to drive in the Jeep, starting off in a dollar-theater parking lot with snow blowing and geese standing around watching the show. Once we ventured onto the real roads, she bravely sat white-knuckled while coaching me through small town traffic.
I remember her and I taking a trip to Colorado from Kansas with our dog and lots of tools to fix up her and Dad's rental house. It had been sadly maintained. We repaired tiles in the bathroom, painted the entire inside, groomed the yard, replaced the garbage disposal, fixed shingles on the roof, holes in the walls.... I was amazed with her ability to learn and fix most anything. On the trip home we were caught in a storm with low, dark clouds in an eerie light that began to swirl over our heads. We watched many funnels swirl around us as we sped into the next small town to find shelter. We sat in McDonald's parking lot, watching the sky and lightening. That same trip, the Jeep overheated and the engine fried. We stayed there some time, waiting for a shop to replace it before Dad came and got us. Long trip! But we made it an adventure worth remembering fondly.
Driving it in Albuquerque on loan from Dad as I went to school was an honor. I felt privileged to be in such a 'cool' car. I had fun driving my friend Scott and his buddies around sometimes, sure that it was impressive to them. I thrilled to take off across the state on my own some weekends, camera around my neck, to the mountains, through the reservations, and to the Indian ruins.
It is one of the most generous gifts from Dad. After getting married, he gave it to us. It was our backup car, our storage unit when we lived in an apartment, and then a car to take my boys in to chase down hot-air balloons.
Honestly, I think our driving it embarrasses some as they see our family climbing in and out of the tired vehicle. If only they knew what an amazing adventure it has taken me on.... I'm beyond grateful.

Monday, July 25, 2011


This day has been amusing! No pictures though, I'm sad to say.

Fun things the boys have been saying or doing abound.

Trey, when he hurts his finger or knee or whatever, but only if it's a scrape or cut to his epidermis, will say, "I hurt my skin!"

He'll threaten in silliness to pinch me or something like it. I'll tell him, "No thanks! Pinch yourself!" So he'll try and then say, "I pinch my own self."

Tonight, I had him sitting on the counter as I cooked. After sqeezing a lemon for a marinade, I offered him the bowl of remaining juice. He drunk a good amount down and exclaimed, "Spicy, mmmm." and then finished it. He then got the rind, dipped it in a small bowl of honey one of the other boys decided to fill, and chewed on it for some time. He'll probably stay healthy that way, chewing on lemons and honey!

Ranne went to his first day of swimming, though it's the second round of lessons for him. The first round was very young for him so this is much better. He marched right to his corner of the pool, though he was too shy to ask which class he was to go to, and got in. Once getting in the water and meeting his teacher, he grinned ear-to-ear the whole time. He was so excited he went back and forth their little area over and over, splashing around and spitting water like a fountain. He did very well to give his best effort for the teacher, calming down and trying to do the specific instruction after his crazy, big first try. He was hilarious to watch!

Scott took care of Toby and Trey for me today, which was really fun since I could watch without distraction. Tomorrow all the boys will be there. It'll be good for Ranne's little brothers to see him trying so hard. Hopefully they will want to work toward swimming themselves. Trey's been asking to swim but I just can't go into the pool without the compression hose at this point. Very sad. Next summer, Lord willing, things will be different.

We also met a good friend at the park with her two children. Toby did amazing. He usually plays to himself and then fusses at everyone for leaving him out. This time, he stuck with the group and played hard. He's been super cuddly too. I think the baby's coming is causing him the most hesitation.

He did decide to show off his spitting projection ability right as we were leaving, and did so next to and on my friend's very lovely shoes. We had a sit down talk right there about where boys may and may not spit. Ranne's had the talk but it's been some time. I forget who's come along since those important etiquette discussions. Oh my!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Don't Miss It

Trey's "What I Like About You" post was posted as older than the posting right before this one since I began it a couple days ago but only just finished. Sweet guy....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lost in Summer Nights

Wow. What a night. We joined Dad, Brenda, brother Brendan and most of his family (missing 'little one' sadly) for Summer Nights at the local botanical gardens. It was fun music, pretty gardens, trains, hoola hoops, glow rings, happy kids.... The children all did so well and it was nice to just be with family.

Sadly Scott was working, but it sounds like his night is still going great at the Student Center. They are hosting a high school night for all the kids who were signed up to go to camp but had cancelations due to fire restrictions.

Trey found a cuddler to hold him. Nana and he had a nice time, I'm thinkin'.

My Toby, goofing off for your benefit.

Enjoying the train display.

He's my only one to really try the hip action with the hoola.

Enjoying the music, clouds and cool breeze. He always knows how to enjoy a good moment, or make it good.

So glad to have these two here!

Wonderful two.

Sharing their cherries! Summer is good!
So, as you can see it was a good night. We did have a very hard point. The boys were doing awesome, staying together for the most part. Looking at trains, Ranne would get ahead. We got that taken care of by a conversation.
When taking the boys to the bathroom, however, on the way back to the picnic/music area, despite encouraging and watching everyone to keep us close to one another, I lost Toby. After just leaning down to talk to Ranne, I realized Toby was nowhere to be seen. I ran a few places and couldn't see him so took the boys back to Brendan. Sarah watched Ranne and Trey while he and I went to find him. I finally spotted him. He made it out of the main gardens and into the courtyard leading to the parking lot. There was a security guard by the gate and I pray he would have stopped Toby if he'd tried to leave, but Toby was definitely headed that direction. He was probably afraid we had left so went to look for the car. There were fences all around the outside of the park as well, but with the crowd and all....
What a terrible, terrible feeling. I grabbed him and hugged him. He seemed afraid, but most likely it stemmed from my reaction and tears. He just said he couldn't find me and told me quietly to stop fussing. Sigh. Please never again. I'm so grateful for Brendan and Sarah's help. I know Papa and Nana knew and were looking too. Thank you! Thank you, Lord, for helping us find him.
I'm tired!