Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'll Miss This

We went out to dinner with our good friends, the Millers, last Thursday at Fuddruckers. The food costs too much, but they have an indoor play area for kids.

When we move, this is what I'll miss the most. In all the years that Daniel and I have been married we've never managed to make such a perfect friendship before. The Millers just fell into our lives last year and friendship was almost instantaneous.

I love having Betsy for a friend, a confidant, a fellow homeschooler, and advisor. The girls are ecstatic to see each other every time we get together; throwing their arms around each other and squealing with delight. Daniel bonded with Mike and for the first time has a friend to share all his favorite things: video games, raquetball, and his faith.

More than anything I'm hoping and praying that we will not only manage to maintain a long distance friendship with the Millers but also develop a similar relationship with another family in Colorado.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Kevin A La Carte!

We finally got the pictures from the photo shoot with my friend, Stephanie. Here is one of the best ones. Kevin is asleep in a wooden bowl. My very favorite one is of Kevin sleeping in the lap of our giant bear. I think I'll have to take one of him like that each month to see him grow. I might even take a picture of the girls with the bear, too.

The thing I like best about the pictures she took is all the little props. This bowl looks really good on my coffee table. We had professional photos taken at JC Penny's the other day. They didn't use props, but their pictures just have a very different look. I'm thinking about investing in one of those little kits that come with a black backdrop and a stand to hang it on. I'd also like to get one of those camera attachments that allows you to push the button remotely on your camera so that the photographer can be in the picture, too.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Statue Hunting

These little kid statues are all over our town. We've been enjoying them for about a year now ever since they started appearing. This one, of the the boy reading, is outside the public library.

On our list of things to do before we move, we've included hunting for statues. We want to take a picture of each of the statues around town. The girls are excited about it. The problem is trying to find time to do it. So far we've taken only this one photo.

The closing date on our house has been pushed back to September 6th, so we may actually have enough time to go on our great statue hunt now. It's been causing some extra work, though. Today we had to cancel the U-haul we had reserved and call all the utility companies and tell them not to disconnect our services for another week. I'm hoping that an apartment will open up the first week of September and we will be able to go straight to Denver without having to move twice; once to Grandma Nancy's and then again a few weeks later.

A Cookie by any other Name

We got a card in the mail the other day. One of those political ones that urge you to vote for a candidate. On the back was the candidate's favorite cookie recipe...which of course instantly made me want to vote for her, lol.

It did, however, cause me to send Daniel out to pick up the ingredients for those cookies. They were those no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies that are so hard to make correctly.

When I was a little girl we called them "Doo-doo Drops" because of their brown lumpy appearance. As a teenager I made those cookies several times, but they would never harden right so I always just ate it as a sludge straight out of the pan. How on Earth I managed to stay a size 8 I'll never know... Oh, for those high metabolism days!

This time around they sort of hardened, but were still sticky to the touch. It turned out to be a good reinforcement for Danya of the lessons on fractions we've been doing in homeschool lately. She enjoyed helping to measure the oats, milk, and butter. Gloria helped dump and stir. Sadly, the cookies didn't taste all that great. We foolishly listened to Daniel who wanted us to substitute Splenda for real sugar. It just wasn't the same.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monkeys and Butterflies

Today was a crazy busy day! This morning we woke up late. It was 8:30 am when I opened my eyes and we had the painter/contractor and our realtor coming to the house at 9am!! We had to go over the insane list of things the buyers want us to fix on our house...including a few nonexistant things like a leaky faucet. (We just had a plumber out here, and our faucets don't leak.)

Then we made a mad dash to Tulsa to the J.C. Penny portrait studio to get family photos taken. They came out really great despite Daniel and I deciding at the last minute to get in the photos, too. We realized, belatedly, that we didn't have a single portrait of our whole family yet and Kevin is almost 2 months old.

