Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Autumn Leaves

This is what the kids have been doing just about everyday after school. I pick up Bailey and Joy from the bus stop in it's into the leaf pile they all go, they play all the way till dinner time and we practically drag them in to eat!

They have been having so much fun raking and jumping and raking and jumping! It has been so fun for me to watch out the window while I make dinner. I even got a few good pictures of them to show everyone. They love to burrow down till they can hardly be seen! Bailey and Joy posed happily for me, Grace and Ethan on the other hand were way too silly to stop and give me a good picture smile!

Mommy's Quilt

So here is my quilt for Faith all completed now. I really love how it came out. My Mom made a couple little zipper bags that coordinate with the quilt and diaper bag that already match. I love this assemble, it's so pretty and girlish. I think I should have some matching burp rags soon too!

Grace's Quilting

Grace should not be left out, she also made a beautiful quilt, this one is for Faith though! My Mom used her machine to stitch "Made by Grace Cole with love for Faith Ball. It is so precious. Now, obviously Grace is a little more methodical about planning a pattern for her quilting than Ethan. She likes everything to match and look just so. She is so proud of this quilt and I know we will use it a lot. It's very snugly, with a flannel backing. Grace now kisses and hugs my belly on a daily basis, and talks to her baby sister frequently, she can hardly wait for her baby sister to arrive now. She can feel her kicking so hard and insists that this is a sign that she is ready to come out and see her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Faith To Come

If I haven't personally told you yet, Faith Elizabeth Ball is to be born on December 26, via c-section. We're very excited obviously! I have heard it all I think now, everything from, "you'll never make it", to "could the dates be off?", and the best, "don't you go into labor now!". First of all, I make it every time - no problem, I know I'm huge, and try and stop me if I do! Facts about me and all three previous pregnancies- I have NEVER gone into labor, I have NEVER been wrong on the dates, all of my previous three babies have weighed 8 pounds 10 ounces and were taken two weeks early! The first was induced and then two c-sections, yes, I grow them big!

Now, all of that said, I have a colposcopy biopsy (it's yucky, look it up if you don't know what one is) on Thursday that could change things. So far I'm just waddlin around, hot, barefoot, and very pregnant, and come Friday I hope to be just the same! While several friends and family have been delivering their babies at even five weeks early, I thought there must be in the water! But, having visited a tiny delivery, I am DETERMINED to keep her in there! We want her good and fat! Pray for that! As my waist line now is measuring around well over what it was at any other baby's delivery, I feel confident in saying I think she's going to go over the 8 pound, 10 ounce mark!

Grace is insistent that even though I currently have birthed three blonds, with blue eyes, THIS little girl is going to have dark brown curly hair and big brown eyes! We'll see Grace (she did say it would be a girl the day she found out though)! She has big plans for this little sister, like, she wants her to move directly into HER room, not ours, and she will take care of her from there!

As the Braxton Hicks contractions have begun to plague every move I make, I wonder, why can't I just tell my body somehow, "no worries, this one's a c-section, no 'practice' necessary!". So, my countdown is definitely on now, as of Friday I will be six weeks away!

A side note, and not bragging at all, this was done in fear-I am completely done with the kids Christmas shopping, stockings and all, this is an all time record for me! I finished in fear (like I said) of bed rest or some such nuisance after Thursday's procedure. It makes me feel a little better (seriously, was I going to leave it up to Rob?), he's fantastic at spending money, but I get the deals, and spend a lot less!

Our house with six is about to be a little more full, and I am still amazed at the wisdom and dreams of my husband, even as a bachelor, buying such a big house, for just himself and Keith, with no prospect of a wife yet. Well, he is wise, and it took a few years, but dreams do come true, I have definitely learned that from him!

Several have questioned "is this the last one?", I have jokingly said that Zachary was the "last one", but here we are, but alas, this will be our last biological one. Sad as I am and not yet 30, the Lord may use us in further parenting endeavors yet, we'll see. Those who know me, know that I would welcome a dozen, but through great debate (between Rob and I) and a great amount of prayer, we're done, God has not provided for that right now.

