Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another reason God gave us twins...

Caleb and Aidan are at the stage where they are 'working really hard' at learning to share things. We're trying to encourage fair play, but also avoid the battles often by making sure we get 2 of certain toys, etc. Aidan has to do whatever Caleb is doing...

Anyways, the other day we observed this scene: Caleb was playing with one of the twins, who was in an activity center/walker thingy. (He loves playing with them lately because he's figured out that they are a captive audience to his silly antics, and they will laugh and laugh at him!) Well, Aidan wanted to join in, so he toddles over like only Aidan can (he winds up to run like a little cartoon man), and starts trying to be silly in his own little way. Caleb got annoyed left that baby and went over to the other twin. Aidan just followed. So Caleb told him in a rather frustrated voice, "no, I'm playing with this twin. You can go play with the other one." And he did. Thank you God for giving us two little babies to distribute to our other boys who have trouble sharing!

Here's a picture of Caleb entertaining his fans...

Friday, September 28, 2007

A bit overwhelmed...

We are settling in slowly. Now that Weston has officially started, its been hard to get much more done around the house. I try to do a bit during naps, and some after the kids are asleep, but its tough. He had yesterday off, and that was a very nice relief. He has been working a lot of hours and taking the van, so the boys and I have been going a little stir crazy. To top it off, Aidan has extremely bad diaper rash and an upset tummy, making it pretty much impossible to change his diaper (which he needs often) alone. That's been fun. We're all a bit overwhelmed this week, but realize its a natural part of the process. Glad tomorrow is Saturday.

We did bring the kitchen island, and it helps a LOT! Sometimes I feel the house is not too bad (and actually love parts of it), and other times I want to cry. The only mirror we currently have is on the stairs, as the one in the medicine cabinet fell out and shattered everywhere yesterday. (I think it was about as old as the house anyways, you couldn't see very clearly in it). Plus, the bathrooms tiles on the wall the surround the big claw footed bathtub semi-converted into a shower, have been falling off, little by little.

We did finally find a dining table I love at a store last week. It will take a few weeks to get here, but I'm excited none-the-less.

We might be looking at a house tomorrow. Its fun to drive around the numerous nice streets and look for 'for sale' signs. Its discouraging to think that we could buy a dream house for $250,000 but that is way out of our price range. (I know that is unfathomable to you Californians). Something will turn up, I know. It would just be so much more comforting to have the CA house sell (as I paid both that mortgage and our rent today, yikes).

Caleb went to Awana on Wed. night... and cried. They had to bring him to me, but since I was free I asked if I could just hang out there with him, and he did okay. Not sure if that will be more or less detrimental... He told daddy afterwards that he cried because he loved mommy and missed her and wanted her. I relayed back to him that he couldn't cry next week, and he said, 'but if I do, you'll come'. Gulp. Also, he was awfully squirrelly... but the 3 year olds are mixed in with th 4 year olds so maybe that was partially what made him seem so immature? sigh... Can't wait until he gets to wear that cute little vest though... Still trying to figure out a possible two day a week half day preschool for him. But we also have to find doctors and get that all set up first.
On a positive note, the YMCA here looks great! There is even a pastor's discount... and one cost per family with free childcare! I think we will be joining.

Still on the lookout for another car... We'd love a truck, but now are thinking of maybe just trying to find a cheap car to not have a payment... But, our super nice neighbors actually loaned us one of theirs for the weekend since they are headed out of town.

I know this was a lot of venting... I'm sorry that I needed to get some of it out. I do love it here, and its beautiful. (We get to watch squirrels and bunny rabbits in our backyard everyday, and Caleb has seen some fireflies!) Its just the hard transition period that I tried to gear up for, but knew it was going to be difficult. Probably still my crazy post-pregnancy hormones as well, since my emotions are all over the place.

Hey, milk is more expensive here, crazy, eh?

