Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 31…


when sunshine comes..



in liquid form…







July 25 to 31 061

is Logan.  Also known as ‘The Child of a Million Questions.’

Most days it’s not a problem.  I honestly don’t mind answering questions, especially good ones.  Questions like “Where does butter come from?” and “How does this work?”  or “Why is the red car dripping oil today?” might tax my abilities as a teacher, but most of that type of question I can either answer myself or we can look up on the computer.  It’s the other questions that send me over the edge!

Questions like “Why is it 9:00?” and “Why is that there"?” and “Why is the toaster white?”  are fine, but when asked repeatedly over a single day make me want to find the nearest lake to jump into!  They don’t really have answers  I mean…how exactly do you answer the “Why is it 9:00?” question???  Ummm…because it is, Logan.  Unfortunately, that answer doesn’t seem to satisfy him, and he repeats and repeats and repeats the question until I tell him to go away.  I have tried probing to see what he REALLY wants to know, but after doing this with him for just over 2 years, I am becoming convinced that he really, TRULY seems to think he needs to know WHY it is 9:00.   We’ve tried teaching him to tell time.  We’ve worked on the concept of time and it’s passage and how it is measured.  None of that stays. But the question?  About 100 times a day?  Enough to drive a sane woman mad, I tell you!

Then there’s the other questions.  The ones that are just simply annoyingly curious.  Not because he’s dying to learn something new, but asked because he wants to be involved personally in every single aspect of life.  “Who was that?”  “What did she say?”  “Why did she call?”  “Who are you texting?”  “Why?  What are you talking about?”  “What are you thinkin’ ‘bout?” (I hear that question about 25 times an hour!!)  And the most frequently asked question here?  “What time is it?”  Logan now knows that the only answer he will generally receive to that question is, “I don’t know, Logan.  What time IS it??” 

Most days, it’s not a problem, only a minor annoyance.  Today, however, my question-master has been out of bed just over an hour and I’ve already answered what feels like about 2000 questions.  And that’s BEFORE we start school!  It’s gonna be a LOOOONNNNNGGGGG day……

Saturday, August 28, 2010

two months

You’d think that it would be hard to see huge differences in the way things look in only 2 months.  In most things I’d say that’s true.  But in farm country?  No way!  I was in Pullman June 16-18, then again on August 15-16.  Check out the difference!

Although these are not the same place, they give you an idea of the changes

pullman drive 2


These two are taken at a similar location…I was closer in June, but it’s the same road.

pullman drive house


And I LOVE these!  It will be fun to head out in winter and in spring to see what a year looks like.  I’d love to frame these…

pullman drive old buildings


Friday, August 27, 2010


Tonight is ladies night.  Dressed up style, no less.  Hailey, Victoria, and I are off to a wedding.  :)  It will be fun.  Nice dresses, high heels, make-up, done up hair…all the things that girls do for special events like weddings.  As a matter of fact, I’m sitting here now with hot rollers in my hair (or whatever they call them these days!)  Have to do my hair now, since the ‘Mom duty"’ calls pretty soon.  Victoria has volleyball practice until 5:30; I have to run get her early so that we can make this 6pm event!  So…I have to be ready before I leave so that she can have access to whatever she needs for her quick change once we get back.

It will be fun tonight.  Dan and Stacy are Brent’s age, a couple of kids he’s gone to church with since preschool.  I first remember meeting Dan when he was about 18 months old; Stacy was closer to 4 when I met her for the first time.  They are a darling couple and the wedding will be such fun.  This is the 3rd wedding in Dan’s family in 4 years, with many more to come, since he has 8 brothers and sisters.  I feel blessed to call Wayne and Karen (Dan’s parents) friends of mine—they are extraordinary people who have raised incredible, Godly young men and women.  I always look forward to weddings in this family.  Simple and fun seem to be their goals.  The first family wedding was also a ladies night—Emily was home and went with us that night.  Tonight will be a touch bittersweet without her to share in the festivities.

Once again Jim will miss a wedding.  After spending a week in St Louis, he flies in at 6:15 tonight.  My parents are coming to have pizza with the little boys, then they’ll all head off to the airport—every 5 year old’s dream place—to pick up Daddy and bring him home.   I rather expect that by the time we come back tonight after the reception, he and the boys will be sound asleep. 

