Monday, December 24, 2012

Saying Goodbye, and Saying Hello

Last month our fourteen year old dachshund-beagle mix Tonka passed away in his sleep. We know it was coming because he was not acting right in the week leading up to his passing. His health was also failing him. Being a long bodied dog he injured his back several years ago swimming in a pond of all things, and had health issues ever since. The vet anticipated him needing a high cost surgery that we could never afford and we never expected to have him as long as we did.

Tonka was definitely a rascal, and we have so many stories of him, mostly good, but some that would make you wonder why we kept him as long as we did. Ornery or not he was still part of our family and has been missed. Sometimes on a sunny day when I come in the yard I expect to see him all sprawled out with his legs in the air enjoying the sunshine. Silly dog.

Saying good bye to him opened a door for us to say hello to this little ball of energy!

Say hello to Diamond! She was seven weeks old when we got her and yes, that's how big she is at seven weeks! She is now twelve weeks old and keeps us on our toes. She has also gained six pounds and grown about four inches since we got her. She's mastered "sit" and is mostly house broken. 

(Hmmm... Not sure why the edited picture is not showing up. Please ignore the background and the things on the couch... okay?)

Diamond is a black lab mix, a dog Yohn has dreamed of having since he was a kid. She's fit right in and although our lives have become that much crazier with her in it. She's definitely brightened our days.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Catching Up... Sort of...

Okay, so leaving off with the last post I'm going to cover fall and kinda, sorta be caught up. There's still Thanksgiving to cover and another event, if you could call it an "event" that I'll post about soon too.

On a side note has anyone else ran out of space on their blog so they couldn't post any more pictures? Yeah, I have. Which is part of the reason it has taken me so long to post this one, cuz I wasn't sure I want to pay a monthly fee for pictures when I haven't been blogging all that often. All these pictures are links from my photobucket account to keep from having to pay here. Although I have heard I can fill that one up too and then have to pay there as well, so this isn't a win all situation, but it works for now.

Elisha had a report to do on Cougars. He got an A+ on his written, an A on his oral and an A- on his poster. He was super exicted!

We took our annual field trip to the pumpkin farm with the kid's school. This was Elisha's last official year, although he's asked to go next year anyway. We'll see.

Pumpking carving that weekend and we toasted the seeds too. It's funny the kids don't really eat the seeds, but they still insist we toast them. Go figure.

All of the pumpkins together. Clockwise from the bottom: mine, Bethany's, Yohn's and Elisha's. The kids carved their own this year with just a little bit of help. I'm still slightly nervous of turning them loose with a knife. 

We made caramel apples this year for the first time. They were good, but I'll try a different reciped next time.

Crazy hair day at school during sprirt week...

Bethany's idea was to have Mickey surfing the waves on her head. It didn't work out quite as she envisioned, cuz I really don't have the "hair-do skills", ya know. But fun nevertheless.

Costume Day! Elisha was Hulk Hogan this year and Bethany was a girl Ninja Turtle. Elisha's costume came with Hogan's mustache too, but we saved it for Halloween Night.

The kids earned their first Book It pizza prize for the month of October by reading their required minutes. Bethany had to read a minimum of 200 and Elisha had to read 300 minutes. Bethany read for an actual total of 353 minutes and Elisha squeaked in with his 300 minutes exactly. Can you tell which one of my children likes to read more?

We went mini golfing on a groupon I got for a slammin' deal!

There is nothing wrong with Bethany's arm, she just loves to dress up with that sling!

Friendship Stew at school, another annual tradition that Elisha will be outgrowing next year. Good thing he'll still be on campus and can "pop in" if he really wants to come.

Operation Christmas Child boxes to be taken to the drop off center. We saved and bought things all year for the items inside. The kids definitely love this way of giving to other children and are trying to figure out how they can do more boxes next year.

Like I said, I still have Thanksgiving and "other news" to share hopefully later on this week! Hope to catch ya then!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Summer Highlight ~ The Finale

Whew! Took me long enought to wrap this up. It seems kinda odd posting some of these pictures with the colder weather we have been having lately.

This year I did "date nights" with each of the kids to go back to school shopping. Bethany went first since her birthday was just around the corner. That way I could scout out birthday ideas and then let her brother know when I took him out, a win-win.

In the above picture is the first day of school outfit she picked out complete with the shoes that she "had" to have. Seriously she has never been like that before. We went to one store she saw then and didn't give any of the other shoe stores a backward glance. We went back before the night's end and got them. Thankfully they were on sale. Her backpack was also on sale for 65% off, a definate score!

We went out to eat at Johnny Rocket's, where apparently kids eat free on Thurdays nights. Another deal!

The kids participated in several summer reading programs this year. Above is Bethany's loot from the library reading program. Elisha did it too, but I forgot to take pictures of him when he redeemed his reading log.

We took advantage of JC Penny's free haircuts for kids offer in August. Bethany has bangs for the first time ever! Her idea not mine. She has since decided they are not for her and is growing them out again. Too much maintenance.

Have you ever heard of Kids Fly Free? We hadn't until we saw a poster advertising it one night. We decided to give a try. Small airports across the country participate all year long (when the weather is right). Pilots donate both their time and fuel to take kids up in the air for about 45 minutes.

 Not the greatest pictures, but not the worst either. They had so much fun we did it again in September. They have been asking me ever since when our airport will be flying kids for free again, but I believe it starts again in April.

No take off or landing pictures because we were not that close to that particular part of the airstrip.
Elisha is really into wrestling now thanks to his friend T, so guess what he chose as his first day of school shirt?

