Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Progression of the Flu

It all began at a Gingerbread House making party.

It was a fun-filled evening of kid chaos: candy, icing, graham crackers, and stickiness galore. The kids had a blast and loved their houses. Anna was the perfectionist (wonder where she gets that from).

Jesse ate all the candy off of his when our backs where turned. All that is left of his by the end of the night was a pile of graham crackers.

And that night we left for Wisconsin to spend Christmas with Joel's parents and Aunt. We drove through the night and were miserably tired the next day, taking turns napping while the tired kids ran a muck. We got a few texts from friends that had been at the same party saying that their whole families had gotten sick with some kind of flu bug. I shrugged it off in my haze of sleepiness. Then it hit on our 2nd day in Wisconsin. Joel, Anna, Josie, and I were all sick, immobile, that day.

Friday was better except Asher spiked a fever and we took him and Jesse to urgent care. Both had ear infections and Asher had some sort form of croup, brushed off by the doc that the ear infection antibiotics would take care of whatever it was. Christmas Eve looked promising until my Mother-in-law woke with the flu and Asher still had a fever. Joel and I still weren't eating. Jesse was running circles around us all. Lots of Christmas traditions get thrown out the window when you are sick. We had cookies and food stacked to the ceiling but no one could eat anything! We actually had soup for Christmas Eve dinner, much to my Father-in-law's disappointment.

Now Christmas day really looked better. Most perked up that Santa found us in Wisconsin and squeals came from everywhere as the kids searched for their stockings. That Santa is one sneaky guy.

Asher still had a fever (and a haircut! Can you tell my mother-in-law got a hold of him?)

Jesse as the most expressive to watch as he opened presents. Then something started to happen and his joy got less and less. He opened Cars 2 and then crawled into Joel's lap, and threw up. The flu wasn't on his list Santa! He was asleep before we finished opening presents.

Josie was just a joy to watch in her excitement of everything. She mainly loved the maze that presents provided.

and the tree ornaments where in danger every time we turned our backs.

The day after Christmas, we found ourselves in the ER for 6 hours with Asher, diagnosed with a bad case of pneumonia. It was a crazy experience in there and we can now see why the make TV shows based on this environment...a few of ours during this trip: a grandpa kicked by a cow, a woman with a chicken bone stuck in her throat befriending everyone, drooling while she talked and no one could understand her, a mother yelling in anger as she walked out about how they were going to here from her attorney, and a helicopter landing outside the ER doors. Poor Asher was miserable through and I wish I could get my hands on that urgent care doctor!

We extended our trip one day after all this hoping for some actual normal time with the grandparents and woke that day to find my father-in-law with the flu. We felt so bad! Joel's aunt also left that day and I am wondering if she is the one who got away without it catching up to her?

It was a Christmas to remember. It was hard to watch a lot of things get pushed aside...all those traditions you are looking forward to. But we realized the best part was that we were together as a family. Those moments are always treasured whether they were what you expected or not. The kids loved all their gifts and we still made Jesus a birthday cake (all though it wasn't eaten much), and we reflected in the best gift of all: Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tales Of December

Next week we head out to WI for Christmas. The kids have been busy preparing their Santa lists, making cookies, and we have been busy shopping and running from pageants to parties. It has been a truly fun month and we realize how blessed we are as we reflect on the real reason for the season every night on our advent calendar. However we talk about Santa a lot too and are sad to realize this might be the last year we get away with Santa for Asher. Why do they have to grow up?

Chick Fil A has become a family favorite restaurant and even more so in December when Santa comes to town. Not only do we get to see Santa, but the Santa cow too!

Josie wasn't so sure about Santa. We thought this was hilarious since she seems to love everybody. How could you not like this man, doesn't he look real!?! I made that same comment to a lady next to me and glanced down to see Anna looking up at me wide eyed...and the lady says "Because he is real!". Nice save. Duh, you wouldn't know I had 4 kids.

Chick Fil A took their pictures, printed them out to turn into ornaments, and had the kids decorate them. So this is the picture on Josie's 1st Christmas ornament..haha!!

She warmed up after awhile...long enough to get a picture with her siblings.

So I had to add a picture of her beautiful smiling face after that.

A picture of our whole family at our Church's Christmas program. Shoes are missing since we had to drag them out of the bounce house for this picture.

We also made a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo to see their amazing display of Christmas lights. We got their a little before dark to see some animals and enjoy our packed dinner. This peacock is about to get Josie's dinner and she is oblivious. It was a pretty funny encounter.

The lights were amazing, complete with Santa and live reindeer.

Jesse's school did a Holiday program where every kid got to say a line and perform to a song with their class. This was the 1st time we have ever dragged the whole family out for Jesse. He is normally being brought to Anna's and Asher's performances and swim meets. He was so excited to be the star! He got to dress up like a train conductor and perform to the song "Hot Chocolate" from the Polar Express. His line was "We run the polar express!" and he did great! He now insists on wearing this outfit every single day!

