Sunday, September 7, 2014

Time for a New Ride

I scheduled our van to go into JJs (our local auto repair guys) for an oil change right after we got back from our IA trip. I was leaving the next Friday to drive to Chicago and then Quincy (total of 8-9 hours of driving) and I wanted the van to be ready to go. JJs picked our van up on the designated morning and I knew something was up when one of the owners dropped it back off that evening.

Our van has had an oil leak, since we'd bought it 4 years ago, the AC hasn't worked for 2 years, the sway bar link under the drivers side has been in the process of breaking for a while…you get the idea. There's enough stuff to do that costs about what we'd like to spend on a new van. However, the killer whale (as it's referred to by our children) just kept running, so we just kept driving it. 

Anyway, back to that evening. John explained to me that the sway bar link had indeed broken and he wouldn't drive it very far anymore (sign…there was 1 1/2 days left till I went to Quincy). He then brought me around to the front and showed me a hole in the radiator that was leaking coolant out. Literally, it was splashed all over everything under the hood. Also, our ominous oil leak was really leaking now and should probably be addressed. Basically, he wanted to make it clear to us (the ever procrastinating procrastinators!) that we needed to buy a different van or fix this one or crash and possibly die. :) He was much more polite though. **Side note: Just a couple weeks before, my Bro-in-law Tim was teasing Mark about still having our van.  Mark laughed and said, "it keeps running so we may have it a while"….oops.  With so little time left before my trip we ended up renting me a car. Mark was homebound with the kids for 3 days and our search for a van started Monday. We really wanted to stick with a Sienna. I did all of my normal searches and came up with a couple options. These options didn't work out and I was feeling kind of down about the whole process. I don't like being in the position that I have to buy something now. I went back to searching and ended up with one more option that had just been posted on craigslist. The next day was Thursday; after Mark got off work, we loaded into Mark's truck and drove 50 minutes to Oshkosh to buy this van. The pictures in the van were terrible because they'd been taken at night. You couldn't even tell what color the van was. However, the van ended up being in better condition then anything we'd looked at and significantly cheaper as well. I don't think we would have looked at it if we hadn't been needing something today and I believe God provided the opportunity. Anyway we bought it and Reuben and Vienna drove home with me. Not knowing about AC (and that the van could be cooled without the windows down) the kids automatically asked me to open the windows. The passenger windows on the side roll down (at this point they were still a little skeptical of this different van that would be replacing their beloved killer whale van) and as I pushed the button I watched their faces in the rear view mirror. They watched the large windows roll down and Vienna shrieked with delight and said "I like it mom!" That moment won over their approval and we proceeded to name this van the "hotdog" van (think long brown things). I was holding out for "french fry" but there are two of them and one of me so…hotdog it is. Anyway, it's been nice to have AC. Mark loves it, I freeze and mutter something about keeping a blanket in the car!! No joke.
Without further Ado, goodbye "Killer whale" van and welcome "Hotdog" van.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pictures from August

We've been busy working on our house. We're trying to finish the magority of our projects this summer and the end is in sight! I think, in general, both Mark and I like working on projects so we'll probably always have something in the works. All of the things we wanted to do to have the house ready to sell will be completed though. It'll be nice to enjoy the house too. :) I don't have that many pictures of what we're working on but the few I did have and some random ones are included.
I picked up this table a month after Victoria was born (a Craigslist find) and kept it in the garage all winter. It was a project for Reuben and I. We painted the top with chalkboard paint and refinished the legs and sides. There are two drawers located on the sides of the table. The kids keep their chalk in these drawers. Below is Reuban and some of the neighbor kids coloring. 

Mark and Reuben staining the deck. They did a fantastic job. It's fun seeing them work on projects together.

Vienna had to get in on the oversized shirt action!

Can I just say that this girl is growing up WAY TO FAST! Tonight she was laying on the floor holding her own bottle....she's FEEDING HERSELF! Craziness! 

This is Reuben's first drawing that actually made sense to me. He loves to "color" and "draw" in general. He brought me this picture and said "look mom, it's an angry cucumber.". I love him. :)

Sweet girl loves her cozy blanket.

Movie/nacho night. Our kids loved supper that evening!

Playing in the mud puddle...right after this Reuben laid down in it and rolled. Who needs a dog...I have Reuben.

Daddy reading after supper.


More to come soon! :)

Iowa Bound!

