Our Family

Our Family
Benaiah, Justin, Melinda, Abishai, Keturah, and Jared

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Year 2, Days 259 & 260: The Start of the Week

First of all, if you want to check to see if my day count is correct, more power to you.  I'm too tired to care.  We have had a decent start of the week.  I've been more on the kids to keep tweaking their schedule and stop dwadling, and I think they are seeing the benefit.  But we are still having some issues of disobedience and policing each other.  Today (Tuesday, September 19th), I lectured them on how to rephrase and use a different tone of voice if they see the need to correct each other.  I got it from a podcast I think.  So, instead of screaming, "Justin, get back to your homework!" Keturah could say in a normal voice, "Justin, I think you better get to your homework before Mom sees you playing with the dog."  I explained to them that the first way of saying it is mean, controlling, manipulative, and the whole purpose of saying it is to get Mom to come in and get the other one into trouble.  The second way of saying it is a gentle reminder because you do NOT want your sibling to get into trouble.  We'll see how long it takes to change this bad habit.

We've also been working on stopping Abishai from also yelling "Stop it! Go away!" in a mean voice and instead, again in a quieter, more neutral way, "Please stop."  And because he's younger, I think he's catching onto it a bit faster because we caught it sooner.  But we have to retrain the older ones to listen and immediately obey that command as a reward to him for saying it correctly and to respect his wishes.  And I would expect if the older kids would say it "Please stop" nicely, then we all need to listen to and back off immediately, too.

You see, I've failed as a mother, especially a homeschooling mother, if I have kids who can recite a timeline, or even Scripture, but leave the nest without any integrity and respect for each other and others outside of the home.  For example, I was embarrassed when Abishai was being pretty aggressive with Justin while playing with puppets at the library yesterday.  Justin was putting on a "nice" puppet show and Abishai still attacked.  Then this other preschool boy came over and tried to see what was going on, but I think the dad was afraid that Abishai might hurt the boy in his aggressive attacks with Justin, so he steered his son away from my sons.  I totally get the whole boy wrestling and attacking and playing with guns thing.  Totally.  But, Abishai has been crossing that line that I am not comfortable with.  And even superheroes get it.  Some comics and TV shows in that genre show the superhero killing the big villians or their entourages, but a lot of the stories revolve around finding a way just to stop them buy injuring them of locking them up, not killing them.  Yes, that's a plot point so the villian can come back, but the fact that the superhero takes time to weigh that consequences, especially with having the guilt of killing someone follow them the rest of their lives, speaks volumes to me that there is a line and it doesn't need to be crossed when playing as little and big boys do.  Kind of like using the stun feature on a phaser from Star Trek instead of setting it to "kill" if you know what I mean.  So, we've had to correct Abishai and tell him, no, we don't want the other person to die and you don't want to kill them, but we can certainly stop them by say, shooting them in the leg and slowing them down. 

And after all that, what do I do but take all the kids to see Wonder Woman at the Greenwood Public Library.  Whoops! At first it was just Justin, Keturah, Abishai and I, but then Jared and Benaiah joined us when they were finished at church, so they could play with Abishai when he got restless.  Honestly, I just wanted to see it again myself.  And I knew Justin would appreciate it with it's references to Greek mythology.  He even said, "If Wonder Woman is the brother of Ares, then which Greek God is she?" because they don't name a Greek god equivalent in the movie or the comic books (at least I don't think so).  But when I did have Abishai by myself, during some of the first scenes of just the Amazon women practicing their fighting skills, Abishai leaned over to me for a hug, and even tried to hold my hand like he was scared.  And then when Jared was holding him for 5-10 minutes before they left the room completely, he said, "bad guys, owie."  So, I'm glad Jared was there to take him.  I could have taken him to church but then Jared wouldn't have been able to get him home because the truck doesn't have enough room.  As I said on Facebook, Keturah wasn't very interested and kept begging for more popcorn, but I'm hoping to talk with Justin about the implications of some of those thought provoking dialogues about both sides being evil/having sin, but we have to fight for our beliefs and do what we can to better the situation.  So, the jury is out as to whether tonight was a good outing or not because Jared and Benaiah could have been doing other things, like getting Benaiah a haircut for his school pictures tomorrow.  (Whoops!)  Jared spent 1 1/2 hrs outside on the nearby playground in the 78 degree muggy heat swinging Abishai.  Justin couldn't hear everything.  But we tried.  And because the crowd was small, like less than 20 people including us, we had room to spread out and change seating arrangements without issue.   We will have to go back to fully explore the library though.  It was my first time there and I've heard that the kid areas are incredible.  I would think they would be when they had a totally separate closed off room labeled "Teens."  Awesome!  And the drive down there during rush hour was fairly straight forward.  Thompson to 5 Points Rd to County Line to Meridian and you're there.  That means you miss Southport and Franklin Rds and US 31 and I-65 which are all so very busy during rush hour.  I was pleased.

