Thursday, December 10, 2009

our most quotable

Ethan lives life at 1.3 times normal speed. This is just a little bit faster than the rest of us in the real world. When you live in a different world than everyone else, it helps to define the rules in this world.

Recently we had to remind Ethan to wash his hands after using the bathroom. After going back and obeying he returned and offered an explanation for his negligence. Quite often when Ebo opens his mouth we say to ourselves that we should be writing this stuff down.

This time we actually did.

When you say this in your head, you need to use an Ebo voice and say it much faster than necessary.

"There is a fire-fighter go pee: you don't wash your hands or flush because you got to get to the fire."

"There is the rescue go pee: Do flush the toilet but don't wash your hands 'cause you have to rescue someone out of the sea or somthin'."

"And the just play go pee: you do flush and wash hands and turn the light off and put the towel back and then go play."

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Thank you Cutzi for the hat you knit for me.
Mom and Dad think I look really cute in it.

It might even cause one to drool.

Friday, November 20, 2009

vacation, fall 2009

One of the really nice things about homeschooling is that we can take vacations whenever it suits us. Knowing that a baby would be joining our family in June we figured out a long time ago that September would be the ideal month for a family vacation.

Then we came up with the brilliant idea to vacation with our dear ol' friends; once we put it all together we had a terrific plan for fun, fun, fun.

And fun it was. We went to a place called Veranda Beach on the US side of Osoyoos lake.

It was a long drive deep into the middle of what felt like nowhere (in other words no Starbucks!) but the place was awesome and the cottages were perfect. The two most important things this place offered was 1) no limit on the number of people we could house in the cottage and 2) it was available when we finally got around to making reservations.

(Serving meals seem to be the only pictures we have of Stacy and Me and that makes sense because that is what we spend a lot of time doing, so I am posting a few).

The people: we had 4 adults and 10 kids ages 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 4, 2, 19 months, 7 months, & 3 months. You would think that this would make for a crazy week but really it was not crazy at all.

Yes, there was a lot of energy, activity and people but there was also a clear rhythm to things. We had all our meals around the table together (two tables moved around to accommodate & a cooler served as a bench for three kids), we played hard but had a quiet time each day and at night all of the kids were in bed and quiet by 9. Once the kids were in bed the adults played games and ate/drank yummy things. What a treat!

What we did: the resort has guests park their cars away from the cottages leaving the little roads clear and safe for walks and bike riding. This was so fun for the kids. At both our homes, going out for a bike ride is not easy so it was so neat for the kids to just be able to go. And Mike was able to teach Ethan to ride a two-wheeler which they were both super excited about.

In addition to riding bikes we swam at the pool until it closed for the season half way through our week.

We walked on the beach, played at the play ground, had a big flag football game, played lots of games inside, did a few crafts, had a group read aloud (one of my favorite parts) and ate lots and lots of yummy food.

Pretty simple stuff but just perfect for this season in both families.

Our kids get along great. Each of our kids has known one another from the moment they joined the family making them super familiar friends.

The white shirts you see in the pictures are homemade t-shirts that Mike and I made on the computer. They feature the first letter of both of our last names reclining on a beach chair. Of course the printer-iron-on things washed mostly out of the shirts after a couple washes.

The drive was the only part to which we were not looking forward with joy. But the 5.5 hour drive turned out to not be that bad at all. Justus slept most of the way and the other kids were very satisfied with our audio book "Story of the World" and their individual books and music. We enjoyed our stop in Winthrop for some famous ice cream and made it the whole way there without even using the DVD player. On the way home we busted the thing right out and allowed the boys to watch all they wanted. It was indeed a treat for them.

Here we are taking a break half way over the pass to nurse Justus and stretch our legs.

One lesson we learned on this trip is that our gps has no idea where Oroville, WA, is! We followed Meridith (that is what we've named our gps) without even a thought because she has never let us down before (and Mike has used her in several cities to find tons of places on his work travels). This time however she led us deep into the heart of nowhere. After passing several longhorn steer (seriously the span of these horns was like 6 feet!) Meridith claimed that our destination was a few yards away. Out our windows all we see is open field. Yep, she was way off. But we figured it out and arrived safely albeit an hour later than we should have.

On the way home we stopped at an organic farm to pick up 30 pound boxes of honey crisp apples for $10! That score made the fact that our vacation had to come to an end easier to swallow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

rules of engagement

Any time two or more boys of somewhat similar ages gather, some form of wrestling will surely ensue. It's one of those universal truths.

At first, the wrestling takes place under the rule of might. The bigger, stronger, or quicker boy tends to experience the more enjoyable side of the physical exchange. As this goes on, however, in order to entice the younger wrestler into continuing such physical contests, a system of governance must be established.

Such systems arise out of consensual understanding of fairness. Allowances are made for the weaker wrestler to obtain some measure of advantage through a meaningful handicap of the stronger boy or by disallowing conduct considered to unfairly amplify an existing physical advantage.

At advanced levels, these rules become codified, I can only assume in order to allow for more consistent interpretation and a more exact understanding of the rules on behalf of all parties.

I recently discovered such a manual.


