Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday, Julia!

Three year old Julia
Julia as a baby.

Well, it seems that there are no more babies in our house. Most days I am perfectly fine with that, but I have to admit that today, on Julia's birthday, I am feeling sentimental (as I do on each of their birthdays).

Julia is a very entertaining and adorable three year old. She is a combination of sweet and endearing and fiesty. She seems to be quite similar to her Great-Grandmother (who is why Julia's middle name is Ruth).

Julia's birthday CareBear cookies. Since it was just going to be the 6 of us, I made cookies instead of having more cake than we could eat. So, each person got a special cookie.

Julia talks like crazy. One of the things that makes me laugh the most is when she quotes things from stories (either on tv or in a book). Although she is quite mature for her age, she still has that baby look and voice. My favorite word of hers right now is "creeps." She'll say, "that gives me the queeps." I ask her to say it now and then just because it makes me smile.

Julia showing her creepy face.

Another thing she likes to do is make her siblings laugh. The other day I went to investigate why the three older ones were laughing hysterically (often laughter like that has its roots in trouble). I discovered that Julia was laying on the tile floor by our front door, making "floor angels" with her eyes closed and a perfectly straight face. Circled around her were her siblings laughing their heads off.

Along those lines, Julia's secret talent is keeping a straight face. You know the game, "Don't smile!" You know, where someone tries to make someone else smile by looking them in the eye and saying, "don't smile" until they can't take it anymore and they smile??? Well, all the other kids (and I have to admit, me too) cave within seconds of my husband starting that game. Julia on the other hand can keep a completely straight face for the longest time. Even while all the rest of us laugh about it. It's rather entertaining.

One more thing about Julia...she has a very compassionate heart. She is a nurturer, constantly taking care of her "babies." She is incredibly concerned when someone is hurt. She has a very sweet spirit. I'm curious to see how God will use this wonderful girl He's given to us.

Julia taking care of one of her babies in her new baby bed that she got for her birthday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Before and After

Here are the first of the before and after series...
This is what our kitchen looked like when we bought it:

After much labor (wallpaper removal and painting) this is what it now looks like:
Here's the other side:

you actually can't get the full taste of what the wallpaper looked like from the pictures, nor can you see that it took 12 hours of steaming to get the wallpaper off, and then an additional I don't know how long to get the wallpaper glue residue off and then it needed to be patched and sanded and primed and then painted. The cabinets also took 5 coats of paint to finally look white without streaks.
We've also changed the way the kitchen table is situated about 4 times. I think we're settled on this way.
The newest change was the addition of drawer pulls. As ridiculous as it may be, I smile each time I use them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I tend to be a little obsessed with all things pumpkin and turkey around this time of year. This morning the kids and I made rice krispy treat turkeys. :)

Daniel being silly with rice krispy treat on his nose.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Favorite Time

Thanksgiving is next week. I spend all year looking forward to this holiday. Probably more than any other holiday. For as long as I can remember, we have gone to our aunts and uncles (and we used to visit my great grandmother) in New Jersey. We still go there only now there are a lot more of us. So, next week, we will cram about forty people from 3 generations (with about half of them being under 13). It's a wonderful insanity.

So, in anticipation of fantastic cousin time, here is a picture of Julia with my sister's daughter, Bekah. They are 8 months apart.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cherry Street Youth Group, the College Years

We are thrilled to be close to many of the people who were in our youth group at Cherry Street as well as working with us at PMBC. It's great to be able to still get together with them (just in a different living room!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kid Zone

We just started a new kids' program at our church. We are praying that many more children come and learn about the Bible and God's love for them. Here is a picture from the very first meeting which was last week.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Follow Up to the Castle Playground

Recently while Hannah and Jay were working on school work and I was helping them and also working on the computer, Daniel and Julia were building with blocks when Julia declared, "Look, I built the castle playground we went to!"
Of course, the camera batteries were dead when I went to take the picture, and then the castle got knocked down, so then Daniel wanted to help her rebuild it, but nonetheless, I was impressed with Julia's original building. So, this reconstruction will have to do as a record of her creativity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Visit From Dear Friends

Isn't God good to put people into your lives that you can't imagine life without?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For the Julia Fans Out There

I thought this was a really cute picture of Julia, one that showed her personality as well as her cuteness.

She turns 3 in one month. Though that seems crazy, she has definitely taken on "three-ness." She's silly and a chatterbox and has a long list of her own opinions.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Coolest Playground I've Ever Seen

This is I correct in labeling it the coolest playground ever???

