Monday, December 28, 2015


Elinore got to meet a ballerina at Window Wonderland downtown when we saw Santa come to town!


Christmas Day we saw Ruthie take her first steps solo!  We are cruising around on our own yet, but we're taking a few steps here and there to our family!  We're so close!  Best Christmas present this year, seeing my baby grow and learn and develop! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Caleb visited the orthodontist again Monday and had his expander put in his mouth.  He's impressed me so far and he's doing really well with it!  I was nervous for us through it, but so far so good.  I could use some practice at the turning it every night thing, but we've only done it one night so far, so I'm sure we'll get there!
Elinore has been getting into music lately.  It started with 'This Little Light of Mine' that we would sing at bedtime and 'Itsy Bitsy Spider.'  Then I picked up a children's CD of Bible Songs that we listen to the in car that she's digging.  She'll ask us to sing along sometimes, and sometimes she'll tell us to stop singing!  At bedtime now we sign 'Jesus Loves Me' to Ruth.  Elinore joins in and sings along.  She is starting to sing along more with other songs too and it's awesome!  I love watching her discover this new activity!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Dear Lord,

Our world needs more Jesus.

Please help me spread your love in the world Lord.

And help me raise my children to do the same in your name.

May your will be done Lord.

A men.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Caden and Caleb were asking what the 4x4 on trucks means. They thought it meant 4x4=16 and you have to be 16 to drive.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ruth - 11 Months

Pretty late at getting these taken this month and clothes are over being white.  We grew to fast for that! But she's still awesome!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Poor Ruthie never seems to stop teething.  Last week I laid her down to change a diaper and saw 2 more teeth on top that had popped through!  That makes 4 on top and it almost looks like there are more coming up there, but it's hard to tell yet.

She also popped one through on the bottom too!  She has 3 down there and another one working its way in.

My little girl is always teething it seems, and we're trying to find things for her to chew and manage the pain for her, but it's rough!


Aside from what I learned about the events that took place in Joshua, I wrote down a few personal reflections too.

I thought it was interesting that they hurried across the Jordan River.  There was rush and haste even then just as we rush and hurry through life now.  But we need to do it at God's direction, not culture and to do list based.

I was not expecting the text about the men going to battle and passing before the Lord int he Ark.  I think of the Lord in terms of his is everywhere, but I am looking at it with the lens of the New Testament and I am reading in the Old Testament.

How awesome is God!?  He stopped the sun for moving for a day!

Stubbornness allows defeat.


I finished the book of Joshua this week.  I took the following notes through the book:

  • The land will be the Israelite's
  • Joshua is to follow God's instruction and will be successful
  • Joshua gives first order to the people - prepare to move and the men to fight
  • Spies are sent to Jericho and hid within Rahab's (a prostitute) home, in exchange they promised to spare her and her family from destruction
  • Jericho was terribly afraid of the Israelite's and their God as they'd heard of the Red Sea and more
  • Joshua led them across the Jordan river as God directed, the Ark of the Agreement first; the river flow stopped for them to cross
  • 12 rocks were selected from the river to remind people it stopped flowing when the Ark with the Lord entered it
  • Joshua put 122 rocks in the river where the Ark was
  • 12 = 1 for each of the 12 tribes of Israel
  • They hurried across the Jordan; men prepared for war first and passed before the Lord
  • When priests and the Ark left the Jordan river, it flowed again
  • Israelites born while in the desert weren't circumcised, so Joshua did it now
  • Then they ate the food from the land in Canaan for Passover, no more manna!
  • The Lord sent an army commander for the Israelites
  • Jericho feared Israelites, so the locked the gates, no one came or left
  • They followed God's instruction to march around the city 1 time daily for 6 days with the Ark, priests with blowing trumpets and armed men
  • On day 7, they marched 7 times then shouted
  • Rehab and family were saved as promised
  • At the shouting, the walls fell, men ran in killing; they spared no one and nothing except Rahab and family
  • The spies went for Rahab and kept her family outside camp in a safe place
  • Then they burned Jericho and everything in it except silver, gold, bronze and iron; those they saved for the Lord
  • If anyone tried to rebuild Jericho, they are cursed by the Lord
  • Achan kept items to be given to the Lord
  • The Israelies were defeated at Ai
  • Must destroy the sin to keep the agreement again for the Israelites
  • Sinner will be burned by fire
  • Lord pulled out tribe and family until Achan was presented, himself and his sin
  • Achan, his family and all he owned was destroyed
  • Joshua led them to Ai to take the city by ambush
  • They could keep the wealth of Ai for themselves
  • Everyone in Ai died that day
  • They built an alter as directed int he teachings
  • Joshua wrote the teachings down then read for all to hear
  • Joshua agreed to a group of people (Gideons) that came to them in fear that they could be their servants without consulting God, they were the tricking them
  • Their enemies became their slaves and were not killed because of his word, enemies lied to live
  • Other cities heard of the Israelite's victoires, a group of 5 banded together with their kings and armies to fight Gideons since they had made peace with Israelites
  • Israelites conquered all and the sun stopped so they could defeat them in light
  • Joshua led them through the area defeating and conquering cities
  • Joshua carried out God's commands to Moses
  • Other kings tried to come together to defeat Israelites but they were unsuccessful
  • All the land of the kinds (31) they conquered because the Israelite's land
  • The land was divided among the tries of Israel
  • Caleb received the land he went to spy on for his trust in God
  • Town were divided among tribes, some people didn't leave so they lived among the Israelites (Jebusites)
  • Tribes left still without land sent men to write and describe their land to be, Joshua threw lots for the lands
  • The rest of the land is given
  • Dan's land took a town and changed its name to Dan for their family group
  • Joshua received a town
  • Cities of safety were declared
  • Town and pastures given tot he Levites
  • Lord provided peace on all sides of the land
  • Some tribes built a new alter, angered the others for going against God; bu they went to them and it was built not for sacrifices but as a reminder they are part of the Lord's people since they are across the river they feared they would be 'disowned'
  • Joshua reminds them God keeps his promises and will go ahead of them and fight for them
  • Don't befriend those of other gods
  • Joshua reminded them of everything they've been through and how the Lord has provided, he reminded them to stay faithful
  • Joshua dies
  • Israelites served God during Joshua's time and after with those leaders who had seen what God had done for them