Ah! What a salad is supposed to look like!  Lots of veggies with just a hint of lettuce, or in our case, romaine lettuce and spinach/kale, etc. mix.

"Little A in (has) a box. What is in his box?" That's the start of a series of books we have about the letters and it focuses on early reading skills.  But this was all Abishai's idea to curl up in the box.

Abishai also wanted the lid on.

And this is how you pick up a child, in a box, with the lid on, which was immediately taken off after this picture.

See, said child is now having fun pushing a tower of stacking balls off Daddy's head.

Earlier in the day, Abishai made a nest in his box.

And watched some Super Trucks from that position.

Hilarious!  So, Abishai would poke Jared's ears until Jared squirmed and then the stacked tower would fall off and Jared would catch it.  It was the best non violent game ever!

This kid loves to ride on Daddy's shoulders, unlike the others who would get really frightened up there.  And Abishai knows when to duck at the right times to go through a doorway.

When we were at toddler time, we saw the local train pull through!  How convenient to have a direct view of the tracks from inside the library!  It was a short train, but that's ok.

We actually didn't go to the toddler time because there were a few others milling about that weren't participating.  I know we will be back every week and didn't want to force Abishai to sit through another long 30-45 minutes storytime.  And we are here to practice our sccial skills, so here we are socializing.  Abishai ran around with another little guy, but he was also extremely fascinated with the boy's baby sister who was about 7 months old.  We had to leave soon after that because Abishai was being unruly. 

Nice play about some animals.

Animals going after the humans, oh no!

Finding Justin, and Justin trying to keep the play time positive.

Yes, he's planking!  He calls it superman though!

1 extra big load of laundry done from start to finish in 90 minutes.  I have my large capacity machines and efficient and effective features they have.

Cooking fail!  It's a good thing I went for a cup of coffee at about 2 pm.  I went to stir the stew and realized I hadn't put any potatoes in it!  Whoops!  They did cook in time.  I added rosemary this time forgetting that it's usually flavored by the bay leaves but the combination of the two was perfect.  Plus the right amount of salt and a bit of pepper.  Yum!

Waiting for Wonder Woman to start.

Playing with cars while the movie plays in the backyard.  Eventually these two left and hung out at the playground.

Of course, more cars lined up.  Benaiah was busy looking at YouTube videos and playing his rubix cube the whole time the movie was playing. 
And that's it.  I'm tired. We have gymnastics in the morning and Plexxus to sign up for in the afternoon.  And we have a very busy Sunday coming up, too, that we need to prepare for.  Stay tuned!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Year 2, Day 257 & 258: Daily Living

It's been beyond busy this weekend with boxes, a desk, church, volunteering, mowing, grocery shopping, baby shower, choir, youth group, lots of pizza, Kroger deli, phone call with my brother, etc etc.  So, I had a meltdown because I was overwhelmed, but being out in public helped me to breathe and pull myself together. And now, I'm exhausted and I can't think.  Let's use the pictures to prompt some journaling.
Oh no! Justin went to stop Abishai from exiting the garage, so he pushed down on the handle and bam, it broke!  Super sad face!  This was Benaiah's tricycle, so we've had it for 13 years and brought it with us to Canada and back.  Obviously, we can still use the bike, but I can't help steer from up above anymore.  Plus, we won't be able to make it into a rocker anymore.  Super sad face!

