Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lost and FOUND!

Oh, rejoice with us :0)

For Christmas, Aunty Tami and Uncle Dave gave each of the boys a digital camera. A real camera, not a toy. A Polaroid i737. Looks like the camera in the pic, but silver.

Almost three months ago, Gunnar's camera disappeared. He was heart-broken. We turned the house upside down. We looked everywhere. The garage (scary). The yard. No camera.

I had some suspicions... I began to wonder if Gunnar was a bit young for the responsibility of such a nice camera, but he'd always taken care of it and kept it safe, as far as I'd seen. Then I began to wonder about Wyatt, though I never said anything to him. The camera disappeared about the time we changed his meds, and he was a train-wreck for awhile. Might he have "borrowed" it and misplaced it?

We looked and looked and looked. Gunnar really had no idea when he'd last used it.


We kind of gave up looking. Kerry loaned Gunnar an older digi-cam that he'd banged around for a few years, but it didn't have as many features or work nearly as well.

And I kept praying. Not every day, but often.

Fast forward to yesterday. Gramma Grasshopper stopped by and the boys were excitedly telling her about our visit to the Corn Maze on Sunday.

Cool, or what? We spent a good hour wandering around inside a cow, even (giggle, giggle) through the udder and teats. You can imagine the appeal to a bunch of boys. And it's even better after dark, with flashlights.

Anyway... Gunnar was telling Gramma all about the wonders of the Corn Maze and headed out to the van to find a little map (the photo above). He came back with a grin just about splitting his face in two, and his hands behind his back.

"Well! I didn't find the map, but I did find...


In the glove box of the van, which we obviously don't get into very often.

And it even had enough battery charge left to turn it on. Works just fine.


Gunnar wasn't irresponsible. Neither was Wyatt. The camera didn't get left outside where it would've been ruined by weather or stolen. It wasn't even really "lost". It was safe and sound, in the glove box. And guess who probably put it there.


God is good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Simple Woman #29

FOR TODAY September 28, 2009

Outside My Window... green and red leaves on my dogwood tree, laundry flapping in the COLD breeze. It's 56F!

I am thinking... (apparently nothing, as I left this blank on the first run through, but I'll try again...) I am thinking of lots of fun projects I'd like to accomplish for Christmas gifts, and of the fall decorating I'd really like to be doing. And that I really wish something was bubbling away in the crock pot, but I think we'll clean out the fridge tonight instead.

I am thankful for... the doc's office just called and rescheduled Wyatt's appointment from 7pm Thurs evening to this afternoon. Much better :0)

Kerry has lots of work to do right now - which is WONDERFUL. After a rocky start the boys have settled into today's work nicely. We have one more sunny day.

I am praying for… wisdom at the doc's office regarding decisions for Wyatt.

From the learning rooms... math - fact families, fractions and percents, converting units, language - spelling, and punctuating quotes, history - the slave trade, science (tomorrow) - how using salt to lower the freezing temperature of water can help us make a tasty treat :0)

From the kitchen... maybe leftovers tonight :0)

I am wearing... jeans, navy blue t-shirt, purple sweatshirt, socks... summer has definitely left us.

I am creating... uhhhhh, I have great plans. Yeah.

I am going... to the doc with Wyatt, and to soccer practice with Tate.

I am reading... The Church, for our adult Sunday School class. I think it was written for seminary students, not your average Joe like me. This is taking some work.

I am hoping... for peace with the boys in our schedule, schoolwork and chores.

I am hearing... the washer gurgling and the boys playing downstairs.

Around the house... the boys cleaned one of the bathrooms yesterday and what an improvement! I love how the house is filled with light on sunny days. And my chocolate candle really, really is wonderful.

One of my favorite things... boys who work with a good attitude.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: the usual round of 6 soccer practices, AWANA, soccer games (4 this week, instead of 3). Plus, Octoberfest at Kerry's cousin's house, and my brother and sister's b'day party on Sunday. No, they're not twins. Their b'days are 2 years and 2 days apart.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

The Chapel, with newly paved parking lot.
Taken by Wyatt.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pure, Undiluted Tate

The boys had a PTO day yesterday up at my parents. If you're new here, a PTO day is Personal Time Off. And the boys think it's all about them. But it's for me.

They were in Boy Heaven because Grampa had a huge burn pile earlier this week. It had burned down to a manageable size for them to "help" him by throwing on sticks and branches in relative safety. AND because Grampa, being the amazing Grampa that he is, constructed for them


Wyatt and Gunnar had already enjoyed some 'trial runs', because he started the process while Tate was in the hospital. After they discovered that 300' of nylon rope has WAY too much stretch to it, Grampa made another trip to the hardware store for cable.

