Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Memories

Was March a long month for anyone else? It just seemed to go on and on and on for me. I don't know how in the world I put up 27 posts this month and still had so many pictures that I loved left over! Here's a few...along with some of those quotes I don't want to forget!
Uncle Ira is so fun!

Are they sharing the cat food? Hmmm...
Joey loves Yogi's hat.
Don't let me fall, Dad!
What a smile!
We love playing with Grace!
Micah's first attempt at writing his name. Look carefully, all the letters are there.
Orange sunkist moustache -- love it!
I get in so much trouble if Micah finds out that I have cracked any eggs without him! He was in heaven the other day when I made up a bunch of breakfast burritoes.
Quite the handsome little man...
He gives 'em out sometimes, but mostly you have to steal any kisses you get from this one these days...
While Micah spent a week at Gammie and Poppy's with no brothers, we had a little party of our own -- a fruit party. That's what Conner wanted, while we watched American Idol. :)
Conner, the biggest cousin was is so proud of Baby Kaleb. He loved to just sit there and let Kaleb squeeze his finger. (Thank you Krystal for the cool picture!) And another handsome little man...
Joey has become quite the little toddler, but this is still one of his favorite ways to get around.
Nope, not a Soda Shoppe Malt...just a Danimals yogurt smoothie...cute though, huh?
Reading, reading...always reading...
Mr. Ron is always so sweet to take a few minutes out to entertain the boys when he's working outside.
Micah, as we were preparing to go to BooBoo and Yogi's house for the weekend: "Well I call it Yogi and MeeMaw and BooBoo's house...Dey wike me dere (they like me there)...Did you know dat dey got some toys? (they got some toys)...Did you know dat dere are gwee potties dere? (there are three potties there?)...and two...no, no, no, gwee (three)...no, no, no...dey got some beds dere (they got some beds there)."

When you ask him to spell his name, Micah says, "M...C...line-dot-i...A...H"

Trying to think of a snack that was acceptable to both of us, Conner's face finally lit up with a grand idea. "I know!" he said. "I think I need some self-control. How about pineapple?" I guess the expression on my face said it all, because he went on to say, "On the poster in Ms. Tammy's class, the pineapple is self-control." Must be the fruits of the Spirit...

Bret had just gotten home from playing raquetball the other day, and was as usual, very sweaty. He stopped on his way to the shower to play karate with the boys for a minute. Upon touching him, Conner said, "Eww Dad. You're all wet."
Bret acknowledged him and said, "Yes, I just got finished exercising."
"Oh," said Conner. "You mean that's exercise water?"

When I went to pick Micah up after he spent a week at Gammie and Poppy's house, he ran to give Conner a hug. They shared a sweet little brotherly embrace, and then ran off to play on the playground. "Wait!" I exclaimed. "Where's my hug?" expecting Micah to come give me one. Instead, he looked at me, pointed to the other side of the room, and said, "Over dere." Then he ran off and disappeared into the slide.

Conner has a stuffed animal that is a monster. Some of it's body parts come out, and they have pictures on them -- like bats in his brains, bolts in his stomach, you get the idea. (Yes, kind of gross!) When Conner pulled out the heart the other day, he seemed to notice for the first time that it had a crack in it. "Oh," he said. "No wonder this monster looks so mad. His heart is broken because Jesus isn't in it."
When we went to meet Baby Kaleb, Micah suddenly had two babies in his tummy. One was a boy, one was a girl, and both of their names were "Mike." One would be born in two days, one would be born in three. "You didn't tell me I was going to be a grandma!" I said. "No," he said, scowling. "You are not a gwan-ma. You are my mom." :)

And as a bonus:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Little Mechanics

The battery/starter solenoid/starter went out on Bret's truck just before the Foundations Retreat and Arkansas trip. It's been sitting in the driveway waiting on him to get home, rip the old stuff out, and then put the new stuff in.

