Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 22-27

 Enlarging the garden space!  After I spent some time slowly turning over dirt one spadeful at a time Josh asked our neighbors across the street if we could borrow their rototiller.  The rest of the garden emerged lickity-split. ;o)
Sometimes Josh and I sit around in the evening watching Owen.  Josh will shake his head in bewilderment and say, "It's me all over again."  Yes, that is a scary thought. ;o)
 Because the hedgehog and the 1+4 cats were not enough, we added a chinchilla to the mix.  We have learned that the best way to acquire pets is to be a science teacher and students will automatically gift you with their unwanted animals.  We have the makings of a zoo . . . (and I realize it's not a great picture, but that little guy is fast and it was evening, and well, you know)
 Hawks flying overhead--nearly every evening six hawks come flying in, I'm assuming looking for supper?
 "Coco" the chinchilla takes his first spin in the exercise ball (we all eagerly watched in anticipation).  Chinchillas are really interesting animals--kind of the cross between a rabbit, mouse, and squirrel.  He is CRAZY fast.  He takes a "bath" in volcanic ash by rolling around in it (think Tasmanian devil from Looney toons).  And he likes to chew things, like oh our special cord that lets us stream our computer onto the tv . . .
This accurately depicts life with Owen.  I think he has the energy of our other four children combined.  He is constantly showing me some new trick (usually involving contorting his body into some odd shape, leaping off of something or performing running somersaults).  He makes my head whirl.
The girlies and their violin teacher celebrating the end of the spring recital.  I'm so proud of them for all the hard work they put in.  If you want to have a listen Josh put their pieces on youtube (which they find endlessly exciting).Isabella played Dvorak's "Humoresque" and "In Dreams" which you will recognize from The Lord of the Rings Soundtrack.  Marissa played "Washed in the Blood"--we came across this piece last November and Marissa loved it in spite of the trickiness, so she spent over five months working on it!
Isabella is here and here. 
(Josh paused to take a picture in between so a bit of Humoresque is missing).
Marissa is here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 14-20

 A rematch . . . note the curve of Jackson's face as he grins and Josh's perplexed one. ;o)  Josh discovered he has to take games with Jackson seriously.  And me?  I haven't a clue what's going on . . . 
Mommy cat feeding her babies--so sweet.  We are thinking there are 3 boys and one girl.  The kids have named them Oscar, Shadow, Jupiter, and Violet.  They are still free for the taking!! 
A lesson on sanding the wood filler the boys had helped him apply earlier.  Unfortunately for Josh he later learned that wood filler does not sand off with ease like drywall mud does.  Oops.
 The moment has arrived--installing the new washer and dryer.  Now, for those of you who do not know, front loading washers are really heavy.  After attempting to help Josh heave it up onto the pedestal he had built (and my side going absolutely nowhere . . .) I suggested  we get out the car jack.  Since we really had limited options at that moment Josh decided to try my ridiculous idea.  So, he is balancing one side and I am working the jack on the other.  We got it about a foot off the ground when Josh realized this wasn't working and ordered me to lower it immediately and I couldn't get the jack to release and you know *tense moments*  So my side of the washer was hanging out at kind of an incline.  I decided to give it one more heave and thankfully with my side partially off the ground (thanks to the jack incident which went awry) I was able to help Josh get it up on the platform.  Thankfully, no washers were injured during these shenanigans.  Or Janna's.  
 Sewing with an audience.
 Happy 34th birthday to Josh!  It was so strange to enter the 30's and it seems like we just got here and now "mid-thirties" are just around the corner . . . where is the time going??
Our cat has some stellar rabbit catching skills much to my little boys' delight.  I wasn't really keen on the whole let-the-cat-in-the-house-with-baby-bunny-and-watch-her-let-it-go-and-chase-it-down-again escapade that went on.  My screams carried to Josh who once again was in the shower (same thing happened with a ground squirrel last summer).  Apparently Josh times his showers for all the times small animals get brought into the house. Go figure.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Review: Joni & Ken

When my sister and I were girls, sharing a bedroom and a bunk bed, I remember my mom reading us aloud Joni by Joni Eareckson Tada.  It entered us into a "Joni craze" and we went onto read subsequent books, have a casette tape of her music and were fascinated by the artwork she did holding a paintbrush in her teeth.  That being said, when I had an opportunity to review Joni & Ken An Untold Love Story I jumped at it.