I'll post pics when I get them.

So, while they were up on the hill performing death-defying stunts and playing with fire, I was puttering around at home. My office is still in a sad state, but I made great progress on school stuff, including checking a bunch of Wyatt and Tate's language work. I'm using A Beka Language books for the first time. Wyatt's work is pretty predictable, but Tate's is always entertaining.

Tate, militant:
Instructed to make a sentence out of a fragment he was given, he took, "When sledding down the hill..." and added, "in tanks, we met up with the general."

Tate, observant:
Instructed to rewrite the following sentence, making it more informative, he was given, "Squirrels eat." His sentence, "Squirrels eat with underestimated enthusiasm."

Tate, before his hospital stay:
Instructed to write an imperative sentence, pretending to be a doctor, he came up with, "Get me a knife, I'm going to give this patient a lobotomy."

Tate, after his hospital stay:
Instructed to write a declarative sentence about friends, wrote, "Friends keep you company."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Millers

Just in case some of you were interested... this is "Miller Time". There are at least four books in the series, and this (IMHO) is by far the best, especially for older kids. The others, Storytime with the Millers, Wisdom with the Millers, and Prudence with the Millers, are all little vignettes about a family with four children that coincidentally just perfectly illustrate the devotions Dad Miller is leading each evening.

They're printed by Rod and Staff, a Mennonite publisher that has no website or email, but you can find the books here, if you're interested. Or, if you click on the pic of the book above you'll go to Amazon. The stories definitely have a simple-life-on-the-farm flavor, as opposed to trying to be culturally relevant (no ipods, MTV, etc.), and some are decidedly Mennonite (like It's Safer to be Plain). My boys like the farm stories :0)


Every morning as we begin school we read a chapter from a series of books. Wisdom and the Millers, Prudence and the Millers, Missionary Stories and the Millers. That last one is my favorite :0)

As the boys came rolling into the school room this morning, Gunnar saw me reaching for the book and a Bible. His face lit up and he announced,

It's Miller Time!

So now you know what really happens at our homeschool.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Doctor, Soccer, and Tate-logic

Tate is feeling much better. I can tell.

The doctor, yesterday morning, said pretty much exactly what I expected. The incisions are all healing just fine and he is 'released' to do whatever he feels like doing.

Tate: Well, I'm sure I'll feel fine to play in my soccer game Saturday, but I don't think I should go to practice tonight. I'll just go to practice on Thursday and then the game Saturday.

Me: Nice try, buddy. But you haven't practiced with your team for two weeks. If you want to play on Saturday, you need to go to both practices.

Tate: (Silent. Pondering that.) I'm not sure I'll be able to do everything at practice.

Me: That's fine. Coach Mark knows. I'll go with you. Just do what you can. If you're tired or hurting, come rest.

Tate: (Sighing. Thinking, no doubt, about his brothers at home playing with pirate Legos.) All right, Mom.

So we get to soccer. Coach Mark is very attentive and concerned for Tate's well-being. I see the boys running some laps and Tate is keeping up just fine.

Then we realize that this practice is going to be a scrimmage against the other neighborhood team. You know, like the cross-town rivals having a football game. And these two teams played last Saturday and Tate's team lost, 5-1.

Suddenly, Tate was very motivated. He didn't have the bursts of speed to run down the faster players, but he does a good job of 'reading' the field and anticipating where the play might go. He was great :0) And every time he subbed out he'd grab his water and a minute later be waving at the coach, "I'm ready to go back in, Coach!"

Yeah. I think he's back.

And they won this scrimmage, 5-4.

And then, the icing on the cake.

I reminded Tate to ask his coach for a game jersey, since he was in the hospital when they were handed out. There was one left, in the coach's bag, and to Tate's surprise and joy, it was his favorite number - 9.

As we drove out of the parking lot, "Mom! It's a miracle! This is from God!"

Not sure about the "miracle" part, I said, "Well, Tate, God is watching even the little details that are special to you."

"Yeah, Mom. I guess it might not actually be a miracle, because a miracle would be more..." (searching for a word), "splendiferous."

Monday, September 21, 2009

In Case You Wondered

Ratty bratty fart-head is not an acceptable term of endearment for your younger brother.


Simple Woman #28

FOR TODAY September 21, 2009

Outside My Window... sunny, crisp fall day... gorgeous!

I am thinking... mentally juggling our schedule for the rest of the week.

