Thursday, December 8, 2011

So, what's up?

Here's the latest rundown. Consider this your Christmas letter!

Jeff - has pretty much settled into his role as stay-at-home Dad. He has time out every week for breakfast with a men's group from church, time out with his accountability partner and occasionally he gets to go on a date with me! His hair was reallllllly long but has now been buzzed with a number 2 clippers (think Flo-Bee!!) He still wears earrings and has evolved his sense of humor to that of a three year old - they like to tell knock knock jokes and the classic "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Gotta love it! He hasn't been able to do much photography work but is looking to change that in 2012. Jeff has even attempted detangling Ruthie's hair! Way to go Dad!! A highlight for Jeff was poison ivy that covered most of his body :( We are glad to have that time of life past!

Noelle is now in 3rd grade at St. John's Lutheran School. She is doing very well and made straight A's the first quarter. She has joined Girl Scouts and loves it! She is also still very interested in Science, Computers, the Wii, Barbie, LaLaLoopsy and a few other things. She is reading the Dork Diaries currently and is very excited to see Gramma and Grampa at Christmas! She has grown much and is now in a size 3 1/2 shoe. Look out Autnie jen - she will be caught up to you in no time!! Noelle is still very artsy and will be taking classes in the spring.

Eli started preschool this year and is doing incredibly well! He is speaking in full sentences and is playing with his words. Our favorite quote of this year comes from questioning his Dad after Jeff had gone to the store to run an errand for me. Jeff walks in the door and Eli leans against the door jamb. cocks his head and asks, "Hey Dad, where ya been?" so cool and casual :) He is a bundle of energy and loves Barbie, the doll. Seriously folks, he needs a brother! Eli loves swimming and we are going to start lessons in the spring. School is going well and after the first few days of screaming and crying after being dropped off, he is now excited to go to school in the morning and has a best friend named Isaiah.

Ruthie, at first look, is a sweet and shy little girl. Oh how wrong you would be if you fell into that trap!!! She is vocal and strong. I am woman hear me roar!! And she is finally roaring at school. While she didn't speak at all in the spring at school (seriously - she only spoke 1 word the last week of class. period.) she has been a blabbering fool at home and will repeat herself a million times over until yu answer her question or give her the answer she wants to hear (as in, no ruthie you can't have a whoppie pie right now. to which she continues to repeat herself and includes the infamous, "But mom! I said please!" as if all the world changes because you remembered to use good manners!) She has begun talking to other kids at school now and playing on the playground. She has grown so much it is truly amazing. She has an amazing smile that warms your heart. She also has to pick out her own clothes every morning. It gets interesting.

Anna is still a joy and goes with the flow so well, unless you try to take her toy or a toy that she thinks should be hers. Anna turned 2 in October. Really? How is that possible! She enjoys taking everyone to school and then gets about an hour and a half of just daddy time! She is a character and is already trying out different facial expressions. She babbles constantly and has strung quite a few words together. She loves the chase. Anytime, anywhere. Including when you say, Anna, come here! That must mean the chase is on. She is also the one with the most injuries from this year. She fell and needed stitches under her chin :( she ran into something at the new house and got a lump on her nose and a black eye. Rough and tumble is the name of the game. She doesn't give an inch to big brother or sisters!

Jeanne -well I am still plugging away at EIU. I am enjoying my classes and my students and we have fallen in love with an Amish store in Arthur. They make awesome whoopie pies and have an old fashioned candy aisle. I had the chance to present at conferences in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania in 2011. It was a fun and fairly stressful first year at EIU

So that pretty much rounds out our year. here are a few more pics for you to enjoy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oh my. It has been over a year!