Monday, November 09, 2015

A Train Ride & Santa

We saw Santa yesterday!

My Aunt text me yesterday afternoon that she was running the train at an area mall in their Christmas display.  So after Elinore woke from her nap yesterday afternoon we headed to the mall to ride a train. 

Keith was at a friends helping them with some computer stuff, but was able to meet us there too, so that was a nice surprise! 

The kids and I rode the train three times.  (It pays to know the operator!)  And we hopped over and visited Santa and had pictures taken with Santa too!  Bonus for being so early in the year to see Santa; there was no line!

Caden asked Santa for fake snow.  Caleb asked for an iPad.  (Santa said his elves don't make those and they have to check with parents on getting those!)  Elinore asked for a restaurant and a car. 

Ruth cried a little while on Santa's lap, then the photographer distracted her.  Then the distraction ended and crying started again, but we got a great Santa photo of the kids this year!


Christmas mania has hit our household like mad!

I've been an early Christmas shopper for years now.  I prefer to be done before Thanksgiving, and this year is no exception, we're well on our way to being done with Christmas shopping!

However, with last year being the exception, I don't decorate before Thanksgiving for Christmas.  (Last year we did because the baby was due the day after Thanksgiving.  I knew if we didn't do it early it might not happen.  Then she made us wait another week anyway!)  This year the pressure is on though.  Caden is our decorator and Christmas fanatic.  He's had his small Christmas tree up almost all year!  And he's been asking and asking when we're going to start decorating.  They're getting more involved in the shopping a little and Caden and Caleb have done a lot of their shopping already too. 

With the radio starting Christmas music early last week, we've been listening to Christmas music non-stop too since then!

I've still resisted the decorating.  I like my turkeys, I didn't want to hide them away, but their infectious excitement has me being okay with Jesus's birthday celebration lasting longer too.  We'll see how much longer I last holding out on the decorations.  We're busy for the next week or so, so I can last that long at least!  They really want Keith to get the lights on the house!  (They're getting smart with their negotiations too.  But Dad, it'll get cold soon to get outside and do it!)

I have wrapped some presents already too!  Everything I could wrap, is wrapped already. 

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015


One and a half weeks ago I decided it was time she fall asleep on her own.  At almost 11 months old now, she's still sleeping in our room and I had been nursing her to sleep every night and during the night when she'd wake up.  We are tired! 

I'd attempted cry it out a couple times before, but wasn't consistent or it wasn't working for us.  (We did it with Elinore at 6 months, it was a breeze and she's a great sleeper usually!)

October 19, that evening, we began.  And we committed to being consistent about it!  10 days in and we have been.  She lays down awake and doesn't cry!  And we've slept through the night more in the last two weeks than we have in a long time!  Woo hoo!  It's not every night, but more nights we slept than didn't.  On those nights we didn't get up with her, I did hear her a couple times she'd cry or fuss a little, but she'd go back to sleep before we'd moved from bed. 

