Off on our adventure

December 13, 2008 at 8:44 pm (Parenting)

787-eth-in-flightI am winding up my computer activity so I can finish packing my backpack before we departure on this grand adventure to Africa. Despite a last minute scare with our travel buddies all is well. We leave in the morning for Washington D.C., spend the night in a hotel and then leave early Monday for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We hope to post updates on our adoption blog during the next two weeks, so check there – www.fourplusmore.com

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Saturday at the Ballpark

December 6, 2008 at 10:35 pm (Just Life, Parenting)

We have historically NOT been one of those extra-curricular families. When the kids were really little it seemed like a waste of money. When he was about 3 Noah started asking to play tball. I think mostly because his friends were playing. We said he could, when he was 4. When he passed that magical milestone we signed him up for tball with some friends of his. Let’s just say that he spent most of his time in the field staring at the clouds.

We tried again with soccer at age 5 – again with friends from church. He wasn’t that great at listening to the coaches and half the time didn’t want to play during the games. He also tended to get pretty upset when the other team scored.

So we called a timeout on extra curricular sports for a time.

As Natalie came along she really didn’t ask as much. I did enroll her in a gymnastics class at the gym and she is now doing ballet in an after school program (taught by one of the moms). She’s more of a flitter though. Six weeks of gymnastics was enough. She’s been in ballet for about 9 weeks and she claims she’s done. (Two practices and a performance to go.)

Just in the last year Noah has been asking about sports again and we decided to give it a try. His attention span is much better and after attending several Diamondback games this last year he’s taken an interest in baseball.

One of our friends is the coach and Mark and another guy from church are helping. There are 4 kids on the team from church so it’s been a fun time. I think we’ve played about 6 games so far and we are 0-5-1.

Every night at bedtime Noah prays, “God, please let us win just one game before the season is over.” I thought for sure we were going to pull a win out of the hat last week but it ended up a tie.

It’s pretty comical to watch the kids. They have yet to get a lot of the basics down. Noah was on third today when Dylan hit a pop. He ran home as fast as he could but when the infielder caught it he had to run back to 3rd. Luckily they were just as confused so he made it back to 3rd and evenutally back to home again. Whew!

I have to say I’m really proud of the sportsmanship that all the boys are displaying. They cheer each other on and don’t seem to get dismayed when the other team is scoring more runs than us.

baseball1

baseball2

Rounding home (the second time)

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Bringing You Up To Date

October 14, 2008 at 5:59 pm (Parenting)

Seriously, I have been so bad at the blog posts lately. So this is the get-you-up-to-speed blog post.

Noah had a great birthday. The “sleepover” went amazingly well. The boys were all out by 10:45 p.m. which I consider a minor miracle. They were up around 6:30 a.m. but dad had morning duty 🙂 So Noah is officially 9! We are so proud of him. He’s doing really great at school and making new friends. He’s decided to play baseball for the Diamondbacks when he grows up. He loves a good joke and is frighteningly smart. Has an incredible memory (which sometimes drives me nuts) and is a bit of a perfectionist.

Natalie will be 6 in just two weeks. She’s having a small slumber party and very excited about it. She’s been talking about it for months. Any day now she’s going to start the “How many days til…?” questioning. She’s started taking ballet after school. One of the parents comes and teaches the K/1st grade girls once a week. We’re doing the 3 week “trial period” right now and then will see how she likes it and how much it costs. Natalie had a blast with her cousins last week while we were in Ark.

They got to climb the giant haystacks at the Haak Dairy (Mark’s Aunt & Uncle).

Here’s all the cousins, minus Annabel in the UK. From left to right are Isaac (2), Trevor (almost 8), Caleb (6), Averee (9), Natalie, Noah and Jayden (4)

Despite the 4 year age difference, Natalie and Averee have a great time together. They kind of have to stick together since they’re the only girls. I have no doubt they’ll watch out for Annabel when given the chance.

We had a great time hanging out in Arkansas. Unfortunately it seems we all picked up either allergies or hay fever or something so we’re trying to kick that out of our systems and get everyone rested back up.

On the adoption front our papers FINALLY got finished and our filed. Now we’re just waiting on a court date. At this point the end of December would be the EARLIEST we would travel.

So that kind of brings you up to date with what we’ve been doing.

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And the busy time of year begins

October 3, 2008 at 10:10 pm (Home, Parenting)

The craziness of the holidays starts a little bit early around here – kicking off with Noah’s birthday at the beginning of October. We’ve had the “bring cupcakes to class” party, the family party and, as I type, 4 boys upstairs telling each other “SHHHHH!” Noah’s first sleepover.

BTW, apparently only girls have “slumber parties”. Boys have “sleepovers”.

Natalie’s birthday follows a month behind and in between we have a trip to Arkansas to see family.

Then a visit from Uncle Brad and cousin Grace.

November will mean a visit from Aunt Jenny and Annabel (Auntie can’t wait to smooch on those cheeks)…Uncle Rob will come for a shorter time.

And somewhere between there and Christmas we REALLY hope to be going to Ethiopia to get our kids. (There have been a whole bunch of delays but we feel like we are on the right track.)

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Name Ideas

September 6, 2008 at 10:16 pm (Faith, Parenting)

We are still searching for the right names for our new kids. We’ve got it narrowed down for W-boy but are still really at a loss for B-girl.

While I’m not set on having a Bible name necessarily, I find myself always paying attention to the names in case I find something unusual that strikes me.

At our family worship time we’ve been reading through the Bible, beginning in Genesis. Right now we’re about at Jacob finding a wife.

It’s usually dad or I reading and we do our best but honestly, some of the names are just wild. We stumble through the pronunciations as best we can.

