Monday, December 31, 2007

happy birthday daddy!

no more aquarium & construction fun

our aquarium passes have expired. this was our final trip. :( 4 kids on a sea turtle. what fun!

this is us on our driveway. our neighbor is doing a little construction. it is actually just a small job so we were all surprised to see this huge crane show up one afternoon. they just moved this one beam over the house. the operator had fun watching the kids enjoying his work and came over to chat with us before and after.


we had cake at a birthday party for Jesus with our parkday friends.

here are our little ones making presents for their cousins. they worked really hard for a couple weeks on this project. 2 of the 3 boards split and had to be replaced and restarted. L but the kids had fun painting and nailing and learning about their ability to make something for someone else.
we had an amazing few days of Christmas. being with family is the highlight of the holidays for me! we had the opportunity to celebrate with my mom's (grandma jo's) side of the family... then with all our parents... then with the cousins. the kids had a blast. they were really well-behaved for 3 straight days of different people.
christmas morning the kids gathered and almost all smiled at the same time for a photo in their jammies. the pants were sewn the night before! (those elves are so last minute sometimes.) i wasn’t sure it was really worth it, but it made my day when my dad told me that my mom would have been proud. i don’t think he was referring to the procrastination, but the sewing J i’ll take it.
here’s the kids in front of the tree and fire ready to open some presents.

daddy got the family a croquet set and it got put straight to work. all the kids and daddy and grandpa joe had such fun. obviously we had great christmas day weather!

our last advent! we were so faithful to celebrate each evening this year and the kids have continued to ask if we can do advent. of course, we still do bible reading, but without the candles – which was the highlight. who’s turn is it to blow out the candles tonight?!?!

this is little sy in his “my 1st christmas” santa hat. awww. how cute!

our “big” gift this year was a keyboard! the kids have been playing non-stop and really enjoy it. it currently resides in the toy room, although there are plans to keep it in the “music room” with the drums that were the “big” gift last christmas. kiki & ky have enjoyed it most. jojo is still enjoying the drums, but seems to be so musical that he’d like any instrument. we also have a guitar that the kids play with, but it was really used more when we had someone in the house who played.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the Christmas letter

Merry Christmas!
sorry about the lack of effort on our cards. but this way you all know the blog exists and can check in on us at your leisure. :)
it has been a fun year...

the first 4 months was spent working on our house. when we first moved here 3 years ago, i was pregnant with ky. we did a ton of work on our kitchen, master bath, toy room and laundry. it was chaos, but all done "before the baby" came. it brought back memories of pregnancies in our old house - me installing a kitchen floor or redoing a bathroom... so this time (aka this pregnancy), we "finished" all that we wanted to do. - is it ever really finished??? - but honestly the inside of the house was all beautiful "before the baby" came again.

during those months, our kids each got some quality time with their grandparents in phoenix. this was a nice break for us and a treat for them. their favorite things to do at grandma's house are climb their mountain and swim in their pool. the pool is truly theirs - inside their fence. the mountain is just outside their back fence, so really they share it with a few neighbors - as there are houses all around it. but the kids LOVE to go climb new routes and enjoy nature. the grandparents also love to treat them to trips to the zoo, science center, parks, historical places and other fun adventures.

May brought the birth of #4. little sy is such a joy - super easy going. the older kids all love to hold and entertain him.

the "older" boys who turned 4 & 5 this year had a dramatic change midsummer!

this happened the day of kiki's birthday party and some of our "newer" friends had never seen the boys without hair and didn't recognize them. here's a fun shot of jojo mid-cut...