Next step will be transitioning her to the big girl room with Elinore.  This I'm even more nervous about.  What if they're both awake in the middle of the night!?  How do I get them both to fall asleep!?  I'm sure we'll get a routine and be fine.  What that looks like though; I don't know. 

She's mastered blowing kisses the last couple weeks too.  And it's super cute.

Friday, October 16, 2015


I saw Ruth give a kiss to Keith last night for the first time.  She's learning!

Then, even more awesome than that; at bedtime, Ruth always comes in to tell Elinore good night.  Then Ruth and I leave the room together and we've been waving lately to tell her goodnight, one more time.  But last night, she blew kisses!  It was so adorable.  These two girls get frustrated with each other, but they sure do love each other too. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Ruth's been waving for a little while now, but last night I saw her clap for the first time!  Clap, clap, clap!

Monday, October 12, 2015


As I read through Deuteronomy; I took my usual academic style notes of what happened, but I wrote more too on the opposite page of my notebook.  These are those notes:
  • The young don't know right from wrong.  - I'm was refreshed to read that God sees it this way as we do as  humans too.
  • Why aren't other nation's God's people?  - Promise to Abraham.  I came back to this a lot during this book.
  • Thank you for Jesus!
  • He will be testing us?  Even with people close to us. - Be strong in the Lord.
  • Remember you were slaves in Egypt.
  • People will hear of death to remove evil/sin & will be afraid. - Fear the Lord.  Old testament view of fear I think.  Also commands respect.
  • Old Testament - Punish, fear God
  • New Testament - Love, follow Jesus
  • 1 John 4:18 - "Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.  If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment and this shows that we have not fully experience his perfect love."
  • How do you prove virginity?
  • With the glasses of Jesus on and looking at our world today; do we still have foreigners?  Or is everyone our neighbor in Christ?  Immigrants are our foreigners; how many generations before they aren't foreigners?  Immigrants are foreigners and should be welcomed and treated well.
  • Obey what was written in Leviticus.
  • Reading the old testament makes me remember I'm grateful for Jesus!
  • Our minds are human & can't really understand.
  • He promises to bring them back to the promised land after they scatter.  This screams HOPE to me!
  • Can you imagine not having the written Bible & only listening to the text every 7 years?
  • Be strong & brave.


Last week I finished reading the book of Deuteronomy, and now I continue on my goal of reading the Bible cover to cover.  As I read through this book, I found myself not only taking my usual notes as a more academic study, but also jotting down some of my personal thoughts, reflections and questions as well.  This reading the Bible, it's working.  It's causing me to think deeper, rely on Him more, and want to follow him.  I'm looking forward to getting into Joshua next!