August was a busy and fun month. Mark has been praciticing his songs for his upcoming barbershop competition with Tim and U Dean, we traveled to Iowa for Sauder vacation, our van decided to blow a gasket right before I traveled to Quincy for my mom's surprise birthday, the next week was spent finding a van to buy, and we've been really working on the house/watering our baby grass whenever we're home. This post will be pictures from our trip to Iowa. I'll try to post more the next few days. Enjoy! :)
 We left Thur morning and arrived in Des Moines, IA in the late afternoon. We had a fun time swimming and being together with the Howard Sauder family. Sat morning, our family headed to Tremont and that evening Mark and I attended a wedding that evening while Mom and Dad Sauder watched the kiddos. Sunday morning we completed our trip and headed back to WI and home sweet home.
 Reuben shinning daddy's shoes (he loves to have a job to do) right before we left. Our best procrastinating happens before a trip. ;)

This is Reuben as we pull out of the driveway...

...and this is Vienna. And that pretty much sums up the rest of the travels.
Mark packed her cozy blanket to try and convince her that this was going to be fun and snuggly. She didn't believe him.
And here's Victoria.  :) So far, she travels well.

Bryce and Reuben wore their shark shirts. They planned ahead that they'd bring and wear them the same day.
SHARK Faces!
Joni and Vienna

We spent a morning at the Living History Farm in Des Moines. You walk from one farm (set in a time period) to another and see exactly how people lived then and what their homes/farms/establishments looked like. Pretty cool. 

Waiting for our bus.
On the bus ride.
Rueben pointing us up the trail.
Cooking lesson. The cookbook they used sounded very complex.

My girl.
I sat with Darcy on the bus.
Audrey getting some time in with Tori.
Our picnic lunch.

Back in the motel room, some of the kids chowing down.
The motel had a water park inside it and we spent a couple evenings swimming and enjoying the slides, etc. Both Reuben and Vienna got really comfortable in the water. It was fun to watch them swim.

We had a great time. I think my favorite memory is watching my kids play with their cousins. Brings back sweet memories of mine, and I know they're making some special memories of their own. Thank you Daryl and Christy for all the planning and organizing you did to make it happen!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

All we do is sleep...

or at least, that's what you'd think looking at our pictures!




YES! We're outside. This was from one of our campfire evenings. Mark gets a fire going and we usually end up roasting (ahem, I mean scorching) marshmallows.

This kid is getting so big!! :( :) :( :) So many different emotions go with that sentence.

And this baby girl is getting sooo big! Honestly, I love having a baby around. It is a lot of work and you aren't as free to pick up and go anytime but it's worth it to get a big special smile that says you're MY mommy. 

The Outagamie county fair took place this last week. We loaded up the jogging stroller and strapped Victoria onto Marks back and off we went. Can you see Reuben's legs under Vienna? He's under there and actually very happy. It's about 1.5 miles from our house to the fairground,s but they were happy riders. Sometimes Mark's patience amazes me. Maybe he stores it up all day long…? 

She loves her ergo. It's her favorite place. Honestly, other than the 15 pounds strapped to your back, you wouldn't even know you had another child. 

The kids were all about the rides this year. Crazy kids…don't they know the fair is all about the food??!!?? Anyway, they got to ride a few rides. Since we've discovered Bay Beach Amusement Park, and the amazing rides and prices that they have, the fair rides have lost their sparkle. Well, they've lost their sparkle to me but not to the kids.) 

Reuben on the first ride. 

This ride went around in a circle and the arm would raise the car up and then literally drop it to the ground. 

So, the second ride was similar to the first but it JUST went around in a circle. Pretty non-scary. Vienna started out OK but every time the ride went around her frown got bigger and bigger until she looked VERY MISERABLE. I think it may have been because she was riding behind some girls she didn't know. The ride was very full so that's where she ended up. Or maybe it's because the ride would shut down every few seconds and the girl would have to flip a bunch of switches to start it up again. Who really knows though. Maybe she just decided she didn't like this anymore. She wasn't crying or screaming but her face was torture to look at. The attendant stopped the ride and went to let her off. All of the other kids started climbing down then, mistakingly thinking the ride was over. It was a little crazy.

Here's Reuben on that same ride. He hopped up onto a motorcycle, said "hi" and shook hands with the kid next to him and they had a great time driving their "bikes" around while whooping and grinning. Reuben and Vienna are so very different, but they are both very special.

Reubs did the third ride solo.

Well, that caught us up to this week. We've got some trips and a wedding coming up and then summer will be winding down and we'll be thinking about Thanksgiving/Christmas before too long. This year has flown by. It's been a short summer too but wow! it's gone fast.