Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gardening Time

We decided it was about time to get serious about gardening, so we had our good friends the Hickles over for dinner and asked their advice about how to get started. Not only did they give us good advice; they lent us a tiller to break some ground -- even delivered it to our house! Dan got home from appointments a few hours later and went right to work breaking the ground -- just in time, since the next day we had a big rain! Now we start the gargantuan task of making it soil fit for growing things -- it just ain't Illinois dirt!
Every farmer needs willing helpers -- 2 of the cutest ones around!

More baseball

We spent the day yesterday in Poplar Bluff. Andy's team had two games.
It was a windy day, but overall, it was a beautiful day for a ball game.
If you squint, you might be able to see Andy out in left field in the first picture. The second picture shows him in his usual position in the dugout while his team is at bat...Elizabeth and Isaac went along and were wonderful, considering the limited things to do and the length of time spent just waiting! Here's Elizabeth with Woody, who tags along about everywhere.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Woody Goes to the Doctor

Many of you know that Elizabeth is a great imitator.
Yesterday I learned how closely she pays attention.

Step 1 -- bring the doctor toys from the basement (she took the picture after the visit)
Step 2: Find Woody (Wee-wee) -- again, she took the picture :)
Step 3: Heart check with the stethoscope (I missed this one)
Step 4: Throat check .. Say AAAHHHH
Step 5: Ear Check -- she checked both ears, from various angles...
I absolutely loved this one!!
Step 6: Shot time -- no preliminaries or soothing words-- but she did put on a band-aid,
visible in the picture after this one.
Step 7: Temperature time -- first, the doctor takes her own temp, then it's Woody's turn....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Isaac's Turn

Isaac's SELF-Portrait 3-16-2009

Isaac had the opportunity to participate on an "Odyssey of the Mind" team. The team was given a problem to solve, and were to come up with a creative way to solve it, which they presented in a skit. The idea is that it is completely student-driven. The "coach" is not to give ideas, but only to facilitate (I wouldn't have done very well with that job). It was a perfect "fit" for Isaac, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. The pictures below show the boys setting up for their competition and then during the skit. Isaac was a scientist...

Of Buttonholes and Life . . .

Okay, hang on everyone -- I'm going to get philosophical on you!

A couple weeks ago I decided I wanted to make Elizabeth some dresses. I found a simple pattern, and I have lots of fabric lying around that needs to be used. Everything went along pretty well until this morning. On Saturday, I decided to try to finish it, but realized all that was left to do was the buttonholes. Since I don't sew very often, I wasn't very excited about doing buttonholes, but then I remembered that my sewing machine has an automatic buttonhole function, so I set out to learn how to use it. This is like a dream come true -- an easy way to make buttonholes. Several hours and at least 10 false starts later, I only have 2 of 6 buttonholes complete, and one 1/2 done. So much for the automatic buttonhole function making it easier!

Who would guess that such a simple, assuming little "tool" could actually be so complicated?! The problem lies in following the directions EXACTLY. I started off on the right foot, making myself a sample fabric of exactly the same layers as my garment. Then I started off making a sample buttonhole, and it worked great! So I immediately went to the garment and started the process over.... But I had forgotten to turn the page in the instruction book, so I neglected to see that after making each buttonhole, you have to RESET the machine! So, each time I tried to make a buttonhole, it just didn't work -- it just kept doing step 4, I guess. I tried it about 3 times until I looked at the book and discovered my mistake. So I reset the machine and went to try again. But by then, I had run out of bobbin thread, so I had to redo that, and in the process I messed up the carefully aligned foot. So, the next few had a NEW problem -- It kept getting stuck about 1/2 way through the 2nd step. Again, it took me several tries before I decided to look at the instructions again and fix THAT problem.

At this point, I'm pretty proud of myself for being so patient and perservering. Until the next problem, when some glitch with the bobbin thread messes us the next one... and then I decided it was time to take a break for the day :)

It's just like me -- looking for shortcuts in life. Not that shortcuts are always bad, but I tend to want them to be easier, and to require less diligence. I started off pretty good for me, reading the instructions. But it is so easy for me to not read carefully and to assume I've got the basic idea, not realizing how crucial a certain part is...

So today, my buttonholes taught me a lesson. I don't know when I'll get back to them, but every time I put that dress on Elizabeth, I'm sure I'll remember it!
1/2 finished buttonhole on the left, completed one on the right!