This big guy took a ride home with us from the grocery store.  He was gone when we got home.

When a teenager is the camera guy at church.  Dr. Pepper, Chips Ahoy, and a charging iPod.

Sitting down just in time for service to start.

Because Grandma is still gone to Austria, and Grandpa has a few things to do after church tomorrow, Sunday "dinner" happened at the Kroger deli.  You can get pizza, subs, chinese, fried chicken, salads, cooked vegetables, and drinks inside the Kroger grocery store.  It's crazy!

Homemade pizza!  This is not your preformed pizzas you buy and take home to bake.  These are square, homemade pizzas!

Totally random, but totally cool.  Somebody on PEI used potatoes to form the Island.  Sweet!

Monster Lightning McQueen.  Abishai does know the names of some of the characters from the Cars franchise.  He combined parts of Mater with a Lightning McQueen base and it became a monster truck that could pull the wagon along.

Baby shower time!  One of my best friend's youngest daughter is having her first baby.  So, of course Keturah and I went.  They did ask for guests to bring a book instead of a card, but I didn't read that memo.  These are really cute!  They are kind of like the PEI one I got for Abishai.

The momma to be, Elise, is the one in the black and white polka dot dress.  I worked with Elise at Quizno's (subs) when she was 16.  She and my friend Sheryl's other daughter, Meghan, were there at the hospital with my parents and brother when Keturah was born. I go to concerts with Sheryl whenever we can.

Instead of cake, they had a variety of homemade cupcakes!  Plus a nut and sweet goodies mixture that had green M&M's, peanuts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc. Yum!

What a cute idea to use onesies as decorations!

Keturah on the left and Braelyn on the left, went to camp together this past summer.  They are 3 months apart in age. 

Elise had several helpers opening and showing off her gifts.

Again, Braelyn is only 3 months older than Keturah, but because her mom, Meghan is literally a foot taller than me, and Braelyn's dad is also very tall, Braelyn is also very tall, as well as her sister, Olivia, who is 9 months younger than Keturah.

Taking a walk down memory lane....this is Donna Westrate.  She was a mentor at my MOPS group.  Oh how we loved her so much.  She gone to be with Jesus now.  This was at the baby shower Sheryl threw for Keturah and I.

I told Sheryl I would dig up this picture for her since she has been faithfully reading the blog!  Here we are, Meghan with Braelyn on the left, Keturah and I in the middle and a mutual friend Betsy's daughter Missy and her little guy on the right.  Meghan's water broke at Missy's baby shower.  What a great series of memories we shared together that year!

And then we added the Grandmas into the picture. Sheryl is the red headed one next Meghan.  Leah is on my right and my mom is on my left.  Then Missy and her mom Betty.  So sweet!
Back to our normal routine hanging out during youth group time, waiting for choir practice to start.  At least we don't have t go at 5:30 this year.  We had to last year when Keturah has her big role.  I can't believe how big Abishai is now carrying the ball across the 9 square "court."

Jump up and get it over the poles!

Go, go, go!

Ethan! Daddy, quick, make me jump high so I can throw the ball at Ethan!

Come on, E! Throw the ball!

Up and over!

Wow! This was a tail of a jet going across the sky and it looks bright compared to the blue around it.


Abishai said, "Watch book." instead of "read book."  No sweetie, we don't watch books, but we read them.  And we read a lot, and then we looked at duck videos.  This guy was super crazy because he got regular tea at Starbucks this morning on the way to get the desk, and therefore, did not nap well.  He delay fished his way to bed, too.
Speaking of the desk, I bought a secretary style desk for our bedroom so I can work on the older scrapbooks and other crafts I have.  And yes, that's the price I paid for this almost perfect piece of furniture!  The handles look a lot like the handles my mom's desk had.

