Thursday, January 27, 2011

The grand total

The grand total weighed 75 pounds.

9510 coins.


And Sara guessed $984.46.  Only $6.63 off?!?!?  Seriously?

I'm pretty sure she would have smoked anyone else who guessed.  If anyone else had.

So Sara, you are the proud winner of this collection of various foreign coins, Chucky Cheese tokens, car wash tokens, a squashed penny, a button, diaper pin, and other miscellaneous.

And one rubber lizzard.

Only two questions remain:

1:  Madderom or Botma?

2:  Will the bank actually take this?  Or am I going to have to find someone who ticks me off and pay my bill in coin rolls?  Hmmmmm, tax day is approaching.  Think the IRS would accept a 75 pound box as payment?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Those magnificent boys and their flying machines

Saturday I was instructed to take all the children out of the house, for several hours, so that Paige could clean the house thoroughly.  We had our home study renewal visit on Saturday, so naturally the house had to be un-naturally clean.  Funny story at the end of this post about the visit.

So after running some errands, the kids and I headed to the hobby store for some fun.

As we were checking out, Ella asked me "Dad, did you play with these when you were a kid?"


"Because that was the only toys they had back then?"


And off to the park we went for some balsa airplane flying.

While we were playing, we even saw these rumble over. Must have been an airshow in town, that we were unfortunately missing.

Luke was unable to wind the rubber band motor and quickly gave up.

Unfortunately, I should have read the directions a little more closely. Apparently these are recommended for ages 10 and up. And there is a definite reason. Five year old boys do a marvelous job of quickly converting $25 worth of high performance balsa plane into scrap wood...

Oh well, they had fun.

So funny home study story...

At our first home study, Luke was down for a nap the entire time, so our social worker never actually saw him. This time he was awake and playing with the other kids. Partway through our interview, all the kids wandered in from the backyard and upstairs to play, past where we were sitting at the downstairs kitchen table.

The social worker asked about Luke. Paige described him as any loving mother would... easy going, well behaved, total momma's boy, and even potty trained now at an early age!

Not thirty seconds after giving this glowing review of her youngest child...

Ella, yelling from upstairs: "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! Luke pooped in his pants!"

So Paige heads upstairs to change him. Downstairs, the social worker and I talk, while from upstairs drifts down the sounds of the mother of all tantrums. Luke had a bloody fit, I'm still not sure exactly why.

She returns a few minutes later and joins us at the table again. I can still hear Luke whimpering and fussing upstairs.

Thirty seconds later...

Ella, emerging down the stairs: "Mom. Luke is calling you 'poopy.' "

"OK, thanks Ella. Head upstairs and just ignore him."

Thirty seconds later...

Noah, thumping down the stairs: "Mom. Luke is calling you a "poopy head mommy.' "

Aye carrumba.

So much for potty trained, well behaved, and momma's boy.

The social worker thought it was funny (I think.) We joked that all our kids were probably upstairs plotting... "Let's have Luke poop in his pants and then call people potty talk! There's no way mom and dad will spank us with the social worker here!"

At least, I hope the social worker knew were were joking...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We're cashin' in!

We've been saving coins in this jar since we got married. We always said we were saving it up for our second honeymoon, half jokingly. Since we aren't the second honeymoon types, we are cashing this puppy in for our trip to Ethiopia. Tourist money, so to speak.

Paige bought a coin counter off Ebay, and our kids already had fun starting to sort the coins.

So a little contest...

Can you guess how much money is in the jar? Leave a comment with your best guess.

The winner gets everything in the jar that isn't American money.

Like the small rubber lizzard.

Or that dirty Canadian money.

Go ahead, take a guess! You know you really want whatever treasures our kids have tucked in there for the last 7 years!
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Friday, January 21, 2011

If only all of life were as happy as a boy on a wee tiny plastic horse...

Wearing a huge pimp hat.

And lacking any pants.

Ahhhhhh, to be so carefree again. :)


Sunday, January 16, 2011

They think Google Earth is a game.

Also, I'm going to need to disinfect that harmonica before I play it again...

Backyard fun

We spent the morning playing in the backyard.

Obvious evidence that dad was supervising.  Note Noah's clothes, in comparison to his sick photo from yesterday.  Yup, same ones he spent the previous day puking in.  And the fact that Luke has on no pants.  Oh, and Levi's boots.  Classy!

