I’m thankful for . . . Part 2

**I’m going to take a little time to write a “featurette” about each of the kids this Thanksgiving season. Because, well – I’m thankful for them! And I love ‘em. How unique they are! We are blessed by them being a part of our family and we enjoy watching each unfold into the person God has created him or her to be, and we are grateful.** If you missed the first part about Jake, you can read it here.

Today we’re featuring our 2nd born son, Cole — This guy is laid back. But hyper. He’s quiet. Yet talkative. Contradictory? Not really. Cole *is* laid back, until you feed him sugar. Then he’s hyper. And he’s quiet, until he’s really warmed up to you and has something on his mind. Then he’s very talkative.

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He’s also very busy. These days, you can find him tearing through his school work. Not because he loves it. No; he’s almost always got a project on his mind and knows that getting school done will then allow him to get his chores done which will free him up to getting on with the things in life that matter most to him. Hunting. Fishing. Exploring. Creating. Building. Trapping. Making smoke bombs and fireworks. He’s got numerous hobbies and interests. Like rabbit hunting. He skinned it, cooked it, and then ate it.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES rabbit fried dean and coles hunt

“Cole??!!” I call this morning. “Yes?” He answers from the dining room table where he’s tackling grammar. Or was it signing up online for the FL boater’s licensing course? Or –is it possible– both?? Yep, I told you he’s got numerous interests. 🙂

Cole is a great student. I enjoy teaching this kid. We learn similarly so it makes homeschooling him pretty simple. He’s focused and independent. He likes a list so he knows what’s required of him. He can sit down in the middle of a crowded room, with all sorts of noise happening, and get his work done.

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I just love how great he is at entertaining younger kids. He has a knack for including them in what he’s doing. He’s playful and fun and little ones are drawn to him. He’s patient with them, including his younger siblings. Dean loves to tag along with Cole and join in on all the fun adventures that are sure to be had! But it might just be tinkering in the garage. And that’s ok, because with Cole around, of course it’ll be fun. At some point, there’ll be a ‘possum in the trap or a fish in the skillet, or knee-boarding behind a golf cart (don’t ask!).

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One of his latest endeavors is gardening. He began with saving pumpkin seeds to plant. Next thing I know, he’s got a garden plot in the back field. Of course that means a fence has got to go up — we have deer back there. No worries, he’s got that covered. He checks in with dad along the way, asking about using this board or that. “Who put these posts in?” I ask. (Silly question). “I did,” he answers. “What did you use?” (Another silly question.) “Those,” pointing to a digging bar and post-hole digger. He’s a man of few words when it comes to his work. The posts don’t wobble; I’m impressed, but shouldn’t be. It just surprises me that a 13 year old boy spends his free time building a fence for his garden. For fun! And to think I brought home a “surprise” for him from the hardware store: garden plants! Broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. How many kids would think that’s great??!

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He can work alongside Ken on a job site and keep up. He’s got a way of thinking ahead just enough to grab that tool when Ken needs it, or hustle to the trailer for a saw. He’s strong and hardworking. He’s determined and focused and yet still has creativity running wild in his brain . . . like his latest idea of raising pigs.

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Cole has a refreshingly black and white outlook on life. And sometimes annoyingly so. You know, things are not always so cut and dry. So he’s got to learn to bend a little with the gray areas of life. And realize that technology isn’t all bad! He’s sassy and sarcastic, and is learning to reign in his tongue (which happens to be my struggle too — poor kid!!) However, we love his “off the cuff” style which shows he’s not overly concerned with what others think of him.

fishing with grandmom.coles big bass on sandhill lake

We’re so thankful for this young man — this boy who is filling out through the shoulders and arms. Which reminds me that he’ll not be a boy much longer. I want to hang on to him. Keep him right where he’s at. He’s fun. He’s energetic. He’s uncomplicated. He’s brave. He’s deep. But I don’t think those aspects will change. I think he’ll keep those traits long into adulthood. I pray he does. God’s got something special planned for this adventurous guy! And I can’t wait to see what it is.

