American Idol

I thought I would start my blog with a major praise. For the first time in the history of the 5 Ringsmuth/Tynes grandchildren I took on all of them for about 20 hours on Monday/Tuesday. No one person has attempted this feet before as we feared that taking care 5 children 3 and under solo was a recipe for disaster, but it went surpisingly well. The cousins had a blast, and so did I. I even had them all up, fed, dressed and out the door to go swimming by 9:20 in the morning. Jeremy and Natalie decided to spend the day auditioning for American Idol, a favorite show of theirs, just for kicks, and they had a great time as well. So really, who is the real American Idol? Someone who can sing and dance on stage, or someone who can have fun while taking care of 5 small children for 20 hours? You tell me. . . :>) Here are some pictures of my adventure. The little girl on the right of everyone in the pool picture is my friend Caryn’s daughter, Lara.

Quin, Julia, Evan, Harrison & Aaron

Quin, Evan, Harrison, Julia, Aaron, Lara

One thing I have come to realize over the past several months is that each child has a special relationship to us. Evan is our first born son. It was just him and us for 18 months and we get to see him do everything first. Julia is our first born and only daughter at this point. We adore what makes her uniquely our precious little girl. Harrison, the most unexpected one. He is the one we were trying the hardest to prevent. He is for now, the baby of the family, and a tremendous joy to us. When I think about the fact that he wouldn’t be here if I had gotten my way initially, I get very emotional. He is without a doubt a necessary component of our family.

Their conversations are so funny. They include the baby now who can answer yes or no to questions asked of him but usually answers yes unless he knows the answer is no. One recently went something like this,
Julia: Buddy, I saw a really big bear.
Evan: Really? I have never seen a big bear.
Julia: Daddy was scared of the big bear.
Evan: He was? Has the baby ever seen a really big bear?
Harrison: Oh, yes.
Evan: (Now crying) Mommy, everyone has seen a really big bear, but not me!
Mommy: Evan, No one has seen a big bear but daddy, so don’t worry about it.
Evan: (Still whining) But Julia and Harrison said they saw a really big bear.
Julia: Yup.
Evan: See, Julia said, “YUP.”
Mommy: Oh, Evan, Please don’t worry about it. Only daddy saw a big bear and he was scared.
. . . . this goes on for some time.

7/19/07 – Julia and Harrison are asked for the first time if they are twins.

Julia and Evan took their first showers a couple of days ago and they are BIG fans. It makes them seem so grown up and saves me a ton of time each day.

Lot of times I will pray with kids for things to happen. For example,we will pray for rain and then it rains that day, or we will pray for no rain right around us while we are playing outside, and then we will see rain on the pond and rain in the field but no rain on us. Lately we have been praying that the blue Volkswagen bug car cart at our grocery store is available since there is only one, and it is a hot commodity. Whenever we pray we always get it. It is fun that God has been so easily cooperative this summer in showing my children how reachable He is even in our trivial daily lives. He has a habit of taking good care of us.

Evan’s Update

On Saturday the 22nd of July, we were out in the yard all afternoon and part of the evening doing yard work. Julia, Harrison and I played by the play set, but Evan was out exploring the whole yard, throwing sticks into the creek and chasing Gus. We came in, bathed, ate dinner and the kids went right to bed.

The next morning when I woke Evan up to get him ready for church, his body was covered in a very gnarly poison oak/ivy rash. It had even started breaking out into pussy bumps on his right arm. The only thing unaffected was his tummy, shoulders and feet where his shirt and shoes were. His butt cheeks were actually just two giant swollen welts.

I stayed home from church so he couldn’t spread it to other kids. After breakfast I got out our poison oak/ivy scrub, stuck him in the bath and scrubbed his entire body to make sure it wouldn’t spread anywhere else on his body or to the other kids. All that stuff does is get rid of the urushiol that makes it contagious. As I scrubbed, I prayed that God would heal every spot I touched from this horrible rash. Evan wasn’t a huge fan of the scrub on his tender skin, but he didn’t get too upset. I rinsed and then bathed him and got him dressed. We played for a little while and then Stephen and Julia got home from church.

We ate lunch and I put the two little ones in bed for their naps. When I came for Evan I pulled him out of his chair and lifted up the sleeves on his arm to check his rash again, and it was gone. I lifted up the other sleeve and it was gone too. I pulled off his pants and checked his butt, back, and his legs, and it was totally gone. I know this kind of miracle happens all of the time, but things like this remind me of how much God loves me and my children and cares about even little things (in comparison, for example, to genocide in the Sudan). He heard my prayers and spared Evan the agony of a few weeks of horrible itching, open sores and sleepless nights. What a mighty God we serve that He put the earth and the stars in motion, but also noticed my little one with poison ivy.