Left to do? Collect diapers! I was hoping to have our stubborn Zachary potty trained by now, but to no avail! Two in diapers was not the plan, but God will provide, or potty train little "Zachary" Himself! Can I get an "Amen"?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ethan's Quilt

I had previously posted of Ethan's talents in sewing, this time when he went to visit with my Mom for ten days, she taught him to quilt! I would call this a kind of cowboy pattern, mismatch and rugged! He learned how to piece a quilt on the sewing machine "almost all by himself"! He picked his fabrics and laid out his pattern and the result is incredible, and I'm not saying that just cause he my son! It's excellent work! My Mom put on the backing and machine quilted it, then she put his name in the corner and when he made it! I love it! It is just fantastic! I might mention that it originally started out for his baby sister, but because too precious to him to gift, and it proudly now is displayed on his bed instead, accept when someone comes over and Mommy has to show it to everyone!

Shopping for the Wedding Dresses!

This was FUN! My soon to be sister in law, Stacey, her mom, my mom, and myself got to take the little girls shopping for their dresses for the big day! They were buzzing with excitement and full of little girl giggles! Stacey was so gracious and let them pick out whatever they wanted to try on, and they had such a good time! There were dresses that came with miniature versions of their dresses just the right size for their American Girl dolls even, so which ones do you think they chose? They made us laugh so hard when Grace and Joy informed us that they thought they looked "fat" in the solid red dresses! Bailey, who is notoriously always going against the grain chose to stand out and chose a beautiful gown, but of course it too had a miniature dress to match! She immediately put the beautiful little dress on Meow, who had never looked better! While we were there, we had to find a little tiny dress for the coming attraction, Faith, who will also be attending the wedding! But you will have to wait to see that little dress! I will tell you that it has the sweetest little matching black, velvet, Mary Janes! I just realized that I didn't take a picture of the dress that Bailey actually chose, it's similar to the other cream colored one that she tried, but a little different, you'll have to wait to see that one too I guess! I was very happy with the success of our shopping experience, especially since we got them for about $35 a piece and only had to visit ONE store! The shoes on the other hand! Well, they have yet to be found, and Grace and Joy insisted that the cream colored heels we found that matched perfectly, were "old lady shoes" and they "would not" be wearing them! So the search goes on!

I should mention the girls excitement to gain an aunt! On the way to the store, they were discussing amongst themselves whether or not it was yet appropriate to call their soon to be aunt, "Aunt Stacey". They concluded that they should probably wait, and carried on with their conversations of how their hair should look and what the dresses might look like!

Pumpkin Patch

Well, I'm pretty sure we picked the yuckiest day of fall to visit the Pumpkin Patch this year! It was cloudy, spitting a bit and sooooo cold, I thought it may snow! Of course the kids didn't mind much and I was pleasant for quite awhile in my large, pregnant state, but the cold did get the best of us and run us off after a couple of hours, but not before the kids had, bounced on the moon walk, went down all the slides and climbed and jumped off of hay bales to their hearts content! The picture of the kids in the How Tall This Fall picture really depicts well what my time at the Pumpkin Patch was spent doing - CHASING ZACH!

He could not contain his excitement over all that was going on around him, not to mention the 100 of more other kids that were there that morning!
Grace and Ethan were a bit more brave this year and went through the tunnel of hay, and the spooky tunnel! Zach went through the spooky tunnel but decided he'd wait to tackle the tunnel of hay another year. The hay pile was all of their favorite thing to do, they loved climbing as high as they could and jumping into the soft pile of hay below!

thought Ethan's toothless grin made the perfect smile for a little scarecrow! Don't you agree? I had already found the best deal in town on big orange pumpkins, so we didn't pick any out at the patch this year. The kids agreed that our pumpkins were bigger and "oranger" than any of the ones in the field this year! We finished off our trip to the pumpkin patch with a warm bag of popcorn and Zach got a scare from the animated witch in the gift shop, I think he'd rather not meet her again!


