Monday, December 12, 2016

White Belt to Yellow!

On December 3rd, Jessica was able to test for her yellow belt in taekwondo!  She did a wonderful job and earned her patches, yellow belt, and her first white stripe on her belt.  She was excited to be able to advance to the next level.  
We will be taking a two month break from taekwondo as we prepare for the arrival of the new baby that is due on January 4th, our 20th Anniversary!  Jessica is hoping to pick up a few babysitting jobs from now until February so she can pay for her classes and gear that she will need to eventually buy.  It has been fun watching her and it is fun seeing her enjoy this class.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

November Birthdays and Friends

November was a busy month, but then again, what month isn't busy in this household??  At the beginning of November, we celebrated Joshua's 15th birthday!  I still can't believe how fast time has flown by!  He had fun as he was able to have his cousin and a friend come over and spend the night.  Lots of silliness and goofing around, but they sure had fun!
The following week, some friends of ours from back near Peel, came out for a weekend visit!  It was so nice to see them again, spend time with them, and reconnect!  The weather was absolutely beautiful, we couldn't have asked for a more perfect weekend.  Jessica was thrilled to see her friends and spend time with them.  We took them to the square and went to the Walmart museum...I know, thrilling...ha!  We then headed to one of the many bike/walking trails in hopes of finding rocks, in which we sure did!  There last day here, we took them to the Little Debbie store and the fun park the kids enjoy playing at.  It was a sad good bye, but we look forward to seeing them again!
It was now Jessica's 13th birthday!  We now have 3 teenagers in the house!!  She had a lot of fun as she had invited her cousin and two friends for a sleepover.  Completely different from a boys sleepover.  With boys, they were happy to play video games.  The girls??  First thing in the morning, they jumped on the trampoline, painted rocks, made slime, jumped on the trampoline again, went to a park to hide the rocks, came home and painted rock again...all before noon!!  Busy, busy, busy!!
As November came to an end, the weather was finally starting to cool down enough for us to enjoy a few fires in the fireplace, but for this preggo mama, it has been roasting me out!!  Haha!

End of Summer, Beginning of Fall

Summer was ending, but in Arkansas, it sure doesn't feel like it.  As we closed the chapter to September, October arrived nice and warm.  We decided to get out and go on some adventures.  The first adventure, of course, was to find some new parks in the area.  There are so many playground parks, walking trails, and bike trails, but we decided to first check out some of the many parks in the area.  The kids enjoyed finding new parks, but their favorite one is in Tonitown, which is sadly 20 minutes away.  There is a discounted Little Debbie store right there in Tonitown that we try to stop at once a month, then head over to the park.
We had the opportunity to meet some friends at a fun little pumpkin farm this fall.  There was a huge corn maze and because of the election season this year, they had a Trump and Clinton maze layout for us to go through.  It was pretty fun trying to figure out the maze, until a small group of kids ahead of us asked one of the staff for a clue...that pretty much ruined the rest of the maze for us since it was now a piece of cake to find our way out.  But it was still fun.
We recently learned of this new fun outdoor activity that was started back in July...a rock hunt!  People in the community paint rocks and hide them at parks or bike/walking trails for anyone and everyone to find.  You are to take a picture of yourself with the rock you found, or just the rock, then post the picture to the Facebook group, and re-hide the rock.  The kids have had so much fun with this that they love to paint rocks and hide them in hopes of seeing their rock posted onto the Facebook page!  Such a fun way of getting kids outside to have fun.
My sister in law had invited us to watch my niece in one of her soccer games.  On our way home, we could see the Bucky Ball, something we had never seen before!  So of course we had to drive over to it, which is near the Crystal Bridges Museum.  The ball changes to all different colors, so the kid enjoyed being able to sit back and watch the ball change.
The kids had fun being able to pick out their pumpkins and carve them.  It is fun watching Jenna as she is learning and discovering many new and exciting things!
Joshua had a mishap at one of the parks.  He was spinning Jessica and Jacob on the merry go round when he lost his balance and fell and hit his head at the base of the spinning merry go round.  It was a weekend and there were many people there at the park.  Thankfully, there was an EMT there who rushed over and helped Joshua.  We are so thankful that it was just a small cut and nothing that needed stitched!
October ended with the kids going trick or treating with cousins and friends.  Our older two boys stayed home to help pass out candy to those in our neighborhood.   I had taken the other kids over to my sister in law and brother in law's house since they have a bigger neighborhood and the kids made out great in the candy department!  We came home only to find out that not one single person came to our house even though we had our outside light was more candy for us!!  Ha

