Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Worn out

They play hard during the day.... and crash at night. Here are some of my recent favorite sleeping pictures...

1. I love footed pj's and quiet, sleeping babies:

2. This is from over the weekend when I had my video camera out:

3. And this is how we found Rayna one night at 11 pm when we came up for bed. She's (finally) totally asleep, after a long evening of playing around after bedtime...

Talk about "crash!"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 4

So we’re on day 4 of a long weekend during which Pete and Strider have both been out of town. While they’ve been off having loads of fun (with college friends in Maryland and with cousins in Pennsylvania, respectively), I have been home with the other 3 kids. This was my first time to man the fort without Strider to help out… I was a little nervous about the prospect. I’ve come to depend on him a lot when Pete’s not around.

The first day I was energized and enjoyed some special times with Sweet Girl, Creative Champ and Charming Baby. We had fun reading a mountain of new library books, playing outside, etc.

By the 2nd day, my children were replaced by Queen Rhetorical-Question Repeater, Chief Constant Chatterbox, and Captain Destructo. This, probably not coincidentally, was the morning that Miles made me get up at 5:30 am.

The 3rd day, I was just surviving with Needy Child 1, Needy Child 2 and Needy Child 3.

Honestly, they were behaving fine, I suppose, but due to more middle-of-the-night antics and another early morning, I was getting weary. Preparing the seventy-eleventh cup of juice or snack, and washing each of the dishes was getting old. Not to mention the constant laundry, question-answering, etc… Longing for a break, I was.

But here we are on Day 4, the Final Day, and we’re still smiling most of the time. In the last few days, we’ve experienced a broken glass (that the kids tried to clean up without telling me!), a broken dish, yogurt and maple syrup spilled on the rug, a broken vacuum, a broken chair

(why does everything seem to be broken when Pete is gone??), several way-too-long sweaty bike rides with little ones complaining they’re too tired to ride all the way home, and a very bloody gash on Miles’ finger that soaked through my entire box of band-aids over 2 days and provoked several wrestling matches between him and me as I tried to get him to keep said band-aids ON.

But we also had plenty of fun times like this...

(This video is not great since the camera angle makes it hard to actually see him... but I still love the sound. :) )

So it's been interesting.... and we're all ready to see our big guys tonight!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our new neighbors

Colsen came running in the other morning to tell me about a nest he found in the tree by our driveway.

It turned out to be built by mourning doves -- and we got to see the mom and dad together!

The dad kept bringing pieces of straw and string and stuff... I guess they were in the newly-constructing stages of home building.
They certainly did not choose the quietest spot on the block... we'll see if there's a "for sale" sign out in front of the nest soon. In the meantime, we're enjoying them!

HOW did that happen??

I heard a crash in the living room, then came in to find this:

In questioning the alleged perpetrator, I asked him how it happened.

His answer: I have a really sharp toenail. That's what did it.
Somehow I suspect I'm not getting the full story.

Another Mom update

After a rough couple of days, I think Mom has, in her words, finally turned a corner.

She ended up having 2 additional surgeries to stop some unexpected bleeding, and somehow along the way her platelets and hemoglobin were both low, if I have my information correct. Now, though, she seems to be picking up speed and is on the road to recovery. I talked to her just a little bit ago and she sounded quite good! She said the pain at this point isn't even that bad -- in fact, one of her biospy procedures caused more pain than the surgeries did. Crazy.

Anyway, she should be released from the hospital tomorrow, if all continues to go well. We hope her recovery is smooth and quick from here on out!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mom update

After weeks of research, appointments, prayer, and analysis, Mom finally went through with surgery today. As everyone who knows her knows, she is very reluctant to walk through the doors of a hospital, and after I heard about all the things that happened in the last couple days, I'm surprised she didn't check herself out before the operation this morning.

Apparently, when she was in the pre-op stages, a lot of machines were not working. She got on a scale, and it didn't work. They tried to do an EKG, and that machine didn't work. Even the bathroom lights weren't working this morning -- so they had to give her a flashlight to take in with her! And then even the flashlight broke! This all would not have bolstered her trust in the medical community, I'm thinking.

As my dad was relaying all this to me today, I said, "Well, I'm glad they made all those marks on her skin yesterday, to show where they're going to make incisions. At least we'll know they just have to follow the arrows today."

"Oh no," Dad answered. "That's another thing that didn't work: all the marks came off last night! So they had to re-do all that this morning."

What were they using yesterday? Crayola washable markers?? My kids could give those doctors a lesson on how to write on skin with permanent markers so it won't come off for days, even weeks.