While my Mom was in town this last visit we went to the Wizard of Oz Museum in Wamego. I had forgotten how cute the main street in Wamego is. The kids enjoyed themselves, we took Ethan's friend Drew with us, to even it up a bit! They really seemed to like the Wicked Witch and he evil monkey, but I'm not so sure that the gift shop wasn't the girl's favorite part though! I gained a bit of an education myself at the museum, like I did not know that the ruby red slippers were orignally silver! Anyway, a quick trip down the yellow brick road, and we had a great time! Did I mention that if Tacos are your thing, you could visit Toto's Tacos, next door!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Rob took vacation time last week and the kids went to my parent's in Colorado and we WORKED OUR BUTTS OFF! The goal was to complete all the unfinished projects from the flood and we had a lot of success. No more missing trim or holes in the walls and a new ceramic tile floor in the kitchen and dining room! The first part of the week was no big deal, we did the "easy" stuff, then we installed the concrete backer board and tile to the floors! Rob put down the concrete board, (I understand this was NO FUN) and I laid the tile and grouted, Rob was my trusty tile saw expert! I didn't have enough "stuff" on the floor to make the tile stick so we had to put more on it to keep it from popping up, and then, because it's a ceramic, it took longer to dry and the only easy thing was grout! Now, it is dry and looks great. The kids, of course had a fabulous time with Nana and Papa! They went swimming and on field trips and that wonderful woman even substitute taught for me the whole time! She blows me away (love you Mom!)! This year for our anniversary my parents wanted to give us the money to go to a bed and breakfast for the weekend, since the kids were gone for the whole week, we didn't need to go stay anywhere, we had a date every night! We ate out and saw movies and had a great time every evening. Even though we worked so hard everyday we had a great evening to look forward to! So, now when you hear the legend of the seven month pregnant woman that laid 300 square feet of 16 by 16 tile and did not go into labor, you can say, "hey it's true, I know that crazy woman!"
As a side note-you may be wondering why the floors needed to be done -again - yes, they were done only a year ago. My Mom and installed beautiful laminate floors, that six months later started to buckle in the dining room and kitchen, and they couldn't be fixed, so there you have it, as if we needed more to do, now there is tile!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ethan's Natural Talent

Well, this is a new one on me! Ethan wanted a needle and thread to "finger sew" his monkey that was torn. I humored him, I knew that my Mom had taught them a little sewing when they were at her house for a week last year, but I didn't know if he really learned much or just tried really hard. Wow, he can sew! I am amazed! His "finger sewing" is excellent! He fixed his monkey and then went on to fix his snake, who was badly in need of repair. I am so proud of him! My Mom couldn't believe he remembered how. This apparently is a natural talent of his.

Teach them when they are young...

Rob has his quiet time in the morning, usually before any of us are up in the morning, every once in awhile when he sleeps in, Zach will see him sitting in his chair having his quiet time. On this morning Zach just happened to be up early and Rob decided to have his quiet time at the table, while Zach ate his breakfast. As soon as he finished his breakfast he went down to our room and found another bible and brought it up to the table to have a "quiet time" too. It was the most precious thing to walk in and see them reading God's Word. Since that morning, Zach has been getting that bible out and "reading" it almost every day! He sit down and gently turns pages slowly, studying each one! I think it is definitely true, even for a two year old, teach them when they are young...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting Ready For Baby

I have been busy sewing today! I bought some fun fabrics on Friday and today got to sit down and sew away! I'm not completely done, but I'm happy with what I've accomplished so far! I've got some zipper pouches to make for the diaper bag in the coordinating fabrics and some receiving blankets to edge and maybe a bib or little hat. Look out- Mommy's gettin' creative! It's been a long time since I sewed so much and even longer since I sewed a quilt. The fleece tie blanket was a no sew fun thing, it's so snugly! I went and bought some brown corduroy for this diaper bag, I thought it needed a more durable bottom than just a cotton, I really love how it turned out. It's only about 10x12, but it has pockets all the way around it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Tooth Fairy...Again?

Yes, so soon! He pulled the other one too! Now there are no front top teeth! He is so cute, and he talks a little funny too! I love it! He did it right before bedtime-again, luckily the "Tooth Fairy's" husband just happened to have a five on him!


