Friday, October 31, 2008

Giddy up!

Gideon attained four years of age last week! This adorable shirt arrived from cousins Jami and Jessi and Auntie Jana and Uncle Jimmy. "Giddy" is Giddy's official nickname, and the reason is obvious, isn't it?

Abi is a fine cake decorator, as she gets lots of practice. Giddy requisitioned a GREEN cake.

A few days later, Joshie attained two months of age! Abi intends to take a monthly photo of Joshua for his first year. He has really started smiling of late, but Abi couldn't get him to smile for this picture. His face seems to say, "So, the 2 month olds apparently do not get a cake."

This useful little broom was greatly enjoyed by the birthday boy. He's had several whisk brooms, which usually get lost quick, but this was a "big boy broom". Woo woo!

The "leaf journeys" have begun. Giddy enjoyed the leaf scoops (click on the picture to see Noah holding them). The kids made several trips to the compost pile, greatly increasing its height, and allowing them to hide within the pile, to surprise Daddy by staging a re-enactment of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. They were (not even) motionless, under the leaves, when a collaborating sibling led Daddy out to see the tremendous amount of leaves they had gathered...then ka-blooy!!

This is one of sweet baby Joshie's first smiles to be captured on digital media. It is so fun to play with him and coax a smile out of him. He actually caused a short traffic jam at Walmart: the lady in front of us at the checkout was enjoying watching Abi and Sarah playing with him, and the cashier had to inform her it was her turn to put her groceries on the conveyor belt!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The home office

Dave finished his first week on site in St. Louis at his new job, and it went very well! Everything seems to be a very good match. We have all enjoyed hearing the reports of the people he has met and the things he is doing. (We talk alot of shop around here!)

During Dave's week in St. Louis, the boys were supposed to be working on his upstairs home office, organizing, clearing out non-essentials....

Note: Guitar is not considered non-essential.

Sarah is the family organization queen, and what's really nice is she's really good at finding things too!

As much as we enjoy having Daddy working from home, the plan is to sell the house and move to the St. Louis area. Until that happens, Dave will be working from our house here in Wisconsin.

So, once Dave headed off for his week in St. Louis, we at home had some discussion about how best to install the door (aka sound barrier) he needed at the base of the stairs.

The attic features just an upstairs bedroom and had a plywood door at the base of the stairs. We originally intended to simply replace the plywood door with a normal door. Strangely enough, we found there were no wall studs in the place where the old door had been installed. Hmmm. Odd.

The idea was tossed out that we install the door at the top of the stairs instead. This would mean a little extra work, but the idea of surprising Daddy got everyone very energized and ready to go! In fact, we just grabbed some 2x4's we had lying around, and Zak started measuring and marking before we could get more!

The attic bedroom really just had three walls, with a rail by the attic stairs. So, we decided to put a wall where the rail once was, and then put the door at the top of the stairs. This also allowed us to add some electricity to the other side of the room, along with a light switch. We had some surplus paneling and some extra used counter top, so the expense was minimal and the effect was maximum!

The wall studs are installed where the flimsy rail once was. This is the view from the bottom of attic stairs.

The new door went up easily after the wall studs were installed. Wall studs are really nice when installing a door....?????

Ben wired the wall for a mounted light fixture in the office, as well as one really needed in that now very dark attic stairway.

Again, we thank the LORD for safety as the boys work on these things. It was a little unnerving for Mommy to hear the new nail gun puffing away. We got it on the tail-end of the new floor project, and it has made a big difference!

For this project we did splurge on getting some white melamine paneling, which Zak really wanted, to build in a white board on the new wall. It looks really nice. The surplus bus paneling was used to finish the stairway-facing part of the wall, and a wainscotting under the melamine inside the office.

Everyone anticipated what Dad's reaction would be, seeing the long-discussed door, and how we'd break the news....

"The bad news is, we couldn't install that door at the base of the stairs, because we found there were no wall studs, and the GOOD news is...."

This is the newly cleaned and organized corner where Daddy works....