After that we grabbed lunch and dropped Gloria off (late) at pre-school. When we got home Danya and I worked on her homeschool work. We got everything done except the letter to Grandpa Richie I've been meaning to have her write. Then we picked Gloria up from school and took the kids to the zoo. Kevin pretty much cried the entire time. The girls enjoyed "Wings of Wonder" the butterfly exhibit. We've never seen that before, so it was a novelty. I didn't think there were nearly enough butterflies in there. It was just too hot outside so we only stayed an hour. So Kevin's first trip to the zoo was sort of a whirlwind tour. We got some cute pictures, though!

What is it?

Here's an interesting photo that Daniel took. Let's play "Guess the creature"! Do you think that this is:

  1. A. Something that crawled out from under my stove
  2. B. An R.U.S. (Princess Bride fans know that this means "Rodent of Unusual Size")
  3. C. A bold squirrel looking for milk when I was feeding Kevin at the zoo

Or if you think it's 'none of the above' feel free to hazzard a different guess!

Fun with Fractions!

In the recent school supplies sales at Wal-Mart we found this "Beginning Fractions" dry-erase book with a container full of plastic disks divided into different fractions.

I didn't know for sure if it was age appropriate, but after following the simple instructions on the first few pages Danya seemed to grasp the idea of fractions quickly. She liked making the fractions with the plastic pieces and then writing with the dry erase pen. When I had to stop to feed Kevin, she asked Daniel to do more with her so that she could keep going!

I can't find these online, but I know Wal-Mart carries them for $4. I think they are a really good tool for teaching the basic concept of fractions and how to add simple fractions. It even touches on equivalent fractions and mixed fractions.

Monday, August 21, 2006

First Stroller Ride

The weather was finally cool enough to take Kevin out in the stroller this week. We only took a short trip around the block because it was still 92 degrees. Daniel found the Snoopy stroller in the garage. He let the girls push Kevin in it around the house while I went out for a little while.

I can't tell you how badly I needed a break! It's tough feeling like a 24 hour daycare. On the days that Daniel works he sleeps most of the day and works all night so I'm up all night with Kevin, homeschooling Danya, and driving Gloria to school and back without him. I don't know how single parents do it!

When I got home from shopping I was feeling much more relaxed. I took one look at the stroller (which I've been trying to find for a week now) and announced we were all going for a walk! We took turns pushing Kevin down the street. He really likes his stroller! The girls loved getting to push it all by themselves.

I was feeling sad thinking how we might never take another walk around this neighborhood again. I was remembering how we used to push Gloria in a stroller around this same block; how we'd carry the girls around and let them touch the different kinds of leaves on the trees. I remember each place where they fell and scraped their knees on the sidewalk. Today Daniel and I realized that we both moved into new homes when we were six. Now Danya is six and moving into a new home. I wonder where we'll be when Kevin is six?

Gloria, NO!

Gloria, No!

No! Don't stick your baby brother in the Barbie box!

No! Don't put that big sticker over his mouth!

No! Don't squeeze him 'super tight'!

No! Don't pull on Kevin's leg when Daddy is walking with him!

No, you can't pick him up!

Poor Gloria. She's beginning to think her name starts with "no". We don't want her to lose her excitement and enthusiasm about having a baby brother, but she is constantly on the brink of disaster with him. I caught her putting him in the Barbie box just as she was shutting the lid! We're trying our hardest to teach her to be gentle, but so far it's been slow going. Kevin, buddy, you're just going to have to toughen up quick!

Don't Underestimate Her!

I learned a lesson this week. Never underestimate your kids. I haven't been working with Gloria on her reading. She had started reading small words and extremely easy books earlier this year and then we all got caught up in the moving process and she got lost in the shuffle.

I've noticed that she sounds out words everywhere we go, and she spells phonetically. Yet, I just assumed that she couldn't read more than very simple words. So when we were at the bookstore the other day I told her she couldn't have the "Biscuit" books (about a dog) because the words were too hard for her. Then she sat down and read an entire "Biscuit" book out loud to us. She showed us that she could read that book just fine.