I liked this one better than other ones I was looking at because the drawers were horizontal and would be perfect for holding note cards, and stickers, and other flat things.  The bottom drawers are perfect size for storing the photo albums I'll work on, plus extra supplies, and some photos themselves.  My grandmother had a desk like that, and so did Jared's Grandma Cook.  I would like to finish Keturah's baby album.  I don't have one for Abishai at all, but I do have the pictures, the blog, and a journal I started when I was pregnant with him and have completely filled all the way through 2 years of age with things he has done and said mostly.  Benaiah and Justin already have their baby albums done.  This is the kind of furniture that I will keep forever.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Year 2, Day 256: More Airplanes!

I think I am way more excited about airplanes than anyone in our family!  I do like to figure out how things work, even if it's just the airport itself, or the plane, or something else entirely.  I've never been brave enough to take apart something and put it back together, so I'm not so much an engineer, but I do like understanding.  So, on our field trip groups were going to the Indy South Greenwood Airport, where we went for the movie night, and it was free, so I said why not!  It's not that far from the house, I know what to kind of expect when I go as far as walking and where to park, etc.  I hadn't been inside the main terminal building though, so that was neat.  It was super quiet, yet friendly, and lots of little amenities for the celebrities and big wigs flying in and out of there.  And no security!  Ok, I'm sure there's a few around, but no bag checkers, or ticket handlers, etc.  And there's no air traffic controller either!  We saw some coporate jets and lots of little planes like Cessna's.  I even looked in a magazine that has ads for planes people are selling, kind of like the ones that have cars or homes, and holy cow the prices!  The cheaper ones cost as much as half of what our house costs!  Crazy! 

Then a "little" lunch at a certain chicken restaurant and home for naps.  Benaiah came home from his retreat with lots of dirty laundry and lots of stories, although I couldn't get him to talk about the spiritual/team building aspects of the 2 days/nights.  He did this "spoken word" thing for the talent show while someone quietly played their guitar.  It's like a poem/rap, but no singing/actual song/music behind the words.  The guys played a game that involved wrestling each other until one guy grabbed a sock off of the other guy's foot.  No joke.  It's a game! And the big game that was posted on FB was where one partner was up on a balcony and one partner was down below and they had to "feed" the partner down below all the parts of an ice cream cone.  So, Benaiah held a cone in his mouth and his partner threw down ice cream and sprinkles and syrups, etc.  The other partner had bad aim, so Benaiah stayed fairly clean.  His clothes still stank though.  They hosed everyone down as well because some were dripping in syrup, quite literally.  I did get his load of laundry washed and half way dried on the clothes line, but then it was getting dark, so I got to use my dryer for the first time in months!  But Benaiah's deodarant is so strong, that it stays on the clothes and the heat from the dryer made it waft through the garage.  So, when I walked in there, wow, I could smell it!  I guess we will have a great smelling garage all the time!  When it's not full of cardboard.  Which starts up again tomorrow.  Too much work.

In preparation for the rest of the stuff, I swept and vacuumed (well, part of it) the garage.  Now I have to go arrange the boxes I do have according to their category before we add more.  And that's after we go see trains, like real, big trains used as museums and caboose rides.  It's a free event and it's on the northeast side, which is a good 40-50 minutes away.  I don't actually have my book club tomorrow (so bummed about it because they may meet the weekend I'm away and I've read and studied the book!), and I moved the date of our homeschool group a week, so I will hopefully feel freer this weekend and get caught up.  I might send all the kids with Daddy again on Sunday night to church and stay home so I can jumpstart this next week.  Anyway, too much to do.  I'm going to have to take a week off from school to work on making the summer/winter clothes switch and situated more of the boxes.  I'm looking into rearranging our room and getting a used rolltop desk and shorter bookcases.  My goal is to have my crafting in our room so maybe, just maybe, I can get my scrapbooking stuff out and finish Keturah's baby album.  They've been in boxes for over 5 years now.  That's the goal.  I need space to put the materials, close up so toddler doesn't get into them, and not to have any cardboard boxes in our room! Ugh!