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Has it Really Been a Year??

I cannot believe that it has really been over a year since my last blog post!!  Life has been so busy that I guess blogging went to the back burner.  Where to even begin??  Well, I will try to backtrack since my last post.
At the end of last September, life had changed drastically.  When we had originally decided to uproot our family from Wisconsin to move down to Arkansas, we figured that we would be living with Jason's parents until they passed away, since that was their plan as well.  Plans change. Things happen in life that alter our plans.  Since his dad's fall, his mom wanted to move closer into town. So at the end of September of last fall, she and my father in law moved out closer to Jason's brother.  Jason still had two more semesters of nursing school to finish, so we were kinda stuck.
In October, my parents came down from Wisconsin for a visit and we had a lovely time.  November came and went with birthdays and celebrations with friends from the homeschool group.  In December, we moved into Jason's parents house since his mom said there would be more room for us in the house.  In January, Jason started up his last semester of nursing school as the kids and I continued with our own schooling.  Jason and I continued taking care of the property and by March, his mom had put the house up for sale.  We knew that the day his parents moved out, that we, too, would be moving.  Living in the country for four years had been such a blessing for our family.  Even though we lived so far from everything, we were still able to build relationships and friendships within our church family and within our homeschool group.
In May, Jason graduated!!  My parents came down for his pinning ceremony that was in the beginning of May.  It was a quick visit, but it was very thoughtful of them to come down and support him.
The craziness now began!!  Jason still needed to take his NCLEX test or his state boards to become a certified nurse.  While we waited for his background check to clear through state and federal, he ended up working out by his brothers in Bentonville.  Week after week, he would travel out there, stay a week, come home on the weekends, then head back out again for another week of work.  On the weekends he would apply online for jobs either here in Arkansas or in Wisconsin.
I was in the middle of trying to sell things for my mother in law since she wanted to get rid of the things she didn't take with her.  That was such a crazy time of posting things on Facebook and Craigslist, then trying to set up days to meet or people to come by to pick up things.  In the meantime, I was also trying to sell some of my own things such as baby things.  I was in the middle of a sell for my pack n' playpen when I just didn't feel right about something.  I quickly went to Dollar General, while Jason went to get our propeller for the boat fixed, and bought a pregnancy test.  I WAS PREGNANT!!!  It was the weekend and Jason didn't leave until Sunday afternoon.  With job hunting and him working back and forth, things were a bit stressful and I just didn't want to add to his stress, so I didn't tell him...FOR 2 DAYS!!  This was supposed to be a joyous time, yet I was more concerned about adding stress.  So I prayed.  Prayed for his reaction when I finally worked up the courage to tell him.  I prayed those two days and God heard my prayers.  Sunday afternoon as Jason was getting ready to leave, I finally broke down and cried and told him.  He said, "Don't be sad, you're supposed to be happy.  What's one more?  We'll make it work.  I hope it's a girl since we have the majority of the stuff we need." What was I worried about?  I felt so foolish to have not told him right away, but maybe God knew I needed to just pray.
In the beginning of June, we were making plans of going on a camping trip with Jason's brother and family, my sister in law's parents, and some friends of his brother's and ours.  Two weeks before we went camping, a hospital in Fayetteville, contacted Jason and was wanting an interview.  By now his background check cleared and he was waiting to take his test, but the interview was scheduled before his test.  We prayed about this decision, since he really wanted to go back up North, but this was the only place that really pursued him.  We decided that it would be good to have a years worth of experience and after a year if he still wanted to move back up North, he would start looking.  So he went for the interview.  The following week was his NCLEX test.  He took his test the next day we went camping.  Oh the agony of not knowing!!  He wanted to just forget about it and enjoy the camping trip, but it was so hard not knowing whether he passed or not.  We had a very fun time camping, canoeing, and kayaking.  He would try to check on line to see if he passed and one website said he did, but he questioned its authenticity.  A few days had passed and he checked again.  HE PASSED!!  The rest of the camping trip was now very relaxing and enjoyable!  When we had gotten back home, he decided to take the job out at Washington Regional in Fayetteville.
