This time I am copping out of writing much. I want to get one last blog post in this year, and I can never seem to get around to sending out those awesome family Christmas photos I enjoy getting so much. I have been teaching a Monday night bible study for a couple of years, but it has recently become much more work for me. I am loving it, but it leaves me feeling a bit burned out on writing down my thoughts. For those of you who have to get their “Rochelle’s Diatribes” fix (note the sarcasm in my voice), last week I began to post a podcast of the study I teach on Monday nights to a blog. My first one is posted. Here is the link. . . thefaithfulgod.blogspot.com
Here is a conversation I don’t want to forget.
Evan: (ALL riled up) JULIA! Did you take that sucker out of my Halloween bag??!!
Julia: (Casual) No.
Evan: Tell me the truth!
Julia:(unconcerned) It’s mine.
Evan: TELL! ME! THE! TRUTH!! You don’t look very serious!!!
Julia: (Very matter of fact) Evan, It’s hard to look very serious with a sucker in my mouth.
I think she had a valid point.
ELIJAH: -is completely and innocently honest about everything. Even after coloring all over the furniture and woodwork with a black sharpie marker, watching me totally freak out upon seeing it and scream, “AHHHHH! WHO DESTROYED OUR HOME!!!”, Eli says, “It was Eli”, as casually as if he were saying, “I dropped my pencil”. -Here’s another conversation, ME: “AAAHHH, ELI!! DID YOU PULL OFF ALL 600 BOOKS, GAMES AND PUZZLES FROM THE BOOK SHELF AND EMPTY THEM INTO A PILE!!??” Eli: “Yup”.
-is now 2 1/2.
-has been to 17 states and Washington DC including AL, GA, IL, IA, KY, LA, KS, MD, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, SC, TN, VA.
-is super, super, super, super hilarious. We hang on his every word to catch everything that comes out of his mouth. I wish I could keep track of it all.
-the last word in all of his sentences is always said with a thick southern accent.
-he likes for us to tie his baby blanket around his neck like a cape so he can pretend to fly around the house as “Super Baby”.
-gave up his naps a few months ago. If he sleeps during the day he stays up way too late at night.
-did a SUPER awesome job for such a little fellow traveling from Atlanta to Lincoln, NE in September for my cousin Andy’s wedding.
-has no interest in potty training and neither do I. We are on the same page.
-knows several of letters, how to spell his name, and how to count to 12.
HARRISON: -blurts out in the van randomly, “A google plus 88 equals a google and 88, right, Mom?”
-has been to 17 states and DC including AL, DE, FL, GA, IL, IA, KY, LA, KS, MD, MS, MO, NE, NC, SC, TN, VA
still cries at the drop of a hat. He went from being unflappable to being very emotional since about the time he turned 4, I think. I am hoping it is just a phase.
-is nearly 4 1/2
-Two months ago when I was out for the evening with some friends, Evan shared the gospel with Harrison on their top bunk, and they prayed together for Harrison. The next morning when I saw Harrison, he was very exctied to announce to me that he and Evan had prayed together, and he had asked Jesus into his heart. Now, I don’t know how to verify the authenticity of a young child’s salvation experience, but I was so touched that Evan took the initiative to share his heart with his brother and that Harrison was so excited about the whole thing.
LOVES, LOVES, LOVES his time to play games on the computer. He lives for it and cries when his timer goes off, and he has to be done. When he isn’t playing video games (which is 23 hours a day) he is thinking about them.
-has long, pointless and hilarious conversations with his 2 year old brother that usually turns into a physical confrontation.
-is a wiz at school. He doesn’t look forward to it, but he learns so quickly that he is keeping up with his kindergartener sister. It’s nice that Julia and Harrison are so close in age (13 months apart) so they can go through school together.
-has no favorite subject. He just goes with the flow to get it over with so he can play his hour of computer games.
-tells the most imaginative stories.
-gets along very well with most everyone he meets.
-he is very, very picky about what he will wear.
-he still loves to color when he isn’t playing games.
JULIA: -“Mom, this is my three-est pizza”, which meant, “Mom, this is my third piece of pizza”.