  • They grew in numbers, so much Moses needed help to manage, so he appointed other wise and experienced as leaders.
  • Sent spies to the land to review it.  The land was good, but people large. 
  • They feared & wouldn't enter, so God was angry they didn't rust him to provide the way.  They don't get to enter; only their children who were young and didn't know right from wrong will enter with Caleb.
  • They continued to travel, following God's directions through the land.
  • God gave them the power to defeat areas and people killing all, saving livestock and valuables for themselves.
  • The land is divided among tribes.
  • "Do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God will fight for you."
  • Moses could see the land, but not enter it.
  • Joshua was to take them to the promised land.
  • Remember & obey the 10 commandments.
  • Three cities of safety were selected.  This is where you go if you accidentally kill someone. 
  • Remember these rules, teach them, obey them for God has given you a great land with many benefits.
  • Love the Lord.
  • God will provide for his people; they will defeat those in their land now and must obey his commandments. 
  • Remember to obey the Lord in the land of plenty; we cannot live on bread alone.
  • God corrects as a parent does a child.
  • God goes before you into the land/battle not because you are good, but because of His promise.
  • Remember all the times the people made God angry and Moses prayed for you to save you.
  • Remember.
  • Moses goes and gets new stone tables.
  • Do what the Lord wants you to do; don't be stubborn.
  • Help orphans, widows & foreigners.
  • Love the Lord, Obey his commands.
  • Remember your children didn't see everything God did to remove you from Egypt.
  • Obey God's commands & He will provide for you through your land.
  • Remember God's word; teach your children.
  • Choose a blessing or curse depending on ability to follow God's commands.
  • God commanded the prior occupants of the land worship and ritual items must be destroyed. 
  • God will guide you to a place of worship in the land & guide on offerings & eating of the meat.
  • God will test us with people to lead our worship away; they are to be killed.
  • Punishment for sin is DEATH!
  • Destroy cities who worship others, burn them & everything in it as a burnt offering.
  • Rules for eating: can't eat something already dead but can give it to a foreigner to eat.
  • Give 1/10th of your crop.
  • 7th year cancels all debt.
  • There will always be poor, give freely.
  • Let slaves go after 6 years & give to them.
  • First born male animals are for God.
  • God chooses the place he is to be worksheet.
  • Directions of how to celebrate the Passover, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Shelters,.
  • Appoint judges in the land to rule fairly and not be bribed. 
  • Idols will not be tolerated, those found worshipping idols with 2-3 witnesses are to be stoned to death.
  • Difficult cases to the judge should be taken to the priests/Levites then their orders followed exactly. 
  • Appoint a King of God's choosing: must be an Israelite, not too many horses, not go to Egypt for more, not many wives, not too much silver or gold and must keep scrolls, read daily and follow commands. 
  • Israelites will provide shares for Priests/Levites because they have no land of their own; only God.
  • Don't fall to foreigners ways.
  • God hates mediums, magic & witchcraft.
  • List to the prophets.
  • Family of murder victim has a duty to punish the murderer.
  • Establish 3 cities of safety in the middle of the land.  Those who by accident kill are safe there.
  • Snow no mercy, remove the guilt of murder.
  • Do not move the stone that marks the land.
  • Must have 2-3 witnesses to accuse someone.
  • Show no mercy, an eye for an eye.
  • The Lord goes before you into battle.
  • Must remove everything from the cities you take over.
  • Officers talk to army and decide who may go home.
  • Do not destroy fruit trees; they are your enemy, but food.
  • Town nearest a murdered person takes and gives blessing.
  • When over taking a city you may take a captive woman as a wife.
  • Everything goes tot he oldest son; even if Dad doesn't like son's mom.  This son proved he could be a father.
  • Sons refusing to obey should be taken to the older leaders and stoned.
  • When punishment/consequences are carried out, other would hear about and feat the Lord.
  • When sin is punished by death, the body is hung from a tree for the day to be seen.
  • Hold on to the items lose & care for them until they're returned.
  • Help others.
  • Wear only your gender's clothes.
  • Laws about house building, planting, plowing & clothes.
  • Get rid of evil from Israel.
  • Marriage laws defined including adultery, divorce, etc.
  • Who may come before the Lord.
  • How to keep camp clean, what to do with poop/dung.
  • Do not mistreat escaped slaves.
  • No prostitution & no money from it.
  • Don't collect interest on loans to fellow Israelites, only foreigners. 
  • Keep your promises.
  • Divorce & marriage laws.
  • Kill kidnappers.
  • Lap repayment & collection laws.
  • Pay your servants.
  • To each their own sin only.
  • Leave grain/food for foreigners, orphans and widows in the field.  Pick only once for you.
  • If no sons, widows marry brother-in-laws.
  • Give the first of the harvest to the Lord.
  • These of this book: obey, keep the commands.
  • Write the laws on stone before entering the land.
  • Curse on the land.
  • Obey & you will be blessed.
  • Disobedience = curses
  • Keep the agreement with God.
  • The Israelites will return back after they've left.  God will show mercy & bring them back again.
  • Choose life; you can do it!  Love & obey!
  • Joshua becomes leader in place of aging Moses who can't enter the promised land.
  • Moses write the teachings to be read to the people every 7 years.
  • Joshua - be strong & brave; God goes with you.
  • Moses song - Tells the Israelites story & power of God.
  • Moses told to climb a mountain, look at Canaan & there he will die.
  • Moses gave the Israelites by tribe a blessing before he died. 
  • Moses died so he couldn't enter the promised land as God said. He was still strong.
  • The Israelites mourned Moses for 30 days.
  • Joshua was filled with wisdom to lead.

Friday, October 09, 2015

The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends

Caden and Caleb are awesome kids with great, unique personalities.  As many kids do, they struggled with some social situations though.  They each had their own segments they struggled in.  For awhile we approached it as a they will learn and grow out of it, it's part of childhood.  But we decided that was a silly approach when we could help them now!  In the long run, they very well may have learned and caught on and been adults, but parents hate to see their kids struggle as kids, us included.  So we did a little Google research and found this book recommendation.  Amazon sent it our way, and I've now read it cover to cover. 