Of course we bought her the books. This picture is of her up in Danya's bunk bed reading out loud to her big sister while Danya points to the words. What can I say? She's not your typical four year old! And we wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Off to School

Gloria started her first day of pre-K today. That's strange to say since we did a whole year of homeschool pre-K last year with her. She had fun, got to wear new "school clothes", and of course the obligatory back pack. It was fun to take school pictures. We took back to school pictures of Danya, too, for our first complete day back to homeschooling since Kevin was born. Up until now we've been doing very light work and sort of sporadically. That's the good thing about schooling year round. You have a very flexible schedule that way.

Gloria enjoyed her first day. It was a mad house dropping her off, and I was a few minutes late picking her up because I took too long nursing Kevin. She says they painted a bird, colored their names, and sang "Father Abraham". That's one of the good things about a pre-K program not affiliated with the public school. They aren't afraid of religious songs and holidays.

While Glory was gone, Danya and I got alot accomplished. I posted her dictation describing what she learned in history today below this post. When Gloria got home she and I did some extra school work. She read out loud and we did some hand writing practice. Honestly, this two weeks of pre-K she'll be doing feels more like play time. The real work happens at home. But I'm glad she gets to go for a while. It's a good break from the stress of moving and a new baby at home.

History Dictation August 17th, 2006

The Story of the World: Vol. 1 Ancient Times Chpt 9
The First Cities of India: The River-Road

Danya said:
"It was mostly about how people go by boat on rivers. If you fill up a wagon too heavy, even if it has strong wheels, it can break. It can get stuck in rocks and sink in deep sand. You can go by boat and not get stuck. They make the wheels wooden, because they haven't invented rubber. There weren't any nice smooth paved roads."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What We're Reading: The Phantom Tollbooth

We picked this book up in Colorado while we were up there a couple of weeks ago. I read this as a kid and saw the movie, and remembered really enjoying it. So I read Danya the first few pages and asked her if she'd like to keep reading it.

I choose a new book to read aloud to the girls every so often. So far we've read some Junie B. Jones (which I've decided not to continue reading), some Ramona books, one of the Magic Treehouse books, the Narnia series, and a few others. Next I plan to read James and the Giant Peach to them. The girls especially like it when I read to them in the car.

Today they didn't want me to stop reading The Phantom Tollbooth so we took it with us into the doctor's office and I read to them while I sat on the exam table waiting for my OB to come in for my six week post partum checkup.

I like this book because it's funny, teaches the girls alot of new vocabulary in a fun way, and emphasizes numbers and words and paying attention. I think ages 5 and up can probably understand the book if you read it aloud and are willing to stop and answer questions along the way. I personally like doing different silly voices for each of the characters. Talking like a bee was especially good!

Fish Stories

Today we went to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks. We've got a short list of places we'd like to visit and things we'd like to do here in Oklahoma before we move and this was one of them. The aquarium is seriously overpriced. Even with a coupon it cost us just over $40 to get in. But hey, at least we can say we went once.

The girls got to feed lettuce on long poles to the snapping turtles. Danya was scared and wouldn't feed them unless I helped her hold the pole. She was afraid that the turtles would climb up the flimsy pole and bite her. Gloria on the other hand was fearless, as usual. Gloria was also the first to pet a starfish, touch a shark egg, and lay hands on a stingray. Danya waited until Gloria proved it was safe, then she touched them all.

We really enjoyed getting to watch the divers feed the fish and play with them. Walking underneath the shark tank was fun, too. I talked to Danya about the starfish and how they regenerate their arms. She also thought it was weird that the daddy sea horses have the babies. She stumped the lady working at the "hands on" stingray tank by asking what temperature the water needed to be for the stingrays. The lady said, "Uh, I'm not sure." Then she felt the water and said she thought it must need to be pretty warm. I bet the lady will find out the answer to that before asking the kids if they have any questions next time, lol!

Here's a link to the web page for the Oklahoma Aquarium

Eye See You!