The authorship of this manual appears to be a joint effort. Keep in mind, no one ever told Aidan and Luke to "come up with some rules so that people stop getting hurt", much less to write anything down. This was a truly enlightening discovery.

Page 1-2.

I'm not certain, but I believe this is saying that if somebody tries to grab you, then you should duck. And if you weren't sure what direction you were supposed to duck, there is an arrow pointing to the floor.

Rules must be specific. Although this appears to more fall under the category of general combat tactics than rules.

Page 3-4.

The construction of this section leads me to believe that The Wrestling Book is a living document. I would surmise that bans on punching, kicking and pinching were established at the formation of the document. They may have even provided the impetus for its creation.

I believe that "No surprise attacks" has to be considered an amendment.

It may even be classified as a unilateral amendment.

Page 5-6

Perhaps as compensation for disallowing surprise attacks, "tabletops" have apparently been given permanent legal status in wrestling.

If you are unfamiliar with this tactic, I think the illustration makes it quite clear.

There are several blank pages left in this book. I do not know if this is simply the first volume of what will grow into an immense codex of legislation or if those governed by its principles will prefer a more laissez-faire approach to combat regulation.

Although for all the joy this book has brought me, I'm kinda hopping for the former.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

a few grins

This little guy has eyes for his momma. I wish I could say these grins were directed at me, but it's not like I supply his food or anything. Besides, someone has to be in charge if maximizing the in-focus area in such shallow depth of field.

Same story. Momma is camera left this time.

Of course this grin isn't really directed at me either. More the camera. At least the grin is pointed at me. This was taken during a really fun vacation with some good friends. I have a whole bunch of pictures from then that I will sometime get around to posting.

This is not so much a smile as much as what happens when a 4 year old watches "Two Towers" with his older brothers twice through in its entirety on a six-hour road trip . I'm pretty sure he's shooting an arrow at me.

But I don't fear his imaginary arrows. Not even a bit.

I mean seriously... How does he even see through those things, let alone aim his imaginary bow?

Monday, September 21, 2009

more from our eula bee party

There are a few more memories I want to document about our party this year.

Mike mentioned that it rained and that it changed our plans. I would like to add that it rained hard and it changed things drastically. There were a lot of planned things that we didn't even try to do which was a bummer. But one thing it impressed on us is that we have great friends. No one made us feel like they were miserable (soaking wet, cold, uncomfortable etc.) or not having a good time. For that we are thankful and pleased with our good friend-picking abilities.

While friends arrived one by one in cars full of kids,

we gathered around the tables outside. I had little kits to make beaded purses which went with one of the the themes of the book (Native American). So this craft was at one table and at another table we had face painting.

It is at this point that the rain began.

When I worked at a church many years ago I much preferred events that were just with kids to the one's that included the parents. The reason is simple. Parents have much higher expectations and are harder to please. Ava and I exemplify this perfectly. When the rain started I began to complain while Ava became delighted with the fact that she would now be able to carry around an umbrella!

Part of Ava's enjoyment of this party (and umbrella holding) has to do with our wonderful Aunt Helen.

Helen spent the party alternating between caring for the needs of Justus and Ava as Mike and I were leading the events, having fun, nursing etc. We are forever thankful for Aunt Helen, she rocks! (Thank you Aunt Helen!)

In our last post we covered that once the rain started we "went hunting!" That was so much fun and we have a million pictures of that but I will only post a few.

These are the targets we set up for the BB and soft pellet guns.

After hunting for a while we all took a reprieve from the rain and came inside to eat food. It was really yummy toastadas and fruit salad. I want to publicly confess and apologize that I did not have enough food. We had enough for everyone to have one serving (I think?) but I don't think everyone was full! I am sorry.

This is the point where we let some things go. We had a super great plan for each family to come up with an interpretive dance/war cry to perform for the other families. (It fit loosely with the book). But we decided that would not work inside and we let it go.

Once we were ready to head back outside, we went to the pinata!

Ethan choose to use his sword rather than a bat.

About half way through the pinata started to leak, so the daddies duck taped it so that it would last until every kid had had a chance to take two swings.

We did have some drama to accompany the pinata, but no one got hurt and the kids loved it. So I will leave it at that for this method of memory keeping.

After the pinata, we had a "horse race." The pictures speak for themeselves.

Nate Button came in first. Everyone did a great job!

Looks like Adia lost her shoe.

Accomplishing the horse race led us to our final activity. A mini-bonfire and smores. Mike worked hard with many flammable liquids to get the fire going but it never ended up being the sit around a campfire thing we had imagined. I think the general consensus was that we all needed a break from the elements. I bet that as we "grow up" campfires will be more commonplace.

When all was said and done, our family had a great time with this party. I love the brainstorming sessions we have with the kids about all the things we should do. It is a lot of fun to decide together what would be the best book to use as our theme for the party. And I love shopping at the dollar store with the kids as they pick out prizes for the party. Even setting up and cleaning up are enjoyable because it something we are doing all together.

So our 2009 Wait for me, watch for me, Eula Bee party was different than we expected but a success non-the-less. I wonder what we will do in 2010?