I could not wait to find out! We went in for our 20-week sonogram, took Grace and Ethan with us, Keith didn't want to miss school (what?!) and Zach napped at a friends house. Crossed legs and so much movement made almost impossible to tell, but, it's a girl! We are so excited, we were hoping! I cried, Grace, is SOOOO EXCITED, we all are. Rob said, this is going to be a whole new ball game! Yes indeed! He's never taken care or really been around a girl baby before. Believe it or not, Keith was even sweating it a little, he really wanted another sister too! So we are all so happy and making plans for a little baby girl angel to fill are arms! I compared sonogram pictures and her profile looks very much like Grace's, could I possibly get another look alike? Maybe this one will get my hair color too though. I am three for three in the blonde department! Where is that coming from? Blue eyes too! Everyone knows that I'm hoping for some curls. We've only got about seventeen more weeks till we see her and find out! Crap, seventeen weeks till Christmas too! Did you know that? I haven't even started shopping!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grace's First Day of Home School

Let's just say, not how I imagined it to go! It went something like this...

..."I don't want to get up"...
(grunts and groans)
Pledge of Allegiance
Time for Bible class
..."Workbooks are stupid!"...
(tapping a pencil)
..."I'm not smart enough to do this work!"...
..."This is going to take FOREVER!"...
(more crying)
..."Can't I just get held back a grade"...
(a lot more crying)
(5 minutes later)
..."Done Mommy."

Can I just say that between my pregnant hormones and her nine year old hormones, the morning did not go well! I am going to sleep tonight praying for a better second day!

I have, through a lot of prayer and thought- both head and heart, decided to put everything else aside (MOPS & bible study) and focus on getting this home school thing down. I am going to find an evening bible study/support group that will not take away from school time. This job, I'm learning, maybe just beginning to grasp, is very important. More than even before I am having a huge impact on the way these little adults turn out, I don't want to mess it up!

It has become even more apparent how important prayer and personal bible study is EVERY DAY to being prepared for this job I have. I'm nervous, excited, scared and challenged by what is in front of me and if I knew the extent maybe I would be terrified. For now, everyday, every step, in the Lord's hands and I can do it!

The other subjects went a little better, but I hope I will see daily improvement, okay, weekly? I'm staying positive-daily! Together, we'll all get this thing down, I just have to give it time!
A great feeling is that I have never been so sure that I am doing the right thing for my children as I am right now. This will be great-for all of us!

Fancy Bathroom

Okay, my guest bath is finally done! I really like the way it turned out! I had an itch to decorate something and I touched up some paint in the kitchen and that didn't do it for me so I went digging to finish up the bathroom-finally! I don't want to make anyone sick, but I found all stuff in my attic to do it with. Some old fall flowers, and raffia, the curtain panels I had bought for $5 for the living room, decided I didn't like them in there and lost the receipt before I could return them, and then I used some craft paints from my little sis to paint the hydrangea and vines on the walls. O, darn it, I forgot, I found the pillar at a garage sale down the street last week for $1!

The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again!

Ethan and the Tooth Fairy had a date Saturday night. Though it may not have been ready, that tooth came out! He worked on it and worked on it for two days, and all by himself, yanked it! A look of amazement came over him, he did it! Zachary thought he should try to get one out too, but he cringed at the sight of the bloody loose tooth in Ethan's mouth! None the less, he needed his picture taken of his mouth too!Sure enough Sunday morning-bright and early Ethan came running down the stairs to wake me up and show me the money the Tooth Fairy had left him! Words cannot express how I felt at that proud moment at 6 AM when I had almost two full hours of sleep left!
I will say that Ethan is so cute missing his tooth, it makes me smile every time he cheeses at me!

Zachary Turns 2!

Well, a far cry from Keith big 1-4 was Zachary's second! Lions and tigers and bears! What a great time we had! Cake and ice cream and lots of little people running all over! I have to say, the volume was about the same though! It rained, so everyone was inside and that was fine, the playroom saw some action, that's for sure! Hot Dogs and Cheetos for dinner (Zach's favorite-next to Mexican food!), and a lion cake, made by Mommy with another favorite -ice cream! Presents seemed boring when the first thing to open was a card, then he figured it out and what fun that it really was! He had to have a Razor Scooter! So Mommy and Daddy got him one of his very own!