Luke's dislocated arm?  Still a little tender...

Speaking of no pants... note the big boy undies.  Paige is very proud of the fact that Luke is now potty trained during the daytime and keeping his undies clean and dry!

Swings were utilized in the morning entertainment.

Since Levi and Noah both spent some time prior to the backyard playing this...

They decided they would re-enact the vicious battles in the backyard, complete with frisbee shields and inflatable projectiles.

(love Levi's face)

Then they all came after me.  Stinkers...

Mere micro seconds prior to this photo, wee Luke wandered past them and ripped the biggest fart I have ever heard come out of a two year old.  It was very impressive.

No way he could get away with blaming that one on the dog...

The pursuit of Sophie

Pretty sure I shared that we have a court date. Did you hear that? A COURT DATE!!!!!

On February 28 (God willing) Jason and I will become parents for the 5th time. Five times! Do you remember how amazing it was on the day your child was born? Now multiple that times 5 and you get Sophie! We are so blessed and so excited!

The next part of this journey will begin on February 22, when Jason and I pack up and head off on our adventure. My fabulous mother and mother-in-law will be holding down the fort together for the first week or so, then my dad will join my mom for the second half of the stay. The kids will be in very capable hands and will probably have a blast with no parents and only grandparents for weeks at a time. Both my mom and my mother-in-law can run circles around me, so they will probably have this place running smoother than ever before! Big shoes to fill when I get home. :)

Jason and I will be gone for 2 whole weeks. I am pretty sure that leaving Luke a few weeks ago for three days while we went to Legoland was the longest I have ever been away from my kids, leaving them in someone else's care. (I have had a few trips to MI for births of nephews and a niece, but the kids were home with Jason and at least one always traveled with me.) Two weeks, FAR away from home, with no kids is going to be hard.

The payoff is that we will FINALLY be meeting our daughter. This is thee longest pregnancy I have ever endured and probably the most stressful. I think I should be put on bed rest, after 13 months of waiting (so far,) but no rest is in sight with the current four running around this place. :) Which thankfully helps to pass the time and keep us busy.

So on February 22, we will head off to Washington DC. After an over night stay there we will be headed to Ethiopia the following morning. Twelve hours and 25 minutes after take off, we should be arriving in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It will then be February 24. The real fun begins the next day when we will meet Sophie for the first time. We have no idea what time of day that will be, we will be told the schedule once we arrive. We will be allowed to see her on the 25th, and 26th for approximately 90 minutes each time. No visits are allowed on Sunday. Monday, February 28 (again no idea what time of day) is the day we are longing for! That is our court date. That is the day (God willing), the Ethiopian courts will declare Sophie our legal child! We are then permitted one more 90 minute visit with her the following day. Then we are done. :(  After that we are no longer allowed to visit.

So, to make the most out of our international plane tickets we are going to see a bit of Ethiopia while we are there. We had two main destinations we wanted to see while we were there. First and foremost we want to go to the city of Harar. This is where our daughter was from, so we want to see it. We want to take a zillion pictures of the people and places to show her some day. Jason is determined that we are going to find the mission where she was found, but I am not sure how that will all work out. (We will tell you all our adventures when we return, so stay tuned!) After that 2 day trip, we are headed to Lalibela, for another 2 day trip, to be tourists and see more of Ethiopia's beauty. Then on March 7 we will begin the journey home. We will arrive home on the 8th, empty handed (no Sophie YET!) but hopefully with lots of pictures, adventures, and stories, to help tide us over until the journey ends.

So that's it. For all you curious folks out there...

No, we don't know when she will be home.

No, we don't know how long until our embassy date

No, we don't understand what is taking so long.

We do know we have a court date. We have tickets. We have a hotel. We have child care. We have lots of formula in our luggage. We have 4 very excited and eager kids, who want their little sister home!

And, we got updated info this week that our peanut is healthy and growing big! She is up to 15 lbs! Praise the Lord! She is also the most beautiful Ethiopian princess we have ever laid eyes on.

Here's a peek for you......

