Friday, June 26, 2009

Lake Lopez

My sweet husband decided that we needed to get away and relax. Well... we got away anyway. =) We went camping for a couple of nights at Lake Lopez, and we did indeed have a good time and made some great memories. I will say though, that camping with 4 kids age 6 and under, especially when one of them is potty training, is quite a bit of work. So, not much in the way of relaxing happened, but that is okay.
It was beautiful! Caleb got to go fishing with Daddy a few times (Emma went once but decided it was "boring"), and we did enjoy some not-so-normal cuisine, which can be fun as well. Here was our menu for the weekend, which is somewhat mortifying, but hey, we were camping:

Dinner: (We had other intentions, but the camp store was closed, so we couldn't get any firewood, so no fire. Instead of the 20 minute drive out to food, we just made due with snacks.)
Breadsticks dipped in fake cheese (you know, those little snack things you can buy??), tuna on crackers, and Kashi oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies.
Breakfast: Donuts and Capri-sun
Lunch: We went out to lunch at Chili's, so that I could make a run to Wal-Mart for firewood, etc., and to Trader Joe's for some food.
I had soup and salad, Ben had a shrimp and bacon quesadilla, Emma had chicken strips, Noah had a quesadilla, and Caleb had a cheeseburger. Wow.
Dinner: Hot Dogs and Cup-O-Noodles. Seriously. And smores.
Breakfast: Carrot Muffins, Applesauce, and a Nectarine. Thank you, Trader Joe's. This was quite possibly the healthiest meal of the trip.
Lunch: We were headed home and stopped at a steakhouse, which I cannot remember the name of. It was so good. I had tri-tip that was like butter, and shared my garlic mashed potatoes with Ezra. Emma had chicken, I think, and Caleb had ribs. Go figure. Oh, and Ben had a bison burger. Evidently, it is very lean protein.

There was a great playground, and we brought bikes for the kiddos. Good times.

Helping Daddy set up, Snacks for dinner at the picnic table.

Ben eating dinner, the beautiful deer (we saw wild turkeys too!!)

Emma on the log, Noah in the tent

Caleb bringing in the fishing poles, Ezra loving the swing!
We even got to see Great Grandpa Fowler, and watch him clean some fish!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"I sure hope you are babysitting!!"

This is what the um, older lady said to me as we walked by in Target today.
"I hope those aren't all YOURS!!"

(Now, those words came at a great time, actually. I was severely distracted by trying to push the stroller with Caleb and Noah "helping", and also trying to "guide" the cart that Emma was pushing.)

Huh? What? Oh, yes, someone is speaking to me. Smile.
"Oh yes, they are all mine."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

So proud of himself...

He loves to stand up in his crib, and listen as we do our schoolwork.  Oh, yeah, we moved our "school stuff" into Emma's old room, along with Ezra's crib.  Which has proved helpful in some ways (he can play and listen while we work), and challenging in others (if he wakes up to nurse at 4am, and goes back to sleep and is still asleep at 9am, I guess that means no school!!)  =)

Sad Lesson...