It's been kind of slow going, as he's been working on it between his normal church planter/pastor/husband/father duties...and then there's always the unexpected and time-consuming roadblocks...but we're getting there.

Conner and Micah have been totally into helping him. They want to be under the truck with him, they want to know what the parts are, what the tools are, how everything works. This is probably another reason it's taking a little longer...but Bret is loving it.

Just thought I'd share a few quotes after a couple of days of work:

When I asked what all he was learning, Conner said, "Daddy said the brake pipe makes sure the brakes work. Everything I see he tells me what it is. But first he has to know what I see. And one little thing that holds the little thing you turn around, it's called an oil holder. If you turn the little thing and take it off, oil will come out on you. That's bad."

Then I asked, "What's wrong with the truck?"
"Some things got un-loose. I think the truck was going so fast that the screws and stuff are just kinda falling out."

"Micah, what did you learn?"
"I wasn't doing anything. I was laying under the truck. I sawed a hole under there."

"Do you know what's wrong with the truck, Micah?"
"Yeah. It's bwoken."

A little later, I sent Micah out to check on Bret. "Dad, I'm just checkin' on ya."(Micah crawls under the truck with Bret and looks up.) "Yup, looks like you're doing good." (He then crawls back out and goes back to playing in the mud.)

A little while later Conner informed us, "I think the truck is really broken now. Dad's been working on it for two days!" (Kids will keep your humility in check, won't they?!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Family Sunday

It was Family Sunday at the Christ Journey worship service this morning. To go with our message from Haggai, we participated in an ancient Israeli celebration, in which families read together Psalms 113-118. Cool, huh? (Way to go, Chris!) The Wells family was assigned Psalm 118.

Trying to find the best way for our family of three readers and two non-readers to participate in this together, Bret and I looked it up and read it in several different translations before we divided it up and made assignements. Even just the exercise of putting it together was kind of fun.

The first four verses repeat a phrase several times, which is then repeated again at the end. Sooo...I read the first part of the psalm from the Message, and Micah memorized the phrase "His love never quits!" He also knew to say it everytime that I nudged him. We marked the verses that Conner would read next in his children's Bible, and then Bret finished us up...until the last phrase when we said in unison, "His love never quits!" Micah was so proud to have such an important part, and Conner was of course glad for any excuse to read his Bible to an audience.

Everyone had their parts down and knew exactly what to do when we practiced last night and this morning before worship, but...

Micah wouldn't say his lines.
I know he knew what to say and when to say it, but he wouldn't speak. Just stood there with his softie sucking his thumb. I was so sad -- I wanted everyone to hear his little three-year-old voice say, "His wuv nevah quits!"

He waited patiently while I finished reading my part. (Look how anxious Conner is for his turn!)But then while Conner was reading (he did an excellent job -- we're so proud!) Micah decided it would be a good idea to just lay down on the floor up there. I tried to at least get him to stand up.

But...no such luck. So I just picked him up and held him. About that time, Joey (whose part was to quietly chew on his marker and be still while the rest of us read) decided that he needed to help his Daddy hold the microphone. So I put Micah back down and took Joey. Bret read his part, and we all said the last line together -- except for Micah who had laid down on the floor again! Oh, well...at least Conner did a great job! (Thanks to Uncle Chris and Bubba for being there with us and snapping the pictures!)

We began to walk back to our seats, and I was trying to get Micah to stand up -- not the easiest thing to do when I was holding Joey and Micah was unwilling. Bret shooed me away, saying he'd get Micah. Awesome. I continued walking back to our seats...and then tripped over a microphone cable. I stumbled, I swayed, I took a few steps to catch myself, but I remained upright! Everyone gasped in terror that I was about to bust, worried that I would smoosh Joey in the process. Yeah, it was one of my prouder moments...

But to give Micah credit, I guess he really was tired and needing to lay down. A few minutes later he was on the floor again -- this time actually asleep!

