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Happy 65th Wedding Anniverary

Two weekends ago we packed the van and headed north to Ted’s parents house.  Our van was full with our 4 kids and Lucy but Ted’s grandparents were celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary so off we went.  There were quite a few uncles, aunts, and cousins visiting also.  There was a lot of games, chatting, and eating.  IMG_9570

While there Ted’s uncles started playing a game called kubb.  Great Grandpa Sam had made us all kubb sets but I never looked up the rules, we just played with the blocks so this was our first look at the real game.  Got to say we fell in love with the game.  My boys fell in love with the game too so when we made it home we dug out our set and started playing with the youth group.  It has been great.  Anyways, back to the weekend, our boys tried to get anyone to play with them including a very happy Grandpa when he finally hit a block.  IMG_9582

Sunday after everyone left, we decided to take our kids for a walk around the lake.  We were fully determined to introduce Lucy to deer flies, mosquitoes and ticks.   We succeeded.  It was quite the little adventure.  It started out as a nice little walk around the lake. IMG_9593

We then ran into where the beavers were working.  The bridge that was there was now under water so we had to move some boards around so we could cross.  I think this is where Lucy started to think she is living with a crazy family.  IMG_9595

 

We all made it across the dam except for Jason, he lost his balance and got a little wet but not too bad.  Lucy made one wrong jump and got a little muddy but again not too bad.  Jenna and Quinn thought it was great fun to get piggy-back rides across all of the obstacles.  Luke and Ryan thought it was just awesome that I would allow them to cross on their own.  As we continued on our walk, we ended up walking past Jason’s deer stand which everyone had to climb and look at the view.  IMG_9608We came to another little creek on our walk that we had to walk across on the rocks.  Luke went across very carefully, stepping on every rock with control.  When it came to Ryan’s turn, he wanted to cross just like Luke, well, that was until he lost his balance.  Then he took a flying leap to make it to the other side.  IMG_9626While up there we promised Lucy that we would take her on a 4-wheeler ride and on the jet ski.  She was pretty excited.  We got her on the 4-wheeler but it was too cold to use the jet ski.  Luckily today we stopped by a friends house who just happens to have a jet ski.  He took us out for a few rides.  We had a blast.  On the way home I asked Lucy if she had fun and her answer was that this was probably one of the best July’s she has had.  It was her first time on a 4-wheeler, jet ski, eating cheese curds and fried pickles, and seeing a live deer (apparently she has only seen dead ones on the side of the road).  Who cares that she has about 50 mosquito bites on each leg, she is having fun.  And I am glad she is because I was a bit scared hosting my first foreign exchange student. IMG_0010

Playing catch up

We have had a very busy last week and a half so as usual I am playing catch up on posting pictures.  I am not going to get totally caught up but at least I will get to our big announcement and change to our family.

ON THE TABLE….My kids wish ice cream was on the table every day but since all of my other food pictures did not turn out, this one had to do.

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MY VIEW….Starting them young on the golf coarse.  We had a blast.  It was cute watching the girls throw their frisbees.  Quinn, Luke and Ryan really got into it.  Jenna on the other hand preferred to carry hers but that was ok too.

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First..base.  This was after softball on Monday.  IMG_9469

I’VE NEVER…had a foreign exchange student before. Lucia is joining our family for the next 4 weeks.  I love having her here and I might not let her go home.  She spends an hour just about every day painting 40 little toes and 20 little fingers. My kids are happy.  At the beginning she told us she was clumsy so I have been making her paint all the nails outside.  It’s a good thing too because today she spilled a bottle of blue all over the floor.  Not to worry because it is just on some boards that we need to repaint next year anyways.  IMG_9479

It is hard to believe that it has been 2 whole years since Jenna and Quinn were placed in our arms in China.  DSCF1337 (640x480)It has been a long road.  A long 2 years.  Our first year, if you remember, did not go so well.  I was still pretty negative when writing their first Gotcha Day Anniversary post.  They were still not sleeping through the night, hour long temper tantrums.  I was tired, we were tired.  I had lost hope that I would ever get my family to a happy place again.  IMG_9507I am excited to say we have made a lot of progress this last year.  The girls are sleeping through the night consistently – which God definitely had his hand in. (Some of you may know the story, but I’ll have to retell here soon since we are approaching the one year anniversary of that event.)  The girls are talking now and can let us know what is bothering them instead of just screaming for an hour on end.  I am not saying we still don’t have scream fests but they have gotten a lot fewer and shorter in duration.  We are doing good.