Anyway, somehow Mom managed to stay -- maybe they had her strapped into a gurney by that point -- and the surgery went forward.

We were very, very relieved to find out that the first surgeon found no evidence of cancer in the first lymph nodes they took out, so they didn't have to remove any more. (which is good, since Mom was saying 2 days ago that she did NOT want them taking out any more than 3 lymph nodes -- because she thinks she "needs them!" I'm glad she didn't have to wake up mid-surgery to tell them to STOP.)

The 2nd surgeon also brought a good report, saying that everything went as expected, and there were no surprises. We are all soooooo thankful!

Hopefully, she will be going home tomorrow, and her recovery can begin. Both arms will be partially out of commission for awhile, and she has some drains, but we're hoping God will continue the grace He has been pouring out on the whole situation, and her healing will be quick.

So, we praise God today for being merciful to us and to Mom and giving us the best-case scenario here. All in all it's been a very good day. In fact, that hardest part of the day for me ended up being the 5 minutes I spent trying to wrestle my van into a spot in the parking garage.

Tonight at dinner Colsen wanted to pray, and in his usual mixed-up 3-year-old type of prayer, he said, "Thank you God for celebrating Nonna in the hospital today." At first I wanted to correct him, but then I realized that was actually pretty accurate. Mom's theme through this whole journey has been "count it all joy" -- and today it was easier to do that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The dad who looks good even in a hair net

We had fun celebrating the great daddy in our house today! As I told him again today, I was pretty sure that I would be getting a good husband when I married him, but the fact that he is also a terrific father has been a wonderful bonus. I love watching our kids with him -- always eager to climb on him, play with him, get his attention. He is a very patient man. :)

Pete asked for curried chicken salad for lunch today, so we had that with coleslaw (Colsen's all-time favorite food), and then for dinner we had sauteed garden veggies and herbs, salmon and smashed potatoes. Between meals, we had some backyard pool time, some World Cup-watching time, and some Lincoln Logs playing time.

And some gifts...
This book may have been more appreciated by Strider than even by Pete. It's called "Handy Dad" and it has a bunch of projects in it he can do with the kids. For example...

I hope it gets a lot of use!

Oh, and we had dessert, too...
(I'm not sure why I'm writing so much detail about the food today!)

But back to the hair net... Pete, Strider and a friend all went on Friday to participate in the Million Meals Mission going on in Charlotte right now. (This is the same organization the Bain's have been working with in Minnesota for years) Over the next few weeks, the local group here is trying to assemble one million meals for people in Haiti. During Strider and Pete's shift, the 100+ volunteers managed to get together 38,000 meals (while wearing hair nets), which was the most done in that amount of time by a group at this mobile station. :)

They both came back very charged up and wanting to go again to do more soon... If anyone wants to join them, let us know.

We all are thankful for a father who loves to help and serve others!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BYEC Pictures

Our week of Back Yard Explorers Camp has wrapped up, and it sounds like everyone had fun!

We had almost 40 kids here each day, ranging in age from 1 to 16. It was great to see all the ages interacting with each other. And I was happy to see this: the youth/leaders (all pictured here except Taryn who was inside when this picture was taken) were still smiling at the end. :) I was thankful for all their energy and enthusiasm as they led the kids through all the games, songs, and activities.

Here are some of the things we did this week. (I'm posting a lot of pictures so the parents can see what their kids were up to! You should be able to click an individual pic to make it bigger if you want.)

They sang songs...

"You can't ride in my little red wagon"... I'm assuming parents heard this a LOT at home this week. :)
They played a lot of games (capture the flag, elbow tag, cross my ocean, jump the creek, fish in the net, capture the treasure, obstacle courses, relay races...):

They (hopefully) learned a few things (types of clouds, trees, bugs, and birds)...
They participated in other random activities...

....And hopefully enjoyed some time with friends (I know I did!)

(... and did some World Cup cheering. Go Holland!)

Very thankful for a fun week with fun people who were good sports even in crazy heat!

Monday, June 14, 2010

BYEC: Scenes from Day 1

Today began our 2nd not-quite-annual Back Yard Explorers Camp! Six teenagers are helping me run it this time... which I love soooo much more than trying to do it on my own. :) Over thirty kids came, so the yard was abuzz. (Should that be hyphenated?)

The activities today included songs, games, an obstacle course, crafts, and a little learning about cloud types. Tomorrow's theme: trees!

Here they are in action:

It was VERY hot.... so this kind of thing was perfect:
Looking forward to the rest of the week!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How picture-taking goes

After church last week I decided I liked the colors all the kids were wearing and wanted to try to get a picture of them all together. This is what transpired instead.