Saturday, October 30, 2010

Aug, Sept, Oct 2010

My previous post described the possibilities we’d been presented with over the past few months of where to live and be…Texas, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa...? Well, the Lord quickly told us that Texas was not where we were supposed to be right now. We spent a lot of time driving around Santa Ana looking for a good home, in the same neighborhood as three different families we enjoy, for a greatly reduced price to our current rent. Finally the Lord settled the matter and told us to stay in the home he already gave us for now. It is such a relief to have direction and I immediately felt peace. I promptly wanted to finish settling into this house, 2 years later, and hang up stuff on big bare walls that I’ve never quite known what to do with in the kitchen/dining room/school room.

I’ve sold 4 out of the 5 coffee cozies I put in my online shop. Yay! Just one left to go. I’ll probably make more in hopes that they sell for the holiday season. I have 25 cut out and ready to assemble and sew. I really don’t like mass producing, so I’m done after this next run. I much prefer labors of love.

We spent many of our summer days at our friend’s pool just down the street. It’s a community pool for their apartment complex, but very nice. Our biggest accomplishment of the summer is that Caleb finally learned to swim!!!! It’s been a sometimes difficult process, but we’ve broken through the fear and conquered!!!! Yay!!!! Ben got much more comfortable in the pool as well. Hopefully we don’t backtrack too much when next summer rolls around. I can’t wait.

With the end of summer brought the end of my summer garden. We waited too long to take the corn off the stalks. We seasoned, buttered, and grilled it…and it was pretty gummy. We ate it anyway. Ben ate his and Jon’s; he didn’t mind the extra chewiness. Ha ha…Ben loves eating! We got a good (and tasty) harvest from everything else; squash, green beans, lettuce, and cucumbers. I’ve learned a lot from my first experience with a garden. I think the most important lesson is the new ability to stay diligent with its care. That’s a big deal to me. Previously I was seemingly unable to keep plants alive and thriving. I wasn’t able to be consistent with watering, let alone any other needs they might have had. I think the diligence and consistency I’ve been learning is naturally carrying into other aspects of my life too, and for that I’m thankful.

In my summer garden I had a few different chiles/peppers that just weren’t doing well. With space now cleared out in the garden, I replanted the remaining chiles/peppers, and spread them out so they have lots more room. I didn’t think they would survive the transplant, but I’m pleased to say that I was wrong. Without competition for the nutrients, the plants are finally starting to thrive! I’m finally getting bell peppers, anaheim chiles, lots of jalapenos, and cayenne chiles. My poblanos still need a little help. I planted cilantro too, which is growing well. All my herbs are doing fantastic. I thought my sage and lavender had died, but I was persistent, and they’ve come back and are doing great. My tomatoes never did so well. One plant got infected with kneeled treehoppers and after many attempts to get rid of this nasty pest, I just threw away the plant. I still have one tomato plant left, but I’ve never gotten any tomatoes from it. I’ll just have to try a different type of tomato next summer. Oh, and my new favorite, I got two blueberry plants now! One has a unique and tart taste. I love it! The other will produce blueberries next summer. That one will be super sweet. And to top it all off, the boys made me a planter box for my blueberry plants. Every day the boys are excited to hunt for blueberries to nibble. Yum Yum! What a super healthy treat for them.

August brought with it my 31st birthday. We celebrated by having a fun family day at Sea World. We were disturbed by the creepy eels, attempted to pet the dolphins, fed fish to the sea lions, pet the manta rays, held the star fish, watched fun shows, and sat for a long time mesmerized by the killer whales. I think that my favorite part of places like this is when the crowds thin and you really get to soak in an animal. Just leisurely sitting, drinking coffee, and really taking in one animal is peaceful and wonderful to me.

Summer was fantastic and the school year has started off strong. Caleb is in 4th grade now and, in addition to the work we do at home, is taking a weekly tone chimes, rhythm, & choir music class, a band class, a 4th/5th grade class that covers grade standards in all subjects, and a monthly science class. We also meet at the park with his good friends once a week. I am so thankful for all these free resources that our program provides. It also means that we have to be especially structured & disciplined in our work at home to be able to fit it all in. So far we’ve been doing great. I even started doing a little pre-school work with Benjamin. We’ve covered an alphabet letter a week…or so. A…apple (motion: bite apple) ahh ahh ahh, B…bell (motion: shake bell) buh buh buh, C…cat (motion: hold and pet cat) kah kah kah, D…dog (motion: shake your behind like you’re wagging your tail) duh duh duh. Ben is especially adorable wagging his tail J

Caleb went into his first band class at school planning on playing the drums. He came out with the desire to play the trumpet instead. I was glad that he found something he wanted all on his own. When he found out that was the first instrument Jon played as a kid, he really latched on to the idea of the trumpet even more strongly. We surprised him with a trumpet on his birthday and he was thrilled! Jon was really surprised that Caleb & Ben were both able to belt out some good toots right off the bat. We’ve got some musicians in the making here.

September brought more visitors and Caleb’s 9th birthday. My parents and brother came for the birthday and David stayed on for the week. I can’t believe it has been over a year since we’ve seen him. Caleb’s birthday was magic themed. Granny made a beautiful cake, yet again. Thanks! We had a make your own mini pizza bar that was a big hit. Caleb taught his friends card tricks. Each child got a deck of their own as a party favor which they had to find from a big follow the maps and clues hunt game that Caleb put together. There was also quite a bit of fun kid mayhem. Jon dragged all the kids by his ankles back and forth from the kitchen to the living room for at least 10 minutes. He is like a human jungle gym and the kids love it.