Keith's Surprise War

This year the kids went on vacation with Nana and Papa to San Diego for a week they did awesome things like a hot air balloon ride, Lego Land, and Sea World, just to name a few! They had a great time and bonus, we planned a surprise party for Keith's 14 the day after they got back! It worked out perfectly, he was very surprised! We had a war theme-water war-that is! What a great time everyone had with that! Not even poor little Zachary was safe!
Girls are not off limits either!

The pictures speak a thousand words! Pretty much everyone ended up at some point in the kid's pool! NO ONE was dry 30 minutes in! Keith, begged for a tattoo, but received 14 year old gifts like gift cards to Best Buy and the long-awaited PSP! Happy 14th Keith,
We love you!

Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure

Rob and I took a trip with all six kids to the Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure Zoo and Museum! One Monday when Rob was off, he said why don't we? And I said yeah! We, had such a great time, what a great zoo and museum, the kids agreed, it was really fantastic! All the animals, in spite of the heat, were out to play. We came at feeding time to, you could say that we kind of followed the dinner wagon around. They were all happy and putting on a show that seemed just for us! The picture at left is a picture of a Mandrill. A particular Mandrill took a fancy to Zach and followed his every move and even acted upset when one of the other kids stepped in front of her so she couldn't see him anymore! They a had a game of hide and seek going! In the heat we were privy to an up close seat of the lions enjoying their blood ice blocks too! Boy, do they love that! They purred like kittens! Like I said, we visited the museum there also, a must in our opinions! It is the best display of taxidermy we've ever seen. Very impressive, and they had even more species of animal in there than in the zoo. I have to say it did make Zach a little nervous because there were no fences between us and those tigers and he wasn't convinced that they weren't still alive! The day was very hot, but we were impressed by all the shade we found to stand and watch animals under, it made it quite pleasant really, and the water misters that they had throughout the park kept the kids wet and cool all day! We had a great time! By the way, you get a big discount for being a member of the Friends of the Topeka Zoo too!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Grace Visits the OBGYN

Not for her, with me, for mine! Recently I took her along, mainly to hear the baby's heartbeat. But I always wanted her to feel included and understand a little better what was taking place. We looked through a magazine from the Dr.'s office that showed pictures of the inside, micro cam stuff. We talked about how the baby lives and grows in my tummy for the 40 weeks it there and the stages that things happen in. She is very interested in these things. So off we went to my appointment. She met the man that delivered her nine years ago, the wonderful Dr. Breck Edds, and to his amazement and mine, had some very intelligent questions to ask him about what exactly was going on. For example, she asked, "How much room does the baby have right now, I mean, how big, exactly, is Mommy's uterus right now?" I stifled a laugh, I was so amazed, I don't know why, she is so brilliant like that. Dr. Edds looked at me, wide eyed, and answered her to the best of his ability and she was satisfied. All in all she had a great time and would love to go again sometime. I was so glad to share that with her. Now for the tough question, she wants to know why some people don't believe that a baby is alive until it's born? And if we tell them that they are, won't they stop killing them? My sweet girl, I wish that it were that simple. She had heard the word "abortion" and asked what it meant one evening in the car. I was the sad recipient of that question and proceeded to as gently as possible explain the meaning, I wish there were not such cruel things in this world to try and explain.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Grace's Ninth

Grace turned 9 ("FINALLY"-she'd tell you!). We had, at her request, quite a little luau. Complete with the limbo! The little girl in the picture behind Grace won, she went sooo low!

For the party I even found little straws with umbrellas on them to drink our punch with. Grace chose the menu this year, it included a mandarin orange cake with a whipped cream and crushed pineapple icing-YUM! She chose a rainbow sherbet, and of course, Hawaiian Punch. My Mom and Dad came dressed appropriately, I love this picture of them!

The guests all posed for their pictures, I really liked this one of Grace. This year was the first that Grace actually requested clothes for gifts, she's never cared about them before, I guess that just a sign she's growing up! She got some adorable, very grow-up looking outfits that she has worn just about every day since! Polly Pockets were expected, and she was not disappointed! She also spent her birthday money on another Polly Pocket set. She's quite the collector.