The book offers an introductory section followed by a section on different types of children.  Not that they're stereotyping children, but that there are several behaviors that fit together into different descriptions lumped together in chapters that address those concerns.  Sine of the chapters are:
  • The Vulnerable Child
  • The Intimidating Child
  • The Short Fused Child
  • The Little Adult
  • The Sensitive Soul
  • The Different Drummer
  • The Born Leader
I saw characteristics of my boys in several different chapters.  I don't necessarily agree with everything in the text, but awareness of issues was presented for me, and awareness of things I still need to teach my children.

I want me children to be unique and be themselves, but I also need them to be able to navigate socially and through society in a manner that allows successful interactions for all parties.  I want to help them.

There are things Keith and I still need to teach them.  Even if when we choose to go against the norm, we need to know what the norm is and why we're doing it.  Keith even read a chapter or two that I suggested to review. 

I felt better knowing there are other kids out there like mine.  And picking up a few things I can teach the kids.  I'm keeping the book handy for a little while to refer to as things come up to help teach. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015


Elinore just picked her nose and got a booger. She asked me if she could feed it to the dog.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Photos...or not.

Sometimes I get in a funk and quit taking photos.  And I usually notice it after awhile, and I usually regret it, but I still fail to remember.  There are still plenty of photos I'm sure, more than in decades past with technology, but at the end of the year, when I try to put together next year's calendar I'm always a little sad at the months when I've slacked or there are kids missing from the photos because of activities or time or just wrong place at the time. 

Just know kids, regardless of the number of photos, you are so very loved, equally.

Friday, September 25, 2015


Ruth is starting to wave! You have to know to watch for it, but she's learning!

Ruth - Tooth!

Ruth got a third tooth in this week!  It's on the top and she likes to play with it.  She chomps her teeth together so we can hear them and she'll rub them together too.  It makes our skin crawl, but I'm so glad my girl is growing and hitting milestones!  Hopefully that doesn't become a habit and she's just checking out her new tooth!

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Elinore has learned how to do a forward somersault and she's loving it.  She calls them flips and loves to flip around the family room banging into stuff and nearly hitting her sister often. 


This past week or so Ruth has mastered crawling on her hands and knees!  Sometimes she still prefers the army crawl, but I see her crawling on her knees more and more.  She's more methodical about it and not quite as fast, but she's doing it! 

She's been such a pleasure to watch grow and learn.  I'm loving learning more about her!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Ruth likes to crawl under the table. Sometimes when we aren't sitting at our she gets stuck and cries for someone to come move a chair for her to get out. She will crawl over the chair rungs now sometimes too. When were there sitting it's like she is a dog begging for food!

Roller Coaster

Look mom; I'm on a roller coaster!

Or driving with the window down...


Such a serious baby driver.

We love this girl!

Rite of Passage

It's a childhood rite of passage to wear your underwear on your head at least once right?


Caden and Caleb got tired of Ruth messing up their train tracks repeatedly, so they built one just for her!



Someone was tired after a day at Idlewild without a nap. She was awesome though. All the kids were so well behaved! She loves being a "big kid."

That face!

This kid, love! Great sense of humor!

Pretending to be like Scooby Doo.

Hotel lobby, early mornings

What do you do when the baby wakes at 6 and the 6 other family members are asleep in the hotel room? Mom and baby go hang out in the lobby together.

I liked the extra snuggles I got with my girl.


This weekend 8 of us stayed in a hotel in PA the go to Idlewild. On night two, Caleb fell out of the pull out couch bed and scraped up his face! Poor kid!

Wonder what he'll tell the kids at school?


Look mom; I can turn my tounge upside down!

Cleveland Art Museum and Botanical Gardens

While Keith was away on business, I took a vacation day and with the kids and a friend of Caleb's we went to Cleveland for the day.

Columbus Zoo

The weekend before school started this year we spent in Columbus hanging out with some friends. Our adventures started at the Zoo. The Columbus Zoo is awesome. It's now our favorite over Cleveland and Akron!

We were there from 10-5 and didn't see all the Zoo! We did see some pirates though!

Mansfield Carousel Park

The day before school started we made a stop on the way home from a weekend in Columbus for some fun!  Fun carousel, unique animals and a great break!

Cloth Diapers

With Elinore being potty trained, I bleached my stash of diapers and snapped them down to the smallest setting for miss Ruthie.  However, the first weekend we tried it, them broke out with terrible diaper rash.  It was diaper rash everywhere the diaper was against here.  We quickly switched backed to disposables, washed some more diapers and got her cleared up.  Since then I've occasioanlly put her in cloth just to see what happens and we've been doing better since that first time.  I think now I need to get back on the cloth diaper bandwagon and start saving some money by not buying so many disposables!

First Day of School - 205