wildmen capture crayfish in pool        SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

–Beth

P.S. To all family members: any thoughts on who he remind you of?? 😉

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I’m thankful for . . . Part 1

**I’m going to take a little time to write a “featurette” about each of the kids this Thanksgiving season. Because, well – I’m thankful for them! And I love ‘em. How unique they are! We are blessed by them being a part of our family and we enjoy watching each unfold into the person God has created him or her to be, and we are grateful.**

First in the line-up is Jake. Simply because he was born into our family first. Jake prefers to be called Jake now. So we call him Jake. Sometimes “Jacob slips out”. He doesn’t mind. ‘Cause he’s like that. He is very forgiving and understanding. Some of his greatest qualities are his consideration and thoughtfulness of others.

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What’s he been up to lately? School. He’s facing 9th grade head on and is doing great! We knew this year would challenge him like no other has, since we enrolled him in Circle Christian School. It’s sweet, because of this year he says, “It’s hard, but I know it’s good for me. And I’m learning a lot, so it’s good!” That’s my boy, turning difficulties into learning opportunities and making something positive of it. 🙂

Now, I have to brag about him for just a moment: he’s getting superb grades. Like, “straight A’s” superb. And we’re not talking simple subject matters. He’s read books such as The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne), America’s Last Best Hope (William Bennett) and Know What You Believe (Paul Little). He’s writing essays and giving presentations (including one on the Great Awakening in full costume– wig and all! I promised I wouldn’t include a photo of that. You know, he *is* 15 and all.) He’s had biology quizzes and passages to memorize and hours of algebra.

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Jake is smart but I want to say, because I’m just so proud of him, school truly doesn’t come very easy to him. So I admire how hard he works to reach such high achievements in all his honors’ classes. And the only reason I mention that is because I believe it displays part of his character. Not to say that coming by something easily isn’t wonderful, but when one truly has to work hard to obtain what one earns, it’s exceptional – it shows commitment and determination. I see that in him.

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Besides school, he’s enjoying the youth group at River Run Christian Church. I can’t say enough good things about them! He’s meeting friends (some he calls “buddies” because he doesn’t think they’ve become close enough yet to reach “friend” status – this guy gets it! Facebook doesn’t have anything on him!) He’s volunteering with Sunday School classes on Sunday mornings. He’s getting the hang of texting and loves to try keeping in touch with friends and family far away.

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He loves to fish, has started running, and has a new pull up bar scored at a yard sale that now hangs from a door way in the house and is put to use several times a day. He’s begun collecting quotes and has a penchant for sharing them at appropriate moments, which of course, I think is fabulous. I do love some good quotes myself! He writes down his favorite songs and enjoys music, as the whole household does.

Being Jake, he has a knack for stirring up trouble with siblings and getting them riled. But one would be rather boring if one didn’t have a sense of mischief now and then, don’t you think?? 🙂 And I have to remind him regularly that he was once 7 (like his little brother), and just as much a rascal!

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I just love this kid, no longer a kid. Recently, in line at a local store, a mom was chasing down her active toddler, looking weary and tired. She made a comment about “kids!!” I turned and looked at the “kid” next to me – now taller than me, with broadening shoulders and masculine features . . . amazingly, looking like his father and mother, all in one person. And I smiled at him. My “kid” is almost grown up. And I love him more than I did the day I gave birth to him. My heart aches knowing I’ll send him off on his own — too soon! But it also soars, knowing this young man loves my Jesus – HIS Jesus. So I trust him to the One that created him and is allowing us to “borrow” him for a little while. My, how fast it goes! Yep, I’m thankful for Jake.

jake and adele

P.S. Because just one cute young man holding a cute baby photo is not enough . . .

jake and adelle

Our first guest.

We had the privilege of hosting our first official guest since moving into this house. I say “official”, because dad helped us move in and actually stayed overnight in the house before we did. But it wasn’t pretty. It was just him, a pillow, and an air mattress. He was a trooper!