Here is is with his buddy Olivia. He tells me he "loves" her and that she is his best friend. Below is his performance.

We hope each one of you is also enjoying a beautiful December rejoicing in the true joy Jesus brought to each one of you lives. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tales of November

When a good friend texted me to say she was worried because I hadn't updated my blog in awhile, I realized that I just had to buckle down and do it. I am often wondering what happened to all my blogger friends and now I have seen how easy it is to fall into the abyss of web silence. Forgive my absence! I know we are in December now, but I can't move on to Christmas news until you get the November updates. November went by in a whirlwind since I came down with bronchitis and a sinus infection, my OCD insists that I get Christmas shopping done before December 1st, and then we traveled to WV for Thanksgiving. With the passing of the thankful month, the temperatures dropped and the winter boots and jackets were dug out of their bins. Asher has been perched on the window sill waiting for snow. Since it hasn't come yet, he has decorated every glass surface with paper snowflakes. Josie refuses to wear a winter hat and looses a sock every day...I hate baby socks!

Poppy and Joel took turns taking Asher hunting. I am not sure how they get him to sit still for very long but Asher truly seems to enjoy hunting. He has yet to get a deer but we will keep our fingers crossed for next year.

I made Oreo turkeys with the kids. These turkeys don't have a very long life span since they are made out of candy corn, icing, and chocolate covered cherries.

Josie got her hands on some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I am pretty sure she liked them.

and she started standing. Everything that was once safe is now being moved to higher shelves.

Swim season is in full swing and the kids have had their 1st swim meet. Asher has progressed to flip turns. See how I caught him in action..hehe. He is doing awesome in swimming and still loves it. We love what it has done to his confidence. He has yet to win a race but he is always placing in the top 10 and is consistently beating his previous times. We are super proud of him!

Anna has joined the swim team and swam in her 1st race. She did great! She too is consistently getting better but we now see that she is the one with the competitive gene. We were so excited for her 7th place, but she pouted and said, "I wanted 1st". She changed her mind when she saw that 7th place was a purple ribbon and squealed with delight.

Joel says we are a swim family now!

Come back next week for tales of December!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cake and Candy, Castles and Princesses

Anna turned 6 last week and wanted a party fit for a princess. She started planning her party right after her 5th birthday. Much to my dismay she wanted to have it at a place called the "Magic Castle", a Chucky Cheese type place with a playground and money sucking arcade games. However, it is all she wanted and it is about her, not me, right?! So the Magic Castle we went. She got to sit in the much coveted white chair to open presents, wear a tiara, play games, eat pizza, have everyone chant her name as they marched out to play, and enjoy her castle cake that she specifically requested I make. She said it was the best day ever!

Th sugar binge continued with Halloween hot on the birthday's heels. Somehow I don't have a picture of my 2 mermaids, pirate, and Darth Vader downloaded yet? You will have to take my word for it, they were cute! Well, Asher refused to wear his mask and carried it all night so you couldn't really tell who he was! But Jesse was sure cute running around yelling "AArrrr, Matey!". I thought it would be safe for Josie to sit next to a candy filled pumpkin, moving the candy around until I looked again and saw her eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. How did she get that open?! Guess she isn't allergic to peanut butter!

We had lots of fun carving out pumpkins this year, all the while discussing how Jesus cleans out our insides so that His light can shine through. I am sure you can match the pumpkin to the owner if you know their personalities.

Natalie Skye, born November 2nd, 5 lbs 15 oz
Our beautiful baby niece, another princess to add to the family.
Congratulations Nikki and Frank!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Circus Performers

We took advantage of the beautiful weather this past weekend and enjoyed a family day out. We had breakfast at a place called Young's Diary (mmm....pumpkin pancakes), hiking at John Bryan State Park, and ice cream afterwards. It was such a perfect day. We took the opportunity to "chit chat" with the kids. I asked them if they could join the circus, what job would they want? Asher excitedly yelled "The guy who gets shot out of the cannon!" like he had been waiting for that question his whole life. Jesse wants to "ride giraffes" - the boy has an obsession with giraffes (Grammie, what did you do to him?!). And Anna wants to be a trapeze girl...we wouldn't expect anything less from our pink, glitter and glamor loving superstar.

The scenery was breathtaking. The leaves were so beautiful.

Our circus performers are ready to be found Barnum and Bailey Brothers!

Joel wants to be the guy driving the motorcycles in those circular cages.
Wonder what Josie will want to be?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

West Virginia Pumpkins

The fall season is in full swing and we are enjoying it to the fullest! It all begins with pumpkin picking. My parents grew a garden this year to include pumpkins so once we got the call that they were ready for harvesting, off we went to the Spoerer Pumpkin Picking Farm! The leaves just all of a sudden seemed to blossom in their amazing fall colors which we noticed on our drive down. Jesse didn't notice too much as he was sawing logs most of the drive.

Picking pumpkins in Poppy's garden. They seriously had their pick of many!