The boys: Daniel, Zeke, and Jay.
Julia and Ella Kate (who are 364 days apart) playing with chimes and sort-of sharing :)

Posing by the rock with our new friends Zeke and Ella Kate Gift. They are from our church and we love playing with them.

Hannah having a blast on the tire swing.

Julia was being grumpy on our walk to the bathroom, so I threatened to take her picture being a grump. She didn't stop, so here you have it...Julia being "Mrs. Grumpypants"

We were about to go down a gigantic (and very dark) curly slide for the first time.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Bag of M&Ms

I considered dressing myself as the bag of M&Ms... :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A break

Two weeks ago, on a Saturday, I took a break from the endless painting and unpacking and took the kids to a pumpkin farm and apple orchard. The kids were having fun choosing a pumpkin of their own. The pumpkin field we were in (courtesy of the haywagon that brought us out there) was right next to the apple trees, so I let the kids each pick an apple to (buy and then) eat. I chose Julia's to make sure she didn't get one with worm holes in it. When I handed it to her, she looked at me quite confused, and asked, "Is this my pumpkin?" After a brief explanation, she understood, and resumed her search of a pumpkin just her size.
The break was nice, the day was beautiful, and the kids had fun. I think next year, I may go out and pick apples...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Way It Was...

During the month of September, we spent a lot of time painting and working on the house. At that time we had no furniture. So, here are a few pictures of what life was like then...

Living Room furniture (pre-carpet)

Kitchen furniture

Sleeping arrangements

We've come a long way from these pictures. We're not quite done yet, but we are getting there. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm back

Well, we finally have internet at the house, and the camera is finally charged, and though I have painting I should be doing, I am here, sitting at the desk, updating my blog for all of you who have been patiently (and some not so patiently...) waiting.

I'm going to back up a little and show some pictures from the past few weeks and then gradually catch up to current pictures.

In the middle of September, the kids and I took a trip out to Pittsburgh and my sister and I took the seven cousins to the Pittsburgh Zoo. Just like last year when we went, Julia still liked the elephants. She didn't, however, still call them "el-mints." This year there was a baby elephant which combined her two favorite things: elephants and babies. She was thrilled. I have to say, I was too. The baby was so cute. I commented "look how little she is!" To which my sister added, "yes, but she weighs 3oo pounds!" I guess she just looked little compared to the gigantic adult elephants.

My favorite animal at the zoo is the giraffe. Hannah speculated that the giraffe is my favorite because it doesn't make any noise. Hmmm, my daughter knows me well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I promise I will get back to posting more regularly, but life is a little crazy right now....please forgive me and check back again in a few weeks. :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Conversations From My Life

Jay to Hannah: "What song am I singing in my head?"
Hannah: "I don't know, what?"
After trying to give clues...
Hannah: "Jay, just tell me...not in burps, not in chewing, not in chomping, just tell me."


The other day, when we took the kids to Tasty Swirl (a favorite local ice cream stand), I asked the kids what they wanted. Hannah responded with "vanilla cone in cup, please," Jay and Daniel both "ordered "twist cone in cup," but Julia's answer was the cutest thing. She eagerly responded with "cho-to-wit tone in tup, please!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Only a Boy

I was outside last night when I heard an abnormal crash and then a loud yelp. I ran to the playground on our property to see what had happened, wondering on the way if I was about to make our first trip to the emergency room. When I arrived, I found Daniel sitting at the end of the slide with blood dripping out of his mouth. I walked our screaming four year old up to the house and into the bathroom where I had him rinse his mouth out so I could survey the damage. He has a pretty nice cut on his tongue. I was puzzled, though, because it did NOT look like he had bitten his tongue. I asked him to stop crying enough to tell me what had happened...the story??? He had gone down the slide headfirst and cut his tongue on a rock at the bottom of the slide! I shook my head and thought to myself...only a boy would wind up with that kind of injury.

Later Jay (our 6 year old) offered this advice: "I don't think they should have put any rocks at the bottom of the slide." My response? "I think the solution is that you don't go down head first!"


Monday, August 18, 2008

A Conversation With Julia

The other afternoon, Julia came to me and said, "Mommy, my toes are dirty betuz I fell off the montey bars."
Now, I thought she said "clothes," so I said, "That's okay, honey, I'll put them in the washing machine later and they'll come clean."
Julia: "You mean, the bathtub?"
Me: "No, the washing machine."
Julia: "You're going to put ME in the washing machine????"
Me: "No...oh, did you say clothes or toes?"
Julia: "toes."
Me: "Oh, sorry, I thought you said clothes. No, I'm not going to put you in the washing machine. We'll wash your toes in the bathtub."