I apologize. You poor kids. How could we do it? Your Dad and I both had to go and marry someone who also had glasses. Yep, we increased your odds of needing vision correction before you were even born.

We've been talking about getting the girls' eyes checked for over a year now. That just seems like one of those things you should do when your child starts school, doesn't it? We finally decided, on a whim because we are seriously impulsive people, to see if the eye doctor took walk-in appointments. We went to Dr. Zoellner in Tulsa, which if you live here is the only sensible place to go because of their great prices.

The doctor's assistant was apparently impressed that our four year old knew all her letters because the doctor commented on it as she came in. It's sort of a requirement for checking your eyes, that you be able to read the eye chart. Turns out both our girls have 20/20 vision which means I've been right all girls DO have perfect beautiful eyes!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

House for Sale: SOLD!

HOW did I manage to forget to blog about the sale of our home??!

One week ago we received not one, but TWO offers on our house on the same day. They were both good offers, but one wanted us to completely replace our seven year old roof with a brand new top of the line roof. So we went with the other offer. Now here's the scary part. Our friend, Steve, warned us that there is some hail damage on our roof and it might become an issue in the sale of our home.

So we called our insurance, State Farm, and they are sending an inspector out tomorrow to assess the damage. Whether they agree to fix the roof, replace the whole thing, or refuse to do anything, we are still responsible for the cost if the buyers' inspector says it needs to be fixed. If our insurance company agrees to foot the bill, we are still out the $1,400 deductible. If they don't cover it, we'll have to pay the whole thing. Hopefully, it won't need to be fixed at all. Or if it does, hopefully the buyers won't back out on the contract.

The buyers have only 10 days (not business days) to secure financing for the house loan, which means they have to get an inspector out here within the next three days. If all goes well, we'll have to close by August 31st, which means be out of the house by August 30th. In the meantime we'll stay with Daniel's parents for about a month. We already took a U-Haul with about 80% of our things (everything in the garage) down to their house and unloaded it. We'll move the rest at the end of the month. Then we have to move it all again to Colorado when an apartment becomes available.

The Ultimate Homeschool "How To" book

I've been hearing about this book: The Well Trained Mind and finally broke down and bought it. Yes, it was a little painful to spend $30 on one book, but I can honestly say it is absolutely worth it. I got it yesterday, have already read through the first six chapters, and am extremely impressed with how down to earth and useful the information is.

Since we became homeschoolers a little over a year ago I've been searching for exactly this type of information. Now I hear others who are stepping out into the wide world of homeschooling asking the same questions I asked and never got answers to all last year:

"What curriculum should I use?"
"Where do I start?"
"How long should I teach each subject per day?"

Those and so many other questions are answered with very simple language and DIRECT answers, which I was unable to find anywhere else. It's alot like the other day. Daniel and I looked through several books at the bookstore about how to build a good website and/or blog. We found about five different books that gave general advice, but only one book that gave us step by step directions. This homeschooling book does exactly that.

Seriously, get the book. You'll be glad you did. (okay, now I feel like an infomercial)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Creating Keepsakes Convention

This year Tulsa hosted a CK Convention for the second time ever. This time I got to go! Last year I was in Florida during the convention, but Daniel and the girls went for me.

The best part was that Daniel said that I could use the money we are getting back from rebates on the laptop and some new software. So in this picture you see about $130 worth of scrapbooking products. It feels like Christmas in August! I imagine Daniel will soon say this is an early anniversary present, but I don't mind. I had a blast hunting for the kinds of products I enjoy!

I like things that are pre-made, coordinated, and elegant - not "cutesy". I also like anything that feels like a bargain. Seven of the sheets of cardstock stickers in this photo were on sale for a dollar each! Some of the page kits were only $2 each. It was such a good deal that we picked up a couple for Daniel's sister, Robin, too. So, Robin, if you actually read this you'll know in advance what you're getting for your birthday next month!


Gloria is loving being able to write. She sounds out all kinds of words and writes us cards and letters and signs that she hangs around the house. This card reads "I am a person. I say hello."