Other updates: The twins are 6 months old now!!! They can sit up for short periods, and kind of "scoot" around. Doing a bit better eating rice cereal, but still not too fond of the idea. Aidan's vocabulary is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds, although he's picked up Caleb's bad habit of asking 'why?' all the time. He's 19 months old and when I tell him something, he retorts back with "why?". On the other hand, he's also learning to respond with "yes mam". And that, coming out of his sweet little mouth, almost evens it out. I've been trying to fit in some "learning" time with Caleb, and he is doing great! I can't believe his attention span! We've been working on numbers, and his Awana verses. He's amazing. Silly trains have still been freaking him out at night though... He's also on a "Transformers" kick, as Grandma Joy got him one for the trip, and he's a whiz at 'transforming' it. I can see how parents can so easily spoil their kids as we are tempted to go buy him more! ...Yesterday I told him at one point what a sweetheart he was, and he looked at me very concerned-like and said, 'but I'm not a heart". He said something else super cute today, that I was going to remember to blog, but now I can't think of it...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bunk Bed Babies

Here are two quick pictures so you can visualize the twins' cool new beds.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pod #2

Pod #2 was delivered yesterday, and unloaded today, with the help of many Bethel friends. It was a bit discouraging, as the downstairs was almost looking in order this morning, and now there are boxes around again. And where to put everything? We are so thankful for the big basement. Weston did a great job organizing that with our many boxes that we don't need access to. Caleb and Aidan were very happy to see their outdoor toys get unloaded. I was very happy to find my muffin tins (I wanted to make muffins with Caleb for a neighbor, but couldn't because I hadn't unpacked those yet). The only thing that won't fit anywhere is our soft tub spa; but one of the elders at Bethel has offered some storage.

We found another fun park where we had a picnic for dinner. It was so cute when we arrived and Aidan said, from the backseat clear as a bell, "we're here, yay!" (and then proceeded to clap) His vocabulary and enunciation are growing by leaps and bounds. The twins were adorable swinging back to back in the baby swing. They loved it too.

We got our double decker crib set up and they slept in it for the first time last night. I was a little sad to seperate them, but they need more room now.

I did make it to Mom2Mom yesterday, and it was great. (I'm starting to think, and have been advised, that the boys' allergies are just a reaction to the air here at 'harvest time' and its not a cold after all.) I'm so excited at the many things this church has to offer.

Weston's dad rolled through town yesterday, on his way back to PA from WA. We went out to a good Mexican restaraunt for lunch (yes they have those here!). It was good to see him, but will be even better when he can come back for a longer visit.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Weston's first "official" day

meant my first day home with all 4 for 8+ hours in a long time! I did have Michelle Kendall come help for awhile. She played with Caleb in the backyard (and they found a dead garden snake) while the other 3 were napping so I could do some more unpacking.

We survived just fine, and then went to a park after daddy got home.

I'm hoping to go to the Mom's Bible Study tomorrow, but Caleb and Aidan are a bit sick, so we'll see.

Here's a quick pic that shows off some of the beautiful woodwork in our house!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

we have been blown away

by the warm welcome and friendly outpouring of support here in Galesburg. For example, Weston happened to mention at high school bible study last night that we were miserable from the heat... Well, this morning there was a knock on the door, and someone was there with two fans to loan us. A few hours later someone else brought another one. Tonight at church, we were informed that another friend was finding a wall unit cooler for us to borrow. Amazing! (get my blog title pun now?)

We've also had so much help and needs met in other areas as well. Tonight we had dinner with a neighbor, an older couple with 5 grown children of their own. They are new attenders at Bethel (though long time believers). Super nice people, who welcomed us into our home in spite of our 4 misbehaving children (you should've seen the mess Aidan made at dinner...)

Tonight was Junior High Youth Group and also Awana. I was SO excited to take Caleb... I've been looking forward to it since way before he was ever born! It was just a kick-off night, with pizza and carnival games, but neat all the same. What wasn't neat was that Aidan has a runny nose, so I didn't want to take him to the nursery. It was crazy hard trying to corral that guy and attempt to help Caleb participate.

Here are some recent pictures that really don't have to do with anything I've written about, but are fun all the same. They are from last night when I gave all 4 boys a bath while Weston was at bible study... It should be an Olympic Event.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


As some of you know, I was waiting to introduce rice cereal to the twins until we were here. They are 5 1/2 months. It is recommended to start solids between 4 and 6 months. With Caleb, we were so excited we started the very day he turned 4 months. Aidan was about 4 1/2 months. Poor Kellan and Ethan... I waited almost as long as I could. I just didn't want to deal with the hassle of baby food on a cross country road trip. (Our pediatrician confirmed it was fine, and my chunky monkeys obviously weren't lacking in sustenance.)

So we put Ethan in the new high chair (hey, he's 2 minutes older, he has to have some privileges, right?), and got out the cereal. He LOVED it! He was opening his mouth wide and diving towards the spoon. He did pretty well too!

