Saturday, December 22, 2007


It's been a month of milestones here. Noelle turned 15 which means we are now in driving mode with her (so far only in the empty church parking lot). She is going to wait to get her learner's permit because she has a lot of lines to study for in Dorothy (by the way, her performance date has been moved to February 21st.) She also has some big parts to practice for with winter guard so studying for a driving test is being put on hold. We had a family birthday party for her on her birthday (camera date must be off). Kayla made her a cake and decorated it too. It was yummy. We bought her ticktes to see "Wicked" the musical (take off from the Wizard of Oz) which Kayla, Noelle and I will see after Christmas in St. Louis.

Joel is officially finished with high school. He will walk in May, but he is done with classes. He was pretty much ready to be out of the high school scene. Everyone keeps asking me how I'm doing with this and I'm just choosing not to think about it! I really just had him the other day. Time goes way too fast. We took a "last day of school" picture to match his first day of school picture. He's grown a little! (The object in his hand is a pinata for a Spanish class project. It's a Fed Ex box.)

After MANY months of beating my head against the wall on potty training Ryan I downloaded a book for $7.00 off of the internet. It has a money back guarantee so what do I have to lose, right? Little man has just been REFUSING to learn this valuable skill and since he will be 4 soon I am pushing very hard for this. Most people start before kids are two years old, but because of his trauma before we got him he just hasn't been ready so we gave him an extra year. We started when he turned three and we're still starting. UGH! How can I successfully potty train three kids (thank goodness Angie came potty trained) and not get this one? This milestone WILL be past soon, I hope.

We want to wish all of you a very merry Christmas! With all that's going on here I have yet to get a Christmas letter out. (I're all surprised!) It will come...don't worry. It just might look a little odd getting a Christmas card in the spring (just kidding!)

Until the next Grand Adventure,

Jim, Yvonne and kids

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We Have Power!

Hello friends and family,

As many of you know we had an ice storm hit our area last Saturday night and we were without power from Sunday morning at 6:30 until Wednesday afternoon around 2:00. It was a grand adventure to say the least. The adventure was fun for about 12 hours and then we were ready for power.

Joel and Ryan keeping warm --->

We hung out in the living room to stay warm and we cooked out on the grill. Now, I'm not talking steak or wonderful grilled food. One meal we put fish sticks in aluminum foil and warmed then on the grill. They tasted good at the time, but I'm not really hungry for them now. Every morning Jim would go out and boil water on the side burner for oatmeal, hot tea and cocoa. We have a thermos that we'd keep the water in. Then we'd huddle in the living room until we needed to make lunch and so on it went. We ended up losing all of our freezer in the kitchen plus the perishables in the frig. What a mess! For more pictures please see this post on my stamping blog.

Paris has gone to be with his new foster family and we pray it goes well for him. It was hard to say goodbye. We're going to be putting up bunk beds in Noelle's room to be better equipped to take kids for emergency care.

Jim and I were able to get away to Branson for some R and R and Christmas shopping at the end of the week (we got back this afternoon). The trip did involve a time share presentation by a very windy lady but we survived. Don't worry family, we will never see it as something we will buy into. We go for the freebies! Branson just recently opened up a Titanic museum (with the building in the shape of part of the Titanic). We got "free" tickets to go and it was very facinating. At one point they had an interactive display where you stuck your hand in 28 degree water to see how long you could handle it. I lasted all of 15 seconds. I do not know how the survivors did it.

Until the next Grand Adventure (that we hope involves electricity and heat),

Jim, Yvonne and all the kiddos

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Catching Up

Lots has happened since I last wrote. Here's a little recap.
**Noelle made the lead as Dorothy in the Jr. High school musical Wizard of Oz. We are all very excited for her. Her performance will be February 22nd if any of you are able to come.

**Both Kayla and Noelle made it into their respective Winter Guard squads with positions on rifles.

**We travelled to Holyoke and saw Jim's family for Thanksgiving. We spent the day eating, talking and playing games. We saw Yvonne's family on the way home for a brief overnight visit.

**When we travel it takes us two vehicles. Joel got some good experience driving in snow on the way home. God was good to keep both cars on the road.

**We set up the Christmas tree.

**Joel has wrestled 7 times and won 4 of those matches.

**Kayla and Noelle both marched in the Christmas parade. We made the mistake of being right at the begining of the parade. It was like another dumping of Halloween candy! Wish I had photos, but it was dark and they were moving. I tried, but it didn't work.

**We are doing emergency respite care for foster kids and currently have a 4th grade boy named Paris. He will be with us for a week all together. I don't know if you realize how lucky you are to have family. He has really been touched by the fact that we all sit down and eat supper together. My heart breaks for these kids!

