Category Archives: Family

Topsy Turvy

Sometimes things flow along rather smoothly. Sure, there are a few bumps along the way (we have six kids after all) but nothing too out of the ordinary. And then things get turned upside down and inside out.

Last week I received a bit of news.

A rough bit.

I found out my father has brain cancer – lymphoma – though now they aren’t too sure what it is and are doing more tests. What they do know for sure is that he has lesions on the front and back of his brain – and it came on fast in the last month and a half (or at least, that’s when the symptoms showed up).

My dad is an amazing man. Has always been active and healthy. He taught me to love hiking and nature. He taught me to be and do my best.Β  He has the wackiest sense of humor – the kind where some peopleΒ  can’t tell if he’s joking, but there’s a twinkle in his eye, and he makes the craziest goofy faces.

I never thought about how old he was getting (he’s 74, after all) and how he was slowing down. He always seemed invincible to me, like he would live forever. But I feel my time with him here on earth slipping away between my grasping fingers.

Maybe I have many years yet to come, I choose to hope for the best. But, in case the time is short, I am going to visit. I’ve only seen him one day in these past 3 1/2 years – because of their mission and our move – and it’s been too long. I am so blessed to have such a supportive husband and family to allow me to take off for a while to be with my parents.

I’ll try my best to blog while I’m gone, but I might not have much time. I’ll be hanging with my most amazing parents and visiting amazing old friends too. I plan on having a blast.

But, all while I’m having a grand time, I’ll be praying. Praying for my dad. If you don’t mind sending a prayer our way, it would be so appreciated. And if you aren’t the praying type, good thoughts and wishes work well too. We can feel the support from everyone around us.

And I believe in miracles.

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Filed under Family, health, Religion

Washington D.C.

I have never had a trip with SO much good and SO much

crazy

at the same time!

So, we started off sleeping through our alarm, returning to the house for directions on where we were even going, and finally were on our way. That’s when we remembered to have our prayer of safety as we traveled. Paul just had to silently add

“if anything is going to happen to the van, let it happen now”

– ten seconds later the power steering died and our battery light came on. We nursed the car to an auto parts store who, thankfully, knew exactly what the problem was. Thirty or so minutes later, one serpentine belt richer, and our wallets a bit lighter, we FINALLY made it onto the freeway. (and we were VERY grateful it happened while in town)

Thankfully, at that point the drive went nice and smooth. It wasn’t late when we arrived at our campground, but it was quite dark. We managed to scavenge a little firewood and had a small fire before tossing the kids in the tent. It was cold, but not freezing, and the days were very nice.

Friday dawned and we munched on cereal in the car on our way to downtown D.C. Luckily Paul knows the D.C. area (he served his mission there) so he was able to get us to where we wanted to go without getting us hopelessly lost – and we had a GPS πŸ™‚

Our first stop was the Air and Space Museum. We had a blast exploring – everyone loved it – and we met up with Vesna who Paul taught and baptized (along with her daughter) while on his mission.

Air & Space Museum 1

Air & Space Museum 2

After we finished exploring the museum we had lunch and headed out onto the National Mall. The kids were ecstatic to see the Capitol building.
US Capitol

We walked down the the Museum of Natural History. The kids of course were delighted with the dinosaurs. While we were there we met up with our good friends, the Johnsons. We would have stayed and seen more, but the kids were anxious to see the monuments and two of boys were taking a snooze.

National Museum of Natural History

By the end of the day we had done a TON of walking and

EVERYONE was tired and

our feet Hurt!

We saw the Washington Monument, White House, World War II memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (which was SO awesome!).Β  By then the sun was going and we could barely drag ourselves back to the car.

Washington Monument

Whitehouse

WWII Memorial

(We had to have our picture take above the date for D-day because we were married on June 6th)

Vietnam Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Korean War Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

After we finished staggering to the car we drove to Vesna’s for dinner – which was AMAZING and snuck into our campground very late. The kids were asleep the second they hit their sleeping bags.

Next morning we were up bright and early taking luke-warm showers (brrrrrrr) and getting ready to go to the temple. The kids hung out with a very nice elderly couple while Paul and I went with Vesna and the Johnsons to the temple.Β  Our friends, the Feinauers were there too! It was like a mini Newberg Reunion! It was so neat to be so far from Oregon and yet be surrounded by old friends. I have always wanted to go to that temple and I was so excited for the opportunity.

Temple with Vesna

Afterwards we drove to Arlington National Cemetary and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. I stayed with the girls to watch the guard change (it was a little hard for the boys to be that quiet for that long).