Kellan, on the other hand, gave us a look that said, "what in the world are you guys trying to do to me?". He was not as fond of the experience as his brother, but he'll learn to love it in time, I'm sure. (Unless he turns out more like Caleb, who still eats like a bird.)

Enjoy the pics... By the way, we discovered Ethan's first tooth about 2 days before we got to Galesburg, and Kellan's today!!! Bottom right for Ethan, bottom left for Kellan. Could they be mirror image twins? Time will tell... :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Starting to Settle In

Spirits are much better as of today. We had a great day at church yesterday, and especially at youth group last night. Being with the staff and students was just what I needed. Weston and I also decided to nap along with all the boys yesterday and we all ended up sleeping for 3 1/2 hours! I guess we needed it.

We worked for a couple hours last night, and quite a bit today, and made a lot of headway. There is still a lot to do, but it feels much more surmountable. We also got the internet set up (hooray), and all the utilities transferred to our name. Two new friends came by this afternoon to help me unpack/organize all the kitchen items. They were a huge help, and the storage issue there doesn't even seem as bad as I first thought. We even made time for a very pleasant walk down our beautiful street as a family tonight.

The boys all did well today... Caleb had a rough time in his new Sunday School class yesterday, but hopefully will adjust. He also woke up last night and spent most of the night in our bed...
Oh yeah... when we arrived here it was pretty cold... a little scary... But today, it is REALLY hot! Weston is really missing his A/C.
By the way, I just realized that the title of our blog; Our Incredible Journey, kind of sounds like I meant this trip/move... but I named it this a ways back, referring to the incredible journey of our life, the amazing trip God is taking us on! :)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pod Race

It’s 10:30pm and Caleb is still awake… We put him down about two hours ago, but he keeps getting up or crying out… Its frustrating because we are trying to get things done in our precious ‘kid free’ time, but it’s also heart wrenching because part of it is that he doesn’t feel 100%, and a bigger part of it is the new surroundings and all the changes I’m sure. Part of us wants to spank him, and part of us wants to give in to whatever he wants and just hold him close… It was rather funny though this last time he came to the top of the stairs, with his hands covering his ears, “the trains are waking me up”, he says. He’s right, there are a lot of train whistles as constant background noise. I suppose you get used to it.
Today we had many AMAZING people from Bethel come and help us unload the POD. (and I’m not just saying that now that I know some of them have been keeping up with this blog J) They got the whole thing unloaded in a little over an hour. The fridge is working, the washer and dryer are ready in the basement. We were brought some groceries, and muffins, and even baby clothes by the nicest lady (Deb),who actually took Aidan off our hands for a few hours. She said she’s known for being a compulsive clearance rack baby clothes shopper. Awesome! J
We did a big trip to the store in the late afternoon for some needed things; vacuum, broom, cleaning supplies, etc. Its amazing how quickly it all adds up…
We are overwhelmingly surrounded by boxes, and so much to do. But it will get done… with a song in our hearts. Pray for amazing organizational techniques and discernment of what we really “need” for these next few months, and what we can pack back away in the basement.
By the way, I’ll try to keep up with this, but we don’t have access to the internet yet… unless we stand in just the right spot in the house…

Friday, September 14, 2007

Giddy in Galesburg!

We are here! We made it!
Today’s drive didn’t seem too bad, probably because of our excitement. We got into town about 4:30pm, stopped by the Visitor’s Center for a picture with the “big chair”, because it seemed the thing to do, then headed out to the house we are renting on Bateman St. When we pulled in we saw the POD had already been delivered. Caleb was VERY excited to see it! He said, “There it is, it went on a train, and we caught up to it!” He’s a little confused about the trains though. I’d been building his excitement for weeks about all the trains in our new city. He was a bit disappointed not to see them everywhere, including inside our new house. I had gotten him and Aidan train whistles and I gave them to them when we entered town… that didn’t go over to well either. Neither could blow into them correctly, and I was too far away to help. So much for my good intentions. As it was, I think all 4 of them were crying as we entered town…
We unpacked a bit (mainly to find our mattress to sleep on). Caleb (and Aidan a tad) was so adorable and diligent in helping tote things inside. We made our first trip to the Super Walmart for dinner, and to get a few necessary items. After we got the three younger boys down for the night, Weston took Caleb to the church to pop in on their 5th Quarter. Caleb had a great time!
I’m trying to remain positive about our new house, but it really leaves a lot to be desired… Its very old. Cute old in a lot of ways, but just old old in many others. And there is no dishwasher… and barely any counter space in the kitchen (and I’m not exaggerating). Its going to take a lot of clever organizing to get our things to work here, but I’m up for the challenge. It won’t look too pretty, but it will be livable. I’m just especially concerned about having to spend $ on things that will be necessary here, but maybe not at the house we end up buying. Oh, I’m probably just fretting to fret, but that’s what I often tend to do… I’m afraid of how much toll it will take on my spirits the longer we have to stay here… how shallow and materialistic is that? I know God does and will take care of our needs. He’s proven it over and over again…

