Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A room with a view...

Dan has the most amazing classroom I have ever seen. He has 3 huge windows on the top floor of the school building that look West (kind of fitting I guess :)). Well... this morning he called not long after he got to work to let me know that a huge crane had set up on the track right below his window to install light poles around the football field (one fell down during a storm a couple months ago... so the bases all had to be replaced). We walked down a little later to watch from behind a fence... and then were able to head up to Dan's classroom after a while during his prep time. We got there just in time to watch the crane lift the lights up to the top of the pole. Carter was in awe!! I snapped a few pictures with my phone...

I'm so used to getting excited about this kind of stuff with Carter. I've been wondering lately what Claire will be obsessed with... probably not cranes. :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This is all I crave...

Ice. I know... it's kind of weird. Maybe it's because I know it won't give me heartburn. It's funny... because it has to be a certain kind of ice. 7-11 is by far the best! Dan and the guys have done many an ice run for me lately. This is what Ty're brought back for me tonight... Super sweet!

Monday, March 29, 2010

iheartfaces Week 13- Dramatic B&W

I've been following a great photography website for a little while now called iheartfaces. They have a photo challenge once a week... I love looking through the photos... but have never entered one of my own. When I saw that this week's challenge was dramatic black and white... I couldn't resist entering one of my favorites of Carter.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blogged over at 2rphoto today...

Click on the picture to check it out...

He never really like being rocked...

Instead this has always been how Carter has relaxed himself to sleep (check out this post from almost 2 years ago). I couldn't resist just one more bedtime picture this week!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Playing outside...

We have had some beautiful weather the last two days. The winter felt so long... that's it's hard to stay inside on the days that the sun has actually been shining recently. The only minor detail during Joe's Place hours is that we can't go anywhere (the guys are not allowed to be at the house without us being here). It's a super important rule that one of us always has to be here... but sometimes it can cause us to feel a little trapped... especially on days like yesterday and Monday. Playing in the backyard is not an option because it is a muddy swamp (pretty much year round)... so that leaves the front yard. Yesterday we were able to coax everyone out of their technology caves inside the house to enjoy some fresh air (I think we've decided Carter is never getting a cell phone :)). It was great! It is possible to enjoy technology outside as well! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Getting ready for baby...

A couple nights ago Carter was having a hard time falling asleep. He wasn't crying or yelling... we could just hear him talking for probably about an hour and a half. He normally talks for a while after we put him to bed... but by this time he was up way past his bedtime. Dan finally went up to check on him and found Carter sitting on the side of his bed with his baby doll (that he has insisted on sleeping with lately) wrapped up in his favorite green blanket. Carter and Claire will eventually share a room... and Carter is taking his big brother role very seriously. He talks a lot about how he will help out with Claire at night (which makes me think we'll wait a good while before putting Claire in there :)). I guess he was just getting a little practice swaddle session in. Dan went up after Carter had fallen asleep to snap this picture. So sweet!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

32 weeks

It's funny how you picture yourself as one size... and then actually see a picture and realize how totally off you were. No wonder I can hardly breathe!! :) Only 8 weeks to go. We should probably start thinking of things like car seats and where this baby is going to sleep!! It's so different with the 2nd. When I was 8 weeks out (at least I thought I was 8 weeks out) with Carter we already had his entire room put together.

Living where you work...

We love Joe's Place. It is an amazing program that we are so proud to be a part of. It's actually hard to believe we've been here almost 3 1/2 years! We've learned a lot since we've been here... one of the main things being the importance of recharging. Saturday is our one day a week that we get off... and we protect that time as if it were a million dollars. It's hard because even though Saturday is our off day... that doesn't mean that Joe's Place life stops. Kids will still want rides places, forget things here at the house, people will stop by to see how the program is going, random donations will get dropped at our door, our phones will still constantly ring, etc., etc. We got to the point a few years ago where we had to unhook our doorbell because it would ding so much. There are times now where we just don't even answer the door on Saturdays if we don't know who it is. In order to be good houseparents we need to be able to recharge... it's just something we have to do.

So... as we approached Spring Break this year we decided we needed to get away just the 3 of us. Sometimes getting out of this house is the only way to really relax. We'll usually have a grandparent come in to watch Carter so the two of us can get away... but we were pretty limited this year with me being 32 weeks pregnant... and we wanted some time with Carter with just us... a last hurrah of sorts. So... we decided a few weeks ago to go out to our favorite MO campground this week and stay in one of their camper cabins. We reserved the most secluded one, packed up our car last Saturday with a weeks worth of clothing and food and headed out. It rained the entire drive there... which didn't totally bother us... but really it was a sign of what was to come...

1. After arriving at 8pm on Saturday we learned that the water to the entire campground was turned off (no flushing toilets, drinking water or SHOWERS).
2. Dan and Carter both had colds before we left that ended up getting a lot worse Saturday and Sunday (Dan couldn't sleep because he was coughing so hard).
3. Carter ended up with 3 spider bites... one that started getting larger each day.
4. The special wine that we brought for the trip was sitting next to the heater in the back of the car for the 2 1/2 hour drive. The cork was halfway out when we unloaded it... and it was totally ruined. :(
5. It ended up being so cold that even Carter didn't want to play outside.
6. The forest rangers decided to set up shop with their chipper right outside our cabin Monday morning.

