Submitted by Sara on Fri, 06/21/2013 - 2:35pm

I'm logging in for a quick update. We just got back earlier this week from a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with my family. It was my mom's Mother's Day present from all of us kids that turned into a Father's Day present and Anniversary Trip, too! It was a great experience to check off my bucket list. Now that I've done it, I will be much more likely to go again, thanks to my brothers for their awesome planning and preparation. I learned a lot!

Happy Father's Day!
Happy Father's Day!

The foundation on the new house sat while we were gone and the concrete cured. When we returned they were hooking up the sewer and water. Geothermal is going in next. It doesn't look like much, but it's coming along.

This was a far as she was brave enough to stand up
This was a far as she was brave enough to stand up

We are meeting with a realtor this afternoon to help get our current house sold now that we are in the ground with the new house. We have been doing more cleaning. Putting away all the winter clothes. Hopefully we are finally safe to do that seeing as it's the first day of summer. Ushering in summer was a nice, big thunderstorm in the wee hours of the morning. The straight line winds took down half a dozen trees in our woods. Hopefully the woods at the new house fared better. Oaks are sturdier than aspen and poplar. Needless to say, we have some work to do this weekend.

6-7 trees down in the storm
6-7 trees down in the storm

Ellie was sweet this morning. Right after breakfast she got all dressed up in her pretty clothes and nicest sandals, went outside, got her yard gloves on and started picking up branches in the yard. All without being asked. What a helper! When William noticed that the neighbor lady had a tree down on her roof, she said, "I wonder if she knows... she probably knows, but she probably needs help." The other neighbor has a tree down on their truck. The kids are very concerned and want to get their grandpas over here with their chain saws to help them out. Never mind our six trees :) We are thankful that's all the damage we had.

Our little helper (notice the neighbor's truck)
Our little helper (notice the neighbor's truck)

Breaking ground

Submitted by Sara on Mon, 06/10/2013 - 2:30pm

Building has finally begun! The end is in sight! After an extremely long winter, short rainy spring, and long frustrating time working with the bank, we are finally in the ground! The kids and I had fun watching the excavator this morning. Then we came back in the evening to check on the progress (climb on dirt piles). Three months... I know it will fly! Here's hoping for better weather from here on out. Rain is good, but some sun is needed too!

Breaking ground
Breaking ground
Our front porch
Our front porch
LOTS of dirt
LOTS of dirt

I have to add the latest funny Ellie quote. At one point she took off her shirt while dirt climbing. When asked, "Where did your shirt go?" She replied, "It's in the back of the car, taking a little rest."

My Mantes

Submitted by William on Wed, 04/17/2013 - 8:48pm

Our friend Jeremiah gave some praying mantises to us today. He dropped them off at our house because he had too many. He got an egg sac and an egg sac can have up to 100 eggs in it. We got 15 mantises and a lot of fruit flies for them to eat. I wanted them because I like to study insects. I hope that they will live to get big and green. Right now they are about half an inch long, but they get to be 2 - 2 1/2 inches.

Praying Mantises and a stick for climbing
Praying mantis hatchlings and wingless fruit flies for their food
Baby Mantids, 15 total

):0 Monster-babies: Baby Red-head 0:(

Submitted by William on Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:03am

Info for Baby Red-head:

Appearance: Day: a regular baby


Night: baby with glowing red head


Weapons: Laser stare, claws, flammable (but does not die) body

To defeat: Offer flowers, shoot in head

Side: Evil

Planet: Erto

Tribe: Bear

The end, that's not a true creature.

easter at grandma barb's/lanz's/my houses

Submitted by William on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 9:24pm

I <3 Easter.
At my house, right when I got up, I found Max's basket, then Eliana's basket, then Dad's basket all before mine!

At Grandma Barb's house, first we ate lunch. Then we found our Easter basket.

At Grandma Lanz’s house, we had no baskets :( but we did have a BIG easter egg hunt :).

The end that’s a true story.

Ellie's faith

Submitted by Eliana on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 6:28pm

Sara here, posting on Eliana's blog as she watches a movie. I had a couple good stories from the last 24 hours, so I thought I'd post them on Ellie's blog rather than my own.

Ellie is a very faithful little girl. Last night during bedtime prayers she asked God to "help Daddy to stop watching sports on tv." She wanted to watch How It's Made on Netflix.

This morning at church, Pastor Brad was announcing the upcoming Seder meal. He described that we would be eating a meal together just as Jesus did with his disciples the night before he died. Eliana pipes up loudly, "Bread?!? YUM!" (Yeah, she still struggles with being quiet during church.)

Our church has collected crosses from all the members to hang in the sanctuary during Lent. They are all on the wall behind the altar. During children's message today, I saw Ellie stand up and remain standing the entire time. When she returned to her seat, I understood why. She immediately told me that she found HER cross, that usually hangs on her bedroom wall.

Which reminds me of another recent children's message...
A few weeks ago, Pastor Paul was asking the kids what they thought it would be like when we meet Jesus. Ellie raised her hand and told Pastor Paul all about the second coming. It sounded exactly like the Bible reading that was read minutes later. Out of the mouths of babes.

Update from the Sick House

Submitted by Sara on Sat, 03/16/2013 - 4:58pm

We've been cooped up lately with a virus working its way through the family. This seemed like a perfect time to post updates on a few things.

