Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nana's Dunes...rather Indiana Dunes

Sunset on Lake Michigan
Last hike at sunset

view as you come up over the stairs on the hike

"Are we going to Nana's Dunes?" Brennan kept asking as we began our hike up the dunes. All he could hear was the "iana" part of the Indiana and well it became nana's dunes for him. They were such great hikers for their age. The hike was up steep sandy dunes and flights of stairs then down the dunes. As we came up over the first part of the dunes you could see over the tree lines, down to the coast of Lake Michigan; it was very beautiful. The evening we arrived and did this first hike, it was sunset and the air was nice and chilly. We then came to the downward slide of the dune and it was a wonderful time. The boys, Scott (with Satchemo on his back), and I ran down those dunes laughing the whole way. I have never had so much fun. Then to see Lake Michigan bathed in the fading sunlight was breathtaking.

Brennan coasting on his bike

Samuel riding like a big boy, no training wheels

We camped and had a great time. The boys also loved riding their bicycles around the campground. As we were riding in the van from doing some laundry, Brennan says, "I love Samuel he's my bro...he is strong and big and he takes care of me when we ride our bikes." Playing at the beach and letting the boys roam the dunes was the best part. All three of them just enjoyed climbing these sandy hills and discovering new and wonderful things. They loved running down them. The last evening we were there, we went to see the sunset again over the Lake, especially so my mom could experience the beauty. Samuel requested that we make the hike one last time. So, mom took the baby in the van and Scott and I hiked with the other two. This time running down the last dune, Brennan ran the whole way by himself. Scott and I never laughed so hard. His feet were flying and he had a pure look of terror mixed with excitement on his face. We thought for sure he was going to bite the "sand," but he stayed upright the whole way! At the end, he was very proud of himself, with a huge grin on his face.

top of the hike

Samuel loved the water...even though it was so cold, he wanted to go out in it, all the way out to the sand bar. At one point Brennan, Samuel, Scott and I were all out on the sandbar. Satchemo was constantly on the go...his favorite spot at the campsite was the water fountain. Brennan had showed him how to turn on the lower spicket and well needless to say, that is were you could usually find him.

The big surprise of the trip was that Scott had bought tickets for the show "Peter Pan" in Chicago. So, mom stayed with the baby and the rest of us went to Chicago. It was a great show! The theatre was set up in a parking lot and the stage was circular. All around the top was a screen that was 360. As the scenes changed, so did the screen and it was virtual so it felt real. As the characters flew the scenes moved along with their flying. It was a unique spin on the original play, but nonetheless it was very well done. One interesting aspect of the show was they used puppets (or more like marinates). The puppeteer was on the stage and it was as if he and the puppets were one in the same. He would act along side the "nanna" the dog was a puppet and the crocodile was a "puppet" of sorts. One man operated the mouth and front legs were his and the back legs were part of second man. Scott and I thought that the pirates and crocodile would scare Brennan, but he said the crocodile was his favorite part. He loved that the teeth were made from clothes pins. During intermission, Samuel was trying to fly by placing his belly on the chairs. The only negative aspects were there was some cussing, and captain hook kills some of his mates, also Tiger Lily's dance was a little too seductive for "peter pan," but most of this went over the boys' heads. It was so much fun! Scott was so sweet to plan it all; he knew how much I wanted to see it and how much I wanted the older boys to see it also. Brennan is now going around the house jumping and twirling, being Peter pan!

There was also some nighttime excitement to our camping adventures. We had visitors almost every night. These little masked bandits were after food and not afraid of us humans. I think Scott and our young neighbors next door sort of liked the sport of trying to chase off the raccoons. One night Scott managed to chase one up a tree. Mema was also brave...she chased one off finally after it raised up on it's hind legs appearing not to be too afraid of her. It was great having mom along for the last couple of nights. She helped with the boys and enjoyed seeing them play at the beach. The last night Mema was sitting by the campfire eating s'mores and sharing stories with the boys; it is something I hope never to forget.

My prayer is that our boys will not remember how many toys they had, how clean our house was or wasn't, or what kind of clothes they wore...rather I pray they remember running down sand dunes, getting so dirty and sandy then sleeping wonderfully with the sound of whip-or-wills in the background, stories with mema around the campfire, and beautiful hikes in God's creation with mom and tati. These are the legacies we leave our children...memories, wonderful memories.

Into the wild...

Here are the new frogs!

Well, the tadpoles completed the metamorphosis so out into the wild the little froggies went. We took a little walk to a nearby stream and let them go near the water. There were a few that were still just froglets, but they were set free also. Brennan was the one who was upset, at first, that we weren't keeping them. Samuel actually held one for a minute; they were so very small and very jumpy of course. Thanks little tadpoles...hope you live long and well in your new home!

Setting them free.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

11 new infants and a toddler join the family!