We are letting her participate in the local 4 yr old program for about two weeks before we move. I'm considering it more of a sort of temporary summer camp, then actual school, since she already knows everything they hope to teach. She will enjoy the arts and crafts and the music times, though. I like that the 4 yr old program isn't affiliated with the public school. I also like that she won't be there long enough to worry about them teaching inappropriate concepts at Halloween.

Glory brought her new teacher, Mrs. Jensen, a paper with some of her writing on it. She was ecstatic when the teacher actually hung it up in the classroom.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Duck Story

This picture was taken by Daniel's younger sister, Jennie. I've copied and pasted the photo and her description of what happened straight from the email she sent us:

Matt and I rescued baby duckies last week. I kept hearing lots of peeping so I followed it and there were a bunch of baby ducks lost under the stairs w/ no mommy so Matt and I went and found a mommy duck with a couple babies and gently chased her to the apartment entrance with her babies. She started talking to the lost ducks and then they followed her out and they all went swimming in the pond. I thought the girls might like that one.

Then that night I was doing laundry and I kept hearing this peeping but it was dark and I couldn't find it. I was afraid that the duck had fallen in the grate since that's happened before, so I kept looking and went back several times. finally, as I was crawling in the grass i found a baby duck tucked away under the weeds (it's brother was in the grate but we'll skip that story). There were no ducks any where so I wrapped him in a towel and tried to feed it. It was brand new still wet and slimy from just hatching. I dried him off but it wouldn't eat so I went hiking and found some ducks they wouldn't let me get close so I fed them and they came up and surrounded the baby. Thus I saved another one. (hopefully). That's my duck story.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What He Sees

I wonder what Kevin sees when he looks up at us. What is it that makes him calm down and grow peaceful when we come into view? Why do his mommy's and daddy's voices instill trust? He heard his sisters talk to him just as often when he was in the womb, so how does he know that his parents are the ultimate source of comfort, warmth, protection, and nourishment?

I don't know what he sees, looking up at us. I do hope, though, that when he is grown to be a man and looks back at us, he sees two people that he is glad to call Mom and Dad.

We love you, Kevin!

One Month Photos

My baby boy is already a month old! He is so amazing! He can lift his head and flop it around to look in different directions. I love it when he does that while I'm holding him against my shoulder. He'll look up at me with the best expressions.

Sunday night Daniel bought me a book that explains how to take really great baby photos that look like a professional could have taken them. The advice can be summed up fairly easily:

1. Get extremely close up
2. Keep the background simple
3. Turn off the flash and use natural light from a window
4. Snap photos like crazy, don't think about it, just do it

So I set up a little photo shoot next to my living room window yesterday. I draped a plain blue blanket over Kevin's car seat and set him in it close to the window with the morning light coming in. Then I took 150 digital pictures. Yes, I said 150. I turned off the feature that lets me view each photo after I take it, so there'd be no delay. The whole process took less than 30 minutes and I got some AMAZING photos. They turned out so great that this morning I draped a brown blanket over the back of two kitchen chairs and did a photo shoot of Kevin and Daniel together. I'm hoping to take photos of the girls later this week!

A Very Long Day

The trip home was quite an ordeal. We started out running a little late. Then we had to swing by Willow Run to fill out an application. We left just after lunch, but a little over an hour outside of Denver we had a mishap.

We locked the keys in the car at a gas station. It was still running. I had jumped out one side with Kevin to run Gloria to the bathroom, just as Danya was yelling for Daniel to kill a spider on her window. He jumped out and ran around to the other side of the van to kill the spider. It got stuck inside the window, so he tried to roll down the window, but accidentally hit the door lock instead. He didn't get the spider, but he did shut the door. That's when he realized that the keys were inside and all the doors were locked. So we sat in a tiny gas station in the little town of Deer Trail, Colorado for hours while we tried to get a locksmith out to help us. They were all an hour and a half away and wanted to charge about $130 to come rescue us. We finally reached someone in the next town over who would do it for $85.