From Jason:  Yeah, that's pretty much how we feel too.  All the pieces, trying to fit together, with a bunch of Sophie colored ones missing right out of the middle.  Can't wait to fill them in...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our baby boy has such pretty bones

Thursday night, just before I got home, Luke wiped out on the kitchen floor. He laid on the floor and cried (maybe we should install Life Call?) Paige was still holding him when I got home, but hadn't yet squeezed every part of his arm. So I scooped him up and did the typical dad thing ("Does that hurt? Does that? How about that?")  No squeezing really made him cry out in pain, other than just trying to move it in general.

Paige ended up taking him to pediatric urgent care, suspecting nursemaid's elbow (or radial head subluxation, if you want to be technical.)  He's done this a few times before.  Actually, this is the first time he's done it.  The other times we were... well... pulling on his arms.  In love, of course.  Kid's just got lousy elbows, I guess.

Anyways, the urgent care did x-rays with what they claimed was a horrible x-ray machine.  Apparently it can only detect massive fractures.  Not sure what good it is then, but we did get some pretty pictures of our baby boy's bones!

No massive fracture there!

So they tried to put his elbow back in joint.  Luke screamed, but no one heard a pop of it going back in.  The doctor left so Luke could calm down.  At that point, he claimed he had been fixed.

"My arm is all better.  We can go home now!"

Kid was lying through his teeth, cause he didn't want that doctor anywhere near him again.

The next morning he woke up, still crying everytime he moved his arm.  So off we went to his real pediatrician, Luke and I.

The nurse practitioner took one look at it and knew it was his elbow.  She tried to get Luke to reach for a sucker.  He wouldn't even smile, cause he now knew what that meant she was going to do next.  She grabbed his arm, twisted, and even I heard the pop.

After he calmed down, he reached right above his head to grab that sucker...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Noah woke up in the morning claiming "I didn't get enough sleep, so I think I am going to throw up."  Paige made their favorite breakfast of a pancake on a stick (seriously good stuff) to lure them to the table.  Noah didn't even touch his.  That's when we knew he was actually sick, and told him he was staying home from school.

Levi was claiming to be sick as well, and the thought of going to school without his brother really made him want to hurl.  He said "Who will I play with if Noah doesn't come to school?"  So he got to stay home too, even though he packed down his entire pancake on a stick (and half of Noah's too!)

Noah ended up tossing his cookies at 8:30, 10:00, 12:00, 2:00, 5:00, and somewhere around 7:30.  Levi hung out on the couch with him all day with sympathy pains (never once threw up.)  Luke sat next to both of them, still holding his sore arm (or resting in on his three (three!) fluffies.)  All three on the neat sheet to protect the furniture.

And I went to work at noon, wishing my day could be nearly as pleasant as a dislocated elbow or six rounds of vomit...  ;)

I love this kid...


Monday, January 3, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Luke enjoyed many an adventure and dining experience with his old granny. Thanks for watching him, and for the Legoland Christmas (you old granny!)

Everything you see in this post is made of Lego

Ok, so not everything.  Not even a majority, really.  Frankly, come to think of it, surprisingly little of Legoland was actually made of Legos.  But there was enough to keep our kids entertained on their Christmas present trip to Legoland.

I asked Paige if she really wanted me to post all 54 photos that she had starred, and she said something about Jonathan posting 800 photos of their one kid, so he could sit through a few photos of ours.  So here you go, enough photos to make your retinas bleed.  It's the modern day equivalent of me forcing you to watch our vacation slideshow, except you can scroll down really fast if you get bored.

We loaded up the van on Wednesday and made the drive over to Carlsbad, CA.  Luke, being only 34 inches tall and therefore not tall enough to ride most everything there, got to stay home for a hugely hyped "adventure with his old granny."

We arrived at the hotel that night and curled up in the comfy beds, while visions of Lego danced in our heads.

Oh, and also visions of some mysterious cancer causing chemical, given that this was posted at the entrance to our hotel building...

Seriously.  Is that not the most useless sign ever?  Exactly what kind of chemical am I supposed to look out for?  What area is it in?  Just this corner of the hotel?  The whole building?  The whole hilltop?  The state?


So the next morning we headed to Legoland (hopefully all cancer free.)

Levi and Noah were totally into their maps, of course.

We were one of the first to the dragon roller coaster.