Anyway, that's life today.

I watch!  I totally forgot that Abishai had gone to this airport with Jared and Benaiah when Benaiah flew with his aerospace teacher a few weeks back.  Duh!  I'm glad he was still excited about them though.  And I'm super glad he brought his planes!  They helped entertain him when he didn't want to sit through a show and I didn't bring in the paci/blankie.

He insisted that his airplanes had to park like the other airplanes.  I will say I will make sure to lighten my Luci bag before I try to carry it and the big DSLR camera at the same time again.  Wowie ow ow! I was also holding onto the toddler's hand as we walked across the tarmac.  Yup, going to be more careful next time.

The gentlemen and lady who took us around and showed us some things were all part of the Civil Air Patrol.  Although my brother was part of the CAP in high school, I was already in college and I really didn't know the extent of the program until today.  The CAP helps in 90% of all search and rescues and does most of the photography work for disasters like hurricanes, 9/11, school shootings, etc.  It's a volunteer organization with 1/3 of them being youth between 12-18 years old.  The teach and train the youth on all kinds of things, not just flying, but especially on leadership skills.  And you don't have to go to the military afterwards either, although some do.  This guy was telling us about this paper map and how it's important to know how to read maps, not just a GPS system, in case that system fails.  This special map of Indiana shows all the airports and airstrips and how far out in the airspace they are a part of.  Pretty neat!

And the other side has pictures and specs on each of the grounds of the airports, particularly the runways, so that the pilots aren't flying in blind.  I'm sure Uncle Ed has studied this many times.  Speaking of Uncle Ed, I decided to go now for a "behind the scenes" look, just in case Uncle Ed isn't able to fly Grandma Cook down for Thanksgiving.  I'd love to go meet them at the airport and see Uncle Ed's plane again and such, but I don't know if we will be able to.  Plus he has Grandma to take care of.  I think about 8 years ago we were in Lansing for Thanksgiving and Uncle Ed still had the house that had a private runway and hangar for the plane.  I remember going to see the plane and then Uncle Ed took Jared up in it and maybe Benaiah?  I thought that when Uncle Ed moved from that house into a condo with the folks, that he had to give up his plane, too, but apparently not.  I'm super glad he didn't! I can't wait to pepper him with some more questions this Thanksgiving, if they are able to make it.

Here is the main lobby of the little airport where the pilots bring their flight plans in I would imagine.  There's vending machines, places to take a shower, a coffee bar, kind of like you would find in a large fancy truck stop.  The screen here is showing where all the planes in the vicinity are.  I will also mention that the woman that was with us today, is a mom of a CAP graduate and has never learned to fly.  She likes to do these educational tours and knows about the planes, but doesn't want to do all the other parts.  I don't really know what training the adults actually do because it's a program meant to educate youth and such, but anyway, I think it's cool she has stayed on as a volunteer.

A private jet!  These things cost more a million dollars, no joke!  I have no idea who this one is though.  I can imagine it belongs to the Colts or the governor or the Lilly company or who knows what.  But it's super cool!

Lots and lots of hangars for the little planes.  Just a big parking garage.

Yeah! I sit in the airplane!

Daddy, I controlled the airplane!  (I forget what he actually said, but he did say something about this exact moment which indicates to me that he is still making huge strides mentally and verbally).  He loved it!  But also gave it up willingly to the next kid.

It was the same plane that we saw and sat in at the movie night in June.  They had pulled it a little ways out of the hangar for us.  There was another volunteer in a jumpsuit that was super excited to tell us everything about it.  The other guy said this guy would talk and talk for hours about it. 

Yes, Abishai's pants got wet, but, I love how he's playing with his planes in the shadow of the relatively big plane.

Swoosh! Swoosh!