... and this is the new door and melamine covered wall. The wall features new outlets, and a switched light fixture! The countertop was a roadside find, and Zak made cord holes in the back so power cords would not clutter the work surface. This side of the room is where Ben and Zak do their computer work...such as www.juglist.net.

Surprising Daddy made the week fly by for all of us, and the kids tried to work it out so that everyone could feel like they did some of the work, even if only vacuuming up the ladybugs. Zak had to scribe the paneling to fit the uneven ceiling, and Ben had to add a junction box, but as usual, Solomon did much of the grunt work. He is really acquiring a servant's attitude, which is of great value to the Lord, and a goal we have for each of us. It's also the ultimate purpose of projects like these...giving us opportunities serve others. Additional blessings are the fun of working together, learning to solve weird and wavy problems, and feeling the satisfaction of a job well-done, which Solomon truly felt!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Welcome to the family, Joshua Arthur!

I asked the children to record this song and for Abi to make me this video for my birthday last week. Hope you enjoy it. It makes me cry. We are so blessed!

Thanks Abi!!!

Today ends Dave's and my "birthday week," eight days in which we are both the same age. My beloved hit the big 4-3 today! Happy birthday, Honey-Dave! He and Zak are currently driving home from Minneapolis. Tomorrow, Dave leaves for a week in St. Louis, starting his new job.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Days with Joshie

Happy Birthday Auntie Karen!!!!

I was going to try to organize these and narrate and make it a story, but, as they say, "time is of the smell" ...so these are pretty much just in the order I uploaded them... here goes...

One of the strangest comments we have ever heard (and fortunately, it has been pretty rare) since Zak (our oldest) was born-- in regard to our having a new baby -- was "Oh, now he/she will never get to be the only child..."

Oh well.

Joanna and her new little brother.

The kids enjoyed a cool, sunny day to take out most of our garden after our first frost. Abi and Sarah supervised, so Mommy could work on things inside.

Sarah had fun replacing half of our basement steps...

Wow! Good job, Sarah!

Gideon (3.99 yrs) is showing Joshie the ropes. Good job, Joshie!

Noah is a live wire, but will stop in his tracks to hold his precious new baby brother! Joshua is very peaceful generally has adapted nicely to his lot as being a lap warmer.

Zak and Sammy are replacing missing bolts on this wonderful and very needed stepstool.

Our long-awaited fall hike on Thursday. Dave's last day with his former client was Wednesday, and this was also the mid-point of our birthday week (we are the same age for 8 days - 42 this year!). We made up zip lock bags of trail mix to eat on the trail, hence the name.

Sammy pauses to find the cheese crackers in his bag. He and Gideon are always begging Mommy to tell them stories of when she went backpacking with her dad (now Grandpa Bill). They have fairly memorized all the fun things we'd pack in our packs (such as instant chocolate pudding, Planter's peanut bars, and sierra cups), the various adventures with getting rained out, hiding our food from the bears, the tick in my ear, and the squirrel Grandpa shot "because he was asking for it."

A fellow hiker offered to snap this picture of all of us. On the East Bluff trail at Devil's Lake, Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Rebekah savors her turn holding baby Joshua Arthur, 6 weeks old.

Everyone loves Joshua's new expressions. This one looks like he's just been asked "How does it feel to have 12 older siblings?" (It's kind of like being asked, "What's it like having blue eyes?")

Gideon is giving Zak some wood working advice. The snowman p.j.s do add an aura of authority, I say.

Here is a photo of part of Devil's Lake, which does not draw attention to its algae-green color. The lake, which I think is natural, is nearly a perfect rectangle. We are on the east bluff, which is comprised of a bunch of rocks. In fact, just about any noticeable change in elevation in Wisconsin can probably be attributed to a pile of rocks.

Hannah and Joanna in front of a big rock.

We are nearing the peak leaf color change time of year. Once the leaves fall, you can really make out the big piles of rocks of which these bluffs are made.

Susanna and Noah pause for a photo on the trail.

Solomon and Ben stop to lend a hand.