We are slowly but surely getting things ready for the new house. We got new living room carpet this week.

New carpet makes everyone feel better
New carpet makes everyone feel better

Darren met with our builder to go over a few things and went to the home show to do a little research. I was home with sick kids. I went to the store to look at some of our choices and bring home some swatches before we meet our builder to do some final choices next week. Darren stayed home sick. It's looking like digging will start on the new house in May or June.

Ellie quotes:
"The radio says to 'save big money at Menards' but we should not save all of our money for Menards. We should save big money for stores like Walmart and Target, too."

"I hate the sun. It shines on everything." - she was definitely sick

The day she got sick, she was home from school. She wanted to do school like William, but it was very hard for me. She kept saying, "What's next, Mom? I'm done. Now what?" I can't keep up with that girl!

Max, curled up on my lap, growls as Ellie says, "Down!" Being the good dog that he is, Max finally complies. He jumps down, runs around behind the chair, and jumps back on my lap before Ellie can even get a leg up.

Sick kids staying out of the way of the carpet guys

Speaking of Max:
He is constantly entertaining us when he's not snuggling with a sick person. He loves attention, even if it means he has to wrap himself around a tree in the yard. I've stopped giving in and going out there because he seems to know exactly what to do as soon as my boots


hit the snow. And sure enough, he eventually decides I'm really not coming out and goes "around the tree." His other annoying habit is pulling all the stuffing out of every one of his stuffed toys. So I started buying toys with virtually no stuffing, but he still manages to find some!

We are enjoying all of this March snow. I keep telling the kids to enjoy it because it will soon be gone. Then lo and behold it snows again. Judging by the huge piles of snow in our yard, the frost will be in the ground for a record long time this spring.

Snow mother, child, baby and dog
Snow mother, child, baby and dog

Long time, no post

Submitted by Sara on Mon, 03/04/2013 - 11:35pm

I've been meaning to get on here for the longest time! February tends to be a crazy month for us with getting ready for trivia, playing trivia, and recovering from trivia. Speaking of trivia, our team finally finished second this year! I've been wanting a second place finish for a long time now. We've now placed in every position from sixth to first http://www.pullstartdiesel.com/past-years.

For Valentine's Day, Darren worked in the cities. It was a beautiful day, so the kids and I went sledding. Sledding reminded me that I'd been wanting to get them new ice skates all season, so we went and bought skates. That was the first time Ellie had been skating. She loved it! Although, she wasn't too fond of the stinky warming house. We went a few more times before over the last couple of weeks before the ice got too choppy from the warmer weather.

Ice princess (first time on her new skates)

Proud piano player

William has been loving piano lessons. We never have to force him to practice. He is often asking if he can play. The only time he isn't allowed is if Dad is on the phone for work. He recently had his annual piano festival where he plays for a judge and gets comments and ratings on his playing. For the third year in a row, he has gotten a Superior rating. He is excited to see the trophy he will get for racking up 15 points!

I found all sorts of pictures and videos on my phone from the past month or two. You can take a peek at the February and the January albums for "new" photos. Here is a link to a video of Ellie skating (Sorry I'm so loud, she was needing encouragement. She was unhappy that I refused to hold her hand for her third time on the rink.) http://youtu.be/y9jSJlKwAw0

I also found a video of William playing a new song from his Jazz, Rags and Blues book. He picks those songs up quickly! http://youtu.be/GnTQYiDzbU4

Happy MLK Day

Submitted by Homeschool on Mon, 01/21/2013 - 4:23pm

Today is one of my favorite homeschool days. No, we don't have a vacation. There are too many important things to learn about. We read great books, historic speeches and discuss concepts of friendship, peace and justice. I had found a timeline of Dr. King's life on the Mailbox website for William to complete.

Then it is time for math. After doing his requisite KHAN academy exercise (today he chose mulitiplication and division), William likes to watch videos like this one:

Now he is practicing the binary hand dance. I love it!

It is freezing cold for Martin Luther King Day here in Minnesota. So for our science, we did a repeat of a freezing experiment that we did last week when we thought it was cold at 16 degrees. Today it was -8 degrees, so we thought we would see how much faster it was to make ice globes. Our balloon froze completely around in about 3 hours, approximately half the time it took last week! Now we can enjoy the beauty of our candles glowing.

Funeral series: Fishipoid/Last Hissing Cockroach

Submitted by William on Mon, 01/14/2013 - 5:13pm

Fishipoid: Today Fishipoid died. His adoption day was April 11, 2011. We don't know why he died, but I have a cold and I was flicking the water, so that might have caused it. But it also could have been:
1. That we changed a lot of stuff like his tiki head we changed to a colorful cave with lots of doors and we changed the tubing.
2. We didn't let the water sit out as long as we should have.
After he died, I got to dump him in the toilet and he just went right into the drain and then we just flushed it.

Fishipoid the Fierce

Last Hissing Cockroach: Last year, Hisser died. He lived the longest of all the hissing cockroaches. We think it was because he was kind of keeping the food to himself and the house with more space to himself, so the others didn't have quite enough of what they needed. After he died, we left him for a few days to check if he moved, but he didn't. So I took him to the backyard and buried him with the other cockroaches, Birdie (the bird who hit our window), and Belle (who we didn't really bury, we just buried her toys).


The end. That was a true story.