Thursday, July 30, 2009

our family's favorite books

This is one of Iona's absolute favorite books:

The Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton.

I was going to post a pic, but alas, it's out of print!!

Iona laughs and laughs when we read this or other Boynton books. Be bo!!

We are super excited that Mo Willems has a new Elephant and Piggie book out, called Elephants Cannot Dance! We adore ALL of his books--Pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, Knuffle Bunny, Naked Mole Rat, and Leonardo are all part of our family. And Time to Pee! is a classic. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

some fun links

We enjoyed sitting around the computer and looking through these this morning...

Last week at a local park we got to see a turtle laying eggs. We went home and looked up videos on you tube of turtles laying eggs, and we laughed and laughed at this video.

Like legos? We adored the use of legos here and here.

Aidan is the family inventor, and it was so neat for him to see what can be done with drawing and inventions and some of his favorite toys.

Friday, July 24, 2009

until next summer...

So it's been an AGONIZING few days as we've been hashing and rehashing the whole move idea.

Here's what we've decided:
  • We are not putting our home on the market until somewhere in April-June 2010.
  • Our goal is to try to pay off as much debt as possible between now and then (more on that later). By then we should only be a month or a few away from "debt-free except the house."
  • We are lowering our price range for a new place to one where we can afford a 15-year loan. This is totally doable where we live and we would still get a lot of house. We would be done with house payments by the time Iona started college.
  • We are going to work on the home improvements our realtor suggested we make between now and then. We've already fixed one small thing, but we still need to get a new vanity for the main bathroom and...the big up the carpet in the living room and hallway and refinish all the hardwood upstairs.

Have any of you had hardwood floors refinished? How do your small children do with the wood versus carpet? We may wait on this part until closer to the move, but we'd love to know what you think. We're collecting estimates like they are baseball cards. One guy today "forgot to write down" our appointment at 8 am this morning. I told him he lost the job. Boo. We seriously have had someone here (or supposed to be here) at 8 am for the past few mornings. And we have someone coming Monday guessed it...8 am.

So I've decided to apply at the local community college for a teaching job...English Comp. Part-time--just one class to start with. This would seriously help with our debt reduction plan. And it sounds like I just might like it!! Please pray--they are hiring a number of new English Comp teachers. The whole thing is a God thing. Long story. I was able to get my transcripts today, and tonight I'm working on my curriculum vitae and cover letter.

I'm pretty darn excited. About all of it.

For now, we're having fun driving around and dreaming big.

Monday, July 20, 2009

house hunting?

So we went out again tonight to drive around and look at neighborhoods. It's been a common activity for our family lately. I think the kids are getting bored with it. And Aidan is NOT happy about leaving the only house he has ever known.

Yes, we are more seriously considering a move to a larger house in town. With a fence.

I'm waiting for our realitor to call us back so we can have our initial discussion. We've narrowed it down to some very specific areas of town. We're hoping Pete can still bike to work, but we know we may have to break down and buy a second car if we find the right house. We're going to try our hardest, though.

We also called a local roofing company and are getting an estimate on Thursday for a new roof. Then we'll talk to our realitor about what we NEED to do before it goes on the market. We discovered we MAY NOT need to get a new fridge and oven/range...they still have more years than we thought. But we want to see what else should do to the place.

We've been looking at the house hunting Web sites at local houses for sale, driving around and picking up sheets out in front of certain houses for sale, and figuring out what we can afford. It's exciting and scary at the same time.

I'm not looking forward to packing. Or keeping the house ready to show. But we're praying God will go above and beyond our best effort and smooth out the way before us. (Or redirect us quickly.)

We would love to pay off debt first. But that could be a couple of years. And we're hoping to get pregnant sometime soon. And we need a fence.

Time to pray again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

children's music

Our library's summer reading program tonight had a FREE concert with Jim Gill. We found one of his CDs at the library a few weeks ago and we've really enjoyed dancing around the house and singing along. We were SO excited that he performed a bunch of songs from that CD at the "family room concert."

LOVE IT! If you haven't heard of him, please look for his music at your local library or music store. Did I say he's also an author? He performed "A Song Opera" for the crowd tonight, and it was hilarious. Even Iona got into it!

We're a little picky about our kid music around here. Ok, we're music snobs to some extent. Jim's music is just pure fun.

He reminds us in many ways of Dan Zanes, who is a big family favorite.

We let Aidan pick out one CD and got Jim to autograph it for Aidan and Iona. So fun!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

teeth and taekwondo

Iona seems to be getting more teeth coming in. I can't seem to tell where they are coming, but she's chewing on her hand and drooling buckets. And she's started BITING. Never went through that with Aidan. She's been wrestling on the floor with Aidan and biting him on the back. He runs around with wet spots on the back of his shirt. She has only hurt him one time, but now, of course, we are on the lookout for it more. She did bite me once today, but she learned pretty quickly that it wasn't appropriate. Thanks to a friend's suggestion, I gave her some crunchy food with dinner. She got to try a frosted mini wheat and thought it was amazing!

She also is learning to climb on the furniture. She can climb on the chair with no problem--we've had to move some of the things we kept out of her reach over there. She can ALMOST get on the couch and gets REALLY mad if we don't help.

