Good looking always starts with looking.

I have been TRYING to teach the boys how to look for things. They are dismally bad, bad, bad at looking for things. They walk into a room, and if whatever they are looking for doesn’t immediately jump out at them, then in their minds it has completely vanished. Our new mantra around here has become, “Good looking always begins with looking.” I figure if they are actually going to learn how to find anything, then they, at the bare minimum, must at least LOOK. IF they do finally find something then we all shout, “GOOD LOOKING”! Their wives someday will not be able to blame me for not at least trying.

In a lot of ways, my oldest three behave a lot like I have observed twins or triplets behave over the years. They all process everything they do and see together. Even when apart, they come back together and discuss each and everything they experienced to evaluate what should be thought of it. An example of this happened the other day. We were all sitting down to lunch watching an inch worm work his way across the railing on our deck outside the window. They were all discussing the inchworm and his life in great detail when a gecko came out of nowhere and ate the inchworm. They all gasped and looked at each other for several seconds while they silently decided how they felt about this. You could see their faces go from horror to amused and back several times before they all burst out laughing at once. It was like they had a silent powwow and finally decided on their response. They are all so close in age they don’t remember life without the other. Eli is different in that respect. They all remember Eli’s birth and life before him. However, I am hoping that it isn’t long before he joins the fold himself.

I also wanted to note that we had to put our family dog, Gus, down a week and a half ago. We found him ½ paralyzed in the garage one night after playing in the yard with the kids. The treatments from the vet were not working and his quality of life got worse and worse as the week went on. The kids kept praying for him, so I was sad when we finally had to tell them he had died. They were quiet for a minute while they processed what we were saying to them, and then immediately began planning for the next dog.

-when she wakes up on a day that she has been looking forward to, she will ask me, “Mommy, is today tomorrow”?
-is very easily embarrassed when I scold her in front of others.
-does an immense amount of work around this house without complaint. She really seems to enjoy helping me. I just can’t get over it.
-turned 4 years old on Saturday with a very pink and purple, princess, tea party and 4 of her closest friends. There are pictures galore.

-when Eli took a toy he wanted said, “Eli, you are naughty boy, but I will always love you anyway”.
-his newfound love of super heroes is starting to overshadow his love of cars from the movie Cars a wee bit.
-has finally learned to dress and undress himself.
-has also learned how to sort laundry with Evan and Julia. This makes Evan and Julia very happy.
-enjoys doing what he can to crack everyone in the family up. He is a jokester.
-favorite color is now green.

-needed to have the caps on his two front teeth replaced again last month for the 3rd time.

-is obsessed with robots. He asks Stephen all of the time if he will help him build a robot and is baffled at why they can’t just sit down and do that. I need to look into getting him a robot kit or something for his birthday.
-is still obsessed with super heroes and has spread his obsession to Harrison.
-has a lot of responsibilities around here, but doesn’t like them unless they require he uses his super hero muscles like bringing the garbage in from the street.
-has gotten really good at his bike. Went “mountain biking” (off road biking) with us a couple of weeks ago and road 4 straight miles.

-cut his first 6 year molar a couple of months ago and has 3 wiggly teeth.

-Imitate lots of sounds.
-Says, “Dada” “Mama” and “No no”
-has been battling ear infections since January. There is fluid built up on his ears. The doctor started talking tubes last week. I rushed Eli immediately off to the chiropractor. He adjusted his neck and then helped me develop a plan to naturally combat his infections and fluid. I am praying it works. We have until the middle of May before we see his pediatrician again. I am praying he is totally better by then.
-is still a grumpy, ol’ soul, but I adore him completely. I can’t believe he is almost 1 year old. I literally just gave birth to him.

The kids love to built forts.

I fed him mashed potatoes and his face just exploded.

I walked right past Julia’s bedroom and then immediately took two steps back.
I found this heavy, full dresser slid out into the middle of the room. I gasped, “What happened in here? How did this dresser get way out here”. Julia says, very matter of factly, “Me and Evan did it. We used teamwork, Mamma.” It took considerable effort for ME to get this dresser back up against the wall.

Evan would like to think he is a pirate (and a ninja and a robot and a super hero).

This is Evan “mountain biking” on a very simple mountain biking trail. He went 4 miles. We were very proud of him.

Stephen pulled the other kids in our bike trailor.

Eli was happy as long as he was in control of the water pack.

The kids permute playing doll house with playing monster trucks and everyone is happy.

Harrison’s first recognizable drawings.

Stephen took the boys camping last weekend. Stephen swears that is not an alligator lurking up on them.

Man camp.

Stephen grilled up some yummy pancakes and bacon for their man breakfast.

The kids enjoy mowing with daddy.

I love this picture of our backyard. Click on the picture to see the kids WAY back there.

Julia is waiting for her princess guests to arrive at her princess tea party for her 4th birthday.

The girls at her party started off by making the gowns they would wear to the tea party.

I dressed (sortof) like a princess too. I am helping Julia make the skirt on the princess dress.

All decked out in her homemade princess dress at her 4th birthday party.

All of her princess party guests in their matching gowns. Julia was so excited for the party she didn’t sleep well the night before and she is starting to fizzle out by this picture.

But by the time the chocolate covered fruit, finger sandwiches and hot pink tea came out to the table, Julia regained her groove.

Wild princess gift opening fun.

Aunt Jessie came to help out and join the festivities at Julia’s party. I think at this point in the pink and purple, over-the-top princess fun she was ready to stab herself in the jugular. Eli is just stunned, as usual.