So, Ben brought home a SURPRISE!!! for the kids.  A co-worker was getting rid of a small fish tank, with two beta fish.   There is a divider, to keep them away from each other, but on one occasion, one of the fish had made its way over and sort of "beat up" on the other fish.  Everyone was okay, but when Ben brought the fish home, I think we both noticed that the poor fish that took the beating looked a little defeated.  But, this fish had lots of pink in color, so that was to be Emma's fish.  She named it "Rainbow."  Caleb named the other fish "Sparkle."
The kids were so excited, helping Daddy clean out the tank, waiting for the water to warm up to the same temperature as the water they had been in, etc.  Rainbow seemed to be doing okay, although not a very active fish.  Just kind of "hanging out."
Well... on Saturday morning, Rainbow just wasn't moving at all.  The color had left and there was a paleness... Rainbow had died.  This was very hard for Emma.  Even with the reassurance of another fish, she cried desperately, "But I want Rainbow!!"  When Ben was flushing Rainbow, he was telling the kids that the fish would go through the pipes and out into the ocean (or something to that effect, I missed the whole conversation).  Emma was just so sad.  I sat, rocking with her, explaining that this is not how God intended it to be.  When God made this world, His intention was for life, not death.  But, we chose sin.  And ever since that time, death is a part of this life.  Even the most beautiful parts of creation are dying.  And while it is so sad, and so overwhelming at times... it is also the framework for the beautiful picture of redemption.  Death is not the end of the story!!  Our great Hero, Jesus, has redeemed us and triumphed over this enemy of death!!  Now, what does this mean for Rainbow?  I don't know.  (I had to be honest with the kid... I just don't know.  I did tell her, that while the Bible does make mention of animals in regards to heaven, I am just not sure if that includes Rainbow.)  It did make for some very interesting conversation, however.
Anyway, at church on Sunday, they had little "Prayer Request" cards in the bulletin.  Caleb was asking about it, and I saw Ben explaining it to him at the other end of the pew.  Then, I saw Caleb writing away... When he was done, Ben showed it to me:
"Dear God, please keep Rainbow safe out in the ocean."
So sweet.  Not sure he really understood that Rainbow was DEAD out there in the "ocean", but still, very sweet.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The End of an Era...

If you don't watch friends, then the title will not be nearly as funny. But, the sentiment remains... that something important has come to a close. Emma finished her last book, and test today. We celebrated with an ice cream party. Since Caleb is only one book behind her, he will probably finish in the next couple of days (although it would not surprise me if he wanted to "power through" so he can be done too, and have ANOTHER ice cream party!!).
This is the first formal curriculum we have purchased, and it has served us quite well. I know that you can use just about anything, and what works with one won't work with others. But, I have been comforted by having something to guide us, and we have had so much fun along the way. I have so many fond memories of their journey this last year.
They went from reading "C-A-T" to "Constitution." And so, it is with a tinge of sadness that I close up our box and pack away our stuff. But, it won't be long until I can bring it back out for Mr. Noah!! And won't it be even more fun, when Emma and Caleb can rejoin me as "teachers". =)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Advance '09

The conference Ben is attending in Durham, North Carolina is called Advance '09, "a conference about the power of God's gift to His people-the church.
I imagine he is pretty tired, since he just finished a night shift, and probably only slept a couple of hours.
He is flying all night tonight, then at the conference Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning. He is flying home Saturday (to avoid another night at the hotel). We will pick him up late Saturday.
Please pray with us, that he will have a safe trip, and that God will continue the work He has begun in his heart, that he will be challenged, comforted, encouraged, and have a renewed vision and perspective.

When Daddy is Away...

Well, we made it. We all got in the car, (and fortunately Grandma was able to come with us!!), and we drove down to LAX. The kids saw many planes, although not nearly as closely as they would have liked. We dropped Daddy off at his terminal area, and I could already see the big tears forming in Emma's eyes. She was just so sad that Daddy was leaving, telling him, "I don't want you to go, I want you to stay..." But, even through her tears she kissed Daddy, and we watched him go inside to wait (for a long time!!) for his flight. We got onto the wrong road, which turned out to be a major blessing, because a potty stop was needed RIGHT AWAY!! So, Grandma stayed with Ezra while I took the other three potty. Then, all the kids were STILL HUNGRY!!, so we were able to grab smoothies at a Robek's. Which, I must say, made for a "SMOOTHER" ride home. =)

Everyone is in bed, and the only consolation I had for the kids for Daddy being away (other than my big speech on how we should be so happy and excited for Daddy, which seems to have taken a bit with Caleb but not so much with Emma) is ICE CREAM. So, we are to have a big ice cream party. It just so happens that Emma will finish her "Trophy" book either tomorrow or Friday, which will lend itself nicely to an ice cream party anyway. We also have some wonderful friends who have been mindful of us being without Daddy, and have invited us to swim and play. I am so thankful. There was a part of both Ben and I that wished I could be with him at his conference, but all today, I have had a great feeling of peace, knowing that I am here with the kids, and I think this is the right place for me. We will miss Daddy so much, and yet God is abundantly gracious to bring those around us to love on us and make the time when Daddy is away go by just a little bit quicker. Oh, and Skype will hopefully help too!!