I am thankful for... Tate feeling so much better, all the friends and family who have been checking up on him and praying for him, modern medicine (hospitals, doctors, nurses, drugs...), beautiful fall colors coming on, and that the deluge of rain came early Saturday morning and had passed before time for soccer games :0)

I am praying for… consistency. For us to slide back into our normal routine. Or an even better one.

That Wyatt won't have a continuous freak-out thinking about the possibility of getting vaccinated for Swine Flu.

That Tate continues to heal, all the way to good-as-new.

That Gunnar stops overreacting. To everything.

From the learning rooms... we are learning about the differences between the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies, and why the Plymouth colony was so much more successful. Still, I'm in awe of the hardships they all put up with.

Everyone is progressing through their math books. Actually, Gunnar is already more than half-way through his 2nd grade math. We skipped Kindergarten math and started 1st grade math about midway through his Kind. year. I tell him he's kind of on the Australian school year :0)

Wyatt is diagramming sentences, something I never remember doing. Ever.

Tate is showing more patience and tolerance for handwriting and drawing. Especially if it's drawing pirate ships.

We're all studying chemistry this year, using "Fizz, Bubble and Flash" as an introduction, and working our way through Janice VanCleave's "Chemistry for Every Kid", sponsored by (a fun shopping trip for experiment materials!) Gramma Grasshopper.

From the kitchen... pork roast in the crock pot for tonight's dinner. That smell will make me hungry all day long.

I am wearing... blue capris, white tank, blue and yellow 'aloha' shirt. I know, it's the first day of fall, but it feels a bit like summer :0)

I am creating... Oh help. I wish!

I am going... Tate to post-op with surgeon, Tate to ortho for headgear repair, friends here for MIT (prayer), soccer practice (over and over again)...

Okay - we've BEEN to the ortho and the surgeon and all is well. The headgear has been bent back into shape so Tate can wear it. And the surgeon has given him the "all clear" to resume any activity he feels like doing. All his "authentic battle damage" (incisions) are healing just fine.


I am reading... to the boys. "The Light and the Glory", and going to start the Little House books. We've read them before long ago. So long ago that I'm not sure if Gunnar was born yet. Kind of fits in with our history this year.

I am hoping... our MIT prayer meeting goes well (meaning, that all the kids play nicely so we can pray without disruption), that work keeps trickling in (okay, flooding in would be just fine too!), and that we all get through our work this week with good attitudes.

I am hearing... a tree frog. We have little tiny tree frogs that make a huge noise! But I like it :0)

Around the house... Legos, Legos, Legos. In a moment of insanity I allowed the boys to pool together money they earned doing a special chore this summer, other money they had, and some of Wyatt's birthday money to buy another Lego kit. And not just any Lego kit, a huge Lego kit with 592 pieces.

Behold... "Brickbeard's Bounty".

They've been on a real pirate kick lately. Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones and all. Saturday (Sept 19) was Talk Like A Pirate Day (no kidding) and they've been arrrgggh-ing and yo-ho-ho-ing around the house.

They begged us to stop at WalMart on the way home from church so they could make their purchase, and then spent part of Sunday afternoon assembling it. I was upstairs doing laundry and came down to find them hard at work, with a CD of pirate music playing.

Fifteen men on a dead man's chest...

One of my favorite things... boys who like pirates :0)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: soccer practice. More soccer practice. AWANA. And then more soccer practice.


Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Kerry took this on a dayhike last Thursday.
He calls it,
"The Fungus Among Us."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Heard Around the Dinner Table

Gunnar: "What's a eunuch?"

Mom: (Carefully not laughing.) "I'm sure Dad would love to explain that."

Well, if you read the Bible to children, this might come up at your dinner table.

Friday, September 18, 2009


You guys are so faithful! I've barely been posting, and I'm still getting friendly comments. :0)

Tate is recovering. Every day we are thankful. He's not 100% yet, but doing really well. (He's outside in Dino-opolis now...)

But me... true to form, I stayed strong through the "storm." All through the stressful hospital stay I was calm, encouraging, at peace. Everything was smooth. My folks and Kerry were holding down the home-front and I didn't worry or stress about what was (or wasn't) getting done.

And then we came home. And the next day I crashed.

Nasty cold. Weak. Bleary eyed. Painful pressure in my head (sinuses) and the meds make me really, really loopy. Sore throat. No voice. I was sleeping almost 12 hours for the first few nights.

I don't know why this happens to me. I remember in college I'd often 'crash' after finals week.

Now there's light at the end of the tunnel... and it's not a train. I'm feeling better, Tate's feeling better, and we're all getting back in the groove. We even did school this week. Not a full schedule, but enough. Tate actually wanted to - to get back into routine.