IMG_9532We have been talking a lot lately about how they were babies in China but then Mommy and Daddy came to get them and now they live in America.  They love looking at their books with their story in it.  They are proud of their baby pictures from China.

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It is so fun to see their little personalities shine through.  To see the growth these two have made in the last two years is amazing.  They had to learn to love a whole new family that did everything differently then what they knew.  They have had to learn to speak a different language, how to use lip and mouth muscles that they were not born with.  Happy Gotcha Day Jenna and Quinn.  It has been tough, but you have survived being a Yoder for 2 whole years.  We love you both so much and are so happy you are a part of our family!!IMG_9557

365 Project

Finishing up the first month of pictures.  I missed a day or two in here because Ted and I went away for a night and we didn’t have a computer with us.  Don’t worry, I did take pictures.

LOVING…Luke and Ryan on their first day of camp.  They wanted nothing to do with posing by a camp sign, posing by their cabin, posing in general.  I did snap this picture while we were waiting for my dad to check in.  It cracks me up because I think Ryan’s head looks like a turtle poking out from his big bag.  IMG_9236

DELIGHT…As I said, Ted and I got away for one night while the boys were busy at a weekend camp and the girls had a sleep-over at Grandma’s house.  We wanted to do something different and new so we decided to go to a winery and taste wine for the evening.  Both Ted and I dislike wine but more on that later.  While we were there we had supper.  Our pizza was cooked over a clay fire oven.  It was great.  Going with the theme of trying something new, we picked pizzas which included grapes, potatoes, and a few other things.  While waiting for our pizzas a storm was rolling in.  We were sitting on a covered balcony looking over the vineyard.  It was beautiful.  IMG_9282THE END…Well, my picture for the day had nothing to do with the theme but on our time away from our kids, Ted and I went on a bike ride.  I stopped to go to the bathroom and when I came out of the outhouse, this was sitting on my bike.  I probably could not get a job as an entomologist because it has been too long that I have been out of the work force but I can still take pictures of insects for the fun of it. IMG_9297

RED & WHITE… At the winery we drank Red and White Wine.  Both Ted and I hate wine.  When Ted booked our hotel, there was a promotion for a wine tasting with a free bottle of wine at a winery in the area.  Ted decided to get it so we went.  We really enjoyed our time.  Each of us were suppose to taste 6 different wines; however, the lady who worked there soon discovered that Ted and I did not need our own glasses and those glasses did not need to be filled all the way.  There were a few that I made some faces at, everyone laughed.  The lady was trying so hard to find a wine that we liked.  We sampled more then the allotted 6 glasses on the promotion.  We found one that was tolerable which they gave us.  I didn’t tell them that I would probably use it for cooking because that is where I love wine.  The cream sauces you can make with a little splash of wine….mmmm.  Anyways, it was a blast even though Ted and I don’t drink wine at all.  IMG_9263Although this picture was taken a day after the red and white day, I thought Ryan fit that theme well as he inhaled strawberries that my dad picked for us.  I think my dad brought me 15 pounds and I know my kids ate about 1/3 of them before I got them into the freezer.  IMG_9310

