Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meet Rosey

We tried to hold out as long as we could, but we didn't last...we got a new puppy. I know, I know, we are trying to sell our house and we were hoping to wait until we got into a new house. The boys have been missing having a dog and ask us constantly to get a new one. Cody really wanted a Chihauhau for some crazy reason. Caleb has been telling us he misses Max. Ben and I have missed having a dog too. We definitely did not want to run into the same dog troubles that we have had in the past (we don't have a good history of picking well-behaved dogs). Diggers, chewers, escape artists, hyperactive, crazy dogs. So we have spent months researching different breeds. We wanted laid back, low maintenence, non-shedding, no chewing, no digging, no jumping over fences, no digging under fences, no biting, no aggression, no hyperactivity, etc. Sounds like a perfect dog that doesn't exist in this world. Well we actually found several breeds that fit the bill through online doggy personality tests. Most of them were mixes of poodles or cocker spaniels. The only problem was that these designer dogs were available at the low, low price of $1000+. Forget that action! I guess we forgot to type in "inexpensive dog with above characteristics". Lately we have also been perusing the dogs at PetSmart on Saturdays. These are usually dogs from shelters or rescues, both boys migrating towards the chihuahua or miniature pinchers (dogs with bad habits or attributes). We found out these same dogs are also listed online at We began checking them out frequently and I saw a litter of cocker spaniel mix puppies (possibly poodle) at a rescue in Southern Illinois. This was the type of puppies that we had been looking online that cost a bundle! They were called the Seven Dwarfs because there were 7 pups. They were 1 month old when they were found dumped in a field and brought to the rescue facility. They are now 5 months old. The little dwarf "Happy" won our hearts. She is a very laid back, sweet pup. Caleb immediately changed her name to Rosey and told me how to spell it correctly. She has the body of a cocker spaniel, with an unruly, curly black coat with white chin, chest and paws. Her face looks like a terrier or like "Shaggy Dog" with the cute beard and eye whiskers. She shouldn't get any bigger than she is now. She is very quiet, rarely barks and so far has not shed even with brushing and a bath. Rosey adores the boys and follows them around the backyard constantly, running along with them, or just staying close to where they are playing. When they are on the playset, she lays down nearby and keeps an eye on them. The boys played in the backyard all day with her today and love on her constantly. She is starved for attention and eats it up, but does not bug you to death for it. You can tell she did not get much one-on-one attention at the rescue with all the other dogs. She seems to be a really great pick. Our friends, the Atnips couldn't believe what a well-behaved dog she was and said, "are you sure she isn't a 14 year old dog?" Maybe our doggy luck has changed for the better...we sure hope so.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Going to Marry Her

At the ballpark this past week, Cody and Kiersa were playing together along with a couple of other little boys their age. The two of them are inseparable which defies all aspects of a preschoolers social development being the opposite gender. One of the other little boys said something like, "Do you love Kiersa." Cody blurted out to everyone, "Yeah, I'm going to marry her." Kiersa piped in, "It's true, he really, really will."

This is a picture of Cody and Kiersa eating honeysuckle behind our back fence. But where did Cody go? Oh, there he is at the top of the pine tree! "I'm up here Mom, eating the honeysuckle that climbed up the tree."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Moving up to Red Belt in TKD

Caleb had his Tae Kwon Do belt test this past weekend. He moved up from brown belt to red belt! He is doing great and we are so proud of him. Unfortunately I had to work on Saturday, but Ben and Cody took some great photos and video.
Caleb checking out his stripes.
Caleb sparring with Sami.
Caleb was the only brown belt testing to move up to red belt, so he had to do his routine by himself.