He even felt well enough to go to McDonald's yesterday :0)

Sunday, September 13, 2009


This is a sight for sore eyes... Tate, at HOME. He's still tired and tender, but recovering well. He's eating a little more each day. We all keep looking at him and smiling and saying, "It's SO good to have you HOME!"

Gunnar asked, "Mom, do you think he gets tired of us saying that?"


And here's some of his "booty".

Wyatt was a bit jealous. Especially when I said that Tate was released from chore duties until further notice. He said, "Well, I think I need to get my appendix out!"

No, really Wyatt, it's not worth it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

But wait, there's more...

On top of all the trauma of Tate being in the hospital for eight nights, Wyatt and Gunnar have their own griefs.


Wyatt's soccer team almost didn't get to "be", because they didn't have a coach. We've been getting emails for weeks pleading for someone to come forward or the team would have to fold. Definitely way, WAY out of my skill-set.

One of the other boy's mom, who also works FT at the hospital, (and still plays competitive soccer herself) graciously stepped into the gap so the boys could play. Great, problem solved, right?

Not so fast.

They have no one to play against.

None of the other teams in their age bracket could get enough players to field a team. Which is a major bummer, but even more so because the league has known about the problem for weeks, yet continued to plead/pressure for a coach for our boys, while not telling us the whole story.

Sounds like they may be able to switch to indoor and have a mini-league with four teams. (This works because you have less players on the field, so need less to make a team.) But it's just not the same. And today - opening day - they had no game.


Gunnar did (have a game), however an hour or so before the game he insisted that he was going to die and couldn't possibly play. Why, you might ask?

He's really been missing me while I've been at the hospital with Tate. Really, really, really.

When Tate and I arrived home this morning, Gunnar and Wyatt were at the neighbors' on their bikes. While I was making lunch I heard him calling loudly for me and my first thought was, "Oh! He's so excited I'm home he can't wait to see me!"

But, no. Those were cries of pain. He'd crashed his bike in the alley and was limping home bleeding from his left hand and knee, which were embedded with dirt and gravel.

Trauma and drama. Screams, tears, and woe.

(Truly, it made me deeply appreciate how very calm Tate has been through his ordeal.)

I was finally able to soak most of the grit out in a bath, clean the wound with peroxide, and bandage it up for the game. I consoled him that he was now a "Gunnar, with authentic battle damage."

But wasn't it a gorgeous opening day?!
Gunnar is purple, #4.

And finally...

Wyatt went to bed slightly feverish and complaining of stomach pains.

It's got to be the power of suggestion. It just has to be.

"With Authentic Battle Damage"


The boys have a few Star Wars action figures. Some look new and pristine, but some are made to look battle-worn. Gunnar, a couple of years ago, was describing a figure he wanted. I forget who it was, but he described it as, "You know, Mom, it's R2D2, with authentic battle damage!" That was quite a mouthful for a little guy and it's become kind of a family joke.

So... with Tate in the hospital, I encouraged Wyatt and Gunnar to draw him some pictures to brighten up his room and encourage him. Wyatt drew a very realistic-looking Lego guy, pleading with Tate to get better and come home so they could resume their Lego games. Gunnar, all on his own, came up with this. (Well, okay, the drawing was all his own, but I'm sure he had help with the spelling.)

I hope you can see it if you click on it. It's "Tate, with authentic battle damage"!

Gunnar was a little unclear about exactly where the scars were and how many there are, but you get the idea. And I absolutely love that he drew Tate's hearing aid, as well.


We're HOME!!!

When I dashed home yesterday morning I left a sick and discouraged boy at the hospital, but when I arrived back (to him) in the afternoon he seemed much improved. The doctor came by and his temp was down and other indicators were good. She said as soon as he could eat "real food" he could go home.

He promptly requested toast, with sugar-cinnamon :0) He ate a few other things too, slept pretty well, got unhooked from everything and came home this morning.

Praise God!

Tate is still a bit weak, and will be recovering for the next few days, but it's good to see the twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face.

Many thanks for all your prayers and concern,


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Tate Report

Tate, looking pretty miserable.

It's Friday morning and we're still at the hospital. Well, okay, I'm home. Doing laundry, paying bills, and loving up the other boys. Gramma Grasshopper is with Tate so I can have a little break.

The appendectomy went fine, but everything was a mess. It had ruptured and they had quite a job cleaning him out. He's improved a bit, but continued to run a temp and have abdominal pain. Plus, not much in the way of what Pooh would call a rumbly tumbly, and the nurses call "bowel tones'. Basically, his intestines have shut down, in protest. He hasn't had anything but sips of liquid in a WEEK. And, you can imagine, not much in the way of output either.