MATCH…Be the MATCH..I know Red Cross is blood donation and be the match is bone marrow but I gave blood that day (I have now donated over 1 gallon of blood) and I am a registered to donate bone marrow so I thought I could stretch it for the day.   I had all of the nurses laughing as I was trying to position the scissors and my ball at the same time as giving blood. It took me a bit longer to donate because I was not rolling my ball at all.  If I did, the logo wasn’t where I wanted it to be in my picture. I would have liked my arm a bit more slanted but I couldn’t really move much since I did have a needle in my arm. Oh well.  IMG_9323STARS….It was my first attempt at fireworks.  I don’t know if I am totally happy with my pictures after I got them on the computer screen where I could really zoom in but for my first attempt, I will go with it.  IMG_9366

Birthday Boy

Luke turned 7 this past weekend.  We had his party a week early because he was at camp with Ryan and Grandpa Roger.  We started the weekend by stuffing the pinata with Great Grandpa Sam and Great Grandma Frieda.  IMG_9059

Between all of our company coming and going on Saturday, I quickly frosted the cake before all the kids arrived.  Luke requested a zucchini cake so I made a chocolate zucchini.  I think it turned out great.  IMG_9065 The kids showed up.  The heat showed up.   We played some games.  The kids were exhausted but I think they had fun.  IMG_9087We ended the games with a pinata.  The kids are getting way too big so we started blind-folding them so they could all have a turn trying to bat.
IMG_9092We ended with some food and cake.  IMG_9112Afterwards I asked Luke a few questions.  I was hoping to ask him the same questions each year to see how he changes.

Favorite color:  Orange, green, purple

Favorite food:  Shrimp pizza, hay and straw (ham and pasta dish)

Favorite fruit/veggies:  Apples, peasIMG_9214

Favorite dessert:  Whoopie pies, jelly beans

Favorite toys:  Legos

Favorite movie:  Lego movie, Cars 2

Favorite books:  Magic tree house seriesIMG_9216

Favorite sports:  Soccer, baseball

Favorite activities:  Swimming, golfing, tag, skiing, biking

What do you want to be when you grow up:  Stay-at-home-dad

What are you most looking forward to in the next couple of years:  no answer

There you have it…our 7 year old.

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Ted was gone last week during all of the rain and all of the house construction so lets just say that extra fun things like taking pictures and editing them did not happen.  I was already a week behind in posting my pictures here but oh well.

PASTEL…I struggled with this one.  I kept on asking if I had anything pink around the house.  Quinn helped me out and posed by the flowers.

IMG_8982SIMPLE…I have been trying to make from scratch buttermilk biscuits for a long time.  They have never worked out.  This time I chilled the flour over night in the bowl that I was going to make them in and they turned out great.  Simple but amazing.  I could not stop smiling all day while eating too many biscuits.  IMG_9000CROSS…As in cross-walk.  My first night shot.  I am very happy with the way it turned out.  IMG_9023LOVELY…The anticipation from a kid as the next candy truck in the parade comes into view.   IMG_9035

HERE I AM… Great Grandpa Sam and Great Grandma Frieda came down for a visit.  I put them to work by supervising Luke as he got his pinata ready for his party. IMG_9059IN THE MOMENT…A friend came and watched our kids for us so Ted and I could have a night off.  Apparently Jenna thought since mom and dad were not home, she could go to bed the way she wanted.  I went to check on the kids before I went to bed and found her like this.  IMG_9114

WHAT JUNE LOOKS LIKE…time at the park.  IMG_9127

SUN FLARE…I tried but I didn’t really get sun flare, I got more of a sun haze..oh well, I will have to try again.  IMG_9199

DREAMING…I ran out of time on this one but I thought Luke had a dreamy look on his face.  Just use your imagination and it kind of works. IMG_9223

The past couple of days.