I thought it was funny how she' completely stayed with me throughout the whole conversation, even though I hadn't heard her correctly. She's just a little over two and a half, but her speech is impressive.
I hope this story brought a smile to your face like it did to mine...

Monday, August 4, 2008


We have a break week in the middle of the camping season. Over that break my parents came for a short visit and we took a trip to Knoebels. For those of you who aren't familiar with the amusement park, it's awesome. Clean, plenty of trees, good food, no admission fee (you can buy a hand stamp for all day or tickets for individual rides), a great kid-ride's great for families.
Anyway, here are a few pictures from the fun day...

My Mom and the four kids.

My Dad on the Flume with Hannah and Jay.

Julia's introduction to cotton candy...she loved it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hannah's Birthday Party

As many of you know, we direct a camp. Most of the time during the summer we are extremely busy. This is the half-way point in the summer, and we have a week off. So even though her birthday isn't till late next week, on Monday, she had her birthday party.

Here you see a mixture of friends from Cherry Street Bible Church, Geneva School, and Clifton Community Church.
Hannah loves Geography, so I made her a globe cake.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We Have Another Swimmer!

Jay has now also proven that he can swim in the deep end!
I knew when Hannah showed that she could swim, that Jay wouldn't be far behind her.

Monday, July 14, 2008

We Have a Swimmer!

Hannah has proven that she can swim. She is capable of jumping off of the diving board and swimming independently to the ladder (to climb out and do it again)! She has been working on this for awhile now, and has accomplished it. I had a proud moment watching her (and also felt a little less nervous about her being in the pool).
Good work, Hannah!

(She actually posed, mid-air, for this picture.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Smile With the Missing Tooth

Here is the promised picture of Jay's new smile (see previous post for the story).

Please excuse the chocolate all over his face...he really enjoyed his "Moose Tracks" ice cream.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jay's First Missing Tooth

On Sunday Jay discovered that his tooth was extremely loose. Being that this is his first to go, it pretty much made his day. He was so excited that today might be the day it fell out. I encouraged him to keep wiggling it with his tongue so that it would be ready soon.
Well, today Jay asked his Dad to step in and assist the process with a pair of pliers (I guess the suspense was just too much). On the second tug, the tooth came out. He proudly showed it to his siblings (Daniel was especially interested). We then put it in a tooth box and he put it under his pillow.
Since Hannah lost her first tooth, I have jokingly told the kids that when they lose a tooth that then I "put on my tooth fairy skirt, pick up my tooth fairy wand and skip down the hall to put a surprise under your pillow." They think it's hilarious, picturing me skipping down the hall all dressed up. Jay brought it up tonight as he was carefully placing the tooth box under his pillow.
He's upstairs now, sleeping, anxiously awaiting what the "tooth fairy" will bring.
Tomorrow I'll post a picture of his new smile. Oh, that missing tooth is going to make him look older...*sigh*

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A New Vocabulary Word

"Mommy, I have sa-lima on my thumb!"
(Julia trying to use the term saliva which
she heard her older siblings discussing the
other day.)

Check out that crazily long tongue and out-of-control morning hair!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Brotherly Love

Most of the time, our boys get along. They have extremely different personalities, but manage to have a brotherly comraderie which I love.

That being said, I walked into the kitchen and saw Daniel standing there with only one sock on. When I asked him why, Jay jumped up and showed me that he also had just one sock on. The reason? They had started the "sticky-slippery" club. The socked foot allows for slipping across the kitchen floor while the unsocked foot sticks to the kitchen floor. (Notice, too, that they are dressed alike. I overheard the conversation in their room where they decided on what to wear. It was really cute.)

How have I made it this far in life without being a part of that club? I hope they'll let me join...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tami's Wedding

This past Saturday was my sister-in-law, Tami's wedding. It was truly one of the most fun weddings I've been to.
Here she is...
(my sister Mandie, Sara Garms, and I arranged the flowers)
Pretty flower girls...

Me as a bridesmaid...

The boys handed out programs. The looked really handsome and took their job pretty seriously.
Mandie, Sara, and I also made the cake.

Julia at the end of the day...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Knoebels is the best amusement parks for families.
We took the kids there today and had a blast.
John and the kids on the Kiddie Roller Coaster.

The kids and I on the Flume.

Contrary to the pictures, there were plenty of rides that Julia could ride on, too.
I just liked these two pictures best.
Maybe I'll post more another day...right now, my pillow is calling me.