Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy Birthday, Judah: The Goose Egg Edition

Wow!  When you get this behind on a blog it just feels overwhelming to even do a single post.  I'm still completely busy right now, but I expect that may be the case for a good many years so I am just going to try to chop away at it bit by bit like I usually do when I am a month behind.

Judah got this Robin costume for his birthday.  He asked for it specifically.  The plate is full of "bug" appetizers that were a big hit.  Ritz crackers with cream cheese and a ladybug made of half a grape tomato and a quarter of a black olive.  
So, our sweet and not so sweet Judah/Ben/Benny/Benjamin (depending on who you ask/he says you can call him whatever you want)  turned four towards the end of August, and we were hoping it would bring an end to this wacky behavior of fits over the littlest things, like getting dressed or eating dinner, but, alas, it was not to be.  His fits and resistance to bedtime have continued, but I would say they are slightly less often and we haven't had any huge ones lately either so maybe we are on the down slope of it all.  The big 4 did bring with it a hernia diagnosis (possibly from said giant fits or from his coughing fits when he gets asthmatic with a cold, hard to say.)   Also, he got to wear the handed down wooden "4" necklace from when I was a kid.  Unfortunately, he was swinging it around on the playground at kindergarten and hit himself in the forehead big time.  Here's a picture with the goose egg.

 The Good News:  He is otherwise healthy and a very cute, pleasant boy.  If you don't push the wrong button he can be quite adorable.  Judah is also very smart and asks to do "school work" whenever Drew is doing his.  He can recognize all his numbers through ten, count, tell more or less, recognize most of his letters and say their sounds.  He knows how to play many card games with the big kids.  He's about 35lbs.  He LOVES insects right now and wants to know all about them.  He catches them and tries to scare his sisters with them.  He'll pick up anything, and we are working on that because he even picked up a bee one day at the pool and was letting it crawl all over his hand.  He said, "Look, Mom, it didn't sting me!"  Luckily, it was water logged and didn't sting him, but he was then instructed not to try that stunt again.  I call him my little entomologist.  Lately he's been asking me a question, and if I say "I think..." before answering he replies with, "Can you look it up on the internet to check?"  He and Bobby have been getting on better lately with lots of love, hugs, and kisses to be shared.

Responsibilities:  He's getting off easy with the chores since he has so many more compliant brothers and sisters (at least at the moment) and he only has to set the table before dinner, take the empty egg crates to the fireplace, clean up his room after rest time, and line up the shoes by the back door.

He got a promotion from sidekick to superhero.

Privileges:  His four year old privilege is to move to a booster and switch from nap time to rest time.  He started skipping naps and doing rest time a couple months ago because he was staying awake so long at night that I thought it would help him go to sleep better (at night) if he wasn't napping, and it has mostly done that.  We haven't made the full transition to booster yet because of pure lack of time to get the car seat out of the van and the booster in place, but if he is riding in any other vehicle he does ride in a booster now.  I can't believe I am about to be down to one car seat.

The cake was a mixture of ideas from Pinterest.  I made the ladybugs out of strawberries, blueberries and icing.  The spiders were oreo cookies and icing.  The worms crawling out of the cake were gummy worms coming out of the "dirt" AKA the chocolate cake where I scarped away some of the icing.  He asked for his name to be written on it with a "fancy J."  Even though he says you can call him "whatever you want" he still spells his name J U D A H and introduces himself that way too.

Celebration:  We had a bug cake, bug appetizers, and we had a simple dinner at home.  Normally we go out to the restaurant of the birthday boy/girl's choice, but since Judah has such a picky palate we left off that tradition for him.  I always bring a PB&J to restaurants for him because I will not pay for food he is not likely to eat willingly, and I will not force him to eat a dinner when I am trying to enjoy mine.  Hence, the dinner at home!  I was just glad his specifications for a cake were all doable.  He threw in the need for worms on his cake at the last minute, but luckily we had gummy worms to come to the rescue.

Happy birthday, dear Judah!  We love you and are so thankful for you sweet heart, your smile, and your desire to share and be loving more often than not.  You are funny, adorable, cuddly, and a smarty pants.  We love you so!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Isaac Turns Nine and Takes a Rain-check on his Birthday Celebration

In the middle of the week of the sickness where we only left the house to go to the already scheduled doctor appointments and take Isaac to golf camp, Isaac turned nine.  I let him open all his gifts on his birthday, but we postponed his birthday dinner and his cake because no one would've been able to enjoy it anyways.  Plus, I was on Bobby holding duty the whole week.  So we postponed it until Saturday when everyone was feeling better except for our house guest, who had arrived jet-lagged and overly exhausted from a lot of traveling, just in time for this nasty disease to get him while he was down.  I guess I was the only one to escape it, although Isaac had an extremely moderate case of it.

So it was postponed.  Here's the gift opening pictures.  Take note of all the popcycle eating sickies.

Games, Legos, and books...what more could a boy ask for?

Isaac asked for a Lord of the Rings cake.  This is what I decided on from Pinterest.  I couldn't find a gold icing color, so I went with a mixture of yellow and orange to get this color.  Then I made the "Elvish" writing in black ink so you could see it.  It was fun!  I listened to the LOTR soundtrack on Alexa for inspiration.  I only ran out of room for two letters, so I was happy with that.