So... after all that we decided to pack the car back up Monday morning and head home. :( Not exactly the Spring Break trip we were hoping for. As soon as we pulled into town on Monday afternoon we stopped at a Walgreens Clinic so Dan and Carter could see a nurse practitioner. Dan is now on an antibiotic for 10 days and Carter has a prescription cream for his spider bites. The plus side to all of this... everyone thought we were out of town! We parked our car somewhere else for the week, kept our shades closed and haven't answered our phones... so even if kids were walking by... no one would know we were home. It has been nice to be home. We've gotten to do some fun stuff just for Carter... which has been great.

I did get some pictures of our time camping last weekend... not that we'll really need pictures to remember it. :)

Carter was supposed to be sleeping. We looked up from the campfire to see him checking out the view with his headlamp on. He looked so cute it was kind of hard to be mad.

Carter's room. I was nervous about the opening... so Dan set up a gate with some of his climbing gear.

We're looking forward to going back sometime soon under better circumstances! :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Overcoming Obstacles

Here is the completed digital story Dan put together for his talk this morning at his school district's academic awards ceremony. Dan was the featured speaker and was asked to put together a 7 minute talk about overcoming obstacles by highlighting a couple of last year's Joe's Place graduates. He spent a lot of time thinking through how he was going to get all he wanted to say into a 7 minute time frame... while at the same time making it relevant for the more than 700 people there... ages ranging from elementary school to parents of students. I thought he did a great job! He even wore a tie... haven't seen him in one of those in I don't know how long. The clips of video at Steven and Fred's old houses were filmed by Matt Seilback for the Joe's Place documentary and the two tiny clips at the end were filmed by HECTV.

I almost forgot to include this... Fred and Steven were sitting at the front of the gym facing the audience... when the video finished everyone in the room gave them a standing ovation. I totally cried. How awesome for those two to come back after everything and get that... really, really awesome!

Tiny detail... you're not supposed to hear any audio until Fred starts talking about 40 seconds in...

Blogged over at 2rphoto today...

Be sure to click on the picture to check it out! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

When it's been a bad week...

I just need to look at these...

I've been going through old photos for Dan this week. He's doing a little talk tomorrow in front of the entire school district about overcoming obstacles. I can't believe this is the only graduation post I did (I have some major blog updating to do this summer)!! Anyway... he'll be showing a few clips from the documentary (I linked a preview) that was filmed here last year and some pictures of our graduates. He's created a digital story... I'll have to post it to the blog after tomorrow... so really he won't be doing much talking. Both of us have a really hard time talking about these guys in a group setting without crying!! :)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

He's back...

Well... kind of. Steven is currently working on a teaching degree at Lindenwood University and will start observing in high school classrooms this Spring. He's worked it out to do some of his observations here at Maplewood. We are so excited for him! He's hoping to teach P.E. and Health... which couldn't be more perfect since he has sooooo much energy! :) A couple months ago he told us his dream is to teach at MRH and to be a house parent at Joe's Place. I just about cried when he said that. Anyway... we're looking forward to seeing him around town a little more.

Here he is with Carter Monday morning after helping out with an early morning baseball practice at the school...

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A no sock Sunday...

Finally!! It was so nice to step outside this morning without hats and gloves!! Nice until Dan got pooped on by a bird... but still... that means Spring is really almost here... right? :)

Friday, March 05, 2010


Mornings in this house tend to drive me a little crazy... but I do have to say it's hard not to smile when I see Ty doing this before school. The boy always makes sure his outfit is just right!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Soaking it in...

I know these days will end before I know it. It's amazing how much crazier life seems with Carter in preschool just two half days a week. He hates leaving the house the mornings we do have to go to school. Makes me so sad. I did sign him up again for 2 half days again next year... we'll see how it goes. I can't believe we only have one more year before he starts kindergarten. That's one reason I make sure our other 3 mornings during the week are as lazy as possible. This morning he was obsessed with finding his tool box that he hasn't played with for several months. He finally tracked it down in his toy box and was doing this the next time I looked over at him...

I guess his favorite bike needed a little bit of work. :)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The zone...

A couple years ago we had to make a little rule in regards to where in this house personal music, headphones and phones were allowed. I can't tell you how frustrating it is when you've been talking to someone for several minutes before realizing they haven't heard a thing you said because they were wearing headphones. Or hearing 4 to 6 different ring tones going off every couple of minutes (that doesn't even include the different tones for e-mails and text messages). Anyway... we were on tone overload.... so we decided that the main level of the house was going to be a "No Phone Zone." That means no headphones, phones on silent and no personal music. The silence since then has really been music to my ears!! :) It's awesome. I guess that's why I also found some humor in this picture I took a few nights ago. The room was pretty quiet when I looked over. It is possible to interact quietly with your phone!! :)

A rule we DON'T have in this house is a no ball throwing rule. You would think it would be a good rule... but really... in the more than 3 years we've lived here we've had football players, basketball players, and baseball players... so you just gotta know balls are going to get thrown. They can't help themselves. :) And... not once has something ever been broken!! Maybe our guys have just all had great aim! :)