-Has been to 17 states and Washington DC including, AL, FL, GA, IL, IA, KY, LA, KS, MD, MS, MO, NE, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA.
-is typically a very attentive student. She enjoys school and never complains about the work. -is now 5 1/2.
-considers her closest friends to be Courtney Carmichael, Lara Abbott, and Jessica Warthan. All is well in her world when those girls are at her side.
-one of those best friends, Jessica Warthan, is about to move to West Virginia. Tremendous weeping and mourning happened the night Julia found out, but she has come to terms with it and is now planning the DVD’s we will watch during any potential road trips up there.
-can be as mature and responsible as a 30 year old, or can be as stubborn as a mule.
-is still quite afraid of nearly every movie ever made. She is only interested in pre-school television programs. Anything with a plot or drama sucks her in and breaks her heart.
-went from spending the last 5 1/2 years crying and clinging to me whenever I left her in any of her classes or in AWANA at church, to for the last month or so, ditching me in her dust as she runs ahead of me to get to them. It has been a marvelous shift.
-loves to cuddle and give us kisses.
-LOVES, LOVES her Grandma Tynes. She is adoring having her here full time.
-is Mrs. Barbara, her ballet teacher’s, pet to-be-sure. Mrs. Barbara comes out of the room each week and makes a beeline to let me know how wonderful and dedicated Julia is. When I watch Julia through the window, she doesn’t seem to me to be an incredibly gifted ballerina quite yet, just incredibly focused, which I happen to think is even better.
-her favorite school subject is reading.
EVAN: -has been to 20 states and Washington DC including AL, FL, GA, IL, IA, KY, LA, KS, MD, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, UT.
-turned 7 on October 24th.
-has matured soooooooooooooo much in the past 6 months. He gets in trouble a quarter of the time he used to and even volunteers to help around the house! A couple days ago he asked to change Eli’s diaper. . . I don’t know what to make of it, but I’m not complaining. I am SUPER proud of him.
– has to have it completely silent and still to concentrate on his school work. He is incredibly, easily distracted. Silence and stillness is VERY hard to come by around here. I have had to find creative ways to motivate him, but it is possible to get him to focus long enough to get one answer done at a time until the whole page is complete.
-seems to really enjoy having Julia and Harrison participating in school with him so he is not singled out as the one who has to work harder than the rest. Having them join the fold has been very good for him.
-is a very honest boy. He went through a long and hard core lying stage, but that has been gone for a while. Now he tells the truth even if it means he will get in trouble for it. I respect the stew out of that. He is going to be a good man.
-has a heart for his friends who don’t know Christ and asks to pray for them all of the time.
-has a giving heart and even gave $20 of nearly $80 that his grandfather gave him for his birthday to the church so they could help needy children. I didn’t ask him to do that at all. I was so proud of him for bringing the money to me and telling me on his own he wanted to do that, I took a picture of him with the money and posted it below. I’m not sure I should have done that, but it blew me away, and I wanted to remember it.
-loves, loves, loves his baby brother to-the-max. Even though my attention is so split between all of the kids, Evan would gladly take more baby siblings any day.
-is growing to be a hard working boy too. He is just growing up so much all of a sudden.
-enjoys being a part of Boy Scouts this year with Stephen as the den leader. He is so, incredibly, blessed to have a daddy who desires to be so involved in his life.
-he loves to wrestle with Harrison a bit too much. The bigger those boys get, the more damage they do to each other and to the house. They can’t be in the same room for a minute without it turning into the WWF. I try to send them out in the yard as often as I can to let them work it out amongst the trees.
-favorite school subject is science.
It’s crazy hair night at Awana and the kids thought I should bring the theme to choir practice as well. Luigi, Eli, Princess Peach, and Mario. Soon he will outgrow sleeping in the car all of the time, so I take FAR to many photos of that tired little face. I wish I would have turned this photo. Evan is ready for his first Boy Scouts pack meeting. Evan was a pro at flying this kite in our front yard until it bit the dust. I have so many precious photos of the kids with this kite in our front yard. I didn’t know how to narrow them down. Julia got the hang of the kite quickly as well. I posted an album to facebook that we used as our picture science journal for an expedition we went on to find the source and mouth of our backyard creek after a unit study on rivers and streams. Here we are trespassing at an empty house by the pond at the source of our creek. We had TONS of fun with this. We finally found the mouth of our backyard creek, but had to knock on the door of the house on the right to ask if we could wander around in their yard and find it. They were kind enough to let us do it.