Wow. Time really does fly! I can't believe it has been over a year. So much has happened and the kids have really grown in all areas of life. I will update and get pictures posted here over the weekend. I am amazed it has been over 1 year! Eli and Ruthie are in preschool now and TALK! Maybe we need a little video too. Check back soon!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life down south

We have had some wonderful days lately. I can't tell you just how much Eli and Ru have exploded in their language skills. I gave Eli a cookie for dessert (had to support our local breast cancer fundraiser!) to which he replied "Dank you mommy!" Three words in a row! He melts my heart. Ru is really quite something. She is still my cuddle bug. If the lap is available, she wouldn't mind sitting for a spell and listening to my heart beating - unless Eli and/or Anna are trying to grab the toy she left on the ground to come and sit with me. She is very possessive. So possessive and repetitive of some things that we are seeing signs of OCD in a fairly mild form (therapists have noted it as well). Somebody tell me, is that nature or nurture? Is it because of how her life has gone in the past 2 1/2 years that she wants to make sure everything is ok in the world and that Mommy knows if something is not quite right so that I can fix it and make it all ok? Does she keep showing me her ouchy that healed over 4 months ago so that I can reassure her it will not come back and even if it did, I would kiss it and put a bandaid on it again for her? She was such a good girl last night in the marathon detangling session - I hate shed hair at the changing of seasons! We left her hair au natural last night since it was too late to braid it. She looks adorable.

Noelle desperately wants a twin. We tried to explain that it isn't possible, but that doesn't matter to a 7 year old who has felt lost in the shuffle. We had a good cry session the other week, but it isn't fully worked through yet. We told her about the other babies that we tried to have and that she could have been triplets (yes, the Lord knew what he was doing when she came out a single!) and that helped a little. She wants us to adopt again - someone closer to her age. Sorry sweetie - that is not in the cards right now.

Anna is thinking about walking. She can't decide if she should do it. She has decided she doesn't want to be a baby anymore. She will not eat baby food, do not even try to mask it as real food. Ain't gonna work people. I want food and it better be what everybody else is eating. She growls nicely the therapists swear she said "thank you" this past Monday. Well, she is a year old now :)

People say ya'll here. I find myself slipping back into the Texas accent that I developed way back in 1988 thanks to my friend Severine - Teen Missions Forever!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome to Charleston!

We have arrived in Charleston and are settling into our new home and new routines. I have been at work since the 16th, Noelle has started public school since the 18th and the twins have awesome DT and Speech therapy here at the house on Mondays! They have set up a mock preschool to work with the kids since they will transition to the school system when they hit 3 yrs old. I can't believe we are already talking about "transition" time. It seems like just yesterday we were in Ethiopia to get them! Wow! Jeff is discovering the joys of being a stay at home daddy. They wander to the park, play at the house, don't get to play outside in the fenced in yard yet since there is still poison ivy or poison oak out there.

I am completely overwhelmed with work, but I know it will get better. Kids have been eating a lot of pbj and pasta for lunch :) Jeff tried to make homemade mac and cheese today since I ran out of boxed stuff. Way to go honey!

Noelle is having a good start to 2nd grade. She has a teacher who understands and appreciates the nuances of her personality. I think it will be a good year for her.

Eli is in a stage where he doesn't want to obey which is definitely a challenge at this point. He thinks he can get away with it by smiling or sing-song responding to you when he doesn't like what you've said. I've got news for you buddy boy. Momma doesn't fall for that!

Ruthie is doing well with the move - much better than I thought she would given her transition issues. Our friends came over to go out to DQ with us and took Eli in their car with them. They left a few minutes before we did and she didn't really cry - looked nervous for a few minutes but never went into full on wail and gnashing of teeth! IS she growing out of it? I don't know. We will keep you posted.

Anna has completely given up on baby food. You cant fool this princess. Jeff tried putting baby food in a real bowl like we do at dinner when I grind up whatever we are having. She took 2 bites, looked at him and shook her head no. She wouldn't open her mouth again. too funny. She is growing and makes us laugh all the time. in a week she will be 11 months old. how time flies!

I will try to get some pics up in the near future of the new place and town and the kiddos too of course.

Thanks for hanging with us!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Really tired of having to delete comments from folks so I am engaging my comment moderation rights! Please still leave comments, but I will need to press ok before they show up. Sorry to my happy and true blog followers. I don't know any other way to stop the spamming.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me

If you are unfamiliar with the Mocha Club, I invite you to check out their website and see the great work they are doing in Africa, not just Ethiopia but all over the continent. I have added a link to them by the blog roll so it would be easy to find. Very compelling non profit org. Can you give up 2 mochachino frappalicious goodness to help out 2 of my kiddos homecountry? We are going to and I invite you to join my team! I will post when it is official and we will be supporting the Education work that they do (what a surprise huh?) If you don't want to join education, there are many other opportunities out there.