He perks up a sometimes and is enjoying the chance to play with the Nintendo unit they have in Peds, and watches movies.

The reason we're still there is... he's not getting better. Well, that seems obvious. I must be tired. He's improving, but not like we'd all hoped. Because he's still been running a temp and having abdominal pain they did a CT scan on Wednesday which revealed several abscesses and then did a "procedure" (we're not calling it "surgery") yesterday to drain them.

The good news is, they seemed to be healing on their own. But the bad news is, he still feels rotten. And he's missing soccer. And there's no way we're leaving in two days for our week-long camping trip.

We're hoping and praying that getting rid of more of the infection will help his body fight more effectively. We're really thankful to live where we have access to great medical care. Praise God for doctors, nurses, hospitals, and really good drugs.

And he's been enjoying visitors, too :0) His brothers come in every day, and his cousins came up from Issaquah on Monday.

My folks are helping out tremendously and Kerry is holding down the fort at home, but it's hard on the other boys too - especially Gunnar. He told Gramma, "We're just meant to be three boys at home." He really wants me to come home during the night, but is very mature and gracious about understanding that Tate needs me more, right now.

Seems like every time I turn around at the hospital I run into somebody I know! Two of the nurses that helped Tate in the recovery room yesterday were friends from various churches. The Peds nurses are wonderful - very compassionate and thoughtful.

But I am really tired of being in the hospital, and Tate even more so. There have been some funny moments, though...

I never realized how much Tate talks in his sleep.

I had no idea that those nasty perfume samples in magazines would last for NINE YEARS. Just check out the reading material in the East Tower waiting room, if you doubt me.

And I was surprised - though I probably shouldn't have been - to find out that the crocodile hunter shows that Kerry watched endlessly when I was in labor with Gunnar eight years ago are still on.

And, in just in case I was sad about not camping... I'm having a camping experience all week. The guest bed is directly under the air vent in Tate's room. It blows a cool breeze down on me 24/7. And I do mean a breeze - enough to blow the balloons around and blow my hair into my eyes.

Tate still has a sense of humor. After receiving a suppository he spent some time on the throne. When he came out he announced, "Well, I laid two little eggs."

When Aunt Tami asked how he was feeling, he said, "My stomach is trying to kill me. But I'm not going to let it win."

This is one of those times I'd give anything for a "magic mommy wand" that I could wave and make everything all better. But in the meantime, I keep giving him kisses and sips of water, holding the "pee jug", walking laps around the Peds ward with him, and watching crocodile hunters.

Thanks for your prayers,


Sunday, September 6, 2009


So, I'm writing from the hospital, where Tate is recovering from having his appendix removed on Friday. I couldn't get a pic uploaded so you can see how rotten he's feeling, but he may appreciate that in the long run! (But I'll try again later anyway...)

Poor guy, his appendix had ruptured and none of us knew it. He just knew his tummy was hurting, but he kept playing and eating, and even went to soccer practice on Thursday evening. By Friday morning we were shlepping around between the doctor, the imaging center (for an ultrasound), the lab, back to the doc, and finally the hospital where he had surgery Friday evening.

Finally getting him some pain relief was huge and he was a bit funny in his loopiness. As a nurse approached him to draw some blood he gave her a wary look and said, "That's three blood-lettings." She was very gentle :0)

Then on the way to the OR, in a morphine fog, he looked around and said, "Is this where I'll be having the amputation?"

Anyway, the surgery was successful, though he's been pretty miserable. They were able to do it laparascopically (sp?) so he has three "little holes" rather than a big incision, but it's the gas that's really bugging him.

And I have to be the mean mom and make him get up and walk around. We do laps around the unit, with him pushing his IV tower. In his greenish hospital gown he looks like a little turquoise ghost. But he doesn't see the humor yet.

Prayers appreciated.


**UPDATE** Sunday afternoon...

If you want specific ways to pray for Tate -
* The gas in his abdomen is really painful. Pray that it dissipates.
* His digestive tract has shut down in protest. Pray that it gets back on the job.
* His temperature has been trending down - which is good - but everytime he gets a bit of fever that resets the clock as far as thinking of bringing him home. Pray for no infection/fever.
* Most of the time he's been very cooperative and gracious, but he's getting testy about being made to move around and made to do the breathing exercises, all of which is painful. Pray for his attitude.

We are VERY THANKFUL to live where we have access to first class health care. The doctor and nurses have all been great to us. The Peds floor even has "Fun Stations". They wheeled a unit into his room yesterday which has a couple of games (Mario something or other, and motorcycle racing maybe?) and plays DVDs and vids, which helps to pass the time.