The boy with the giant gauze bandage on his cheek and bald head is our friend Treyton. He was diagnosed with Luekemia 7 months ago and we were over at his house watching him and 2 of his siblings while his mom took another sibling to the doctor. My children prayed faithfully for Treyton several times a day throughout his whole treatment and he is, happily, now completely cancer free.
We are out for a tiring afternoon hike with aunt Jessie and Grandma on the trails around our home.
Eek, another sideways picture I am not motivated enough to change. Here Eli and Julia usher Grandma Tynes up the walkway to the St. Louis Arch in MO in September.
They are checking the stability of the arch for their expedition to the top.
We road the long, shifting elevator ride to the top in a very, tiny, egg-shaped capsule. I have been to the arch several times in my life, but this was the kid’s first time. They were animated and lit up with excitement about the whole thing. Even another tourist turned their camera on our kids to take a video of their excitement.
They just never tired of looking out the windows at the sights. Tourists up their were loving their adorable excitement.
Back at the bottom for a silly picture.
My kids LOVE my cousin Jason’s kids, Nathan, Meredith, and Patrick, in St. Louis. They have been there once or twice to visit and they bond immediately over this trampoline and all of great-aunt Donna’s exiting new toys.
We ate lunch in a beautiful casino on our way through Kansas city. We told the kids it was Chuck-E-Cheese for grownups ;>)
Here we are in Lincoln, NE with TONS of cousins for the kids to play with. My uncle Pete made this swing and had it outside of the office building of his newsletter company where he hosted the whole Ringsmuth crew for lunch. The kids took FULL advantage of this swing.
This was the post-wedding dance at Cousin Andy’s wedding. Harrison and Baby Lauren (my brother Jeremy’s daughter) dance so sincerely.
Julia dances with cousin Meredith at the wedding in Lincoln, NE
We were hosted at Uncle John and Aunt Sue’s house for breakfast the morning after the wedding. Stephen is obviously having an animated conversation with my beloved Grandpa Ringsmuth.
This is Uncle John and Aunt Sue’s backyard where I played with my cousins when we were growing up. My children ran off and played with cousins for HOURS, just as it should be. All together there were 17 cousins there that weekend who were 7 years old and younger.
Uncle Frank graciously offered to take some time to push Julia and Harrison in the swings.
FYI, Lincoln, NE has a surprisingly awesome children’s museum right next to the UNL campus where they were having their homecoming game at this very moment. Eli and Grandma Tynes enjoy a relaxing moment together.
Who is having more fun here, Eli or Grandma Ringsmuth?
YEAH for cousin love! My cousins mean so much to me, and it is awesome that my kids get that too. They are all just immediately BFF even if they haven’t seen each other in a long time.
Dinner at the cousin table. All together there were 17 cousins in Lincoln, NE that weekend
who were 7 years old or younger.
Julia thought she looked beautiful with her “makeup” on. It’s lip gloss, though I didn’t see any on her actual lips.
FINALLY AFTER 2 YEARS those top two teeth are coming in Evan’s mouth!! OH HAPPY DAY!!
This is the prayer list the kids made for people they feel a burden for, and we try to go through every morning before school.
Daddy took Harrison and Evan to a boyscout camp out in October. This is a perfect picture of the relationship between these two boys.
Julia, Eli and I caught up with them at the boyscout camp out the next day after sleeping in our nice warm beds.
The kids played for hours on these tent stands at the boyscout camp that Saturday.
This boyscout camp had to be one of the more beautiful places I have been in Georgia. . . and that’s saying something. It was amazing! We hiked around this lake owned by the Georgia boyscouts.
I love this suspended animation picture of Eli being so excited about the ducks at the boyscout camp’s lake.
Stephen is teaching a boyscout lesson on leafs to the kids so Evan can earn his bobcat patch. I just beam like a fool when I see pictures like this.
