Monday, April 28

Long time, no see!

Hey all!! It's been five days since my last blog entry and I've been lost without you all. So much going on that I didn't have time to sit and write really.

So, we took Payton and Rose to Kalahari for Payton's birthday. They were both very surprised and had a great time. The first day was mostly spent on the lazy river and in the wave pool. They were too big for the Safari Kids area, but not quite confident to be in the youth area (with the big bucket). But the second day, they finally got the confidence to brave the waterslides all by themselves. It's probably at 15-20 second ride down the slide. I stood at the top with them and Matt was waiting for them at the bottom. I practically had to push them down the slide, but after the first time, they were addicted.

I was really impressed by the park and the hotel. The dry play area was a bit disappointing as it needed a lot of repair for the "guns" to work, but they had fun running around anyway. We also participated in the crafts both days we were there and story time by the big fireplace before bed. We played putt-putt and then played at the arcade quite a bit as well.

Here are a few pictures (click on each to make them bigger):

There are many more in our family picasa photo album.

Since coming home Friday, we've been trying to catch up on sleep and housework. Saturday was Webkinz Extravaganza, so Matt took Payton to get "a few" more webkinz for his collection. I think we ended up with 8 new ones.

Sunday, we had a great day at church. Payton sat with us this week because he had a sore throat, and although no fever, I didn't want him passing that around. He sat quietly next to us and colored in his coloring books and even sang a few songs with us. I was really impressed.

Sunday night was the kick-off at church for "small groups". We're reading a book called "In a pit with a lion on a snowy day" by Mark Batterson. It's about how God puts "lions", or opportunities, in front of us and we have to chose if we'll run or tackle the lion. Many of these situations seem too big or dangerous or impossible even, and we make excuses and back away. But God wants us to tackle the lion as Benaiah did in 2 Samuel. Great book. It's a 7 week series and I'm hoping to get a lot out of it.

Well, I need to go do laundry. More. And I haven't eaten lunch yet. But I did make it to the gym! I'm down a total of 15.8 lbs since January! YEAH!!

Catch up with you all soon!

Thursday, April 24


I can't believe it. My "baby" boy has turned five. Shocking, exciting and scarey all at the same time. It seems like I was just giving birth to him.

We have a special surprise planned for him today. We're leaving in just a few minutes to drive to Sandusky, OH to stay at Kalahari Waterpark Resort. I've been planning this for 3 months and he is just starting to make guesses about where we are going. We've arranged to take his best friend, Rose, with us. That's an added bonus. And we're leaving our littlest one with my inlaws so it can just be a special time for the "big kids".

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and update when we get back!!

Tuesday, April 22

Goodbye, Judy

In June 0f 2007, Judy Wherli was diagnosed with cancer. She fought long and hard to beat the disease, but on Thursday April 17, 2008, God called her home. She was a faithful believer in Christ, a role model to many, a 2nd grade teacher, a wife, mother to four, and a grandmother. She was only 53 when she passed...just 5 week short of her 54th birthday.

I didn't know Judy personally, but one of her children, Angie, is a very good friend of mine. Angie and I have complete opposite personalities and mindsets, but I think that's what makes us friends. We help each other reason things out.

Today, I attended the funeral for Angie's mom in support. I have never been to a more beautiful and touching display of love and devotion. She must have been an amazing woman. There were more than 200 people at the funeral and many more that attended the viewings over the last two days.

Her sons and daughter all spoke of her with honest love and grief. It always gets me when grow men cry like babies. You can tell their lives will never be the same and she will be truly missed.

So when you're done with this blog, please take a moment to pray for the parents, husband, children, siblings, grandchildren and more family that she has "left behind". But also rejoice that Judy has finally made it to Heaven...the place we all hope to be someday.

Goodbye, Judy Wherli. I can't wait to meet you someday.

Monday, April 21

Garden: check!

Saturday, Matt and I made an early morning trip to Lowe's to pick up the supplies we need to finish up our raised gardening beds in the back of our lots. When we got back, we put Max down for a nap where he THANKFULLY slept for 2.5 hours! We got a lot done in that time.

I worked in the front and pulled up bulbs, replanted some flowers and put down new rich soil in the flowerbeds. In the backyard, Matt rebuilt the raised beds while Payton played in his sand table and painted on his easel. Once the beds were finished (except one) we decided to plant the seedlings I had started in our laundry room earlier this month.