Thursday, September 13, 2007

SD, MN, and IA

We drove through a lot of corn today... and we're not even in IL yet! We left Aberdeen and travelled to Sioux Falls, SD for lunch at a fun cafe that overlooked the falls. Then we drove through part of Minnesota, and a tad into Iowa, where we settled for the night in Clear Lake.(which strangely has super booked hotels, a problem we'd yet to encounter thus far... we got a suite, but its not non-smoking... yuck )

Kids did super in the car today... we realized we have quite a few goodies left, to hand out pretty freely now!

Tomorrow we'll be in our new home town! Galesburg here we come!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

the Ansiels in Aberdeen

It was nice to have a day off from travelling, and extremely nice to spend the day with our friends. Jeff, Melissa, Garrett, Danielle, and Josiah Ansiel moved to SD last February due to Jeff's job with 3M. Melissa is a close friend from college, and we had loved getting our kids together for adventures in So Cal. She had never even met Kellan and Ethan yet, and I had missed her Josiah becoming a toddler. They have a beautiful house, and we got to hang out around there and their cute town (although it is in the middle of nowhere). Caleb had a blast with Garrett, Aidan and Josiah got reacquainted, and Danielle loved 'taking care of' the babies. We visited 'Storybook Land' and had our first lunch at a 'Culvers'. It was good to see them, but will make us miss them all over again...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Kind of patriotic of us, eh? Visiting this neat site on today's date...

The town of Rapid City actually seemed to have a lot to do, touristy-wise, but we had only allotted time for the actual main attraction, but we vowed to make a trip back some day.

Mt. Rushmore itself was pretty impressive... We enjoyed seeing it, but didn't do much beside view it and snap a few pictures as it was difficult with our whole crew. The gift shop was fun, but Caleb couldn't be persuaded to get the cool little stuffed President Roosevelt (I figured I'd get Lincoln for Aidan, and I'd be set). Instead, he wanted the cheap snow globe, so that's what they both got...

After lunch, we hit the road and finally made it to Aberdeen around 9:00 CA time, which was 11:00 to our poor friends who waited up to let us in.

Monday, September 10, 2007

some cute things

We've seen a lot of motorcycles on this road trip, much to Caleb's delight. There were especially tons throughout the Sturgis area. It's crazy though how there are not helmet laws everywhere. When Caleb sees a guy just wearing a bandana, instead of a helmet, he identifies him as a "pirate" on a motorcycle.

He also cracked us up the other day, when we were talking about where to eat lunch, and he put in his vote that he 'wanted to eat lunch at Disneyland'.

Also, it made us laugh at one point in the car ride today as daddy was buckling him back in after a stop, he asked to watch another movie, and daddy said, "okay, I guess.". Caleb exclaimed very gleefully, "oh, I really thought you were going to say no".

Here's some pictures of the boys having fun in the hotel.

Rapid City, SD

Today wasn't bad for a travel day, except that I have a yucky stomach bug and was pretty out of it. Weston did an incredible job of handling most of everything/everyone himself. We arrived in Rapid City, SD in early evening, and found a hotel that had an open indoor water park (which Weston and Caleb are currently enjoying) Nothing else very eventful to report on... except that Aidan took a pretty narley fall onto the concrete at a rest stop. But what is one more scrape to that kid?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Home on the range...

Long travel day today... Spokane to Billings, Montana. Beautiful drive though, through part of Idaho and then Montana, which neither one of us have ever been to. We've sure seen a lot of cowboy hats!
The boys all did really well today, for which we are so thankful. We stopped at two fast food places with great playplaces. One had a group of teenagers 'hanging out' in it, which seems a little tacky, but we laughed at how Caleb and Aidan flocked right to them. They are sure used to being around "students". The teenagers were great with them, also.
We chose a hotel with an indoor water slide area... only to get here and find out it is closed due to 'remodelling'. But, they told us we could use similiar amenenities at a hotel across town, which we might hit in the AM.