4th of july i thought i'd try to be a photographer. we didn't have grass (only dirt) so we did a little photo shoot on our neighbor's front lawn. the best photo was the FIRST of about 30 tries! go figure! then i wanted to be creative and the children suffered, blinded by the sun. it worked better indoors!

we had some friends (a family of 4) come stay with us for a couple days. the dad is currently serving in the military and was a friend from high school in oregon, so it was fun for the men to reminisce and to hear a first-hand perspective of what's going on in the middle east.

in august sy made his first ever 6-hour journey to grandma & grandpa's house. the drive was fairly uneventful. the "vacation" was great! it's amazing how much more fun it is to sit around in somebody else's house! (not that that's all we did, but it was satisfying for me!) here's a couple photos of the trip - the kids in the pool & grandpa's birthday "party" (we went to a diamondbacks game - it was so fun!)

september could have been the beginning of a new adventure as jojo is 5 and traditionally would begin kindergarten, but (as you see on the blog) we're homeschooling for now. so we actually started in january to take this first year slow since we'd have a new baby in the house. kiki is eager to keep up with jojo in all he does, so they learn almost everything together. they are such good buddies! what a blessing! here's our class baking cookies.

we had more friends - another family of 4 - come stay with us and it was such a treat to hang out with them as they have now moved abroad.

i really can't resist sharing... FINALLY, just before the 4 month anniversary of losing our front & back lawn (on purpose), we got new grass!!! so here's the before and after! (this particular "before" is actually "after" the BRONCO tore down the right side of the wall that you see to the left of the front door - also on purpose)

besides all the fun things we DID, we've learned a lot this year. it's been a struggle to have patience and faith "in the moment" sometimes. we ultimately know that our troubles are "light and momentary" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) and this is truly what allows us to have hope. we've been "doing advent" every evening this month. we currently have two candles going - hope and preparation. it has been a blessing to gather as a family and testify to the hope we have in our Lord - because He came and we can have life through Him. and also to daily pledge to continually to prepare our hearts as we celebrate His birth, but also as we give our lives daily to Him.

Monday, December 10, 2007

the karate park

today we went to kiki's "karate park". we found the park this past january when kiki signed up for karate (which lasted only 6 weeks). since then, our parkday group has relocated to there - meeting a couple times a month and s has played soccer there whenever he's able to get to the pick-up game they have 3x/week. but almost a year later... it's still the karate park. today i got a shot of what the boys do when we go with s to soccer.

they are chasing down all the balls that the men kick out of bounds! they run usually for about an hour straight retrieving the balls. AND when we get home, they've still got energy to burn! they really are like little energizer bunnies!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


i was putting the kids to bed tonite and after i prayed with both boys jojo asked, "was jakeybear's birthday yesterday?" i went into a ridiculous long drawn out explanation of his birthday being in a couple weeks, but his party was yesterday because people get too busy at Christmas time to make room for birthday parties and btw, they also forget the true reason for Christmas...
jojo listened patiently then said, "i think yesterday we overcame evil."
WOW. he's been listening to a scripture memory cd and his favorite (as in, put it on repeat for a few hours) song has been Romans 12:21. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
for more details see previous post.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Praise the Lord!

today we went to 2 parties. a birthday party this morning and our end-of-the-season soccer party this evening. all of our kids were amazingly well-behaved! i am not bragging. this is a post of wonder, just like a post about something crazy and mischievious that they may do. fortunately, there was no mischief today.
i was so pleased when we left our first party and i realized i had not reprimanded them or even reminded them to behave. with a big smile i told them, "i don't have anything with me, but i want to reward you for being so good at the party. so i will think of something on the way home". (this is generally a small sticker they get to put on their shirt or some treat like popcorn or fruit snacks - not a new toy). anyway, when we got home i had to get ky down for nap and jojo & kiki had to do some school work and i forgot to reward them. (i say this so you know that the next behaviors were not in response to the "bribe" from earlier.)
tonight the party was a bit more energetic (8 4&5yr old boys and their siblings CAN be more crazy than 20 kids under 5, hmmm...) the boys were crazy before we gave them their sugar! (AKA: cake) but through all the craziness, our kids again were so good.
i didn't realize it until tonite. after scott prayed with the boys and i with ky, jojo called me and asked me to pray with them. it was then i realized that every night, i ask God to draw them closer to Him, to show them His ways and give them the strength and courage to follow Him. i ask for wisdom for them.
tonite, during prayer, i realized that at today's parties, i was able to see GOD HAS ANSWERED. He is showing Himself to my little ones and they inturn are showing others His love and honoring Him through obedience and kindness and compassion! Praise the Lord!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


today is grandpa's birthday - so we had a party, of course! the kids had a blast decorating our house with streamers and making cards. we ate the lasagna we made and the lemon cake jojo made - one of grandpa's favorite cakes! kiki was jumping on grandpa so we explained how very old 68 is and how you can't jump on "such old" people. it was pretty funny. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!