The past couple of days have been a bit crazy.  We knew they would be but mother nature has taken it too a different level.  We had it set to fix the water problems in our garage, install a new sump pump and put in an egress window.  Fixing the water problem went smoothly.  They dug trenches around, installed a new drainage system and then cover it back up again.  They then hooked up a new sump pump.  We only bought a new main pump from them and planned on using our old backup pump for when we don’t have electricity.  Then….mother nature decided to help us out.  It started to rain…then downpour…and then …well, I don’t know what comes next but it was the next level of rain.  There was lots of water coming in, sump pump was working great and then the lights went out.  No electricity.  With no backup pump.  Luckily the work crew was still here.  They stayed an extra 40 minutes to bail water while installed their battery backup system which I didn’t pay for so that we can use that until we have time to install our old one.  I was very grateful for them going out of their way to help me out.  When the storm was done we ended up getting about 3 1/2 inches. IMG_9039They were also going to bury the outside pipe to drain the water away from the house but they didn’t get to that yet.  As for the egress window, the next day the work started with a mess which we expected.  IMG_9052Yes this is the downstairs bedroom that has to be ready for our foreign exchange student that is coming in less then 3 weeks.  Don’t worry, it actually cleaned up pretty quickly and the window looks great.  The problem….yes mother nature decided to dump yet another 3.2 inches on us to make the hole they dug a soupy mess.  They tried to back fill it today but all of our clay turned into a hard lump that was unmovable.  The work crew decided they couldn’t do anything until it dried out some so off they went.   Mmmm… not sure how we are going to get this cleaned up.  IMG_9054

Beginning in June, I started a photo challenge with some people I know through photography and adoption.  We are all trying to get better at taking pictures so our challenge is to take at least 1 picture each day, edit it and post it in our group page.  If we don’t have an idea for a picture that day, we have a word for each day that we can use.  We are on day 11 and I have already missed 2 days but that is ok.  It takes time to get your camera out, take a picture and edit the pictures each day.  There are a few days I posted pictures and I was not happy about them and there are a few days I got a lot of good pictures.  I figured some weeks I would share the pictures here and some weeks I may not.  But here is what our last week looked like.

DOING….Jenna and Quinn were so busy playing store and tea party with their stuffed animals.  I think it is hilarious that Jenna is so care free in the picture and Quinn is so frugal with her cash machine.  I hope she stays frugal with real money.IMG_8800

FAMILY…We flooded our basement a few months back and we decided to fix the walls on our own but neither Ted or I knows how to mud walls.  Enter in my dad who has done the work for us (he is a lot cheaper then a contractor too which is a bonus).  IMG_8813

ORDINARY….what happens on an ordinary day around here.  Doris made this for Luke about 3 years ago.  I really need to make some more arrows and another bow but I never seem to have the time.  It is one of Ryan’s favorite toys and he plays with it everyday.  IMG_8822

ADVENTURE…Letting a 4 year old roast his own marshmallow.  On that note…parenting in general is an adventure.  IMG_8846  T IS FOR….Twins!  If you haven’t noticed we have been having a lot of smores lately.  We were trying to burn up some brush piles before we have Luke’s birthday party in another week.  IMG_8837FLYING….We are only suppose to post 1 picture in the group but this is my blog and I can post as many pictures as I want.  I had a good day with this one.

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Minneopa Falls 2014

Over Memorial weekend, we took some time as a family and went exploring at a State park.  It is a park that we have been to multiple times before we had the girls.  In fact one of my favorite pictures is of Luke as a little toddler standing right here, standing on the rail trying to see over the lower pointy part of the fence.  He is grown a bit in the last few years.  IMG_8698The girls have never been there so we thought it was time to go as a family of 6.  We picked some food up so we could have a picnic.  I think that is one of my kids favorite things to do is to have a picnic.  IMG_8669After we ate, we headed down to the falls.IMG_8672There is sort of a big loop that we always do.  Luke is familiar with that path so he loves to run ahead. IMG_8711I think it is funny, Luke loves to lead if he knows where he is going.  Ryan just tries to keep up.  When we were heading back, I saw a different path that we have never taken before.   We decided to go exploring a bit.  Luke started looking very concerned…”Mom do you know where you are going?  Where is the map?  Are we lost?  Maybe we should turn back now?”…..on and on.  Ryan on the other hand shines on new paths.  He loves to lead and we hear comments like…”Oh the path turns up here.  Can we go this way?  Look at the log we have to go over.  I love that flower.”  IMG_8738

About 20 minutes into our detour we came to a very open space with huge oak trees.  There was nothing really grown on the ground so our path we were following disappeared.  Luke was beside himself thinking we would never make it home.  Ryan was smiling and laughing thinking this was the best part yet, no path to hold you back.  It is amazing how different my two boys are.  Eventually Ryan leads us to the other side of the opening and finds a small deer trail that eventually leads us back to a ridge to find the normal path.  And then Luke takes over again..on the big path…all the confidence in the world when he know where he is going.