What a great finish!
Caleb stepping up to break boards with Instructor Jason.
Caleb did a spinning hook kick and a spinning knife hand to break his boards. Instructor Christy mentions that Caleb always has a smile on his face and needs a smiley face placed on his uniform.
For other updates...Caleb came in 2nd place in the 1st grade spelling bee. He didn't make it to the finals for pogo stick jump at the talent show, but he was okay with it. He stayed on "green" (best behavior) all year long in Ms. Sanders class, so he was 1 of 7 1st graders that got to go to the Sports Plex today as a reward for good behavior. He also came home with a trophy for being in the "100 Point Club in Accelerated Reader". He got at least 100 AR points this year in 1st grade. I believe that because he read around 2-4 books a week and 90% of them were chapter books like "Magic Treehouse", "Goosebumps", and "Andrew Lost". Tonight he just finished reading the 1st "Harry Potter" book, by himself. It has taken him since Spring Break to read it. But he has also continued to read his other 2-4 books in between reading it while at school, on the way home, or before school. This boy LOVES to read.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cody's Preschool Program

Cody's Preschool Graduation Program was last night. Although this was the graduation, he will be returning in the fall for another year of preschool. With him having a September birthday, we had the option of letting him start Kindergarten or continue in Preschool. We opted for the latter. We did not feel that him starting Kindergarten at age 4, already being the smallest in his Preschool class was the best for Cody. He is smart enough to have begun. But we felt being a boy, he needed the extra maturity and growth of another year. His preschool teachers agreed and are happy to have him back for another year.
Here are pictures of Cody's Preschool Program. Ms. Michelle is standing here with the "Fearsome Four" which she chose to begin the program. These are the other 3 "spirited" boys in his class. Whenever Cody has been in trouble at preschool, one of these boys was right there with him. :) He loves them dearly.
videoLove the toe tapping and foot slapping.

Cody was in perfect behavior during the program. Singing and dancing along with his classmates. He was so proud and we were too.

Cody had to pose with a dozen of his buddies after the performance. Hopping in every picture with this pose. I'm thinking he likes the limelight.

Goofing off with Tyler after the program.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jumping and Spelling Bees

Caleb was chosen to move on to the Semi-Finals for the Clarks Got Talent Show. His talent is jumping on his pogo stick. His first round he jumped the whole song without stopping. This round he did slip off one time, but he jumped straight through the whole song! The pogo stick was a birthday present from Uncle Kevin. So he has only been jumping on it for a few months. He went from not being able to stay up and jump more than a couple of times to being one of the last 7 finalists out of the first grade.

Caleb's song was supposed to be "Jump" by Van Halen. On this movie, Abracadabra was accidentally played instead of Jump. But it didn't faze Caleb one bit.


Here is Cody cuddling with his kitty, Memphis. That silly kitty won't even let me cuddle him anymore, but he loves his Cody.

Caleb also had semi-finals for the first grade spelling bee. He was first place in one round and second place in another round. The spelling bee will be on Friday. Saturday he will be testing in Tae Kwon Do for his red belt. I will post pictures.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day at Garden of the Gods

The boys and Ben made Mother's Day a wonderful day for me. We drove all the way up to Marion, IL to go to Target (my very favorite store). That ended up being a bit of a bust because we got turned around trying to find it. Then remembered Marion got hit by a tornado and high winds earlier in the week, so the town was in a bit of disarray. Shingles and siding were ripped off businesses. Trees were uprooted and blown over. A heavy-duty light pole totally ripped up and busted over a parking lot that we turned around in. Sheds and outbuildings were thrown across the street into a cemetary. The electricity was out all over town and street lights were not working. Then to make matters really not favorable for our little excursion...Target was on generator power. :( It was dark and a little eerie in there. I couldn't see all the brightly colored merchandise or wonderful knick-knacks. We didn't stay long. It brought back too many memories of the ice storm outage.