Eli got a little tired on our walk around the lake at the boyscout camp. He’s totally asleep like this.
Climbing and hanging and hanging and climbing.
Eli’s favorite. PB& J and spicey Doritos sandwiches. . . ishy. .. I can’t watch him eat it.
Evan gets a chocolate covered raison for every section of his Math worksheets that He completes. It is VERY motivating for him.
I couldn’t love this photo any more than I do. Grandpa and the kids share a passion for Grandpa’s scooter.
THESE are the memories that will stick with them.
Eli and Evan just absolutely adore each other with their whole hearts.
Actually, Eli wasn’t too sure about this quite yet.
Harrison hangs on for dear life and fake smiles.
We went to a granite quarry for a field trip. This was the educational building at the quarry.
Julia and her best friends, Courtney and Jessica learning about rocks at the granite quarry.
The kids got to collect rocks and check out this massive dump truck at the granite quarry.
These are some of our homeschool friends at the granite quarry. It was impossible to get a good picture with that many little kids.
Eli is a mere flee next to this truck. He was not deterred from collecting several pounds worth of granite. . .
. . . and more granite.
He’s a working man. . . dirty face, hard hat and all.
The kids were mystified by the massive canyon caused by 40 years of mining, and less than a mile from where cousins Quin and Aaron used to live.
Evan’s doing the traditional cake bake for his 7th birthday. Each birthday child gets to bake and decorate their birthday cake, just them and me.
This is how Evan chose to decorate it. I won’t tell you which of Evan’s parents said it ended up looking like dead spiderman and sexual spiderman. . .but I thought it turned out well.
Evan’s birthday party was at Monster Golf. It’s an indoor, blacklight lit, minigolf, course.
Later we went to his favorite restaurnt, Stevie B’s Pizza, with the boys who came to his party.
Present time is always the most exciting part for all of the kids. The boy with the orange shirt is Evan’s good friend, Joseph and the boy with the yellow shirt is life-long friend Jacob. You can see his friends Rocky and another Joseph across from him.
He got this present from his friend Jacob at the party that evening. We got home from the party about 6:30. He was tireless on this project that started from a box full of teeny tiny pieces that he carefully and painstakingly built into this working robot by 10:00 that night. He did it completely on his own, just as he insists on doing with everything.
Grandpa Ringsmuth has been saving his change for Evan in a piggy bank since Evan was born. He gave it to him for his birthday this year. I made Evan sort and count it, which was all we did for Math for 2 days. It worked out to be $78.80. He bought a game for his kinect system, a Mario brothers costume, and donated $20 of his own volition to the church with it.
Jess and I ran a 5k together last month. It was both nerve wracking and tons of fun. I ran it in 25 minutes and 22 seconds, which is 23 seconds slower than I was hoping, but I ranked MUCH better than I thought I would. I was 11th out of 156 in my age bracket and 123 out of 1,101 runners. It was soooo cold my joints were stiff. Next time I will run it in at LEAST 23 seconds shorter. YAY, for running!
My good friend Rebekah came to town from KY to run this 5K with me. She dressed up for the Halloween race as the breast cancer fighting super heroess. She is quite stunning.
Yay for trick-or-treating. This was the second time I have gone in my life and the first time was last year. I LOVE the opportunity to meet the neighbors and let them share a gift with my children. In the end, I think it is a great experience for kids.
Harrison and our neighbor boy Chad are pooped out from trick-or-treating. Could they be any cuter?
This is our annual “Halloween candy spread and free-for-all”. For one evening they have a pass to devour unlimited amounts of candy, and then it is confescated and more appropriately distributed from that day on.
The kids enjoy handing out candy as much as like collecting it.
Evan got the new Kinect system for his birthday. It’s like the Wii, but there is no controller. It is all motion sensor. The kids are all playing it here. It’s wild.
Julia is, of course, driving a SWAT vehicle. What else would she be doing?
Julia did grandma’s hair up so peeerrrty before book time this night.
I don’t know if I should have taken a picture of this, but Evan came up to me out of the blue and told me he wanted to give $20 of his own birthday money to the church to help needy children. I was so touched I wanted to be sure to remember it.