One neat thing we've noticed is that Caleb and Aidan seem to be really bonding as brothers on this trip. Maybe Caleb is finally bored enough to accept Aidan as a playmate? Whatever his reason, its very cute, and very nice as they are doing quite well playing together, especially wrecking havoc around the hotel room.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Made it to Spokane...

We enjoyed a leisurely morning at the Oxley's farm, and headed out, after emotional goodbyes, after lunch. The kids napped the first leg of today's journey, through the beautiful mountains, but did get rather annoyed that we were still in the car during the late afternoon shift (esp. the twins). We made it though, and even did dinner at Denny's (a feat not to be attempted again anytime soon... although the twins can sit in high chairs now... so cute...). We made it to our hotel by about 9:00. It has a living room, kitchen, and 2 bedrooms! Wow!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Troutdale to Onalaska

The kids actually all slept in until past 8:00, so we had a bit of a relaxing morning. We drove the hour and a half to Weston's grandparents house and arrived in time for lunch. It was very fun being there, on their beautiful property in WA. It was also extremely nice to have Weston's dad, Alan, there as well. The boys had a blast playing around the house, and it was so fun to see them interact with their relatives! Caleb got to sleep in the top bunk of a bunk bed, which he thought was extremely cool! Aidan's favorite new experience there; peaches and corn on the cob!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!

Today we got to visit a very fun drive through Wildlife Safari in Winston, OR. Mommy and Daddy were a little more excited about this than the boys, but Caleb and Aidan did have fun seeing so many animals, especially the ones that were close to the car. Our best views included giraffes, bison, turkey, and an emu. There was also an area to walk around and see some more animals in cages. It was good for them to run some energy off.

We drove for about 4 hours (hitting Portland traffic which was annoying) to Troutdale, where we got to visit the Laffins (Scott, Sherrie, Kelsea, Rusty, and new baby Hunter). We enjoyed a pizza together, and visited some amongst the chaos of our 7 children. It so nice to see them!

Now we are in a hotel in Troutdale, and I think the kids are finally settled in... and its after 10:00. I'm exhausted.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Day 2

Caleb and Aidan thoroughly enjoyed spending time at Grandpa Bernie's. There are animals to observe everywhere... And Caleb was SO excited about going fishing (for the first time). He helped to catch several bluegill and even a small bass! He loved it (more than daddy, but probably not more than mommy). Aidan loved being out there too, and taking a paddleboat ride in the pond (it was just hard to keep him out of the pond). I'm so glad the boys got to spend some time there. It was very special to see Dad and Dorothy enjoying our kids so much. Even in the midst of the craziness of 4 small young'uns!

We hit the road again about 2:00 pm, and everyone napped beautifully until we stopped for dinner. How did we manage to stop at our third fast food place along I-5 that didn't have a playplace, or even a changing table?

However, the last leg (about 1.5 hours) to Canyonville, OR, was pretty trying. The twins cried pretty passionately, and Caleb and Aidan vocalized their discontent at being strapped into their seats for so long as well... But we made it, to a hotel with adjoining rooms. Daddy took Caleb swimming while I put the others down, and then Caleb joined them in the "kids'" room.

I wonder what is going through their little minds? Especially Caleb...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

And we're off...

After 4 hectic weeks of packing and saying goodbye to So Cal, we are finally on our way, a day late (due to not finishing packing), but on our way still the same.

We thought we'd try to record our trip as much as we can, for those who are following our progress, and for our own memories.

We left at about 9:00 AM, and arrived in Oroville at Amy's dad's place around 6:30. Not too bad... we made 3 stops (gas, lunch, and a snack). The kids did amazingly well, with each one fussing at various times for about 5 minutes max. Caleb and Aidan LOVED the DVD player in our new van. We're trying not to abuse it, but it sure is handy. We also stockpiled some new toys and goodies to dole out along the way. Caleb got to play with a very cool Star Wars learning laptop that Grandma Joy had found for him.

We're pretty exhausted, but got Aidan and the twins to bed in a room together, and Caleb has his air mattress next to ours in the living room. Here's to a good night's sleep.