Pouring the decaf, hot pink, strawberry-kiwi, tea. It sortof tasted like hot Jello.

Calm playdough fun turns into crazy playdough distaster.

My sweet baby.

Is it just me or is this me?

Eli’s curl.

Hitching a ride with daddy.

The first backyard play date of the year. We have lots of fun hosting these.

Easter stud muffin.

Easter lady.

This Easter picture just sums up his personality perfectly. He’s a silly, little man.


Easter sweety.

I love how Stephen and I have this look on our faces like, “Lord! Help! Us!”.

I told Harrison to change back into his play clothes, and after doing this he says, “I have my clothes on, Mommy”.

We checked a book out at the library that teaches what you can do with a peice of paper and blocks to make stronger and stronger bridges and structures. We had so much fun with this.

Here we were using the book to experiment with making stronger structures and also to learn how tall trees don’t fall down because of their roots. Julia is trying to blow her structure down to test its strength.

Auntie Sharon and I took Julia to a tea house to test teas for her birthday party.

Julia and I are at the tea house. Julia was in a silly mood.

Julia really is Sleeping Beauty.

I love the freckles across the bridge of his nose.

He loves to crawl around the yard and sample everything that he finds.

He makes this face and says “oooo, oooo, oooo” all the time.

“Ooooo, ooo, oooo”.

Harrison has started dragging this cow he cleverly named “Cowy” everwhere he goes.

The kids fight for the right to feed him. He really prefers to feed himself.

They were practice camping on the deck.

Evan coaxed all of the kids in. Eli enjoys being included until he doesn’t anymore. Things only tend to make him happy for a short time and then they make him very unhappy. The funny things is, the kids don’t notice his unhappiness at all.

This superman costume belongs to a freind. I keep putting it up so I can bring it back to her and the next thing I know one of the boys has it back on. It doesn’t help matters that it is so cute I can’t help but photograph it.

Julia is making her birthday cake with just Mommy. The tradition in our home is that the birthday kid gets to spend time with JUST mommy to choose, make and decorate their own cake.

Julia is decorating her birthday cupcakes. Very lovely.

Stephen is carrying them off to bed. My question is, where can he fit Eli when he gets big enough? He is going to have to grow an extra arm.

Julia’s favorite exhibit at the zoo. What could be better than pink birds?

Enjoying the river otters.

These sheep are nasty. . .

. . . So is this goat. I am grateful I don’t have a goat.

I am explaining the nastiness of this goat to Eli.

Evan on the carousal at the zoo today.

Julia on the carousal at the zoo today.

Eli enjoyed the carousal the most. He said “ooo, ooo, ooo” the whole time.

Harrison enjoyed the carousal the least at first but warmed up to the idea after a minute. He looks like such a big boy in this picture.

The kids LOVED riding the train at the zoo. They are sitting with their friend, Jacob.

Evan and Julia talked me into letting them climb this rock wall at the zoo. They are about 1/2 way up here. They got a bit scared of how high they were and wouldn’t go all of the way up.

Eli and Harrison were mesmerized by watching the other two climb.

What happened to good, old-fashioned teeter-totters? They loved whatever this thing is, and when the bigger kids joined and really got it going, they were thrilled.

Eli claps his chubby little hands.

Evan demonstrates his sweet robot moves.This is honestly the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. He is just so serious about it. . .Let’s pray this doesn’t get used as blackmail someday. Jess, I honestly posted this just for you.

Evan adores doing anything to make his baby laugh.



50th Birthday Addendum

As promised here is my addendum to the last blog update with a collection of pictures from our time in TN with family for my mother’s 50th (yes 50th) birthday a few weeks ago. It’s funny because the age difference between my mother and I gets less and less each year, especially now that I am in my 30’s. I will be with my friends in their 40’s, and then I introduce them to my mother who was also still in her 40’s until a couple of weeks ago and. . . oh man the shock. Not only that, but my mother doesn’t look 50 yet so it really mystifies people when they meet us. Thankfully, even though I was married at the time, God didn’t chose to give me a child when I was 19, but it is wonderful to have a mother still energetic enough to really enjoy her grandchildren and watch them grow all the way up, Lord willing.

We planned a weekend with lots of family at a beautiful log home in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee near Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. The part my mother didn’t know about was that my brother Jeremy and his wife Natalie and their two boys were driving down for the weekend too. It was lots of work to keep that a secret, especially with 6 excited grandchildren in the middle of it, but it went off without a hitch, and my mom was totally surprised to see them walk through the door. It certainly was a wonderful birthday treat for all of us to have them there. We are one blessed bunch to be sure.

Me want more beans!!
The Spiderman Trilogy. (Cousins Benji, Evan, and Quin)

Mom’s other daughter Caroline from Kenya devoted much time to holding Eli. What the heck, Jess?

Grandpa Ringsmuth agreed to watch Eli while I showered. They bonded.

Friday night dinner with the fam, including Uncle Ray and Aunt Renee from Kentucky at the end of the table. This was the night before the big party with more family the next day.

Great-Aunt Renee (One of my dad’s sisters) enjoying time with Eli.

Grandma Ringsmuth playing Candy Land with the grandkids.

The highs were in the 5o’s while we were there, but the kids still spent hours in the hot tub outside on the deck. Harrison wouldn’t go in because of his fear of the jets.

All because two people fell in love.

Soon Jeremy and Natalie will complete this picture with their third little one due in September.

Hanging with the cousins.

They played a LOT of air hocky and pool. A LOT.