Arileigh – Nearly 2 now this whirlwind of a child has lived up to all my fears of being the busiest of the bunch. While I was voraciously anticipating the day that our youngest would be independent enough not to need Chantelle or myself for her every need, now that that has begun to happen I question the cruel irony of my circumstances. What I found as we closed the door of infant dependency was a much more daunting door opening in front of us. The constant infant dependence has been replaced with the constant toddler independence. Even in the time it has taken to write this paragraph I have needed to stop and remove pencil crayons from the one writing on the couch, clean up brown sugar, pancake mix and cheese whiz from the one who had removed it from the cupboard and fridge and was preparing to mix it all in the living, and remove a pen from the hand of the one who was poking another in the face with it. And all of this from the same whirlwind of a child! She has also shown a great aptitude for “talking”, the quantity of which can only be rivaled by her mother! Despite the dizzying challenges we encounter, we cannot imagine life without her and imagine that all this energy will likely benefit her in her newly found TV commercial stardom.
Aliyah – Psalm 56:8 is translated in the New Living Translation as “You (God) have collected all my tears in your bottle”. We believe God actually has a bathtub for Aliyah. She is definitely our most sensitive child crying for reasons from great injustices to just because the sun rose. Besides crying she enjoys babies, books and just sitting around and snuggling. During home school hours Aliyah feels it is just as important that she be doing school as well and can be found deep in thought in her preschool workbook. When the tears do dry for a while and a smile erupts on her face, what a beautiful little 3 year old girl she is, trying so hard to be and do all that her big sister is and does.
RhÉanna – Our fearless leader continues to amaze us in her outgoingness and willingness to try just about anything. Although only 4 she was insistent that it was time for her to start school and is now excelling at kindergarten. She is almost always the first one done her schoolwork and is usually disappointed that there isn’t more for her to do. Although we have tried, somehow she has not received the memo that she is not in charge. We have caught she several times telling her siblings what sort of punishment they will receive for the wrong things she has caught them doing including telling them to go to their room. This doesn’t go over well with the younger siblings, never mind her 2 older brothers who receive this corrective action with about as much enthusiasm as a mosquito bite. No doubt though, the highlight of our year with Rheanna is that this year she made Jesus her forever friend! Just as with the boys, we are thrilled that she has understood His love for her and her need for His help in all she does. We anticipate greatly the things God can do through her.
Adlai – At 6, Adlai has now gotten over the novelty of school and has begun to show his true colors. His comedic and restless character pulls him away from the table any time he can get away with it, and you can find him much more likely building Lego, drawing pictures or just making his brother and sisters laugh. While school may not be the highlight of his day he is certainly showing that he has a great mind for math. Time and time again, this creative boy can be found playing alone creating some great masterpiece out of Lego (then leaving said Lego lying around his room!).
Payton – Our 7 year old gentle giant continues to live up to the firstborn stereotype of being cautious, responsible and a great caregiver. His outstanding ability to read, matched by his remarkable memory leaves him spouting out facts both useful and useless that make me wonder if he was smaller for his age and was in the public school if he would get beat up a lot. As this is not the case, my questions turn inward as I ponder how long it will take him to figure out he is smarter than his dad. His heart is a generous one and often piles of seemingly useless recyclables end up in his bed as he creates treasures out of trash for those he loves. His desire to help in any and all areas has made him quite proficient in the kitchen – he is already making Macaroni and Cheese and Quick Cheese Biscuits with little to no help from mom!
Chantelle – continues to have far more interests than any human can possibly participate in. However, having not yet come to the realization that she is human, she continues to teach, work, and create, in ways that make Martha Stewart appear to be incompetent. I also introduced her to the chainsaw this year (Lord only knows why!), which she handled very well and can now add to her nearly exhaustive list of skills. She continues to home school the kids and does a remarkable job at it although she finds it much more challenging than it may appear to be at the surface. (This may in fact be the thing that breaks her and reveals her humanness) All kidding aside, she certainly feels that the Holy Spirit is using this endeavor to develop a deep character inside of her. Somewhat related to home schooling (so I thought), I heard her say to me that she had successfully gotten through the year without shooting a kid. I told her that was fantastic and I was glad she hadn’t shot a kid either. She gave me that “you’re an idiot look” and repeated what she had actually said “I have successfully gotten through a year without sugar.” Looking back that did make more sense to me and goes along well with the idea that she may not be human after all.
Jason – as for me, it is now been 13 days since I began this family newsletter. I had great hopes of FINALLY getting one of these out before Christmas. Perhaps I should stop setting such ambitions goals. Between work, church, and home, my life is looking more and more like a hamster wheel. That probably explains the shredded up paper lying all over the floor. Now if someone would please come and clean up the turds that we seem to find from time to time that would be great! On a completely different note, after nearly 12 years I am transitioning out of the hog barns and back into the grain farm. It is a slow and ambiguous evolution that leaves me wondering am I really switching directions or will I just be left with 2 full-time jobs. I guess I’m not a real farmer anyway until I am working 80 hours a week. We did, however, manage to get away for a wonderful week with family this summer in Minneapolis. We had such a good time I am already planning our vacation for next decade whether we need it or not.
Kids Say the Funniest Things:
Adlai: “Marshmallows won’t kill you.”
While Payton & Adlai were playing chess, Payton told Chantelle, “I got Adlai’s queen but Adlai got all mad so I gave it back.”
Rhéanna: “When am I going to grow up?”
Payton: “Can someone turn off the angel? It’s making me have bad looks in my eye balls.”
More Memorable Moments:
- Payton had surgery for T-tubes…again
- Adlai has a new found need for glasses
- In classic Rhéanna style she learned to ride her bike much younger than the boys did
- Arileigh learned to walk way back in March
- We spent many hours in the country cutting down trees and pushing over buildings and making wiener roasts
- Payton learned to mow the lawn
If you have ever wondered what Chantelle and I do with ALL our free time here is a statistical snapshot of a few of the major things.
15330 – items of clothing washed in one year
28470 – number of plates, utensils, etc washed in one year
3285 – number of diapers changed in a year (last year’s stat)
22 – the number of children Rhéanna thinks we should have
1/2 - the amount of food that makes it into Arileigh’s mouth
1/2 - the amount of food that ends up on the floor under Arileigh
1095 – the number of times in a year that the dining room floor needs to get swept
3650 – number of toys that get cleaned up in a year
32850 – number of toys or toy pieces that would be cleaned up in a year if they were cleaned up each day
365 – number of days in a year that Jason ponders throwing all the toys away.
600 – number of liters of milk we buy in a year
365ish – number of days in a year we feel incredibly blessed by the life and family the Lord has entrusted to us :)