Arlington National Cemetary

A little ways away was the Iwo Jima statue, so we drove over there – I remember loving that one as a kid.

Iwo Jima

Then we drove back to the National mall and saw the Jefferson Memorial. By then the sun was setting, so we drove back to the temple so the kids could see it and go to the visitor center.

Jefferson Memorial

Washington DC Temple

That night things got a little crazy. James threw up as we ate a late dinner at the picnic table. We figured he just choked on something, but when he threw up a second time in the tent, we knew he had a bug.

Throwing up kids are no fun in tents!

Luckily we had extra blankets. We also slept a little cooler that night, but we made it through (James threw up two more times during the night) and enjoyed sitting in a warm van once morning came. I hung out in the tent with James while Paul took the kids to church at one of the wards he was a missionary. He really enjoyed seeing old friends. When he got back we packed up the car and went on our merry way.

The interstate happens to pass by a very special park, though, and I couldn’t resist a stop. We used to go here all the time when I was a kid and really wanted to take the kids. I couldn’t believe it when we saw the signs to it on the way to D.C. and Paul asked if I wanted to stop on the way home.

Oh, boy did I?!!!

It was awesome. Sometimes you revisit a place and it isn’t all that you remembered, but this was all I remembered and more! The kids and hubby absolutely loved it and we can’t wait to go back and camp there sometime and really explore.

Coopers Rock 1

Coopers Rock 2

Coopers Rock 3
Coopers Rock 4

No one even got sick on the way home! So, while we definitely had our challenges, the trip was wonderful. Paul and I had so much fun showing the kids the sites that we remembered from so long ago, and the kids had fun seeing all the places they had heard about in school. I don’t think we could have crammed anything more into that vacation if we had tried! There is still a lot we want to see and do, so….

I can’t wait to go back!

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Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy

Our Summer in Pictures Part 2

We went swimming at Houston Woods State Park a few times

Houston Woods 1

Houston Woods 2

Houston Woods 3

Cincinnati Fire Museum

Cincinnati Fire Museum 1

Cincinnati Fire Museum 2

Cincinnati Fire Museum 3

Serpent Mound

Serpent Mound 1

Serpent Mound 2

Serpent Mound 3

Serpent Mound 4

We went Canoeing at White Water Miami Forest

Whitewater Miami Canoe 1

Whitewater Miami Canoe 2

and at Houston Woods

Houston Woods Canoe

Jacob participated in his first Raingutter Regata

Raingutter Regata

Finally, we made a number of fun zoo trips to the Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoo 1

Zoo 2

Zoo 3

Zoo 4

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Filed under Bobert, Children, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

Our Summer in Pictures Part 1

Okay, well our summer plus a little extra. πŸ™‚

Liz’s Birthday – She had a reverse, upside down, inside out party πŸ™‚

Liz B-day

Dot’s Birthday

Dot Birthday

We worked on clearing a trail in the woods in our back yard. Here are the beginning stages.

Yard Fixing

Jacob joined Cub Scouts and got to attend Tiger Treks

Tiger Treks

We explored the Clifton Mill and went hiking in Clifton Gorge

Clifton Collage 1

Clifton Collage 2

Clifton Collage 3

Clifton Collage 4

We went hiking at Shawnee Lookout

Shawnee Lookout Collage 1

Shawnee Lookout Collage 2

And we explored the Gorman Family Farm

Gorman Farm 1

Gorman Farm 2

Gorman Farm 3

We hiked around Clifty Falls State Park in Indiana

Clifty Falls 1

Clifty Falls 2

Clifty Falls 3

Clifty Falls 4

Jacob got to go to Twilight Camp – cub scout day camp that meets in the evenings. πŸ™‚

Twilight Cub Camp 1

Twilight Cub Camp 2

Emily had her 9th birthday

Emily B-day

and Paul and I got to go on a couple tours exploring Cincinnati

Cincinnati 1

Cincinnati 2

Cincinnati 3

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Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

We’ve been busy…

First, Jacob had a birthday! He turned 6 last month and we celebrated with a construction party. I had fun doing a crazy cake, but I think my cake decorating skills detiorate with each additional kid πŸ˜€

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We had two camp outs in the basement – one for the girls and one for the boys (so cool that our smaller tent fits in the basement!)

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I took the kids to Krohn Conservatory during spring break – It’s hard to take good focused close-ups of plants – or anything! – when trying to keep track of six kids πŸ˜€ So, I put up very few plant photos – I’ll get better ones when Paul is with me πŸ™‚

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Spring is finally springing! And its so exciting to discover what’s been planted in our yard. The kids fully enjoyed a gorgeous day last week. And we got our lilac bush planted!