we made lasagna for grandpa j's party. jojo is getting really good at cooking and has got the measuring cups/spoons down! consequently, when i was running late, cake making was ~70% jojo, 30% mommy.
hannah & i were talking this week about how much we depend on our oldests to help out because they are just such helpers automatically. realizing they're only 5, we were discussing how we need to make sure we express our thankfulness for their help and make sure they play enough too. i so appreciate the Lord providing good friends who can encourage me because we're experiencing the exact same stuff. so... praise the Lord for Hannah!
(what does that have to do with lasagna???)

the kids' class photo(s)

parkday goes to atlantis
here's a fun parkday photo from oldest to youngest. we'll consider this the "class photo" of jojo's kindergarten class 2007. It is also kiki's pre-k class 2007. And ky's preschool class 2007. how efficient of me to combine them! we had so much fun getting this. it's the best one of 11 tries. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

landscape maintenance

that's what it's called in the oc.
you may just call it yardwork. today, jojo learned about it. here he is, my little guy, helping daddy mow the lawn!


we are so thankful for the amazing blessings that God has bestowed upon us this year! the biggest has to be sy coming out to join us. it’s also been amazing to watch each of our kids grow and learn so many things. jojo is truly understanding so much of what our faith in Jesus is all about – what a blessing. here’s the cousins gathered in phoenix!


we have LOVED soccer this year! jojo & kiki are both on the same team and s is coaching it! even ky “gets her soccer gear on” on saturdays to go to the game.

photo opportunity!

i have figured out that whenever i want to take a picture the kids won’t smile – they make strange faces (they call them “silly” but i call them strange) so… when i want a good picture, i must first take a crazy photo and tell everyone to make a silly face. only then am i allowed to ask them to say cheese and actually get smiles out of all of them at once! these were taken on a recent "field trip" to the Long Beach Aquarium...

name change

ok. so i’m a little slow. i knew i didn’t want to use the kids names, but the initial thing is a little annoying so… j is now jojo. k is now kiki. kj is now ky. and si is now sy. s and i will still be s & t or more likely “s & i” jojo & kiki are the names the boys called each other before they could say each other’s names. so it’s fitting even if it doesn’t make sense to you.


aren’t they super cute??? j- dog, k- firefighter, kj – ladybug, si –lion awwww.
s & i talked about not doing halloween. in the end we decided to go ahead. we weeded through our decorations and got rid of all witches and ghosts – even the cute ones – which i was surprised to find on so many of my things. we enjoyed going to the pumpkin patch, but our evening walk in the neighborhood brought questions from our kids as we passed houses decorated with various evil and cute-evil scenes. since our kids aren’t too familiar with the cartoons and shows “regular” families watch which would have previously exposed and desensitized them regarding ghosts, witches, etc. we had some explaining to do. it seemed like there was constantly a choice in my mind to “call it what it is” or tip-toe around the issue. then, how in-depth should i go with my answers?
on the 31st, grandma was here – that was a special treat. we did the pumpkin patch then in the evening we trick-or-treated around our neighborhood. easy enough. we’re in a small neighborhood with few kids, but the first trick-or-treaters who came to our door (a 11yr old boy and his 5yr old sister) scared kj so that she attached herself to my leg and was slow to put on her costume and venture out. while we were out, even the boys were afraid a couple times of other kids’ costumes. to be honest, it made it not fun. we just pushed through, but i feel like that was just desensitizing them. i know at some point they need to be not scared, but when?
even more fun info... i tried something i don't remember, but i've heard my mother did for/to us. on november 1st i let the kids have their candy. we talked about getting a stomach ache from too much candy and then i let them have at it. it was an incredible evening! at least i knew their excuse for being insane! grandma thought i was crazy. i think she was right. but then they picked a couple pieces each to keep for the coming days and threw the rest "out" (this means mommy ate it for a while - "waste" not? - i think i NEED to waste this stuff). in any case, they were happy with their couple pieces and i was happy not to deal with them asking for candy until christmas.
WHY do we celebrate halloween again?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

fire drill!