We planted tomatoes, chili peppers, garden beans, snap peas, onions, squash, and eggplant. We also have pumpkins and watermelons and cucumbers and carrots to plant later. And sunflowers along the back fence. In addition to that, we have another bed that we'll be planting herbs in this week!
Hopefully we'll have veggies and more to share with you all soon!

Friday, April 18

"stay-at-home" mom

There is very LITTLE staying at home these days. Don't get me wrong, I love being "home" with my boys, but we're rarely home. On average, we actually stay at home all day, once every two weeks. We always have something on our plate; school, playgroup, zoo, farm, errands, etc. And it's only getting worse as Payton gets older!

This week, we've been to several parks to play, he's had school Monday, Wednesday & Friday, we have a weekly playgroup on Thursdays, we went to the farm on Tuesday and the zoo today. We've spent tons of time working in our garden and running errands between all that.

Starting in two weeks, I have a Japanese Sword Fighting class that I begin on Thursday nights. Payton has school until early June, and then the week after he's done, he starts daily swim lessons and t-ball on Tuesdays and Thursdays with occasional Saturday games. I hope that we can make plenty of time for letterboxing and hiking and camping this summer too!!

I'm exhausted just thinking about what happens in the fall!! He starts full day kindergarten, then two nights a week of karate and he'll start cub scouts as well.

All this scheduled play...and yet I want him to have time for free play! oh the joy...and it hasn't even started!

Tuesday, April 15

Farm, Kindergarten Meeting, Gym...oh my!

We had a great day today! It was beautiful weather and we took advantage by heading up to Wolcott Farm with some friends. It's a very cool working farm that allows you to see, touch...and smell the animals. A lot of babies had been born recently and there was even a calf born this morning just before we got there. We were just in time to see the cow milking finish up and then got to see baby pigs, baby goats, baby sheep, baby chicks...etc.

After, I met a friend at the park for a quick lunch and update on each other while we let the kiddos run wild. Then we came home. Max took a nap, I checked things online really quick and then Payton played online until it was time to go to a meeting. I (thankfully) dropped the boys off at a friend's home and went to the meeting for Payton's school next year.

We've been looking really hard at National Heritage Academy schools and I feel 100% comfortable and confident in my decision that this is where we'll send him. After today's meeting on "Moral Focus", I knew it was the right fit for our family. This is a new school building, but the system of NHA has been around since 1995. It's a private school feel, but open to the public with no cost. It's based on "traditional values" and a "rigorous education". Each month has a moral focus that they stress and tie into all of the work and projects that the kids do. Some of those are: Wisdom, Respect, Gratitude, Self-Control, Encouragement, Perseverance, Courage, Compassion and Integrity. All things that Matt and I try to teach our kids anyway!

NHA is strongly based in moral character, but also in patriotism and citizenship. Each morning the kids have a full school assembly where they sing patriotic songs, say the school motto and the pledge of allegiance...yes, including "One Nation Under God". Because it's a privately funded school, they aren't shy about where they stand and the things they'll be teaching our kids. Respect and tolerance for all children and all religions is taught, but they aren't shy about sticking to the values originally thought of by our founding fathers.

The academics are amazing too. Very rigorus and challenging. One of the things they quote often is "Anything worth working for is worth working for hard." Can you tell I'm excited about where he'll be next year?!

After picking up the boys from my friend, I made it to the gym with just enough time to workout. I completed my mile in 12.13 again. Not bad. I'm down another .5 lb by the gym scale. Tomorrow starts another round of "Biggest Loser" among my circle of friends. I know I won't be the biggest loser, but I'm really just in it for the competition and the drive to make it the whole three months.

So, we had an exhausting day. Maxwell wasn't happy when I picked him up from the gym childcare area and he cried the entire way home...most of time I nursed him...and the whole time I put his pjs on. He finally stopped when I laid him down in bed and he fell asleep right away.

Tomorrow holds more excitement and busy-ness. Hopefully we'll have one slower day later this weekend!

Saturday, April 12

Willpower is kicking in!

I'm starting to see results of my workouts finally. I've lost 12 lbs since January and I've lost 7.5 since March 1st. Since I'm seeing the results I've noticed that I'm more careful about what I eat. Last night, I actually removed a piece of pizza from my mouth, threw it in the trash and told Payton we were going to the gym. I knew that if I sat there I'd eat it. And maybe another piece. But if I went and worked out, I knew that I wouldn't want it when I got back. I was right. And I had a good workout to boot.