Check this out!  When they open the hangar door, the little entry door goes up too!  Kind of like Monsters, Inc!
The middles aren't fond of me dragging them around to these little field "boring" field trips, but at least Justin found a couple of people to talk to.  We knew the African American kid from church and obviously, Pokemon guy would be fun to hang with.

This is where Uncle Ed will park his plane since he doesn't rent a hangar here.

Abishai was the one to first open the magazine with all the planes for sale in it.  He was pointing and talking about each of them.  I don't know what he said, but it was like he was reading a book or something.  Adorable!

Playing on the flight simulator!  They also had drones out to show and a small but powerful telescope, and all of that was part of the new "STEM" push everybody has been talking about.  There's a big push for "STEM" which is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math here in the states because we are way behind the rest of the world.  It's now a catchy phrase on lots of programs and museums.  I have my theories as to why our country is behind the eight ball in this area, but I think I will keep my opinion to myself this time.  For now, the kids loved flying the aircraft.

Justin's turn!  And the boys' favorite thing was to see how awful they would crash, go figure.

Abishai always finds the babies in the group.

Blalalalala, is home!  I think they missed each other.

Grrrr......obviously it fixed itself so I could post this blog, but still, I need to work on backing up my photos properly and then I'm going to have a chat with my tech guy.

Chick - Fil- A face!  I overspent, so I told the kids that they can get kids' meals from now on and no milkshakes.  Sheesh! 

Justin was my "mother's helper" in the play structure at CFA today.  I told him he has to stay with Abishai and not go play on his own because he's not supposed to be in there.  I was watching our drinks at a booth that butted up to the glass, so if anyone questioned his presence, I could tell them.  He and I switched for a bit as well, I went in and he watched the drinks.  You can't bring drinks (or food) in the play area.
And there goes Abishai!  I am so amazed at how many people use the drive thru!  The restaurant was half empty and we got our food right away (it was 1pm).  I'm sure the drivers did, too, but there were two lines of a dozen cars all the time! No joke! Do people ever slow down?  I don't know, but when I go out to eat, I like to enjoy it at the restaurant, not in my car.  But anyway.

Keturah's turn to help Abishai up the tube!

Mommy!  See me!

See me again!


He was so stir crazy!  But he did leave without a fuss, which was good.

Justin obviously didn't always listen to the rule and stay with Abishai.

Check out my beautiful fall flowers and pollinators!  I love love LOVE that the previous owner (not the renters I don't think) took the time to plant the different kinds of flowers that bloom at different times.  We've been enjoying some type of color in the garden all summer long!  Huge bumblebee, by the way!  Beautiful moth/buttterfly.

Our goodies from the day.  CAP is an excellent program.  I know my brother loved it.  I wish I had been there to see him rank up and such.  None of the older kids are interested in it.  I read the brochure and it's only a 2hr meeting once a week and one Saturday morning per month.  Up to $600 a year to participate and that includes local fees and camps and uniforms.  It's really neat program!  Oh, the funny moment was that they had us stand up and say the Pledge of Allegience to the flag and Justin was embarrassed that he didn't know it!  And he doesn't know it, neither does Keturah.  I don't even know if Benaiah remembers it.  Thankfully, another little boy didn't know it either.  It's not that I don't want them to know it, but I just don't think about them memorizing it.  I'll add it to the list of memory work, along with parts of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  It just hasn't been a priority.  Oh well, Justin, my super memorizer, can probably memorize a lot of it within a week.  I'll go grab that now and let him know it's there.  He's already got a lot to memorize with Bible Bowl and CC and the Sermon on the Mount.  But he can probably fit it in somewhere, just like he will with the states and capitals.  More importantly though, he and the others, need to know what it means and why we say it or why we don't say it.  Again, this time, I don't have a personal preference.  I said it when I was in school.  I like the sentiments in it.  Just know what it means, like are you pledging allegiance to the flag itself or to this country above every other countries?  And are you truly meaning the "under God" part of the pledge?  Oh there are so many other things to memorize like the Nicene Creed.  It's never ending.  But God gave us brains for this, so let's use them!