But now, NOW we have the guest room all ready. We scurried around to put the finishing touches on it before the guest arrived. (More on the room another time.)

Let’s talk about the guest — who was it? It was my mom! It was so nice having her here! She flew in 2 Mondays ago and stayed for about 6 days. Dad was working back in MD, so mom traveled alone this time. She was easy to accommodate. Her plane actually landed early and she didn’t even say so — she just waited at the airport!

We picked her up and she fell right in line with what we had going for the week. Which wasn’t all that exciting. Mostly just school and work (for Ken). We had a lovely time with her, though. The younger two practiced their reading with her each day, and she read The Long Winter to them. We ran a few errands, ate a few meals at home and a few meals out. She made a trip to the grocery store for me, and hung out with the kids while Ken and I attended a school gathering. She told the kids plenty of stories about her childhood, which prompted Cole to let me know after she’d been gone for a couple days that I didn’t tell good stories. I guess I need to improve that.

A few highlights of the visit were the boys taking her fishing (well, it might have been their highlight, not hers.) They caught their biggest bass ever!

fishing with grandmom

We visited some local thrift shops. Three, to be exact. It was wonderful, since we hadn’t scouted those out before then. And at the last one we found what we had been looking for. Mom had a great idea of fixing up some older furniture pieces into a play kitchen for the girls’ “play house” out in the barn. She patiently planned and painted with Halia:

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and they turned a couple of cabinets and a little wooden stand into this:

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playhouse kitchen

 

This is mom and the girls using the golf cart to “deliver” the kitchen to the play house in the barn:

playhouse kitchen delivery to barn

Mom took a late night trip to the emergency room with the girls and I as well, to be sure Halia hadn’t broken her arm; thankfully, it was just sprained.

trip to hospital for halia's sprained arm

We also visited Park Ave in Winter Park and enjoyed some burgers at an outdoor table. It was a beautiful day! We strolled the avenue and the kids got some ice cream. We laughed a lot while we watched Tim Hawkins’ Greatest Bits dvd — oh my word, did we laugh! She also helped put together a new chore system for me to orchestrate with the kids! So far, we’re one week into it, it’s going well. Thanks, mom! The kids just loved having you here! No really, they did. 😉

Even at the end of the visit, Ken and I enjoyed our extra time with her while we drove her out to the airport in Tampa. A family member had given her a ticket for her return flight, so it was free and that part was great, but Tampa’s a little far — and due to a traffic backup from an accident on I-4 coming home, I think she actually landed before Ken and I pulled back into our driveway! But we stopped and had dinner, so it worked out well — like a little bonus date for us.

It was a special visit with Grandmom and we are thankful she took time to join in on life down here with us. Ken said to me: “She was easy to have here!” Words like that from a son-in-law means it must have been a successful visit. 🙂

–Beth

Creative boy.

It starts like this: just a conversation over lunch. Of all things silly, simple, and innocent. Quite childish, but in a wonderful, refreshing way. Just 5 kids chatting about the life they lead — free of stress, financial responsibility, or relationship challenges.

Then the wheels start rolling in a boy’s head. A boy who knows no limits. A boy with a sharp mind and lots of creative genes coursing through his body. A boy who loves to build with his hands and wants a boat really bad.

And this is how it ends:

coles boat 1

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Oh, when all the fun was had, they had to clean the old fence panel particles out of the pool. 🙂

–Beth

First day of school.

What a day of mixed emotions! Jake started high school today! Actually, he pretty much started last week. But today was his official first day with Circle Christian School, a private home school academy where he’ll be taking classes twice a week. His classes are: Humanities (which includes Language Arts and American History, presented through a biblical worldview), a 3 hr. class; Biology, a 1.5 hr. class; and Algebra 1, a 1.5 hour class. Of course, his day will include a lunch break and a couple 10 min. breaks. It’s going to be a challenging year for him, based on what we see the in class overviews. I’m sure he’s up for the challenge! I really look forward to learning alongside him. He’ll have a few other subjects at home as well, altogether earning 7.5 credits for 9th grade.