I also purchased a new book called "Eat this, not that" by David Zinczenko. It's the "No-diet weight loss solution!" so they say. I bought it because of the content. It lists a lot of the major restuarants and fast food places and tells you what to and what not to eat. It's great for me because I'm a convenience food eater and I know I'm not making informed decisions. Food names can be so misleading. In the back it also has a list of packed food items from the grocery store. I know that will be helpful too.

I know I'm on the path and maybe can even accomplish my 5 lb goal by May 1st. Only 3.5 more lbs to go. I ran my mile in 12.15 today. I'm hoping to get under 11 minutes really soon! Wish me luck and root me on! I need the support.

Friday, April 11


Stressed. Why am I so stressed? I just can't seem to get this issue out of my mind. There are so many things to consider and so many options.

We don't want Payton in our home school or even our home district, so we've been looking at other options in the area. I have in the next district over, but they're on a lottery system, so I won't know about that until June. But I'm not even 100% sure I want him there. I don't know.

We found a great school that I really like. I think I want him there. I'm pretty sure anyway. But I'm not sold on full-day kindergarten yet. It's not bad, but it's different than what I had imagined for him. He wants to go full day. *HE* feels he's read to be gone all day and he wants to eat lunch there. I'm still thinking on that one.

Thirdly, our home church runs a full K-8th grade school. I'd like him to go there. I'm really happy with the curriculum and the teachers. I love the setup and the chapel. But it's to the tune of $3,900 a year! That's CRAZY talk to me. I just can't justify that right now.

Ugh. What to do? What to do?

Monday, April 7

Worm Party!!

Today was BEAUTIFUL day number three of GLORIOUS weather. After picking P up from school, we played outside for awhile in the backyard. It's been able to dry out a lot back there and I was *almost* able to not worry about the boys getting muddy. Don't worry...they found the mud.

When I put Max down for his nap, Payton and I moved some concrete slabs that were the entry way to our shed. They just needed lifted and realigned. Each time I lifted one and set it aside, we'd talk about what was underneath. Ants, worms, centipedes, grubs (ugh...Matt, don't forget to spray soon) and just dirt in general. I love being a mom to boys!! Yes, I really mean that.

So Payton decided that we should transplant some of the worms to our garden at the back of our property. At first, we were just cruising right along, pulling them out, putting them in a bucket and then P would run them back and dump them in the garden beds. But after awhile, he decided that we were separating families of worms. So he started giving them family roles; "This is Mommy. That's Daddy. There's Maxwell and Payton. And Auntie Jenn and Uncle Loren" We had to be sure we got the whole family; grandmas, papas...everyone.

We moved onto a flower bed on the side of the shed that needed tilled and, of course, found more worms. But by now we'd run out of family names to assign. So he decided give each worm the name of one of his classmates. Well, his class is only 11 kids, so that didn't last long before we moved onto his friends. At this point, the kid has probably made six or seven trips to the garden beds. I finally call it quits and say that we need some "keepers" in our flowerbeds.

So we take our worm friends "Avery", "Reagan", "Rose", "Bella" and "Anna" back to the garden and I see he's dumped all 40 worms in the same area. I guess I didn't explain that too well. I try to explain that they need to be spread out so they each have room. And this is when Payton looks up at me in all seriousness and says, "But Mommy, they're having a worm party!"

Ah...the adventures of raising boys.

Sunday, April 6

Letterboxing ROCKS!

After a great morning at church and then working outside, we headed out for our letterboxing excursion. "What's letterboxing?", you ask? Well, it's an easy, cheap activity outdoors that is great for all ages; young children to seniors. It's a combination of walking/hiking, mental puzzles and treasure hunting.

We found out about letterboxing through an issue of Family Fun magazine. The article can be read here. Basically, it's a modern day treasure hunt. People who participate in letterboxing hide waterproof boxes in the woods or out in nature and then design simple clues, maps or stories for you to find the hidden items. You decipher and follow the clues to find the box. Once you find the box, hidden well in nature under rocks, bark and leaves, you open the box to find a notebook, stamp pad and stamp. You take the stamp you have purchased or created to represent yourself or your family and leave a print of your stamp in their box and you take a print of their stamp in your notebook. Also, there is usually a pen inside the box and you should record the date you found the letterbox.
SO, yesterday, we created a stamp to represent our family. Payton wanted a star and Matt and I wanted to make sure we included a K in the print. Payton also picked a fuchia (read "pink") inkpad for our stamp and we took a index card notebook to record our journey.