How did the girls do on this hour to hour and a half hike ?  Well if you don’t remember, almost 2 years ago when we first adopted them, they would go into huge temper tantrums if they thought they had to walk more then three steps let alone all the way around the block.  IMG_8708They did ok.  They held Ted’s hands quite a bit.  By the time we made it back to the normal path, Jenna was not a happy camper.  Her pouty lip was pretty cute.  Sadly to say, I didn’t get a picture of it.  I think she would have started crying if I tried.  It might have been worth it though…oh well.  I am sure we will go on more hikes where I will have plenty of picture opportunities.  IMG_8734

 

I have some pictures from this weekend’s trip to the falls but I have not had time to sort and edit so they will come later.  However, I took some pictures of the girls and what we do for speech therapy.  People always ask how their language is coming along and I would love to say that it is great but to be honest….it has been a battle.  Every single sound, every single word has been a battle.  Our speech therapist has been great at coming up with fun games for homework.  Each week, our girls have to work on one sound.  We are still targeting the main sounds like p, t, m, and c/k.  Jenna is pretty good at using those sounds during speech therapy time and during everyday living.  She really struggles with the t, e, and s sounds.  All of her t’s she replaces with c’s so words like toy come out as coy.  But after the last three weeks of working on the t we are finally starting to get the t sound although she has a hard time using it in words.  Some ways we practice words/sounds are in board games.  We write the words/sounds they are working on on a game board and roll to see which word they have to say.  IMG_7941Quinn on the other hand can say the s and e beautifully.  She struggles with just about every other sound.  When she talks she drops all beginning, middle and ending consonants.  Yes that means she really just talks with vowel sounds.  It is hard to figure out what she is saying.  She gets frustrated and gives up which in turn frustrates me.  When we practice her sounds she can say all the different sounds if we separate them out.  She really struggles to put them together to make two sounds.  For example cat because c……at.  If we don’t correct her cat becomes ad.  Another game we play with the girls is memory.  They have to say each word they flip over.  This works in a lot of practicing because they are not the best at memory. IMG_7918 There is a bit of cheating that is allowed if they have been at it for a long time.  IMG_7920But even when they cheat, it doesn’t mean they find a match. IMG_7921We have also been working on learning numbers and letters.  I found a program on-line that the girls love to do which teaches them letter and some words.  I think it helps hearing someone else say the words to them.  And if the girls and I have lost patience with each other, our little rescuer, Ryan, comes over and helps out.  IMG_7956There are a lot of things that are not going so well with the girls schooling.  I get very frustrated.  I think they get frustrated.  They can identify a letter one day but the next day they have no idea which one is which.  I tried to simplify and only work on letters A, B, and C.  Same thing.  We have worked on colors too and after about 5 months straight of working on red, yellow, and blue it’s the same result, they just don’t get it.  We have worked on numbers.  Sometimes they can count and sometimes they have no clue.  We have had a little success with using dominoes.  They can’t seem to count the dots but they can match the dots that are already out there.  Although I think they use the colors on the dots.  And they understand when someone wins … well at least Quinn and Ryan understands when the game is over.  IMG_7737 I know adopted children tend to take multiple years to catch up academically but when you are used to working with Luke and Ryan it’s hard to remember I can not hold Jenna and Quinn to the same standards.  It makes me a little scared for when they actually do start school.  Jenna and Quinn will be struggling with simple concepts that most kids already know.  I know they are a few years out yet from school and they do have a fall birthday so they will be older which will help but I don’t think it is going to be an easy ride.

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