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Plus, Paul went on an adventure to see how big our yard really was and how far into the woods it goes – then he gave me a tour – it’s hugely awesome! We are excited to clear debris out and make more portions of our woods available to the kids. There are some really cool domed clearings where the trees have grown over making a natural little home. It’s beautiful! We’ll take photos of that stuff as we get back in there and get things cleared up – there are a lot of beer cans, broken bottles, tires – even an old swingset back there. So, we have lots of work to do!

Finally, Robert is 7 months old! He’s been eating solids and rolling and for the past month or so he’s been doing the army crawl – and getting faster by the second! The last couple days he decide to get on his hands and knees and will sit and rock back and forth – taking one crawl forward before flopping down and commando crawling where he wants to go.
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Today he even pulled himself up to a shakey stand – always hanging onto my hands of course!

*for whatever reason the pictures don’t show up sometimes – if you still want to see them, you should be able to if you click on the white non-picture

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Filed under Bobert, Cakes, Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature, Photography

Winton Woods

There are some beautiful and fun parks in our county with walking tails, lakes for fishing and canoeing (we can’t wait to take our canoe out when it warms up a bit more), and playgrounds.Β  A couple Saturdays ago we took the kids (all but Em, she was on a little trip to Tennessee with one of her friends) to Winton Woods. The highlight of the trip was definitely feeding the ducks and geese. While we had tons of fun, we sure missed our Em.

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Filed under Bobert, Dot, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

And the Family Dances…

Last year we started a new tradition, the family dance. The girls had wanted to attend the community daddy daughter dance, but they were charging some exorbitant fees that were way beyond us, so we created our own dance. We even got formal, and had tons of fun. Last year’s Family Valentine dance brought us this gem

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This year they seem to be getting along a little better. πŸ™‚

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We didn’t get quite the classic funny photo as last year, but I did get a few cute accidental shots (and on purpose shots too). We decided to be casual, but I think we’ll be formal again next year. Whether formal or casual though we had tons of fun – I think this tradition is around to stay!

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Finally, February was Congenital Heart Defect Awareness month and Jacob’s school did Jump Rope for Heart sponsored by the American Heart Association. The kids got to decorate a heart in honor of someone, and of course they all chose Jacob. He wanted a picture showing off his zipper for the occasion. (and I heard from his teacher that he showed off in person too! hee hee)

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Filed under Bobert, CHD, Dot, Em, Family, Heart, Jacob, James, Lizy, TGA

A Most Fabulous Zoo!

The Cincinnati Zoo is AMAZING!!! And we were there in 25 degree weather and couldn’t see most animals. They have the most amazing exhibits – from vampire bats to these HUGE bats, to birds of all color and variety (Dot was thrilled to see a bright purple bird), manatees, komodo dragons, a large variety of nocturnal animals and so, so much more. We are looking forward to going again when it’s a little warmer to see all the animals that were either hiding or off display for the winter.

Zoo 1

Zoo 2

Zoo 3

Zoo 4

Zoo 5

Emily was especially thrilled with the polar bear out enjoying the cold weather. Polar Bears are her favorite animal, so she HAD to have her picture taken, I thought the bear posed very nicely.

Zoo 6

The highlight for me, and most of the rest of the family were the tigers. I have only ever seen a tiger lay about or pace – these two were playing! It was delightful to watch, and we had a hard time tearing ourselves away.

Zoo 7

Zoo 8

This was James’ first zoo trip and he was delighted by the different animals, but the aardvarks seem to really capture his attention. Lizzy loved the Lizards, and Jacob the tigers. We can’t wait to go back!

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Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S

Ok, it’s a bit late to be finally posting all of our festive photos, but… well if you wonder why, re-read my realistic mommy post – ha ha. Anyway, I love all the fun of Christmas and the decorations (though I love getting back to normal afterwards too). This year it was especially neat being in our first home with new friends and things to see and do. We didn’t go out much, lots of snow (yay! we had a white Christmas!) and cold temps with the baby kept us indoors, so there are a number of neat things we want to do next year when Robert is older.

We managed to find a place to cut down a tree – in fact it was only $10 so we got two! Unfortunately they are going out of business, so we’ll have to find a new place next year. Trees are so different out here than back in evergreen land, aka Oregon. We dubbed our scotch pine the vampire tree (it’s needles were wicked sharp) and the other tree (I don’t remember what kind it was) the Charlie Brown tree, though it grew on us after a while (no, not literally)

Tree Picking

After decorations were up we started the season off with a small, but fun and crazy white-elephant party and are looking forward to watching it grow. It was a hoot and a half. We wound up with a can of Kraut juice (don’t ask, it’s better if you don’t know). The season continued with tons of baking, and reading, and sledding, and caroling and an awesome zoo trip and just masses and masses of fun – more fun than anyone should have the right to have, but we had it!