 I read those first few chapters, dealing with her cancer diagnosis with a huge lump in my throat.  I remember hearing about her breast cancer diagnosis and thinking "Wow.  As if being a quadriplegic wasn't enough of a trial . . ."  The book details it this way:

"Suddenly, it crashed in on her.  All of it.  The cancer.  The surgery.  The cancer-and-surgery-on-top-of endless-pain-on-top-of-paralysis.  The exhaustion.  The loss of her breast.  Going back to the hospital.  A port in her chest--for poison.  Losing her hair.  Death, somewhere back there in the shadows.  She collapsed into convulsive sobbing, weeping for all the losses and pain and disappointments here and now and long, long ago.  The unshed tears of departed years."

The book then slips back in time detailing aspects of Ken and Joni's marriage and just how hard it was, two people married and yet existing separately, and how cancer and all its ugly awfulness was a gift that brought them closer then they ever imagined.  Living in the throw-away culture that we do, this story is a REAL LOVE STORY.  It's about faithfulness and servanthood and doing the best for the other when life isn't looking exactly like you thought it would.  I think this book would encourage any marriage--a young marriage or an old one, a happy one or a struggling one.  The situations that Ken and Joni have faced definitely put your own little problems and scuffles in perspective.  I finished the book amazed once again at God's sovereignty.  I can't imagine going through everything that Joni has in her lifetime and then I look at how God has used her in such mighty ways.  I think the words to this song by Laura Story say it best--
"Cause what if  your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?"
I finished the book thankful for a God who is in all the details of our lives, working it all together for our good.

(Disclaimer--I received a free copy of this book through Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review or compensated in any other manner.  All opinions expressed are my own)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 7-13

 We left our home at 7:30 this morning, trailer hitched up to the minivan and set out for Hampton to visit a church and then on the way back stopped in Grand Island for a new washer and dryer.  A very exciting day for someone who does a lot of laundry. ;o)  However, on the way home we were caught in some major rain.    Josh and I reflected that we couldn't recall a single time we've had to drive in the rain since moving out to Arapahoe, but wouldn't you figure the one time you're toting stuff home a ways in an open trailer . . .
Hence, the soggy boxes.
 And we have a bike rider!  Yay Emmett!!
 And then it snowed/sleeted/iced.  Not my most favorite April on the books.
 Playing chess with Daddy . . . filled with much angst.
 A cheater picture, because I FAILED to actually take a picture this day.  You see first we were trying to finish up some schoolwork while I finished packing suitcases and loading the van.  And then we drove to Kearney for violin lessons and a few errands.  And then we drove to Lincoln.  And then I was kind of tired
So, you get a picture of soup . . . soup that I did bring with us to Lincoln, so it kind of counts, right? ;o)
 Gone all day for the home school conference and my in-laws kept the kids.  When I returned Owen gave me the best hug and said, "You were gone FOREVER!"  No less than five minutes later Jackson sees me, "You're back already?"  But the actual reason I took this picture is the shiner on Owen's forehead, which was actually much more impressive in person (he hit his head on a chair).
A sleeping Owen at 7:00 pm.  After two days of nap-skipping the whole household breathed a sigh of relief when this little boybarian was down for the night.  He looks so sweet asleep . . . ;o)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

1.  I should be pulling up to drop off the girls at violin lessons in Kearney about right now, but due to the fact that there is talk of freezing rain, and "wintry mix" in the forecast I decided to stay home.  Partially for my sake, but more for my mom's sanity. ;o)  And seeing as I'm heading back to Lincoln on Thursday for the home school convention this weekend we will just make up the lesson then.

2.  We had a humdinger of a thunderstorm last night--wind, rain, thunder, lightning, and hail!  We even lost power for about half an hour during the middle of the night.  I checked our gauge this morning--2.7 inches of rain!! I won't vouch on its accuracy, but suffice to say, we got some rain!  (I'm thinking that might be more than we got all last summer . . .)

Emmett is bringing me things he catches again (thankfully mostly contained in buckets--that's at least an improvement).