My next surprise in store, was a hike at one of my favorite places, Garden of the Gods. We had not been there since I was pregnant with Cody. Somehow the vision of an unpredictable, energetic, highly non-fearful little boy, not to mention any names, dashing towards the edge of the cliffs has curbed our desire to visit this beautiful place until now. We finally felt that he was old enough to listen and know the consequences (falling off the edge and splatting like a bug). I gave both of them a huge talk before we got out of the car. I actually made them quite fearful, "this is a dangerous place", "children have died falling off these rocks", "adults go first", "no running, pushing, or going to the edge", etc. I got a "Yes ma'am" from both of them. Then my serious, cautious thinker added, "Why did you take us to such a dangerous place? I don't think I want to go."

But he soon got over that when he saw how beautiful it was and saw the rocks to climb on. Caleb was extremely cautious and careful as always. Cody surprisingly (thankfully) was in excellent behavior and waited for Daddy to climb a rock, help him over, then sat still as could be in the spot Daddy put him in.

Here is Camel Rock.

The boys goofing off at Table Rock pretending they are hanging off the edge.

Kevin and I used to come here alot with my dad when we were young. Being there always brings back memories of being there as a child. Dad loves it here too. Actually we were with Kevin, Dad, Lori, and Troy the last time we came, if I remember correctly.

Cool striations in this rock wall.

Gorgeous view! My boys being so good atop the high rock. It made me a bit nervous to think about the drop-off on the other side of Ben.

Ninja boys

My handsome guys!

Hiking the trail.

Just monkeying around.

What a great day! Thanks guys- I love you!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Singing in the Rain and Mud

Our church had a camping trip at the lake this past weekend. We have a beautiful campground that we use for summer church camp, Kum Ba Ya. We decided to take advantage of this beautiful site on the lake and go up as a group last fall. Well Hurricane Ike did a number on the trees at the lake and at our campground last fall. We had to cancel our trip because the caretakers said we couldn't get into the area. We re-scheduled for the Spring, this past weekend. Yes, we were camping in all of that rain that we just had. Luckily since the site is for church camp, there are cabins, a wonderful gathering hall with a huge kitchen, arts and crafts room, bathhouses, and a pretty outdoor pavilion with a fireplace.
Kevin met us there. Here he is demonstrating his awesome "Chatelain point". Check out those cabins, nope no heat or air, but we did have bunks with a thin mattress. Best of all a roof over our heads, which was something to write home about with all of the rain we saw on Friday and Saturday. They did have electricity and lots of screened windows. I could see in the summer how they would be extremely hot and I could imagine spiders falling from the rafters as you slept at night.

We adopted the two eldest Atnip children for several days while Mark and Kelly were away on a business trip. So they came camping with us. The kids were estatic to arrive at Camp Kum Ba Ya with all of the other children from church. The steady rain did not faze them one bit. Luckily I had two ponchos, so Caleb wore his part of the time and Kiersa and Cody took turns wearing his yellow poncho. Thankfully it was warm enough that the kids could play out in the rain and mud and not worry us about catching pneumonia. Because there was no getting them out of it.

Bailey and Martha having girl time.

Kiersa and Gage clowning around.

The men folk having some serious discussions beside the fire.

As it got dark, the kids came into the main hall for games and arts/crafts.
Here is Joseph, Caleb, Quinn, and Cody looking like drowned rats.

The 4 Musketeers

We had Smores at the campfire that night and socialized till we had to get some sleepy children into bed. There was a hard steady rain all night long, perfect for sleeping. Except for the occasional waking up to pull covers and sleeping bags kicked off of children curled up in cold little balls in their beds and comforting Kiersa who fell like a ton of bricks out of her bed.
The rain cleared up for most of the morning. Bailey is enjoying the beautiful campsite. There were hiking trails around us and the lake was beautiful. Too bad it was so wet and muddy everywhere.

Speaking of muddy...

Quinn got very up close and personal with a mud hole. He was quite embarrassed about falling and getting so muddy, so I sent him to the shower to wash up and change clothes before we headed home.

The little guys didn't even make it 15 minutes down the road before they were out. Look how filthy they were! Everyone went into the shower or bath as soon as they walked into the house. We were all asleep early that night. Fun times!