Then came Christmas Eve and surprise of all surprises the lovable fiasco that is the Nativity play was all lovable and no fiasco!

Christmas Eve 2010

Then the kids went to bed and not long after were awakened by Daddy Clause doing his rumbly “HO! HO! HO!” James stood at the stairs refusing to come down.

Christmas Eve Santa 2010

They were sent upstairs, all snuggled up in their new pajamas, and as they went Jacob waxed eloquent. “Dad is Santa Claus! It’s a sham, I tell ya, a sham!”

The following morning we woke the kids up at 8 (they were all still sleeping, can you believe it?) and enjoyed the giggling and shushing as they waited at the top of the stairs until we were completely ready. Then the word was given and the stampede ensued. Robert is featured in the main Christmas morning collage because it was his 1st Christmas.

Robert Christmas

And what can be in those big long packages that everybody seems to have??

Christmas 1

Why, Battle Beaters of course!!!! After all the festivities, we adjourned to the basement for the family battle.

Christmas 2

We enjoyed beating each other the rest of the day… oh and watching family movies and playing and stuff too… but beating each other was definitely the highlight.

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Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy

Singin’ in Reverse

So, I feel like after the last post, I needed the country song in reverse version, so here goes…

Even though the brakes went out on the white car (not the family car, phew) this morning my hubby made it home safe and was able to even park safely in the driveway (we think it’s the line). He prayed his way home from dropping Dot off at school for band (they meet in AM before school on Mon. and Wed.), where he first noticed the problem. Coming down the hill to our house he would apply the brake and the car would slow some and then begin to speed up. He managed to get parked safely in our driveway though.

We had the most fun with Paul’s birthday this month. The kids didn’t have school on his birthday so we all hopped into the van and drove over to his work and decorated his car. We hung balloons on the antenna and put banners and candy posters in the windows – the candy posters read something like this “We know this may come as a ‘SHOCKERS’ to you but we think you are more than a ‘BIT O’ HONEY’. We even think you are more than a computer ‘NERDS’. In fact, we think you are worth more than a ‘1,000 GRAND’. You are a ‘LIFE SAVER’ when things go ‘SOUR’ (we had to draw an arrow up to the sour because they were sour gummy life savers) because you make us ‘LAFFY TAFFY’ and that’s not a ‘COW’S TAIL’! We all signed it and taped each section (their were four) to one of his windows.

We’ve had a ton of fun reading stories together at night – in addition to picture books for the boys I’ve been reading chapter books to the girls.

Lots of fun playing in snow, sledding, snowman building, and then sitting around the table sipping on hot chocolate to warm up.

Yes, the kids fight a bunch, and throw temper tantrums, but they also go out of their way to help and do nice things for each other. For Christmas we encouraged them to give acts of service to each other rather than things, so this month has been rather neat as they’ve been doing their Christmas presents.

My two oldest girls were angels in helping to get the powder sugar mess cleaned up.

We’ve been having fun making pinewood derby cars for the girls (we have so few cubscouts the girls were invited to join in)

The sleds were only broken because we were having so much fun flying at top speed down icy snow in the backyard. πŸ™‚

Even though Paul’s had to work late he’s only had to take a few calls on the weekends – and only 1 on a Sunday and that was right when we were walking out the door after church.

The bathroom flooding incident could have been SO bad, and yet all appears fine for now. We didn’t loose the ceiling or anything – it all drained out through a little hole for a phone line. So for now, things are ok.

And the things that have broken are just things. The glasses were glued back together (I love super glue), the glass in the picture frame can easily be replaced or done without, and the watch can be replaced on a birthday, etc.

I’ve learned that I can make my big pot on the stove work almost as well as my crock pot, or just throw it all in the oven for a while.

Even though the controls on our fridge and freezer were played with and we didn’t notice it for a while, we lost very little food – just some fridge leftovers, the freezer stuff was still frozen.

I have an amazing hubby who let me sleep all afternoon yesterday when I came down all of a sudden with a nasty bug, and amazing kids who helped a bunch.

Anyway, my list could go on and on. This month has been a hard one, but a good one too and there have been a lot of blessings mixed in with the woes.

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Filed under Every Day Life, Family