It was a little crazy, but isn't that kind of part of what family is about? I thought it was a great thing to do on Family Sunday, and I'm so glad that we got to participate in this way. After an awesome Children's Sermon (Mr. Ron, you're the bomb!) where we remembered/realized that all of these ancient Bible characters we read about are actually our great-great-great-times-who-knows-how-many grandfathers, it was cool to think that thousands of years ago there were probably other families with small children trying to do the same thing...

And by the way, I hear the podcast version of the Wells Family Bible reading is pretty funny -- applause, clunkity-clunk-thump-thump, applause. Look for it tomorrow (hopefully?) at christjourneylife.com!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cousin Kaleb

He's here, he's here! Kaleb Dean Strong was born this morning at 2:39am to Tiffany and Kevin (Bret's sister and brother-in-law), 7 lbs-10 oz, 20 1/2 inches. I am finally an aunt, Bret is finally an uncle...and the Wellsbrothers are so excited to finally be cousins!

We got the phone call yesterday afternoon around four...threw some clothes in a bag...went to dinner with some friends...ran to WalMart...drove to Singleton...found out that Bret was **on his way home!!**...got to Gammie's just before 11pm...listened to a crying baby for over an hour until after midnight...got the wee-hour-of-the-morning-"the-baby-was-born"-phonecall...went back to sleep...woke up...got everyone dressed...drove to the hospital...met Kaleb...hugged Mommy Tiff...evacuated the room so that Kaleb could eat...ate our own brunch, put on the "cousin" shirts, and played Leapster...went back in the room...evacuated so the nurse could check everyone out...went back in the room...evacuated so that the nurse could do some more stuff...went back in the room...took the cousin pictures...evacuated and came back here to Gammie's so that Mommy and Baby could rest (yeah right!)...Whew, I need to rest, too!

The kids had matching "cousin" shirts -- thanks Aggie and Gammie and Granny! Conner is the "biggest cousin," Micah is the "bigger cousin," Joey is the "big cousin," and Kaleb is the "little cousin." Here's our attempts at a group picture...yes, we bribed them with Starburst. I love it! :) Welcome, Kaleb -- and Congrats, Tiff and Kevin! Bret, we can't wait to see you...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cuckoo-Head Kronkinator

Today was wet and cold and dreary. We so missed the warmth and sun that we've been getting used to! Needless to say, today was not a day that we spent much time outside. But Monday was.

Our neighbors, Ron and Debbie, offered to pay Conner and Micah 50 cents for each grocery bag of pinecones that they picked up. The boys have not taken full advantage of this offer, their interest coming in spurts. But Monday they were interested. They rolled the big dump truck to the back of the house and started filling it up. (Well, mostly it was Conner filling it up...Micah doesn't like the pricklies on the pinecones...)When it got full, Micah pitched in and caught the load.

When the bag was about half-full, their interest began to wane, and they invented a new way to find pinecones. They each got a stick, called a "Kronkinator," which somehow "helped" them find new pinecones....and when this got old, the stepped it up a notch and employed the Cuckoo-Head Kronkinator.But just minutes after this picture was taken, there was a huge fight which resulted in all of the Kronkinators being broken, a bumped head, and a scratched arm. The mean ol' mommy said that was enough of the Kronkinators and pinecones -- yes, even the Cuckoo-Head Kronkinators!

So the bag is still only a little over half full. No, I have no idea where they come up with this stuff... :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kayaks and Backpacks and Bears...Oh My!

I'm on my own this week. Bret has gone on a week-long, 35-mile kayaking/backpacking trip on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. He, my brother Ira, and my brothers-in-law Robert and Chris have been planning and dreaming about this since early in the fall.

They've all been saving, asked for Christmas gifts in accordance with the needs for this trip. They've shopped together, had planning meetings, bought books, been working out...this has been a BIG deal.