Friday, March 13, 2009


Isaac and Elizabeth dressed for our last snow (Feb 28th)

Isaac keeps asking me how long until spring. We keep telling him that though it officially starts March 20th, it may not be warm right away. Today, it seems a very long way away-- somehow, we managed to run out of propane, so we have no heat and no hot water, and of course, it is COLD outside, so the temperature inside is dropping as well. So, if you have your own propane tank, be sure to check that you're not running out! Fortunately, we're told the propane tank is on the way, so we should have heat(and be able to shower) by tonight!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spy Doctor

I think Elizabeth is playing spy doctor here -- in her mouth is the cover of the thermometer, which is probably in my mouth. Always something creative from her :)

Back for a day

Thanks to Becky for jumping in and updating my blog. I really have been feeling guilty about it, but when I'm not doing anything else around the house, it's hard to justify spending time on the computer :)

Elizabeth's speech therapist has been working on having her answer questions. One of the first questions was "What do you throw?" The answer, of course, is ball, but E. quickly turned that into "baseball", so we added a new question: "Who plays baseball?" Andy. . . Zeke. . . Isaac.. . You'd think we lived at the baseball field or something! Not yet this year, anyway.... Then the weather turned warm for a few days, and Isaac dragged out some baseball stuff, and Elizabeth started doing her thing with the bat. She has most of batting routine down, complete with hitting the plate with the bat. Unfortunately, her hand-eye coordination and bat speed aren't so good yet :) But she sure is cute, in my opinion!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The News

(This is Becky, giving anyone who checks out this blog a little update of sorts.)

2009 has been a busy year for our family, already! Basketball games and practices were the main focus of most of January and February. Abby and Zeke both played on our home school teams, and Dad coached Zeke's team. Mom and I stayed busy coordinating the schedules, helping things go smoothly at the games, handling weather cancellations, etc. We all enjoy the games so much - it's been so encouraging and fulfilling to see the gym fill up with home school families for our home games! We have found that sporting events can be a great time of fellowship, although Mom sometimes has a hard time chatting with her friends as she chasing Libeth around the gym! Thankfully, many of our friends are willing to help babysit her during the games, the lovely Hickle girls in particular. :)

Abby and Zeke are both in book clubs this winter/spring - Abby's group is reading Pride and Prejudice, as well as sewing regency dresses. This is Abby's first sewing project, and she is doing and awesome job! Zeke's group is reading and discussing Johnny Tremain - although, when I picked him and some of his buddies up last week, they were slightly more inclined to tell me about all the star wars things they had played after book club. :) Both kids enjoy getting some time with peers who share their interests.

We also, in January, started the second Fine Linen play our family has been involved in! Every Saturday, we have been at rehearsals for the "Pirates of Penzance." It's a very fun musical, although the music is challenging. Mom, Abby, and Zeke all have roles in the play itself, while I am props manager/babysitter. Performances are the weekends of April 17/18 and 23/24/25.

Mom has been enjoying the fellowship of several other ladies each Tuesday afternoon, as they have a Bible Study time. She experienced quite a disruption to life when her calendar was lost at the end of January. I found it yesterday, behind one of the couches in the living room. :) This past weekend, she and Dad went down to Poplar Bluff to watch Andy play baseball. He is played left field, and DH-ing, as well as really enjoying his college/baseball playing experience in general. They got to visit the church he normally attends, and have dinner with him twice. Luckily for us, they forgot to take the pile of baked goods we had prepared for him - and we now have dessert for the next week or so! Yum! Andy is headed down to Florida and Georgia for spring break, playing 4 ball games down there.

For the past two weeks, Mom has been feeling very under the weather. She finally went to the doctor this morning, and is now being treated for strep, since she has swollen glands, and nasty white spots all over the back of her throat (they didn't even think a culture was necessary, the spots looked so bad). She kept hoping the sore throat would go away, but it hasn't and got worse over this past weekend. Right now, she is napping . . . she keeps saying that it makes her feel so lazy and useless to just lie in bed, and I keep trying to convince her that it's what she needs! :) Please keep her in your prayers, that the medication she is now on would work quickly!

Our camera has been broken for the past month or so, and so I don't have any pictures to post at the moment. However, we now have it back and in working condition, so I may give either Abby or Zeke that project later this week.