i can't believe i didn't get photos! since we've been in the midst of all these fires, we've had an impromtu fire unit study. yesterday the best part was my kids climbing out of the boys' bedroom window and holding hands running to our "meeting place".
j opened the window (i'd already removed the screen), he pretended to PUNCH out the screen (very exciting), then he jumped out (carefully, but very excited as it was his first time jumping out a window!) k then helped kj up the bunk bed ladder and turned her around on her tummy with her feet dangling out the window. k lowered her to j - they were such caring brothers! then k made his move and j helped him down so they could all run together to the special safe spot.
this is something i'd wanted to do for a while, but i didn't want to bring up the idea of our house burning from out of nowhere. so now seemed like a great time as the kids are all asking about "the fires".
sunday we were on our way to the cousins' house in bakersfield and we saw the castaic fire coming closer to the 5 fwy we were driving on. we were not sure if we'd even be able to come back that way if the fire were to come much closer. the kids saw tons of smoke and some huge flames. on the way home it was dark. the smoke was not visible, but we could really smell it and there were several huge glows of orange in the darkness on either side of the freeway.
consequently, they've shown more interest than if it was just something on the tv.
each morning and evening we've checked out what the current stats are together. then we've had opportunity to talk about a wide variety of fire-related subjects. they've really learned a lot of science, math, and social science. we pray for the firefighters (our neighbor is one) and the evacuees. we've talked about preparedness and what steps we take to avoid such danger in our home and community.
j seems to be really understanding so much and it is really fun to watch him grow in his understanding. i am amazed at how he really gets it!
at the same time, i know that they don't really comprehend all of the circumstances affecting our region right now - i don't even. i feel stressed by whole thing and i am not in anyway directly affected by it. i keep wondering, "what can i do?" but even if we don't have a tangible gift, we will keep praying.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

fun with science

we've had a fun week of fun with science! now i am very limited in fun science activities. i loved science in high school - took an extra year as an elective - but i didn't know how to teach little people. so i used my "go-to-for-everything" website, google, to find activities! the last couple weeks we did experiments with CO2. for this week, i picked up 30 items around the house (see photo)

then on monday we played "is it magnetic?"

on wednesday we talked about what a hypothesis is and actually guessed what would happen with each object before playing "will it float?" and today, we played "make a mold", making impressions with the same objects in playdoh (i don't know if that's scientific, but it was a fun conclusion to using our basket of 30 little things.)

Monday, October 8, 2007

just when you thought...

it would never happen... si rolls! 4 times in a row. i put him on his tummy & he'd flip to his back then cry like he was stuck. so i'd roll him over and he'd do it again!
wow! you'd think he was my first. i'm so proud. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

forget rolling... i'm doing pushups!

here's the latest from si. since he has yet to be featured... if you can't tell, he's on only his hands and toes - better than mommy can do! other than this, there is no movement yet!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

beans, beans, a musical fruit...

we're doing a bean unit! counting with beans, gluing beans, a bean table (much like a sand table but... with beans), and, of course, bean burritos!

i am trying to do some craft or art project regularly. (i was thinking "daily", but i think i forgot yesterday already! so "regularly" it is.) today's project consisted of picking any color paper you like, then mommy drawing lines to divide it and numbering the boxes 0-10. then the kids job was to glue the corresponding # of beans in each box. kj & i did her glue dots together, but the boys did the whole thing by themselves. both used way to much glue, but with nothing else on the agenda i thought they could just learn about how much glue was too much by trial and error. 14 hours later, k's is still wet! on the brighter side, i figure this is 165 beans less to pick up off the floor after we have time at the bean table! (shown below)

this is a favorite with all our kids and today went better than any past experience. i don't think there were ever more than 100 beans (or so) on the floor at once! (in the past, we've had ALL the beans on the carpet! - not so fun) hooray for bean day!