Bret had his backpack packed two or three weeks before the departure date. He's even thrown it on and hiked up and down the road in front of our house a few times, to make sure everything was balanced and to get himself used to the weight of the 40-pound pack. Here he is Saturday night, before they left Sunday afternoon.
They met up in Granbury Sunday afternoon, loaded up Dad's truck, ran out to Chris and Lydia's to change clothes and grab the other kayaks, and were on their way. They would all probably be really mad at me if they knew I was posting a picture of them packing the truck -- and including a picture that shows the world that a Target bag was among the items packed. Nice and manly, huh?

I was doing okay with this, not worrying too much about all of the "wild things" that lurk about in the wilderness they were going into...until I heard Bret mention to someone else that they would be hanging their food from the trees so that the bears wouldn't get it. Bears? I didn't know there would be bears...

So that's been the running joke -- Rachel's worried about the bears. Truth be told though, I'm much more worried about really bad sunburns, keys/cell phones drowning in the river, gashes requiring stitches, broken ankles, and the like. In fact, I'm not entirely sure that if one of these guys injured themselves badly enough that it needed medical attention, but not badly enough to be considered life-threatening, that we wouldn't hear about it until they showed up back home on crutches. I don't think they'd lie...I'm just not sure they would "think" to mention it...

As they drove on Sunday, Bret was pretty good about updating his twitter:

So, we're in Pickle Gap, AR...which is fairly close to Toad Suck Park. 2 days ago
Middle of nowhere national park...awesome!!! We made it - time for cigars on the banks of the Buffalo River. 1 day ago
3 AM -Just chased racoons away from our stuff for the second time tonight...nobody seemed to hear them fighting over our breakfast...awesome 1 day ago
At least they weren't bears! good morning rain... 1 day ago
12:30 - Kayaking, fishing and turning off my phone... 1 day ago
About the same time as his last update, he also called me to say that they were about to set sail and emailed me these pictures from his phone:

Beautiful, isn't it?!

But that's it. That last update/phone call/email was around noon yesterday. They've turned off the phones, conserving batteries in case of a real emergency. Lydia did get a text from Chris this morning confirming that they had made it through Night #2... I know that "no news is good news," but I can't help but worry that "no news is because my phone and the rest of me are in the belly of a bear," or that "no news is because Bret got sunburned so badly today that his nose actually fell off, and if we call anyone Rachel might find out." (Yes, he took sunscreen and a sunhat and promised to use both...but this is the kid who could even get "moonburned" that we're talking about here!

So that's what Bret's doing this week...the boys and I are holding down the fort. We actually tried the zoo again today. We had a wonderful, beautiful, well-deserved afternoon!
Missing our hubby/Daddy and can't wait for him to be safely back home...

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Chicken Coop-Construction Zone-Space Station-Jail-Playhouse

The Wellsbrothers spent the weekend with Yogi and Booboo so that Bret and I could attend the Christ Journey Foundations retreat. They did all kinds of fun and cool stuff, but I think the chicken coop gets the prize for being the funniest.

Dad bought some baby chicks several weeks ago, and is preparing for them to be big enough to be moved from their little baby chick pen soon. He's building a chicken coop inside the existing chicken yard. It's not quite finished yet, it certainly does not contain chickens yet...and as far as the Wellsbrothers are concerned, it's a playhouse. (For those of you who are wondering why in the world a chicken coop would have a solid floor -- Yes, Dad knows it will get full of chicken poop fast. He wants it to. He has measured and figured and built it just right so that he can scrape it all out, mix it with the leaves in his compost pile, and make some great fertilizer...)

They moved all of the scrap wood pieces inside and built cities... just so that they could be knocked down.They pretended that it was a space station taking them to Saturn. But you had to be careful where you landed -- the rings are made of ice, and it would never work to land there!They put themselves in jail.Sounds like a great game to me! :)

I think they had so much fun that Dad's gonna have a hard time putting the chickens in it and "messing it up." I wouldn't be surprised if there's another playhouse out there soon -- one that won't be for the chickens...
Thanks, Mom and Dad!