She had a great time celebrating her birthday this year with friends and family, I'd say she was princess for the day, but she's the princess everyday around here!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Mediterranean

Rob and I just got back from a cruise in the Mediterranean on Sunday night! What a wonderful trip! My Mom and Dad took all of my sisters, brother and our significant others with them to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary! We also celebrated my Mom's 50th
birthday, and then my brother Nick proposed to his girl friend while we were on the ship (she said yes)! We had so much celebrating to do! We first flew to Barcelona, Spain, where we stayed for a couple of nights before boarding our cruise ship. We ate at amazing restaurants and Mom and Dad even humored us with a little "Lady and the Tramp" pasta scene-so funny!
We visited so many amazing churches, the most memorable in Barcelona was the Sagrada Familia, designed by the famous Gaudi. It looked like a massive sand castle, it was so intricate too.

A day and a half after we boarded our ship, we ported in a beautiful harbor in Malta, it is nicknamed the city of golden honey because of it's color, in the morning sunrise it was stunning!This is a picture of Rob and I with the Maltese countryside behind us, it was so beautiful.

Right after sunset, after we had left Malta, our ship passed an island that had a volcano erupting, that was unexpected and a beautiful thing to see at sunset.

In the morning we awoke to Naples, where we took the tour of Capri, Sorrento, and Pompeii. I have lots of pictures from here, there was so much to see, here's my favorites.
This is my Mom and Dad with Capri behind them.

I love this picture of me and my sisters, it's in front of a very famously photographed coastline of Capri. We took a picture like this in Colorado about ten years ago. What memories that brought back!

This is Nick trying to take a drink from a fountain in the Pompeii ruins, dry for about two thousand years! This was the neighborhood drinking fountain till the eruption in 79 AD.
The next day we found ourselves in Rome. We saw the Colosseum, where Rob literally dug up a little history to bring back to Keith (a rock from the floor), and we walked all over taking pictures of this ancient marvel. If you didn't know, most of the ancient Rome has been buried and built on top of, our favorite part of Rome was in St Clemente's Basilica, where we could go down stairs, from the present day church where they still hold mass to the 4th century church, and down another level to the 1st century church where it was built approximately 40 AD! It was incredible!

In Florence, this was my favorite church, it was so fantastic! All marble out the outside! It was so intricate. I actually don't remember the name of this church though!

Well, Rob and Andrea ended up with the stomach flu and had to stay on the ship the day we made port in Florence and visited Pisa. This picture is me in front of the Tower of Pisa, yep, it's a leaning! Anyway, it's stable now, you can go in it, but I didn't have enough time, actually, it's like a million steps and I had no interest in trying them out!
In Florence I saw the tombs of Michael Angelo and Galileo, they have very ornate tombs as you can probably imagine.

This is the Nice, France port that we visited the next day. The flowers were beautiful, in bloom everywhere. Just amazing gardens everywhere, even balconies.
This is the port of Monaco behind Rob, huge yachts were all over the place here! We also saw the famous Monte Carlo Grand Casino, where the wealthiest gamble. Ferrari and any other very expensive car you can imagine were just driving down the street one after another!

This is the beautiful city of Eze, a beautiful little village built on top of a mountain! The winding streets that are too narrow to drive a car on and one hotel at the very top! Every nook is now filled with artisans shops, that create beautiful masterpieces and sell them, any type you can imagine, from glass to paintings.

Every street is made up of these ornate patterned cobblestones, the time it took, I can't imagine. Eze is oozing with creativity though!

During this entire cruise with my family, you can imagine that there was never a dull moment and of course with all the celebrating going on that was double! If you gauge who was having the best time everywhere we went by laughter to tears, it was definitely us! We had so much fun, the shows were terrific and Rob and I actually got to be a part of the magic show with Bob Trunell one night. Right there, in the action for some really talented slight of hand tricks. Having never been on a cruise before, I was impressed, I'd go again!

Everywhere we went the food was incredible! Everywhere, I haven't weighed in, nor will I!!! I was blessed with a break from my nausea, and what a blessing that was! I ate all the fantastic foods, and tried all kinds of things I'd never eaten.

The thing that was the most exciting to me I think was my brother's engagement, and getting to know my soon to be sister in law even better! I love you Stacey, you are fabulous!

There are a few pictures that others got that I wanted to share, so I will get back to you with those.