Part of Caleb’s birthday gift was a trip to Legoland. We had a lego-rrific day with the Flores family and Uncle David. Caleb and Sam were big enough this time for lots of the bigger and faster rides. They even braved some of them. I’m so glad they have each other. Best friends are a gift from God! Caleb found a little Ewok keychain that he just knew I would love…so of course I did love it “wink wink” and promptly bought it and put it on my keychain. Its little things like this that I love about being a mom.

Anna Swink returned for a visit on her way back through to Kauai. We had fun, made delicious gourmet food (ummmm…the lemon thyme baby bundt cakes drizzled with an orange Muscat glaze were heavenly), and went to a Muse concert in LA. It was a good night and a very entertaining show. We sat in the last, last, last possible row to sit in, but it didn’t even matter. Well, Kat and Anna wished that we could be standing up right in front of the stage…which would have been awesome for them but miserable for me. I was glad to be able to sit and soak in the musical fun.

Jon had a random surprise and was given the best gift - a surfboard custom made just for him by Chuck Johnson, followed by a surf lesson. Chuck’s only contingencies were that Jon use the board and that he read the verse Chuck put on the bottom of the board out loud with his sons.

"But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land." -Acts 27: 43-44

Check him out at We’ve gone once to the beach every weekend since. A couple times at daybreak. The deal is that if we get to the beach while it’s still dark, the boys get donuts. It’s pretty good motivation for them to get out of bed, especially Ben. Again…Ben loves food, especially treats. I think, after 12 years, we might finally be a family that goes to the beach. We got Caleb a skim board and Ben a boogie board. Caleb really enjoys trying to get the hang of the skim board. Both boys are terrified of the boogie board. With practice and persistence we’ll get them there…

We’ve already attended quite a few fieldtrips too. Let’s see. We went to the Environmental Nature Center, the Laguna tide pools, the Miramar Marine Base Air Show, a Revolutionary War Adventure, and the Long Beach Aquarium. I love the boys getting all this hands on learning. Home school is wonderful! At the aquarium, the boys each got to participate in an hour long class taught by the aquarium staff before we got to roam around. How fun! It was Ben's first official school class. He got to learn about sharks and Caleb got to learn about the mysteries of the deep oceans.

Caleb is going through a weird baby talk stage. We have to keep reminding him to knock it off and try again with a strong, confident voice. This is working well and this phase is winding down. Ben recently started lying…innocently at first, but then for convenience sake. So we cracked down and figured out that immediate punishments don’t work on this problem for him. We remembered how food oriented this child is and how lying has long term consequences in real life…so if he tells a lie, for any reason, he doesn’t get the next treat that the rest of us get. This has worked so fantastically! He really thinks now before he just spurts out a lie. Yay us! All in all, we’re doing great. God is still working in our lives and growing us all up more and more.

October started with pie. Our peaches were on their last leg, so I made pie one night. Jon announced that he would gladly NOT eat fresh fruit if it meant that pie was on the horizon. Booo! And he said it right in front of the kids while we were all eating my super delicious pie. Bad message...but good pie!

Grandma Ower turned 91 and we went out to lunch with the family to celebrate. Keep them coming Grandma!

Halloween weekend was wonderful. My parents came down and we all went to the beach at sunrise. We had an unexpected treat; most of the regular surfers were dressed up in costumes. We saw the Cat in the Hat, Elvis, and many more catch waves. Bam Bam & Pebbles both caught a wave at the same time. It was hilarious!

We went trick-or-treating with our friends at the Allen’s home. Claudine made delicious chili and corn bread. My mom did little crafts with the kiddos. Caleb helped Sam carve his pumpkin. We carved ours the night before with Granny and my parents. That was a fun night too! Caleb’s best friend Sam was Mario and Caleb was Waluigi (the evil Luigi). Ben was a shark and Vida was a dinosaur. The Jenkins family had a movie theme going. Everyone was super cute and we had a good time. We topped the night off with our new tradition of watching the Charlie Brown Halloween Special. We were a tired group after being up before sunrise and going to bed late, but we were happy. I’m thankful for good family and good friends.

Random Ben Antics:

Ben was asleep in bed with me one morning (he sneaks in when the sun comes up and then falls back asleep with me & Jon) and he woke up counting. It was so weird. And he did it while stretching so his voice sounded all stretchy. Seeeevvveennnnnn....Eiiiigggghhhhtttt...What was he dreaming about?

Ben just said, "Mom, I have some good news." I said "What?" He said, " It's Dad." Jon is Ben's good news! It warms my heart.

As I sat up in bed one morning, Ben comes down the hall towards me with his hands behind his back. He then says to me, "I don't have anything behind my back." So then I said that I don't want him to lie. So he showed me. He had a handful of gummy worms (which were on top of the fridge) that he knows he isn't supposed to have. Oh Ben. I love that he threw himself under the bus. Ha ha!

Ben one morning, while snuggling me in bed, said "Mom, when I grow up I want to be a kangaroo."