The three older kids had an awesome opportunity to attend camp this year at Camp Siloam in Siloam Springs.  They had such fun time and an awesome experience and made many memories!
Now it was time to find a rental house.  The kids and I had gone out with Jason one week when he went out to his brother's to work and we both started looking for rentals.  Nothing.  It was very expensive to rent a 3 bedroom home and have a decent sized yard.  We had only looked for a week, but time was ticking and we really needed to find a place before college started and everything was taken.  In the meantime, Jason, his brother, and friend had been working on remodeling a home in Bentonville when they happen to find out that the homeowners were planning on renting out the house.  They were asking above and beyond what we were looking for.  I prayed about it, knowing that God would provide for our needs.  His friend had talked with the homeowners and was able to talk them down to the price that we could afford and they were willing to rent the house out to us!!  We were beyond thrilled!!  Three bedrooms, a living room, an extra dining room, two bathrooms, and a huge backyard!!  Now we just had to wait until the house was finished!  So Jason continued with traveling back and forth and was now also starting his new job at the hospital while I stayed back in Peel and worked on packing, packing, and more packing.  We tried to squeeze in last minute visits with friends, and I tried to get a few more extra days of work cleaning cabins at the Wagon Wheel.
In July, I had my first prenatal appointment and first ultrasound done.  It's a GIRL!!!  So excited for this added blessing to our family!!
Finally, in the middle of July, the house was done and we could move!  Such a crazy time that was.  I happened to have gotten poison ivy and was now on medication.  My foot was so terrible, that moving made things so unbearable, but we did it.  His brother and family met us at our new home and helped unload the moving truck.  We were able to put the two girls together and squeeze the three boys into one room.  We turned the extra dining room into a play/game/school room and it works our perfect!  The following week, Jason and I had made one more trip out to Peel to get the rest of our things.
It has now been two months since we have moved.  Jesse had been searching endlessly for a job, but has had no success.  I have been looking for a babysitting job to help out, but haven't been too successful either.  Jessica has been wanting a babysitting job and my sister in law was able to find her one!  She will be babysitting with a friend for a Bible study every other Sunday.  I am still searching for a homeschool group, but just haven't found one that we could afford.  My sister helped me find a church!  I have been attending Calvary Chapel of the Ozarks for a month and a half and absolutely LOVE it!!  It is a verse by verse church and I just love that they are in God's Word the entire time.  I have already learned so much!  Jason is almost finished with his training and is now working 3rd shift.  It has been an adjustment.  On his days off, he worked on building from scratch a smoker/bbq grill and did an amazing job!  Jessica has taken up tae kwon do and absolutely loves it!  Last week, I had my second ultrasound to confirm that we were still having girl, and yep, still a girl!
Looking back over this past year since my last post, I see how much our lives have changed and how God's hand has been in it all!!  I am so thankful for His many blessings.

The day before Bill and Doris moved
My parents came for a visit last October
Trick or treating with cousins and friends
Trying to get a nice Christmas picture
Jenna's first time coloring Easter eggs
Family picture at Jason's pinning ceremony

Canoeing and kayaking on the Buffalo River
Jesse, Joshua, and Jessica at Camp Siloam

Last get together with some friends from the homeschool group
Second ultrasound picture to confirm a GIRL!
Tae Kwon Do
Jenna posing with Jessica
Jason's smoker/bbq grill