I will post family stuff soon, we are just going kind of crazy trying to pack up everything, sell our house, find a place to live and prepare for a new semester. Ugh.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Garage Sales!

Oh the joy that summer brings when we can once again hit garage sale season! Noelle and I found this fabulous Santa for 50 cents at a garage sale in Charleston, the town that we ar moving to, brought it back to DeKalb and will be moving it back to Charleston once we move. Crazy I know, but the kids just love it :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hair night!

This was my third attempt at cornrowing. Ru doesn't really mind sitting for me now because she really likes to have her hair all pretty. This one wasn't exactly what i had planned, but it's up and she is happy. Happy cuz mommy put in all the barrettes she wanted. kind of overkill, but Ru likes it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New pics of all kids!

Mostly shots from May

Puttin on the Full Armor of God - Last chapel of 1st grade

Love my froggy pool!

Plans of twins. only they know.

SPlish SPlash! Slip and Slide never goes out of style.

Chillin with Dad after much water play
Yes, he is pulling on his sister's braids
This is what happens after a day of water and no nap.
He couldn't finish his cheetos, but wouldn't let them go either!
Did someone say CUPCAKE?!!!!!

Boy meets cupcake. Doomed from the start

You want me to do what???

I love it when Noelle shares her food! Frozen yogurt anyone?

Anna is all about Joy!

Time Flies!

Wow. I am a bad blogger. Then again, life is busy and I love it! Some news:

Noelle finished 1st grade with all As so we celebrated at "A"pplebees of course! which of course only happened because God gave her a great brain so we had to go to "O"llies for frozen custard dessert. get it? A to O? Alpha to Omega? She is sad to be leaving her friends and her school but is already excited about her new school and new house. She is an avid reader and hopes to become an Author (Book Writer in Noelle speak) so we are working on putting together some stories this summer with me teaching her about plot, characters, settings and such.

Eli is a horse. There is just no other way to describe this child. He is as solid as a boulder but falls over as easy as a danelion in full bloom. He loves speech therapy and is catching on to signing pretty quickly, but really would rather speak and so is working really really hard on making his mouth do what his brain would like it to do. He has gotten brave enough not to hold onto the railing all the time while walking downstairs now. He is a nature lover and water maniac. I can just hear some damsel crying out for "Pool Boy" in his future - my already buff (Yes he has defined muscles) and beautiful baby boy! Dogs are his joy and terror rolled into one. They just have really big teeth. We have our appt on June 16th to get some clarification possibly on why his body isn't moving like it should or how he thinks it should. Here's hoping the experts will comeup with a diagnosis and plan for his next year.

Ruthie is my passive aggressive queen of clean. Maybe a bit OCD?????? She has a true servants heart at only age 2. She loves to help, but not to share (Just ask Eli about the teeth marks on his arm!) She is in love with her baby sister and tries to help with feeding, nuking and burping the baby. She loves puppies and babies, but like Eli can skip the whole big teeth thing. She is finally letting me do her hair! She is all girl. Loves dresses and pretties in her hair. FLowers and sparkles and beads oh my! Still me nervous Nelly when it comes to physical adventures like stairs and jumping and such, but we have time for all those things to develop. It's okay Ru-ster.

Anna. Where to begin. Well, thanks to Brad our babysitter, Anna is crawling and trying to pull herself up on the bookcase to reach books on the top shelf. Her first word was Mama :) Atta girl! She hates babyfood breakfasts (including all those cereals we are supposed to feed her) but loves her veggies and fruits. She has major skin issues that we are trying to deal with and appears to be allergic to carpet (well, something in new carpet at least). It looks like we may finally have a red head for Gramma - jury is still out since my babies never have hair. She is large. She is in the 75th percentile for height and weight without adjusting for being a month premature. She is wearing 12 month clothing with a few smaller 18 monthers thrown in. She loves her brother and sisters and thinks they are a riot! No one makes her laugh harder than Noelle. Instant belly laugh when she sees her. They are also now sharing a room.

Jeff and I are doing fine with the usual amount of stress in trying to sell ahouse, buy a house and raise 4 precious gifts from God. Not going anywhere on vacation this year but we would love to have company once we move! I will try to update more frequently. Sorry anybody who still reads this.