Josie found one.

Posing with their picks. Notice the rain boots?!
I told you I was a firm believer after camping.

Josie chose this weekend to start crawling. Nothing is safe now.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Camping We Will Go

This past weekend, we enjoyed a family camp out with a group of friends from our church. Joel and I always loved the idea of camping as a family, had always wanted to try it, but have never done it. We thought attempting it for the 1st time in the safety of our friend's backyard woods sounded pretty nice. That was before it rained for days straight leading up to the weekend and temperatures started to drop. I must have called my friend a million times that day to make sure we were still doing it-I was so nervous! But my always positive husband dressed the kids in layers and rain boots (GENIOUS), packed the bags while I fretted in indecision, and we were off! We had a wonderful time. I have never seen the kids muddier (or happier), no one slept, we ate smores for dessert and breakfast, and were cold....but it was amazing! I think Joel is hooked now. I think I want an air mattress next time.

Heading out to the campsite. The kids rode in the back of the truck with their hands in the air like it was a roller coaster, screaming with delight.

Poppy gave Asher a pocket knife for a gift awhile back, and he was so excited to use it. The two of them sat there whittling away at their sticks being boys. Asher enjoyed this, helping cook the food, finding wood for the fire, exploring the woods for treasure (he found an old tire that the kids enjoyed rolling down a hill for hours), and catching frogs. I have never seen him be such a boy! It was nice for them to not have boundaries and just play.

Josie was layered in sleepers, and slept cuddled in my arms. Wait, no we didn't sleep, but at least we were warm cuddling and she was happy the whole time. She ate more graham crackers that I could count.

Jesse was mud from head to toe and we kept catching him hiding with the bag of cheetos or marshmallows.

Smores are always the highlight.

Friday, September 23, 2011


As the seasons change, I find myself again missing Hawaii. I am not sure what happened to make the ache return in my heart. Maybe it is the frustration of missing children's socks in every laundry load, muddy tennis shoes tramping through the house, digging out jackets and changing over the drawers from summer to winter clothes for 6 people, realizing my wardrobe is not east coast fashionable at all, or the fact that in 7 months we will be facing another move all over again. We have had a hard time getting back into the routine of school, activities, bible studies and just when you find a routine, life turns it upside down again and sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in surrender! I swear that there were more hours in a day when we lived in Hawaii. There was always time to sit with my girlfriends and drink coffee, take leisurely walks to the beach or playgrounds, and workout. What happened here? There have been days where I just didn't want to crawl out of bed and do it all over again. Please God, can I just stay under the covers and hide today! Somehow, I lost something important that God taught me in Hawaii about enjoying life and the moments instead of rushing through the motions and routine. Somehow walking through the season change has reminded me of that joy that fell over our family there and how important it is in every day life. I am reminded of Psalm 90:14 "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all of our days". So in order to bring myself back to joy and thankfulness I will be sharing moments of celebrating in the past few months...moments full or joy and thankfulness that I pray to find every morning and every minute of the day so that it will spill over my family.

Joel has become a motorcycle guy thanks to my dad (and dismay of my mom). I kind of like it! This past weekend, we got a sitter and enjoyed a long beautiful motorcycle ride and enjoyed coffee in a quaint quiet town. It was so peaceful and the perfect afternoon. I pray for that peace to continually fill my soul.

In August we celebrated Josie's birth with a baby dedication at our church. We also had Jesse dedicated as we never found a church in Hawaii that we felt comfortable in supporting our family in this way. What a gem we have found here in a church home! A true family walking through life with us in prayer and thanksgiving, tears and smiles. The dedication was a true reminder or what a gift each one of our children are and what a blessing God gave us here in community.
Josie, as #4, seems to have way fewer pictures taken. This is something I swore I would never do! So Joel and I took a million in one night (does that count??). She is a rolly polly now, has gotten 2 teeth, and is on her hands in knees (only rocking, not crawling), but somehow she manages to get legs stuck under couches and behind doors??

A reminder of joy every day.

A true celebration!! Every day at school, Asher takes a math test. The kids have 3 minutes to complete the test. There is no pass/fail, only rewards as you move up the levels. Asher has been on level 1 since school started (50 problems of addition) and believed he would never pass level 1. Joel and I have worked so hard with him and he would get so discouraged. He knew the math but just has trouble focusing for 3 minutes...the spider crawling up the wall would grab him 1 minute in and he was a goner. Homework has been taking hours as we get into school again and the poor boy has been left exhausted. We promised him the dinner of his choice the day he passed level 1 and tried to encourage him every day. Orange chicken was his choice and I have had it waiting in the freezer praying for the day to celebrate. Yesterday he came bursting into the house exclaiming that HE DID IT!!! I have had this celebrate plate sitting on top of the fridge...a beautiful decoration, but what a wonderful time to break it in. I now vow to use it more often to celebrate many occasions with the kids and remind them how special they are to us and the Lord.