It was here that we discovered that Noah is not especially fond of roller coasters.  While Ella was screaming with glee, and Levi whooped and hollered like Daffy Duck, Noah broke down into tears and terror at the first drop down the hill.  I believe he claimed he was never going on a roller coaster again as soon as he was off the thing.

The super slow jousting horses were more his speed.

Even on the tame bouncing ride he wasn't quite sure he was having fun.  I've got 13 pictures of this ride.  In each photo, Ella and Levi have huge smiles.  Noah alternates between half-smiles and looks of serious concern as to his safety.

We braved the water ride, even though the temperature seemed to be barely above freezing.

The lady on this ride claimed this elephant was made of 284 gazillion Legos.  She actually said how many Legos it had, and I made a point of attempting to remember, but have since forgotten the count.

At some point Levi and Noah discovered that there were XBox games at strategic locations around the park.  All other rides promptly became second fiddle to the prospect of being able to play real, live, XBox.

We somehow pried them away though.

Luckily for them, they discovered that Legoland also sold churros.  A place with Xbox and churros?  It's like what 5 year olds must imagine heaven is like.

We finally rolled back up to the hotel late that night.  I headed out to the local TGI Fridays to pick up something resembling actual dinner, as opposed to churros and hot dogs enjoyed at the park.  There, I discovered that the mysterious cancer chemical was also in the food.  Wonderful.

Again, a highly useful sign.  Chemicals "may" be present here?  Well, are they, or aren't they?  And how am I supposed to know?  Does that sign mean I shouldn't eat the food?  Or just certain foods?  Or I should bring my handy "cancer causing chemical detection kit" to test the food prior to consumption?


After waking up the next morning without any obvious tumors, we headed out to Legoland for day two.  Having seen most of what the place had to offer the previous day, Levi and Noah came armed with a list of exactly what their highest priorities were for the day.  Number one?

I think we actually convinced them to go one one ride before Xbox, because the lines would be shorter first thing in the morning.  But they made it to Xbox as soon as they could, and hit it several more times throughout the day.

They dug up dino bones.

The fairy tale cruise.

Duplo village.  Pronounced "Duh-plo" if you really want to drive Paige crazy.

Squirt guns.

We did some minature golfing.  Again with the signs, this one on the hut at the entrance the the mini golf area...

I asked Kaitlyn behind the counter if the attractions that would spray me with water were in any way related to the cancer causing chemicals (much to my wife's embarrassment.)  Kaitlyn assured me that I would be perfectly safe while golfing.  I'm not sure how exactly she knows that, but I took her word for it.


I'm not sure if this was the water spraying attraction, the cancer causing one, or both.  I'm also not sure that the intricate level of detail in the Lego modeling of the skunk's rear end was entirely appropriate for a children's entertainment venue...

While the skunk spray may not have caused cancer, I believe it did cause grumpiness.  Neither Noah or Levi made it through all 18 holes, and got pulled off the course for timeouts.

We ended the night with fireworks and hot chocolate before heading back to the hotel.

Day three dawned with an unexpected plan to go for a quick trip to the aquarium prior to driving home.

Which Paige somehow expanded into additional rides.  Complete with raincoats.  Obviously this was not spur of the moment, and she and the children were colluding against my attempts at a timely departure from cancer-land.  And shooting me with squirtguns.

A stop by a Lego shark.

A log ride.

That is the grin of a woman who has tricked her husband into spending an extra day at Legoland.

The one picture out of 414 proving I was actually there.

And now, at 12:37 according to the picture timestamp, we make it to the aquarium.  So much for "we will just go see the fish real quick, and then leave."  Suuuuuure we will.

And after the aquarium, we made our way back through the park towards the van to leave. Of course, Paige snuck onto a few more rides.  Because apparently all the hungover parents slept in on New Years Day, and the park was empty, and how could we pass up this opportunity?

Although I will say that the sight of terrified little Noah screaming down the hill, eyes wide with terror, does give a parent a certain sense of satisfaction, having endured the terrible threes at the hands of said child.

We didn't make it back to the van until around 2:00.  A little later than at least one of us was planning on.  We loaded up all our tired and happy kids, and got ready for the drive back.

However, we did have one quick task to take care of prior to pulling out of the hotel parking lot.  We also think this may explain the source of all the noxious chemicals that this area apparently has in their water...

Arizonans... ;)