We went to free movie night at the drive ins with friends. This is the back of our suburban. The kids piled in on the mattress we brought along and had a great time. We watched Madagascar 3 and The Avengers.

The kids' friends left before Avengers and both of them fell asleep before the movie was even halfway over. Elisha was plenty upset that he missed Hulk's debut.

The last weekend of the summer was stuffed full. First with Bethany's birthday at the pool (notice her cake does not say anything? She insisted it be plain because she did not want to mess it up with words)...

...and then at church the next day for "Aqua Blast". Basically a children's church service with a water fight and slide.

Yes, that's my daughter in a garbage can filled with water. She's crazy like that.

Elisha "earned" the right to get slimed. Lucky him.

This is a fluke picture, but I liked it anyways. My camera has issues, one of which is waiting several seconds before taking an actual picture. I had given up when it snapped this one. Thankfully it was in focus, most of them aren't.

That's it for the summer posts. Maybe I can get the fall ones all caught up before winter is actually here. Don't hold me to it though, K?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Summer Highlights ~ Part 7

I gotta hurry up and get this series done cuz' it's definitely not summer anymore (although last week's 90 degree weather would belay that remark). Truthfully I thought I was coming back around to the bloggin' groove again but then two more weeks have passed by in silence on my part.

Anyways, another annual tradition of ours is visiting Six Flags Discovery Kingdom each summer. The kids get their tickets for free through Six Flags' Read to Succeed program and since I am the school coordinator, I get mine free too! The kids both know it's up to them if we go and since we only go once a year, they do their part in earning their ticket!

We took a few of their friends with us this summer. 
(In the picture you can see Elisha with his arms out and Bethany on the right in the purple, Jewell and T are in the middle of them) 

This kid is bumper car crazy! She's a lot of fun but I had to keep her from doing more than one head on collision with another car. No only is it "not allowed", it really hurts!

Superman crazy!

 A butterfly landed on my stomach in the Butterfly room. They had so many different kinds and some of them were sooo big. Bethany kept trying to get them to land on her but was much too active to succeed.

They actually had a porcupine out to pet too, but because we went with the snake first (it had no line) they took the porcupine away and without letting the kids get so much as a glimpse of it. We were a little frustrated about that one. Bethany chased the lady with the sloth too, but we couldn't figure out where she was headed to set up so the kids could really get a good look at it and gave up trying. 

The frogs are a tradition with Elisha and he insisted they ride again. Bethany was complaining about riding "a little kid ride" and would not let me get a picture. My question is, why did she bother to ride at all? It's not like we made her. Methinks, she secretly wanted to ride it but did not want to let anyone else know it. In fact Elisha's friend T rode it too, even though he proclaimed that it was a baby ride.

Ride on Elisha, until you decide you are too big you just go on and enjoy being a kid!

We've missed the elephant show every year but this year we got to see them both. Such magnificent creatures, this one even "high fived" the kids!

Mavin the Martian made picture taking fun!

Yes, we live in California, but it seems like every year we pick the coldest day to visit Six Flags. The weather was in the low 60's most of the day and it was mid August. Don't ask, I do not understand our weather. Fall/spring weather most of the summer and summer weather in the fall.

Anyway, I declined to ride this ride for two reasons: 1) my camera was gonna get wet and you know that's not gonna happen if I can help it. And 2) it was cold and my camera getting wet was a good excuse not to get wet. :)

They did enjoy the ride, for the record, but I ended up hiking to the lockers for their sweatshirts immediately afterwards because they were all shivering.

Daffy Duck! I think we took pictures with Bugs too, but I didn't feel like going back to see if I just forgot to upload it.

Yohn and Elisha rode the new Superman ride together while I took the other three off to ride some different roller coasters and rides. T and the two girls were too short for the Superman and once they found out how long Yohn and Elisha had to wait in line for it I don't think they minded being left out.

We finished the day with funnel cakes and then left as the park was closing. It was an exhausting but fun day, especially since T said he'd never been to a real theme park. The kids loved the mix of rides, shows and animals. An A+ kinda day!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Summer Highlights ~ Part 6

After vacation the kids had a week off and then they attended VBS at another church. They attend this VBS every year and have friends there they look forward to seeing. This year's theme was No Fear Factor.

Unfortunately I didn't get as many pictures of VBS as I usally do. This one is from parent's night on the final day of VBS. In the background is the waterslide they build each year for the kids to enjoy. You can tell they have a lot of fun with it and really look forward to playing on it.

The week after VBS was kids camp, which Yohn and I help run. This is another annual event our children really look forward to.

This year they helped lead in worship and have since joined the children's worship team at our church.

Lots of water play is scheduled in our days at camp.

 And also some very interesting games!

 While our children enjoy time with their friends they often take a few minutes to spend time with Yohn or I as well. Here's one of our down time moments, right after dinner one evening. They both needed a little attention after an exhausting day.

This beautiful waterfall is available to view only if you sign up to go on the 3 mile hike up the mountain. Lucky me I was chosen to chaperone the kids who wanted to go. I don't mind hiking and I love the falls. But since the temps were in the 100's and once there we only get to spend about 45 minutes, it kinda makes it an event I don't always look forward to. 

Since there is no shower for the kids at our camp ground we always stop at this pool to, uh, well, clean them up a bit before returning them to their parents. :)

Then a milkshake before finally returning home. Believe it or not kids who have gone in previous years really look forward to these homemade, not a McDonald's or Dairy Queen shake.

See those circles under his eye though? Yeah, most of the kids look like that at the end, and so do us counselors. We really wear them out good and they love every minute of it.