We have 11 infants and one toddler that we added to our family! That is 11 tadpoles and one puppy dog named Dream :) Some months back we heard about little beagle/lab puppies that were free. Samuel had said that he wanted a puppy and well we got this little guy. He is definitely a puppy and I say that if I would have thought things through a little more, we probably would just have the tadpoles. Dream has been fun, but he is a lot of work and the boys are slowly getting used to him. Puppies are jumpy and nippy and well that is hard for little ones. Yet, we are slowly falling into a routine. It does help that he is mostly an outside dog. Scott and the boys built him a really nice dog house; insulated and covered porch.

The tadpoles came from a friend and we have 11. I thought that some of them would not make it, but as it seems all 11 are still alive and are getting their back legs making the metamorphosis into froglets. What will we do with 11 little frogs? They will be set free after the boys get to see how they act as frogs for a little while. It has been a great experience watching them change from these little ugly swimming things into little ugly swimming things with 2 back legs! Seriously though, it is wonderful how God's creation works and to be able to see it happening in a little tank on our kitchen counter is pretty cool!

These are some of the happenings around our home lately. Scott continues to teach and garden and raise chickens. I continue to be blessed to stay at home and watch many things grow and change not the least of these wonderful things being our three sons! Yes, I do other things besides watch. I still teach Sunday school (taking a break for the summer), love to read, desire to know what is going on in the world and how to pray for those who are hurting all around us, and teach our boys. Here is a little update on the boys.

Samuel and cousin Gracie in my sister Shelbi's wedding

Samuel holding Dream

He can't do this anymore; Dream is too big and busy

Samuel: It is funny the things kids say because they say exactly what they "hear." Sameul started saying, "Dark Incubator" for Darth Vader of Star Wars. Even though he has never seen star wars he hears other little boys talk about it and they like to play these characters so he was asking me about who teh Dark Incubator was and was he good or bad. He has also started riding his bike without training wheels a couple weeks ago. After the second day, he was making turns, going down hills, and using his breaks. His phonics and reading have really started taking hold. He is putting sounds of letters together to form words and reading short, phonetic words. Samuel continues to be the social one of our family. He is so good at making friends with all different types of children. It seems like he also loves to meet new adults; very rarely is he shy. The other day we were on our front porch and some Jehovah's witnesses came to talk to us. As the elderly man and I were talking about whether or not Jesus was just the son of God or if He was/is God incarnate (by the way God's word shows us over and over that Jesus was the exact representation of God, He was from the beginning, He is through whom all things were created), Samuel is listening and coloring. As the man left, Samuel gave him a picture he had made for him. I think he has a sweet spirit that allows him to reach out to others.

Brennan playing with his blocks

What an outfit...he is too cute!

Brennan: At some point a few months back Brennan got a blister. One morning shortly after, Samuel and him were sitting on our bed and I hear Brennan say, "Don't touch that it's my blender." His new favorite thing to do is pretend he is some sort of animal. He will pretend he is a lion and will say, " I am a nice baby lion and I will kiss you not bite you." He also likes to pretend to be a "porc" pig or a dog. If he is a dog he will ask you to throw something for him to fetch. Also, since Samuel has been riding his bike Brennan likes to get on his glider bike and go, go, go. It is wonderful how fast he can get going just using his little legs. He then will pick his feet up and glide for a few seconds; it's great fun to watch. Brennan is also our little comedian. He comes up with the funniest things to say and he also loves to act out little dramas. For example he will pretend to trip over some toy laying on the floor and fall down saying, "I fell, help me, help me." Or he will say something and then just crack himself up with his fake little laugh! The day we brought home the tadpoles Brennan and Samuel were both on kitchen chairs looking at them on the counter when Brennan says, "Mom, I want them to do something special for me." There is not a day that goes by that Samuel and I aren't laughing at something he did.

Baby Satchemo: Soon this little love of ours will be making an actual photographic appearance on this blog; that is once he is adopted. Yes, for those of you who do not know we are in the process of adopting our little guy. He has been "ours" and a part of this family since he came to live with us at just 2 days old, but soon we get to make it legal! The process takes awhile; however, we are well on our way. Since the last blog post Satchemo has grown and reached many milestones. He is already 15 months old. He started walking shortly after he turned 1 year old and is very steady on his feet already. Just like our other two boys, he is a climber. He loves to climb anything he can and this makes for two very stressed out parents. Baby gates... ahhh he tries to climb those, kitchen chairs...climbs them easy as pie and stands up to make it even more daring, two step stool in the bathroom...up to the top in no time playing in the sink, and little rocking problem up and standing ready to tip right over. Needless to say, he keeps us on our toes. One thing he really loves is music. If he hears even a slight little melody coming from somewhere, he is dancing with a big grin on his face. He says, "tati, mommy, and da." He also is using signs for more, cracker, dog, and hot. Samuel and Brennan both love their little brother. Samuel is good at protecting him, playing with him, and loves to sit with him. Brennan also loves to play, but sometimes Satchemo doesn't like the type of play Brennan is giving him :) Yet, Brennan is always quick to tell me if baby is doing something dangerous or has something he shouldn't. As for Satchemo, he loves his older brothers and wants to be where they are and doing what they are doing. What a joy he brings to our family!