And occasionally we read a name, or in this case a set of names, and I can’t help it. I start to giggle. And then the kids start to giggle and it takes us a couple of minutes to regain our composure.

Genesis 22:21 Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother…

The first thing that flashed into my mind was these guys:

“Hi, I’m Uz, this is my brother Buz.”

The other one that get us in trouble is Phicol (Gen 21:22). Now I realize it’s probably pronounced more like Ficol but the first time I read it, I read “pickle” and my stomach hurt we were laughing so hard. And it’s just kind of stuck.

I’m not sure how much dad appreciates our giggly diversions but the kids and I have great fun.

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Back to School

August 11, 2008 at 8:53 pm (Parenting)

It’s official – all my kids are elementary school aged. When did that happen?

We made the decision to put the kids in Christian school this year even though we weren’t exactly sure where we’d find the money. It still felt right and so we took the plunge and God has shown up in big ways to make it happen.

The kids have been able to see the school (which is in a new building this year), and meet their teachers which I think helped with the new-school jitters. There are also a ton of kids from Palm Valley there -1 in Noah’s class and 4 or 5 in Natalie’s class.

This evening we ate dinner at Peter Piper – it’s kind of become a back to school tradition. Natalie went on and on (as she’s known to do). It’s a little harder to drag information out of Noah but it seems that he had a good day too.

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Another “bestest” day ever

August 4, 2008 at 9:21 am (Parenting) ()

Saturday dawned a little cloudy (like Friday) which is not unusual for California. One drawback to camper living is that I don’t get to sleep in on the weekends like at home. Kind of hard not to wake up when everyone else does which for my kids is around 7 a.m. (My normal Sat doesn’t start til around 10:30.)

We decided to hit the movies in the morning for an early matinee of Space Chimps (cute movie).


That’s Noah, not able to tear his eyes away from the previews long enough for a picture.

Then we drove over to Coronado for the beach. This has got to be my favorite place in San Diego. I could drive around and look at the houses for hours. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea. Finding parking is always a hassle but we lucked into a spot not too far away. The kids quickly got to digging and building. Noah was working on some engineering feat I’m sure.

Natalie, on the other hand, was busy getting sand on every inch of her body.

And I do mean EVERY inch! She managed to eat it a couple times as well.

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Baby Mac Watch

July 14, 2008 at 7:52 am (Parenting)

Though God did not see fit to give me a sister growing up, despite my constant pleas with my parents to have another child, I got the best sister I could hope for when I married Mark.

Unfortunately Jenny fell in love with this British guy and moved half way across the world. Okay, I’m kidding about the “unfortunately” part – we love you Rob!

They are expecting their first child. We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl so it has been named various things – Pooch Person (don’t ask), The Bump, and Baby Mac (their last name is MacKenna).

Got an email this morning that Jenny’s water broke and she went to the hospital this morning. Guess they do things differently there – in the U.S. that’s means an automatic ticket for a comfy hospital bed. But her contractions weren’t doing much so they sent her home for now. If she still hasn’t gone into full labor by 9 a.m. tomorrow (which is really like 11 p.m. here) they’ll induce.

Can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or a girl!

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It has begun

May 23, 2008 at 11:40 am (Parenting) (, , , )

In about 10 minutes my oldest will burst through the door (quite literally) and it will officially be summer vacation. Natty’s last day was Wednesday. I always sit here on the last week of school and wonder what on earth we will fill our summer vacation with. Then suddenly it is August and I’m saying “Wow, that actually went kind of fast.”

So what are we going to do this summer?

  • Mark’s brother and his family (5 cousins) arrive late on Sunday and are here for two weeks. The kids can’t wait. Natalie is dying for Averee to see how long her hair has gotten.
  • Vacation Bible School is the second week in June. This is the first year that Natalie is old enough to attend and she’s excited.
  • The kids have been begging to go back to Makutu’s Island – a 20,000 sq ft indoor play area. If you live in the Phoenix area you gotta check it out.
  • Finish a few projects in the backyard like painting the playhouse and getting the flower beds done.
  • Repaint Noah’s room since he’s outgrown the “firefighter” decor.
  • Find bunkbeds for the girls room.
  • Spend lots of time on the water slide in the backyard.
  • Crash our friend’s houses who have pools 🙂
  • Arrange two dozen play dates with friends.
  • Go to the cabin to escape the triple digit heat.

And hopefully we will be going to Ethiopia to pick up our kids!!!

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Name suggestions?

April 14, 2008 at 4:39 pm (Parenting)

So I’m desperately seeking name suggestions for the two new kiddos that we are adopting. You can read this post for more info and either post your comments here or there.

For background – our two bio kids are Noah and Natalie. We did not pick both “N” names intentionally, it just happened. That being said I wonder if our two new kids will feel left out if they don’t have “N” names.

But really, there’s not a lot of variety in N names.

For W-boy we could go with:

NEHEMIAH (not that excited)
NICKLAUS (Nicklaus-yes, spelled like the golfer-was one we had picked out as a possibility when we had Noah but then it would get shortened to Nick Gumm and then you start with the Nicorette Gum jokes)

NOLAN
NATHAN – too close to Natalie and my dad’s name of Nathaniel.

The names we DO like are Daniel and Micah.

For B-girl we could go with:

NAIYA (sounds Russian)
NAOMI (not bad, maybe growing on me)
NATASHA (again, Russian)
NICOLE (like it)
NORAH (kind of cool)
NYLA (sounds African maybe?)

Stacey had the great idea of giving them names that start with the same letter, but not necessarily N. So if we named W-boy Micah then we come up with an M name for B-girl.

So I need girl names that start with either D or M. I’m counting on you guys!

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