**Ryan's Sunday School department did their Christmas program last Sunday. The photo of him was while they were still getting the kids all lined up. He sat on the teacher's lap. Oh well, maybe next year...

So, in kind of order of are some photos from our past couple of weeks.

And the Grand Adventure continues.....

Jim, Yvonne and kids

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Grand Adventure We Didn't Take

About a month ago there was a banner in front of one of the huge old houses in Webb City that said it would be auctioned off and there was to be an open house. Jim and I went for fun because we knew that house had been listed at around $250,000. It was just a cool house that was over 100 years old. It had a lot of Webb City history attached to it and well, we were just "Lookie Lou"s as Jim called it." <-----Can't figure out why this color is different. Sorry

When we went we were asked if we wanted to bid on the silent auction. We declined since our bid would be ridiculously low. The seller asked if we wanted to bid one cent so we could at least see what the house started at. So, we did. The bidding started at $99,900 which when we were thinking about it we decided to bid. We stayed in until $117,000. We were out or so we thought. Talk around the town was that the place went for a super low price so Jim called just to see. It was under contract for $133,000 but the gentleman buying it really didn't want it. The seller said he would let her out of her contract if she found someone that would give that amount. We thought about it. We came up with a negative answer since it would be very difficult to sell our house so quickly and during the holidays. Again, it was gone.

Then the man with the house under contract called and wondered if we might consider trading our house for that one. It seemed like an odd request, but we thought well, ours is only 1600 square feet and the house in question had three stories plus an attic...way much more space than we could have dreamed about. Jim called him back and as it turn out, he was just wheeling and dealing and trying to get out of his contract. He wanted us to just work something out with the seller. So again, it was gone.

You're still reading? Cool! Ok next the seller calls to see if we wanted to put the house under contract with a contingency on our house selling. She had another couple interested and also a business since the house is located downtown. They were all first in line so we had to wait to see their answer. She was going to call within 24 hours if it was still available. Yep, you guessed it. She didn't call so it was gone.

She called a week later to tell us that the others were just taking too much time. She wondered if we'd like to look at it again so yesterday we did. We took an elder from our church who has lots of knowledge about houses. We wanted to make sure it would be workable. Well, as it turns out the whole third floor did not have any outlets. We already knew that it would take some work to get the rooms on that floor workable, but with there being electrical problems it would run a bundle. So the house is gone.

I'm not sad and I'm at peace with it because throughout the entire process I kept praying that we would know what God would have us do. It would have been tons of fun to live in the place, but like our elder said, "There would always be something to fix."

So, if you've made it this far, here are some pictures I snapped of the place yesterday. We're leaving town tomorrow to see family for Thanksgiving. We pray that your day is full of things to be thankful for. We're thankful for our house this year :0)

Until the next Grand Adventure,

Yvonne, Jim and kids

The front. Ryan wasn't as fond of the lions as Angie was. This house is 3 stories up! It just goes on forever.

Inside the entry way. That's a huge frosted glass window at the landing.

The ceiling in the entry way.

Built in China cabinet in the Dining room

Chandelier in the dining room

Fireplace in the living room

Window in the living room. The carpet was faded there.

Now where did that boy go?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Soccer Awards Banquet

Tonight was Joel's soccer awards banquet. He played all four years in High School and actually started on a city league in Junior High. He was privileged to be coached all through those years by a very godly man, Kevin Greer (who happens to be his best friend's dad). Coach recalled for the group when he first recruited Joel to play and sent him out to play on the left side (yes, I'm a soccer mom who doesn't get the game so I don't know what position it actually was HA HA). I'm not sure if he was joking when he said that Joel went out onto the field making the hand gestures that help you remember your left from your right.

He's come a long way since those days. Joel has always played defense and has a good hustle. He was on the varsity team this year and was a good sport about not getting to play as much as a lot of the other guys. As coach said, "He's the best wrestler on the team!" Coach also commented that Joel was always within the top 5 coming back in when he's sent them on an endurance run. We're very proud of his accomplishments. It was a fun evening.

Trying to get a shot of these three all looking my way was next to impossible!

The five of us plus Joel were at the banquet. Kayla had a girls' night out with her friends...dinner at Red Onion and then on to the school play.

Cute little man!

Angie really enjoyed the butter and rolls. Check out her face!

Joel and his awards. I asked why he wore the hat all night and he said it was to keep his head warm (see shave party a few posts back if you missed it!)

Joel lettered and got one of the silver cleat awards (various funny awards the coach makes up).

His award was for taking a good hit for the team. He took a soccer ball full on during one game and was hit a bit below the belt. He was out for the rest of the game. He said that he would have rather dislocated his elbow again than to get that injury!