Evan’s drawing and writing skills continue to progress. He can write several letters like A,B C, D, W, M, T, X, G, E, H, I, L, O, U, N, V and so on. He can write his name. He can also draw trees and kitties and tries to imitate a drawing of an elephant butt that I do for him. I took a picture of his attempt. I am always pleased when he at least tries. His trees are always pretty crooked, but he is quick to say that they are crooked because they are blowing in the wind, which I think is a pretty intuitive observation.

Evan learning to help out a LOT around the house. He has learned to sort the clean clothes by who they belong to. He sorts the utensils in the dishwasher, unloads groceries that he can carry, cleans windows, empties garbage cans, helps with the babies, Keeps the paper towel holder stocked, unbuckles and buckles Julia into her carseat, and so on. He has a responsibility chart that we try to keep up with. He was getting paid for his work so he could earn a bike which he finally earned last week and is pictured below.

He finally decided to give up his pacifier tonight once and for all in favor of a trip to Chuck-E-Cheeses. Until now there was nothing worth the sacrifice. He is growing up so fast.

Favorite food: Still Mayo and Jelly Sandwiches, Popsicles.

Evan wrote his name on our chalkboard wall.

Riding his new bike for the fist time. I forgot to take a picture of him with his helmet!

A boy going down a slide. . . not to be confused with a boy sitting in a shoe.

A kitty.

Sorting utensils

Julia Update:

I could never get her to count while I was try to teach her. I would say one and she would say two, but then I would have to count after that. One day in June I heard her chattering to herself in her bedroom through her baby monitor, and I when I started to pay attention I realized she was counting to 10 over and over again to herself. I didn’t even know she could count to three and suddenly she was counting to 10 on her own. She is learning her colors now, but this is taking a bit longer. She is actually closer to learning her phone number and address.

She is definitely in the midst of the “I can do it all by myselse” phase. (She says “S” instead of “F” because she can’t make the “F” sound yet.) She doesn’t want us to help her with anything no matter how long she has to struggle. Someday that determination will come in quite handy.

Favorite Food: Mac ‘n Cheese & Black Olives.

She really likes play-dough

But not as much as her baby dolls. Here she is carting around “The Twins”.

Baby Doll has to eat dinner with her.

Harrison Update:

When he is not teething, he is always, always happy.

He is definitely a daddy’s boy these days.

He is still the carbon copy of his daddy. I see so much of my family in the other two, but Harrison is definitely his daddy’s boy. It is fun to have faces that reflect both families.

One recent tragedy in Harrison’s life happened during a scuffle with his big brother in the bath. He got 1/2 of one of his front, top teeth chipped out. I cried about it longer than he did. It didn’t seem to bother him much. I took him to the dentist to have it rounded out a bit, but it still looks chipped. Everyone keeps telling me I should feel blessed that it was not one of his permanent teeth, but to me, a permanent tooth would be better. At least then there is something they could do about it. He now just has to walk around for the next 6 or 7 years with 1/2 of a front tooth. I keep reminding myself that it could be worse. . . at least he was not strapped into his car seat when the bridge I was on collapsed into the Mississippi, ya know?

He now spends much of his day going up and down the stairs, and like Julia will a lot of times turn backwards several feet before the stairs and push himself backwards until he gets there.

He is a major climber, just like my other two.

He took his first steps on Sunday morning, July 22nd while Evan played in the bath after being scrubbed for his poison ivy. He took one step and then soon was taking two before he dove to me. He now caps out at about 4 or 5.

He drives his toy cars and makes car noises and crashing sounds all day around the house.

He recently cut one of his one year molars, and Lord have mercy, is working on the other 3. I have two videos of him talking following this blog entry.

Favorite food: Food

Eating and sleeping

1/2 a tooth

Lord have mercy!

Imitating our dog, Gus.

LOVES to look down over our foyer from upstairs.

Climbing. . .

More climbing.

Just checking things out. . .

Misc.

Harrison and Aaron with my baby cousin Abby Hillman visiting from FL

Evan with Benji and Bradley Hillman, my cousins from FL.

Julia dressed as Blue the dog and Lauren Hillman, another cousin from FL.

Turkey’s and their babies who spend large amounts of time in our yard each day.

Julia and Harrison at Chuck-E-Cheese’s

Harrison riding the merry-go-round at Chuck-E-Cheese’s

Two ride for the price of one at Chuck-E-Cheese’s

Playin’ in the rain. . .

Just playin’ in the rain!

All three now participate in art project time

Julia’s first pet rock.

Evan’s first pet rock

Take note of the sticker placement on each of their papers. It is indictive of their personalities.

4th of July Parade

4th of July slide!

Harrison has the best view of the 4th of July parade

Is this parade over yet?

4th of July corn. The kids could shuck corn for hours.

They will eat anything if I give them a butter knife to cut it with.

More butter knife fun.

Fun day at the water park.

Harrison LOVES the water. . .

I am pretty sure he actually thinks he is a fish.

Playing in the yard.

Inventing new ways to eat old snacks.

Decorating Mommy’s birthday cake with Grandma. It was surely the best cake I have ever had. I just got back from mountain biking with Stephen which is why we look so very sexy.

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