Anyway, back to the mixed emotions part. It’s a complicated thing to be so proud and excited and sad at the same time. It seemed not too long ago that I was taking pictures of his first day of Kindergarten. Really, he’s the same sweet, sensitive and funny and thoughtful boy he was at 5. Just in a bigger package. We checked his height this morning; he’s grown over 1.5 inches just since April!

We’re so thankful for this young man in our family and are grateful for what the Lord is doing in his life. We look forward to seeing what special things lie in store for him in the future! We will miss him while he’s away 2 days per week, but feel much peace about where he is studying and what he is learning it makes it worth it.

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First day of 2nd grade (Jake on the left, Cole on the right); First day of 9th grade. Super cute either way! 🙂

Keeping me on my toes still at home are 4 other “Maucklets” who look to me as their primary instructor – yikes! Although there is a desk in each of the rooms upstairs (girls’ and boys’), they all decided to work near each other at the new table in the dining/school room. I am loving the way the room is coming together and it’s so pleasant to be in that I happily agreed. (More on the room in another post). Marissa called out to everyone to give her a hand moving all the chairs from the kitchen table to the dining room table (since I don’t have the chairs refinished yet). It was sweet to observe them excitedly preparing the place they were going to be working.

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We all fit around it with room to spread books out a bit. And, it doubles as a cafeteria at lunch time:

first day school 2014

Dean initially said while sitting at the table early in the day, “I’m so excited to be starting school again!” I think the enthusiasm wore off by the end school time. The kids overall were eager learners. We got a visit from a wild visitor — a gopher turtle crossing the front yard — so we took a break to observe it closer.

gopher turtle

That led me to make studying gopher tortoises with Dean and Marissa our science for the day. After all, we do live in Florida now and should be familiar with the natural habitat. Here’s what they each dictated to me for the science journals:

“The gopher tortoise grows to 10-16 inches. They are a wild species. Do not touch them. They are endangered. The females have a flat bottom shell, and the males have a bump on theirs.” (Marissa)

“A gopher tortoise has strong legs for digging tunnels and holes. It can live as long as 100 years. Other animals find safety in the holes. When the eggs are in cooler temperatures, it hatches a male. If the temperature is warmer, it hatches a female.” (Dean)

Now you know a little bit about gopher turtles, too! Just what you’ve been dying to know, huh??!!

gopher turtle first day school

(That’s one of our kitty cats right next to the tortoise)

I wouldn’t say we accomplished a whole day’s worth of school, by any means. But we enjoyed our time and put up a good effort! So that’s good enough for a first day for me.

–Beth

P.S. Jake came home saying his day was OK — not bad and not great. First days can be like that. The setting was pretty overwhelming and he only knew (more like, recognized) one other person. And it was a girl. So it’s not like they hit it off. 🙂 But he has a positive attitude about it all and I appreciate that. He’ll know plenty of other kids in no time!

Dean.

This guy just turned 7.

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Yikes! I can’t believe my baby is that old! And it’s been never a dull moment since he came into the world. He’s keeping us smiling (the things that come out of his mouth!), dancing (he likes to come up with “new moves”), laughing (the expressions he can make!) and sleeping well at night, in order to re-coup and keep up with him the next day.

He had a mishap around the pool last weekend so we got ourleselves an introduction to the local children’s hospital near to our new home. He ended up with 7 stitches but received so much attention from the family I don’t think he minded the whole ordeal! When I mentioned putting a healing oil onto his wound to help reduce scarring, he told me, “No, I want a scar. Scars make you look tough.” Since that fateful night of stitches–with siblings and parents, an aunt, an uncle and cousins fawning all over him about it–he’s run into opportunity for a few other more minor injuries as well. If I didn’t know how much it is annoying him due to the hindrance of swimming time, I would think he was purposeful about it!

I tucked him into bed last night, his foot wrapped with medical tape, a Band-aid on his thumb and a rather large scar on his left shin, fresh-free of stitches. I thought to myself, “Man, he looks tough!” 😉

–Beth

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