That night we tried to stop for the night and find a hotel around 10pm. Every hotel in every town from Hays, Kansas all the way to Salina was completely booked. We followed several people from hotel to hotel, until we started to recognize them. There were hand written signs taped to some hotel lobby doors saying, "No Vacancy!" We finally found a hotel in Salina where someone hadn't shown up to claim a room they reserved. Since it was after midnight, they rented it to us. I've never been so glad to see a day end.

The next day we stopped in Wichita to have lunch at Chuck E. Cheese with Christina and her children. That was a much needed highlight to the trip home. Then we dropped the girls off at their grandparents' house. We decided to leave them there so our house would be easier to keep clean for a few days while people came to see it. That worked out well, since three different realtors came to view the house.

Night Swimming

The one thing the girls REALLY wanted to do while we were in Colorado, was swim at night. We had been at our hotel for 4 days before they finally got a chance. The water was freezing cold, but that didn't stop them!

They got Daniel to inflate their new pool toys and they stayed in there shivering and shaking and refusing to give up. Daniel tried to swim with them, but he was frozen in just a few minutes. I, on the other hand, got to sit at a little table with my laptop, enjoying the hotel's wi-fi access, and trying to keep the blanket from blowing off Kevin's carseat. We were using it to block the wind. All in all, it was a strange night, but at least the girls were happy.

Our House Online

This is a link to the Coldwell Banker listing for our house:
Our House

Apparently, it's a hot commodity! We got an offer on it this morning. They want to close by the end of August. This afternoon two other people looked at our house and they are writing their offers up tonight! How crazy is that?! In just one day we went from thinking that maybe the house will sell by the end of the month, to having to come up with a place to live for a few weeks between our house closing and an apartment becoming available in Colorado. Thankfully, Daniel's parents said that we could move in with them temporarily!

We painted the shed door and had bought a new sink for the master bathroom. It looks like we can return the sink since we hadn't installed it yet. Everyone seems to like the house just the way it is! Tomorrow we will decide which buyer's offer we'll go with and then we just have to hope that the inspection goes well. Colorado here we come!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hopefully Home Sweet Home

We found an apartment community we really love! It's called "Willow Run" and is only 15 minutes from where Daniel will be working. Daniel and I had an agreed upon list of what we wanted in our new home.

1. Close to work
2. Nice area, with a "safe" feeling
3. Good playground and near a park
4. Near a bike trail
5. Walking distance to shopping
6. Near a library
7. Less than $1,100 per month rent
8. At least 1100 square feet
9. Inexpensive storage for our bikes
10. Pool and exercise facility available

This apartment complex has all of these things! We were willing to be flexible on a lot of the things on our list. We just kept praying, searching, and trusting that God would lead us to the perfect place. We thought we'd found the perfect house on Wednesday, but after thinking about it over night we realized that the townhome was great, but the location was terrible. So we kept looking, knowing we were running out of time. Thursday afternoon we finally found Willow Run. We explored the neighborhood and knew it was the right place. Friday morning, just before heading home to Oklahoma, we went back to Willow Run and filled out an application. So now as soon as a 3 bedroom becomes available they'll contact us and we can put a deposit down. We can't move, however, until our home sells. Here's hoping we don't wind up having to pay double rent!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Digital Diva

I'm creeping into the high tech world. It's been happening slowly over the past year or two. We got a faster computer, a better digital camera, and then I started blogging. Most of my friends don't even know what a blog is.

Daniel even convinced me to get rid of our home phone last year and switch to having just two cell phones instead. Yes, we're that couple wandering around Target saying, "Where are you? Oh! I see you!" as we wave at each other across the aisles.

Now I've ventured out into the final frontier. We bought a lap top to take on this trip. It has "Wi-fi" which just seems to mean that at certain places you can use the internet without plugging into it or even paying for it. So far, I like that I can download my pictures onto the laptop and edit them all while riding in the van. That way they are ready to be uploaded to my blog as soon as I find a place that has wi-fi access. This hotel, for instance.