On the Letterboxing Website, we found a series of five boxes hidden in a park not too far from our home. We headed to the park with our supplies and Payton was SO very excited. When we got to the starting point, we put Maxwell in the Ergo backpack and got underway. Matt read the directions and Payton told us where to go. It really was a great way to teach him terms like "hollow", "clearing", "fork in the road", and "lumber". Things we don't normally talk about.

The thrill of finding our first letterbox was great! We all got very excited and were so proud to put our stamp on the page and re-hid the box for the letterboxers. It took us about two hours to find all five boxes hidden within the park. We probably walked about 5 miles total, with several being up steep hills. With Maxwell on my back, this made up for not going to the Y today!!
I kept telling Matt, "This is so much fun! I'm loving this!!" It was great to be outside, be active, and do something as a family that everyone was enjoying...even Max! We will definately be seeking, and eventually hiding, more letterboxes in the near future! We've already scouted out several near my inlaws home, my parents' home and our annual vacation spot.

Here are a few pictures, but there are many more posted on our Family Picasa Website.

Friday, April 4

Moving along

There are changes happening in this family everyday, but today, it's been obvious to me.

Payton had his vision and hearing tests for Kindergarten today. It's just one more thing that shows me how close we are to having a lil' man in "real" school. I'm not ready. I feel like just yesterday he was starting 3-year preschool. That seems so long ago. *sigh* We still haven't 100% determined where he'll go for schooling, but I know that God will show me where he belongs and needs to be.

Maxwell is finally getting used to childwatch at the Y. He only cries the first five minutes now and then screams bloody murder at me for leaving him when I come back to pick him up. He also is trying out some new sounds. "Brother" is becoming's more like "Odd-er" which also fits. ;) He repeats, or attempts to repeat, every sound we make. I remember this stage with Payton. It wears on you quickly.

I am down five pounds from my March 1st weight. I don't feel it anywhere, but according to the scale it's gone, so I'm happy with that. I'm really starting to enjoy my workouts and my time alone. I use my shower as my reward for a good workout. You momma friends of mine realize how valued a shower alone where you can get dressed at your own pace is!

This weekend we're going to do some outside activities as a family. I think we're going to try letterboxing and probably take a walk to the library. Hopefully the weather reports hold true and we get lots of sun and close to 60 degrees.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, April 2

It's like living at the zoo!

Today, Payton has been so hyper and wound up that we knew we wouldn't last after school. Matt and I decided we'd take the boys to the zoo after school since trying to keep them happy inside would be 1000 times more work. This is our first family zoo trip since Maxwell was born. And with our annual memberships, I'm sure it won't be the last. We go at least once a week during the summer.

It was a cool, but sunny day; just under 50 degrees. We got there just an hour before the zoo closed, so most people were leaving already. Payton said he wanted to see the hippo, the polar Bear, the Tigers and the penguins. We set up our plan and got underway. We had told Payton to bring his kid tough digital camera so he could take pictures. He got a few good ones and was very happy to tell everyone we passed that he was there to take pictures. Maxwell just enjoyed his time on my back, hanging out where he could see everything.

The time we spend as a family means so much to me. It's not like I could go to the zoo with someone else's family and have it mean that much. Only my little family of four.

Tuesday, April 1

"So Long, Farewell,

Auf Weidersehen, goodbye."

That's what I was singing, aloud, this morning as I dumped the last of my bottle of Rum Runner down the drain.
I told Matt on Sunday that I was taking the month of April off from drinking. Yep. Not a drop. Today through May 1st. Nope, not an April Fools' Day joke people. I'm serious.
I've looked back at the last two months and I feel like to seriously lose some weight, I need to manage those sweet drinks better (thanks a lot, Dad!) and since I really want to lose a few 20 lbs, I'm cutting out alcohol completely.
So friends, if you have a birthday or a party planned, you can count me in for snacks and water, but no "drinks". Think of it as saving you money.
"Adieu, adieu
To you and you and you