On the plus side, she has learned to say "hug" and "hi" recently. She'll go around and say hi over and over again--so cute! And she will come up to us and hug and kiss us pretty often. She and Aidan play together so well for the most part. She hates to see Aidan in time out--she tries to either sit with him and hug him when he's crying or keep peeking at him.

Aidan has been taking taekwondo at this wonderful local gym. This Saturday he will be testing to move up to the next belt--white with a yellow stripe. He has to do the star form and also will get to break a board. It's so neat to see him progress in this. He loves it so much because he gets to be like the ninja turtles. He's really growing in his coordination. We are so excited for him! We've also had Iona in a mommy-and-me gymnastics class and she is doing very well in there. I think she's the littlest one, but she amazes us with what she can do there. We think we're going to keep her in it through the school year to give her some one-on-one time with us.

We're gearing up for school starting in a couple of weeks around here. I can't believe the summer is going so fast! We haven't spent as much time this year in the water or at the park, but it's been hard with Iona's 2-nap schedule. As of this week, I lay her down for an hour in the morning but she usually doesn't sleep. It's good for her to have some time by herself, though. But what's nice now is that if we have something going on in the morning, we can go out and do that and not interrupt the nap-she-never-takes in the morning. And when school starts, I'll have an hour of uninterrupted time with Aidan to work.

We talked with Aidan tonight a little about how school may not always be in the morning for us. On certain days, when we have something big happening that day, school may be in the afternoon or evening or not at all. He had a rough time with that info, but by the end he seemed to come around. We've learned he needs to be mentally prepared for changes like that...just like his mommy! We specifically mentioned the day we readopt Iona, which will happen in the morning. On that day we'll probably do some school in the afternoon. Or skip it. We'll see.

Speaking of homeschooling, I just came across this WONDERFUL site, and I'm excited to dig into it more.

We're starting to get the itch for a bigger house. We need a fenced yard for our kids--living on the corner next to train tracks with no fence isn't the most ideal, although after visiting Ethiopia we are so blessed and thankful for what we have. We're also looking for more bedrooms as we think of adding to our family. We'd like to pay off debt first and put on a new roof and maybe fix a couple of other things around here, but we'll see what happens. We had talked about moving away from the area at one point, but we have no leads at the moment. I guess we'll see what God wants to show us when He is good and ready for us to move.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

please pray

We're praying for adoption friends Jason and Erica Reed this weekend.
They were supposed to pick up their daughter in Ethiopia in just a couple of weeks. Please join us in prayer for them.

Other families in our adoption program are also facing huge health issues with their children in Ethiopia. Please pray also for the Lane and Tapper families.

And our friend Kim just had a horrid experience with racism. I know we will probably face this at some point, but we haven't had it this rough yet.

God, please comfort all my friends who are hurting. We know you can heal and redeem. We trust you even when we don't understand.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My strong Iona

When we first picked up Iona from Ethiopia, we knew she was a strong little one. Very malnourished (11 lbs at 6 months old), but very strong. She was crawling, pulling up, and holding her own bottle. We thought we would be bringing home a little blob of a baby, but we had to babyproof immediately. By 9 months old she was walking. This last month she did some other amazing things--my little gingerbread baby.

Iona is now 1 week shy of 14 months old. This is what she did tonight.

I think I see a crib tent or some sleep sacks in our near future.

At least she's not doing this:

Friday, July 3, 2009

library photos

We completed the library reading program this last week and went to the library to claim our prizes. Aidan was delighted that the theme this year was on wild animals. Here, he got to meet the gorilla statue in the library.

Here is Aidan with the snake at the library.

And here, Aidan told us he was the gorilla's baby. We laughed so hard!

family time

It was so nice to have Pete home today with no major agenda on our schedule!

We decided to take the kids after naps today to our local zoo. We got there just in time to see the big cats get fed. We saw the sun bears, gibbons, leopard, and tiger get their dinner. So cool. We walked around the zoo until closing time and then went over to the nearby playground and sprinkler park. The kids were in their regular clothes, but they sure didn't mind! We took off Iona's shorts and let her run around in her onesie and cloth diaper. She boldly walked up to the sprinkler area, got her feet wet, and then slowly walked toward the sprinkler itself. What a surprise!! She immediately ran toward daddy with her arms up and a look of "what the heck!" Her princess side came out--not wanting to be a part of it at all. However, she watched for a while and then got back down and did it all over again. :)

Aidan boldly ran right in the middle of the sprinklers and got soaked, laughing wildly. What a change from a few years ago! He would have never done that when he was younger. He went back and forth between the playground and the sprinklers. And for the first time, when I announced that it was time to go home and eat dinner, the little stinker ran away from me right into the water! Let's just say we had a little talk about that on the way home...

I feel guilty that this was the first time this summer that we've gone to one of the local, FREE sprinkler parks. I think we'll be back soon. Maybe even this next week.

On another random note, I just finished reading Lisa Samson's Embrace Me. It's by far the best Christian fiction I have read this year. And that is saying something. Wow. Highly recommended!