Yes, I'm officially a full fledged member of the digital age I live in. Now I guess I'll just need to upgrade to one of those camera phones.

Dairy Queens (and King)

At one of our many pit stops we found a DQ. Daniel has been pretty willing to indulge me in whatever I want for a snack, since I'm feeding Kevin. In 100 plus degree weather, riding in the car for hours with the sun beating down on us through the van windows, ice cream suddenly sounded irresistible!

I gave Kevin a little dab on his tongue, but he didn't react, so I'm guessing it wasn't enough of a taste for him to decide.

This is supposed to be a business trip and a home finding trip, but it's really feeling like a much needed family vacation. Danya is really showing alot of maturity and is helping ALOT with Kevin. Even when he is screaming at the top of his lungs she patiently talks to him, holds his hands, and offers him his pacifier for the hundredth time. I'm really proud of her!

Rocky Road

On the way to Denver we had to stop every 3 hours to feed Kevin (sooner if he was wailing his lungs out). We visited several interesting gas stations along the side of the road. It worked out well, because it gave the girls a chance to get out of the van and stretch their legs.

At this particular stop they enjoyed collecting rocks of different colors. I only let them keep one, but we took pictures of the others. I hope and pray that they will stay this easy to entertain for a long time to come!

Good Signs

We took pictures of Gloria once a month for her first year holding signs that told how old she was. We are continuing the tradition with Kevin and including a sign for each week of his first month.

Aunt Christina got an opportunity to make one of Gloria's signs when she was a baby (I think the 2 month one) and now she has made Kevin's 3 week sign on a piece of paper at McDonald's in Wichita.

I tried to get him to hold the sign, but he was too sleepy. This picture is of him wearing his first tank top...Oops! Daniel says it's NOT a tank top. Guys only wear "muscle shirts". So this is Kevin in his first muscle shirt.

Survivor: Garden Edition

It's been a struggle, but the girls' tomato plants have managed to survive our not-so-green thumbs. We plucked these lovely specimens on Sunday and set them in the fridge. Now, hopefully they will survive until we get back from Denver.

The girls are so proud of their plants. I feel sorry for the little green torture victims. Despite the record heat wave our area has been suffering through, we've still only managed to water them sporadically at best. Yet somehow they've hung in there. I was tempted to mow them down last week because the house might show better with their half withered carcasses not in sight, but I couldn't do it. It would have broken the girls' hearts.

So they remain, like ugly bent little men waving their frondy green fingers at us in shame for neglecting them so badly.


On the way up to Denver we stopped in Wichita, KS to visit the kids' godmother, Christina, and her kids. Danya and Glory ran around excitedly playing with Cantrell and trying to convince Hope to play, too.

Hope got all the way to the top of the play land before getting scared. Christina had to go up and rescue her. It reminded me of all the times we had to go rescue Danya or coax her up the ladders when she was little. Glory, by contrast, was fearless. She still is. The other day she caused a major collision between herself, Danya, and another child when she went UP the slide instead of down at Chick Fila's playland.

We hope to stop half way and see the Haleys on the way home on Friday, too.

Home Repairs

Oh, the million little things that need to be repaired around a home that you never get around to until it's time to sell.

All last week we worked on the house to prepare it for sale. The plumber came out and fixed our leaky shower, and replaced the outside faucet that had frozen two winters ago. He says we can replace the master bathroom sink for about 50 bucks. We're hoping to avoid that.

Daniel put new tile in the master bathroom that matches the tile in the kitchen and entry way now. Our friend, Steve, helped by removing the toilet and then replacing it. We hired Steve also to build us a new shed door (in this photo), replace the box around the exterior of the fireplace, replace the trim above the garage, put new prettier paneling on the kitchen island, and install new lattice on the patio. He is an amazingly hard worker! I can't believe how fast he worked and late into the night, too.

Now we just have to see if it will sell as is, or if we'll need to pay to have everything painted.