SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Friday, September 25, 2009

Info Processing

You just can't imagine how adorable it is to see 3 1/2 year old Gabe sitting in the midst of other 3-5 year old at the weekly library story time. He fits right in with all the kids and enjoys the stories immensely.

Gabe doesn't respond as quickly to the questions from librarian Mr. Tom as the others. Even if he knows an answer it takes him a little longer to process and by the time he gets it some other kids have beaten him to the punch. It doesn't bother him a bit. He gets as much enjoyment from just watching all that goes on around him. Still, he tries, and joins in with finger plays and other games as much as possible.

Yesterday, Mr. Tom was talking about pets. He asked the kids if anyone had a pet dog. About 10 hands went up with a chorus of, "I do! I do!" and names of animals were flying through the air. Mr. Tom hushed the roar and asked for a silent survey--good luck, they're 3-5 remember.

Next Mr. Tom asked if anyone had a pet cat. Up went the hands and more shouts of "I do!" Yes, we have cats, but Gabe just sat watching and chewing his finger.

"Does anyone have a fish? a bird?" More of the same.

Then Mr. Tom, always a smart alec for the parents' sake asked, "Does anyone have a pet beaver?"

It was quiet, until Gabe shot his arm up in the air and shouted, "I do!!"

Nobody beat him to the punch that time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Picky Eater

Check out this sandwich--apple butter, mayonnaise, lunch meat, pickles, corn chips, and mustard.

Owen asked, "Why don't you put peanut butter on it?"

Bryce's reply, "I would if we had crunchy. All we have is creamy, and that's just gross."


Owen doesn't do anything half-hearted (except maybe cleaning his room and doing his schoolwork). He's a get-er-done, full steam ahead, go gettum' kind of a guy.

It didn't really work for him with the ranch dressing on the chicken casserole.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Teenagers can have their own sense of style and clothing preferences that are hard for parents to change or influence.

Did you ever try to convince a teenage boy that he would look better with: his shirt tucked in, his pants pulled higher, a belt, his shirt ironed, his hair combed, or something dressier than shorts and a t-shirt? It can be a battle.

But, just announce a spirit-week theme at school and all resistance to a change in the norm just melts.

Case in point, today is "Clash Day".

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pride..good or bad?

Pride is a strange thing. We think it's good, we think it's bad. As a parent I steer my children away from being proud and puffed up, yet I want them to take pride in their work and do things well. I don't want them to be falsely modest nor full of themselves, but honest and humble as they consider their Creator in giving them whatever good gifts they have. As a parent I must temper the pride I have in anything my children do lest I puff them up or insult other parents who may believe that I think my children are better than theirs, thereby insinuating that I am better than them. It can be a slippery slope, and after raising five, and with six still "in progress" I haven't yet found the perfect balance.

With that said, I am proud of Troy. For better or for worse I'm proud of him.

I'm proud of him for entering the high school talent show, for not being too self conscious and afraid of what others think of him to step out and perform for the enjoyment of those who could be the very ones to criticize him and tear him down.

I'm proud of him for choosing to sing a song that speaks of God's love to sinners, and the price that Jesus Christ paid to show that love, for not being too self conscious and afraid of what others think of him to step out and testify of His Savior to a crowd who might very well criticize him and tear him down.

I'm proud of his willingness to put himself on the line with that testimony. Knowing that he will become a target for the enemies of the gospel. Knowing that some will criticize his every move and pick apart every fault and inconsistency in his testimony. Knowing that when he fails to uphold the standards of godly perfection he may have an audience applauding his weaknesses. Knowing that obedience comes with a price.

I'm proud of him for standing confidently before the hundreds in the audience and singing "By Your Side" with strength and confidence to the very best of his ability.

I'm proud of him for telling us this week that his greatest prayer was that the words to that song would touch the heart of someone in his school.

I am happy for him for winning the talent show, but not proud. By the time the judges made their decision my heart had already concluded where it stood in the whole matter.

I hope my pride is founded in righteousness for the glory of God, because it was the testimony of Christ that Troy gave on the stage that caused my eyes to well with tears, and my heart with pride.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Homeschool Day at Six Flags

Leaving our high school boys behind for a day last week, we headed to Six Flags for their annual Homeschool Day. After all, school had been in session for almost 2 whole weeks and we were in need of a major break!

This was our first year attending the Six Flags event and we had a wonderful day. The weather was warm, the sun was shining, the lines were short, and the clothing, language, and behavior of the other park patrons was easy on the eyes, ears, and spirit.

Most of the day was spent enjoying the time and each other. Even so, between Dana and I we found time to record a few memories.

The older group headed off for coasters and thrills while I took Gabe and Lisa looking for calmer entertainment. Even if this ride wasn't too exciting for Lisa, she had to love the look of it.

As we boarded the "Buccaneer Battle" I should have been suspicious of the soaking wet seats. But I wasn't. It looked tame, and no one would get sick on this one, but I didn't realize we'd be the target of the squirt guns all around the area.

Thankfully, we had some ammunition of our own and Lisa enjoyed getting some revenge.

The Buccaneer Battle turned out to be a warm up for what was to come as Dana and Lisa took me to some more "exciting" rides while Keith entertained Gabe in the Wiggles play area.

We were completely, 100%, drenched through and through!

Bryce later informed me that the "Roaring Rapids" were BORING! I thought the ride was pretty fun and Dana enjoyed watching me laugh as much as the ride itself. I decided it must be my antiquity catching up with me. You see, I tried a few roller coasters. I got jostled around on "Demon" and smacked around on "Whizzer". But, it wasn't fun. It hurt. My head felt like it wanted to separate from my body, and that did not feel good. The only roller coaster I even half-way enjoyed was Mr. Spacely's Sprocket Rockets in Cartoonland with Gabe, and even he couldn't get enough of it. Everyone loved watching him climb out of his seat and then crawl into another one while I climbed out of mine.

For the most part, no one shared my sentiment on the roller coaster enjoyment. Lisa liked most of them, but going on the "American Eagle" by herself was a bit too much. Her first words after getting off were, "That was NOT fun!"

Bryce and Owen prepare for the unknown in the tunnel up ahead.

Kent and Dana ham it up a little for the camera.

Somehow, age doesn't keep Keith from LOVING his roller coasters. He was the biggest kid there that day I think.

We were all glad we went, we were all (except Bryce and Owen) ready to leave, and most of us are happy to wait a year before doing it again. I expect when the annual opportunity comes up we'll be ready to do it all over again.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ellen and Daniel's Wedding Photos

Here are the promised pictures taken by Bob Mainhardt. I'm warning you, there are quite a few, 40 to be exact.

Chet singing and playing the piano, just like home

Chris, Arne, and Daniel

Joey and me

Owen and Maria

Josiah and Lisa

Keith and Ellen

A final kiss

Mother emotions

Young hands together

Old hands together

The Ceremony

Ellen and Daniel wrote their own vows, and read them to one another. They later signed the hand written documents and presented them to each other.

A foot washing ceremony was a beautiful representation of the servant spirit that the husband and wife should have for each other.

The kiss

Mr. and Mrs. Kleven

Posing for pictures

The Klevens

The Whites

In honor of Gabe, who was 250 miles away in the hospital, we all held up three fingers the way he does it.

Pictures in the Park

Role Reversal

Daniel with his brothers and sister

Ellen with her sisters