Made my sweetheart happy and that's all that mattered to me on his special day!

We went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, the same one Genevieve picked for her birthday.  Everyone was happy to get chips and salsa.

Isaac's nine year old privileges are to be allowed to walk holding Bobby (which he can't do yet because of his arm) and to have a date with dad (girls were with mom) to talk about growing up and "stuff."  We usually don't end up getting around to that until they are closer to ten, but we still count it as a nine year privilege.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Our Heavy Heart and Six Little Sickies

A couple of weeks ago, we had a whole slew of bad news and the children all (six) got very sick.  It started on our trip, when we got the news that Brian's grandmother had died.  On the trip we also got word that a dear friend of ours here in Germany that we've known for ten years had tumors in his brain and was having surgery soon.

The last day of the trip, I mentioned that Drew got sick and threw up all the way home.  Poor guy!  This is not the first trip that he was puking all the way home.  It also happened coming back from Nevers, but most of the sickness then had happened over the night before and not as much in the van as this time.  The next day his tummy felt better, but he developed painful sores in his mouth.  Then a few days later Judah got them, followed by Bobby, then Hannah, then Genna, and Isaac was the last to fall on his birthday.  Fortunately, the big kids had an easy go of it.  The youngest three though had sores for about three or four days before they could eat anything solid.  They were all so hungry, but it hurt so much to eat.  I was fixing them food or smoothies all day long.  They went through fifteen popcycles and four packages of jello in 24 hours.  Not to mention all of the ice cream and shakes, which was just what the doctor ordered when he confirmed what I suspected, that it was Hand Foot and Mouth disease.  Bob's well check had already been scheduled for the Monday after we got back and Bob woke up feeling feverish and wouldn't eat.  So the doctor had a chance to look at his mouth and even found the spots on his hands and feet that I had missed.  My poor, sweet Bobby had the hardest time.  He'd just scream a high pitched scream about every ten minutes and say his mouth hurt, while trying to rip it off.  He was hoarse by the end of the week because there wasn't much you could do to help him save ibuprofen and Tylenol.  He didn't enjoy the popcycles as much because it hurt to stick his tongue out far enough to lick them.

To make matters worse, Brian got it too and very badly.  He had to go to the funeral feeling awful.  Then his cousin died too.  And one final (God-willing!) piece of bad news was that I discovered that Judah has a hernia.

Whew!  It was a rough week and a half.  Our hearts are heavy for our friends and family, but we carry on with the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Rafting in Cesky Krumlov

When we arrived in Cesky Krumlov, we got settled at our respective hotels/apartments and then set out to find lunch.  We walked over toward the castle and then settled on a place on the river to eat at.

These kids have so much fun at meal times together!
Next we walked on up the hill to the castle and walked around it, taking pictures, and enjoying the view of the city/town from up there.  I was really looking forward to an iced coffee with an ice cream bar stuck in it like I had last year at the coffee shop at the top of the castle, but, alas, it was just a regular iced coffee this year.

Love!  We got so many good pictures on this trip!

The next morning we got up and met the rafting company right outside our apartment.  They took us and two rafts up the river for about a 15km rafting trip.  We stopped often on the side of the river to eat, drink, and play in the river making that trip a very long one.  It was the full day!  Bob and I had a little nap in the raft at one point.  Judah fell asleep at the end of the day too.

Last year, I didn't get to go rafting because Bob was too young.  This year we all got to go and we all fit just perfectly into one raft.  We traded kids out at stops sometimes between our two rafts.  We raced each other on and off , and the big kids all helped paddle.

Love this picture!

Judah crashed in the raft at the end of day 1.

Great picture at the end of day 1!  Judah had just woken up from his raft nap.

Day 2 was a bit longer of a distance, maybe 17km, unless I am getting these two days mixed up.  I am late writing this so it is entirely possible that it is backwards.  This day was basically a repeat of the fist day.  The food along the river was not super, but maybe I was just comparing it to Prague's delectable food options.  Lots of fried sausages and some questionable meats that they called hamburger patties were no ones' favorite.  The baked sheep cheese was good though.

Because the weather had been so hot, it was really refreshing to play in the water and not too cold.  The river was slow enough that there wasn't much danger of children floating off down stream, so it was a blast for the kids.  

The kids were loving this pond that had been made by some other people before us.  They kept trying to catch the tiny fish in their cups.

At one point we got tired of racing each other and tied the rafts together using the extra life vests.  Bob looks like he's jumping ship in this picture! 

Bobby fell asleep at the very end of the rafting trip on the second day and just slept through two chutes and unloading the raft, and then the dads dragging it up out of the water all the way until the rafting company came to pick us up and needed to load up the raft.  He has a straw in each hand that he held onto the whole time as well.

Our boatload from the view of the front seat where Bobby and I sat.
Poor Bobby got a bad rash from his wet bathing suit the first day, and on the morning of our departure Drew woke up sick.  He threw up all the way home, but he's a pro at it and hit that bucket every time.  Poor boy!