Beautiful daughters, a fun wedding, good food, good friends, party clothes.  Sounds like a perfect Friday evening, doesn’t it?  I can’t wait.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

our first field trip

Our day…


…included a trip to the zoo today.  Not bad—speech therapy, school, and a field trip (with Hailey!) all in the same day.  :)







The boys had a chance to feed these alpacas….




This is the very next shot off the camera.  Logan’s trying to figure out why his hand is wet!


And best of all, we got to see Hailey’s friend Rachael, who is interning at this zoo.    She gave us a personal tour and introduced us to all her favorite animals.  Fun!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

any ideas on this one?

I discovered something today.  Actually, I was anticipating it, but it’s still a bit of a surprise to see my suspicions confirmed.  Logan, who had his eyes checked in March (his vision is 20/25, which is in the range of normal for his age) is having trouble with figure-ground discrimination.  We were doing some pre-writing exercises-ones that I used with the other 4—and he simply cannot find the pathways he’s supposed to be using.  I finally got out my yellow highlighter and ran it down the pathways…  He has had on-again, off-again issues that have had me wondering, but this was interesting to see.

Soooo…any thoughts?  If his vision is ‘normal,’ do we need to pursue a developmental optometrist?   I know they exist and that they have tests to check for binocularity (eyes working together) as well as vision therapy for children who have visual motor delays (evidenced by poor handwriting and other symptoms, many of which Logan exhibits.)  With Logan’s previous diagnoses of motor delays, apraxia (motor planning issues), vestibular (balance) issues, and sensory integration issues, plus his hearing loss and speech issues…..well, it makes me wonder if this isn’t just one more thing for the little man.  It would, however, explain why he knows his alphabet and can play ‘GO FISH’ with alphabet cards but cannot find the letter I ask for amongst the magnets on the refrigerator!

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I do want to make sure he has ALL the tools he needs to be successful!  Given his other issues, this seems to fit right in.  I will ask at the Craniofacial Clinic in October when we go, but if this is an area in which you have experience, please help!  Either leave a comment or send me an email.  I’d LOVE your input!!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Big day today.  School went far better than even my wildest imaginings.  They were both attentive and fully engaged, and SO excited to get started.  We managed to accomplish everything on the ‘to do’ list for today, and most of the assignments for tomorrow as well.  Because they were so excited, we moved right through, finishing Bible, history, geography, reading, math, penmanship, science, and PE in about 90 minutes.  Blew me away!

The ‘big’ thing today, though, was basketball.  Jim lowered the hoop on our garage to a height more appropriate for nearly 6 year olds.  It’s now at 8 feet.  Ryan was amazing.  He shot the eyes out of the hoop!  This afternoon as they shot I took pictures.  Tonight, I simply counted.  I told Jim and Brent earlier that I figured Ryan was hitting 25% of his shots, not bad for 5 1/2.  How wrong I was!  Tonight, I actually counted every shot.  He hit a mind-blowing 43 out of 100!!!  The child is 5 years old!  I am still just shaking my head over it.

After shooting hoops, they cooled off in the sprinkler.  All in all, it was a pretty incredible day.  Enjoy the pictures!



Nothing but net…DSC_0232

And then, time to cool off:





Sunday, August 22, 2010


School starts tomorrow morning for the little guys.  School starts tomorrow for Emily over at WSU.  Volleyball tryouts start tomorrow for Tori on campus.  Brent’s still hanging out waiting for something to happen.  Jim leaves for St. Louis EARLY tomorrow morning…like 4:30 or something.  My main computer is still dead, and I’m hoping it will be back to me soon…it’s tough to get stuff accomplished when some of what needs to be done is on that computer.  I have some emails to send and some things to post but have access to neither. Plus, I just flat out miss my computer!  I’m grateful for the laptop and all, but still…

The Honda is fixed!  :)  The Suburban has taken it’s place in the ‘dead car’ club and will probably be there for a while.  :(  Jim’s in St. Louis all week, then comes home and jumps with both feet into a new adventure—coaching JV volleyball at Tori’s high school.  That ought to be interesting.  Might make fixing my dead Suburban a bit tougher for him, but I sure hope not!  I miss it.  And I”m remembering one of the reasons we need to keep it:  for carpooling.  I’m completely out of it this week.  Since the car I have available this week won’t hold 6, I can’t drive Tori and the other two girls from the neighborhood to or from practice.  (Not enough room for me, the 3 volleyball players, and my dynamic duo on their carseats.)  I hate not doing my share!  Plus, it’s fun (and educational!) to drive the girls around.  I love listening to them talk and laugh…