4. Josh took the kids to the "Oz" movie last night.  They left around 6:30 and didn't return to shortly after 9:00.  I had a much needed date with the house . . . particularly the boys' room and going through all their drawers and the clothing in storage.  I got all the summer stuff switched just in time for it to be 25 degrees today. Phew. ;o)

5. I read this book last week:
It was recommended by a friend and I must say I loved it.  I started it last Thursday evening and then must confess to blowing off much of Friday reading it.  It is about an "academic" who comes to saving faith during her studies at Oxford.  While reading it I determined I would love to go study at Oxford.  And also, I think me and England and all their tea and shortbread would get along famously.  I may have informed Josh we should move there.

6. Marissa has been doing physical therapy for her hip.  There still remains a tiny bit of residual pain and so we're trying to not only strengthen the hip but also her entire core.  There are a lot of planks involved.  I keep telling her I should do the exercises with her as I'm certain my core would also benefit, but for some reason find it more enjoyable to count how long she much hold the form (and also let her know when she's slacking).  I'm glad she still loves me.

We were in Grand Island on Sunday and happened to find ourselves in the Goodwill there when suddenly this lovely chair beckoned me for $20.  Does it not have a fabulous shape?  Josh questioned me if I really needed this chair.  And I kept telling him it was such a good and solid chair we would be crazy to pass on it. So, he obliged me. ;o)  I think it would be an easy chair to try my hand at reupholstering . . . maybe I would paint the frame as well.  For now though, it is neutral enough that it doesn't bother me.  Later that evening I found a similar shaped chair on Ballard for $800 so Josh can clearly see what a STEAL it was. ;o)

8. Our four little kittens are doing well.  I haven't taken any pictures because they remain tucked way underneath my bed and I've wanted to discourage the kids from bothering them.  Their eyes are starting to open, and maybe one of these days I'll let the kids have their first cuddle session.  Now don't forget, come June I'll have some free kitties!  Let me know if you want one! (hint, hint)

9.  I've been enjoying poking around our yard seeing some perennials I started as seeds last year returning.  At this point I have four "cerise queen" yarrow and maybe six cone flowers that will be ready for transplanting.  There are also many volunteer sunflowers.  I have some delphinium seeds chilling in the fridge--they seem rather tricky to get started so we'll see if I can coax any plants from them.  I've got some grandiose gardening plans this year . . .

10.  There is a laundry area project in our future--can't wait to get started on it!  It involves a lovely new washer and dryer and some pretty "wythe blue" paint . . . I'm tingly with excitement. ;o)

Monday, April 8, 2013

March 31-April 6

The obligatory Easter pic.
Jackson's first words to me upon waking this Monday morning?
"The Cardinals play their first game tonight!"
I think I might have a lifelong fan on my hands. ;o)
Tuesday morning I had the opportunity to teach a lesson on time management at my Lincoln church to the young moms.  This stretched me in a lot of ways--I wouldn't exactly call myself "a natural" when it comes to public speaking (my heart tends to race off at break-neck speeds) and then just the whole process of organizing a lesson . . .
But as Josh reminds me (and his students), struggle is good for the brain.  Still, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when it was all done. ;o)
A garish photo at night with blatant flash.  I had forgot (forgot!!) my camera for Awana awards night, so the pic of all their awards had to wait until we got home.  Yay for another completed year! 
So, it was like 55 degrees this day. 
My poor confused children.  Spring has been so slow that 55 degrees seemed perfect weather for bathing suits and mud puddle making.
Whenever I forget to take a picture during the day there's always a Nebraska sunset.
Mama cat enjoying a nursing break on the front step.  I love Emmett's little toes curled underneath him.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

March 24-30

Owen has been asking to see Josh's bass guitar for months.  Josh finally got it out for him.  I think Owen was a bit shocked to discover how big and heavy it was. ;o)
How Owen felt about being forced to sit next to his parents in the bleachers while his big brothers got to wrestle.
New markers=quiet afternoon
 Cat giving birth under my bed . . . 
Three sweet little kittens.  We were heading to Lincoln this day so I wanted to get a picture of them, figuring they would change a lot over the five days we would be gone.  (Little did I know we would return to FOUR little kittens!!!  Yes, our cat delivered three, waited until we left--like possibly a two day birthing lull--and then delivered another!  We were completely baffled when we got back from Lincoln!).
 A happy Owen (to make up for the unhappy picture a few days back).
All the Hansmeyer cousins together for the first time since the arrival of #10, baby Blake.
It's all tied up now, five girls, five boys.