The seniors of the team...As you can tell they have lots of fun. Joel's best friend Ethan, is the other guy wearing a hat. Go figure.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Quick Blog Tutorial

Hi Family and Friends,

I was going to write this up for the first entry and Joel's haircut just overruled it. If you're new to blogs then here's a quick tutorial :0)
  1. By subscribing (in the right hand column) you will receive an e-mail every time we have posted a new story to share. It's free. All you have to do is put your e-mail in the box and click "Keep it Fresh". Follow the instructions on the next page and you're done. By putting in your e-mail address you are not going to receive any unwanted advertising or extra junk mail.
  2. If you want to leave a comment or read the comments just click the word comments under the post. If it has say, "2 comments" there then you'll know that two people have left comments and you can leave one as well. The back button will get you back to the original page. We love reading your comments so don't hesitate to leave one.
  3. You can view any picture in a larger format by just clicking on it. By clicking the back button you'll be back to the blog page.
  4. There are links in the right hand column that you might want to follow to see other blogs or websites that we've my stamping blog :0)

That's about it. Have fun looking around.

We love you!

Jim, Yvonne and kids

Friday, November 9, 2007

Angie's Fall Carnival

Tonight was the culmination of what Angie has been waiting for and talking about and singing about for many days, even weeks...the school carnival. It's an evening of chili dogs, wall to wall people and carnival games. We've been hearing snippets of songs for a long time, but not really knowing what they were until tonight. We kept wondering how she knew the phrase, "They're playing my song." and now we know. The kids did a cute Broadway themed program.

Angie's teacher told me that the week before this event is almost as bad as say, Halloween or Christmas with the excitement which causes the kids to have a harder time in class. I received this e-mail from Mrs. Erdman today which made me very proud. "Angie had a great day! Considering all the Fall Festival excitement, I was so impressed with her behavior. Mrs. Erdman" Yeah! She's making tons of progress.

Speaking of progress...she is our little speller. She loves to know how to spell lots of words and is constantly asking us to spell for her. She can spell Wickenkamp out loud and write it too (with a very long piece of paper of course!)

Here are some photos from our evening.

Kayla helped at the fishing pond.

Angie won the cake walk...a moon pie!
She almost pinned the bow on the teacher!
This is Mrs. Erdman, her teacher.

Looking for mom and dad.

Getting a cardinal tattoo (which was promptly picked off.)

Until the next Grand Adventure,

Jim, Yvonne and kids

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Having a Bad Hair Day

You can always tell what sport Joel is in by the length of his hair. For soccer he has longer wild curly hair. For wrestling he gets it all cut off (I love wrestling!) to a shorter haircut. Kayla has usually been the one to trim his locks. She has a knack for it so we let her. Normally he turns out pretty good. We're not sure what went awry this time. Well, ok, we have an idea where the wrong turn was.

Joel's hair is very thick and wirey and somewhat unruly. Kayla begins with scissors and then trims up his neck with Jim's beard trimmer. THIS time though, she cut some off of the top but it was still kind of long. Then she started on the back. She cut first with the scissors and then she decided to grab the beard trimmer and kind of...well, we're not sure.

She kind of sporadically chopped at it. Now the chopped look is somewhat in style so it wasn't too bad at this point. The beard trimmer was giving her problems by clogging up (see reference to thick wirey hair). So she solved that problem by taking the guard off. Well when she started in again it just took him to the scalp in a spot. Hmmm. that didn't work. She thought she'd better make it even on the other side so proceded to create another bald spot. (now I know somewhere in here my parents will insert a "I remember a time when you did a similar thing to yourself" That's another story for maybe another time.) Back to the THIS story. Somewhere in the process the back hairline was extended up almost even with the bottom of his ears.

Did I mention that all of this is going on around 10:30 at night when there's no one to call for help? Jim and I needed to go to Wal-Mart for our weekly get out of the house date so while we were there I picked up a hair cutting kit for about the price of a haircut. Kayla was tired and went to bed so I proceeded to take a whack. I took the top and sides down to a half inch, but I was too scared to touch the back. It was Jim's turn. You have to know that through this entire thing we were all laughing so hard (even Joel).

Now Joel is a good sport through this entire process. He even took pictures for you. When he retold the story at school (which with one look at him you knew there was a story there somewhere), he protected his sister and didn't make her look bad in front of his friends. I know because they told me.

Here are some pictures. The one with all the hair was taken a while ago, but it'll give you some idea of what he started with.

We're hoping for a little growth before we do senior pictures!

'Till the next Grand Adventure,
Jim, Yvonne and kids