I am excited to start homeschooling tomorrow.  I think.  After months of prayer, weeks of mental planning, and days of prep, it’s all set for the morning.  Ought to be interesting juggling speech therapy, teaching preschool, and homeschooling two kindergarteners.  Especially since they are at very different places academically.  Oh well.  At least that way I won’t get bored!  :)  As a bonus, maybe…just maybe…I’ll sneak in some time for coffee with a friend or two.  After all, with all the excitement, I will need a break once in a while.  Guess it’s time to start back with the early morning walking, too.  Anyone want to join me at 5 AM???  Maybe it’s good that I’m off to the airport at 4:30 tomorrow.  Can’t use the excuse that “I didn’t wake up.”   Hmmm…

And because I’ve been pondering this all afternoon, I’ll share it with you.  

Nothing comes into my life that isn’t allowed by Christ and will be for my benefit and His glory.

Profound, isn’t it?  It’s given me a fresh perspective on things…

Friday, August 20, 2010

a constant refrain

Or, more like several constant refrains. 

Some days I think I could record my voice and just hit play since it seems that I perpetually repeat myself.  I must say the following phrases 10 or 15 times a day (even though it feels like hundreds of times a day!)

  • Did you wash?
  • Close the door
  • Close the lid
  • Flush
  • Don’t let the door slam
  • Keep your hands OFF your brother!
  • Please stop whining
  • Use your words
  • That’s not how you ask.  Try again
  • Is that yours?  Do your hands belong on it?
  • Put it away.
  • That’s not away…that’s just on the floor in another room.  Do it right this time.
  • No it’s not time for lunch (or dinner)
  • No, you may not have a snack.  You just got up from the table.
  • No sand in the wading pool!
  • Please don’t play with the clean laundry
  • Move a bit.  You’re in my hula-hoop space.
  • Clear your dishes.
  • Be gentle.
  • Where are you going?*
  • What time will you be home?*
  • Are you eating dinner here?*
  • What are your plans for the day?*

And the last one:

  • I love you!

Fortunately, they—the boys and the girls—hear that one more than any other. 

*These are reserved almost exclusively for the girls.  The rest are directed primarily at the little boys.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

project success?

One of the first lessons I learned as a new bride was that Kassebaums—Jim and his brothers—have 2 measures of success for any home improvement or auto repair project.  The first is pretty straightforward:  does it work like it is supposed to?  The second, however, is a bit less traditional:  Did I shed any blood?  Apparently, to be a TRUE Kassebaum, you must shed blood at some point during the project or it simply wasn’t a success. (?)  Even Brent has subscribed to that theory as he’s gotten older…I’ve seen plenty of his blood on successful projects in my day.

While I won’t bore you (or gross you out!) with details, suffice it to say that the ongoing auto repair in our garage at the moment has now been deemed successful!  After grinding down a hardened steel bearing race for the front wheel hub on the Honda, it finally snapped and was ready to be removed.  Unfortunately, ground steel is also sharp, as Jim’s thumb can now attest.  I am glad the cut is not deep, and relieved that nearly 24 years of marriage and practice  have taught me how to keep a cool head around the sight of lots of blood.  That, and I’ve learned to keep a well –stocked first aid kit nearby!  :)   With a husband and a son who subscribe to this theory, my skill at bandaging wounds doesn’t generally have a chance to get rusty. 

I am not sure, but I don’t know that I am ready for TWO Kassebaums to start ‘projecting’ with their dad any time soon.  Johnson and Johnson stock, anyone?  Might be a good buy…there are lots of Kassebaum men out there!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

anyone know what this is

We were in Pullman Sunday and Monday, dropping Emily off at school.  Packing her stuff up 3 flights of stairs in the 95 degree heat was oh such fun!  :\  But…it seems to be the way we move kids to college.  It was 100 in Boise when we moved Brent in 2007 and about 85 last September when we moved Hailey. 

Anyway, we went for a drive and I took more pictures.  Had a wonderful time—it is SO gorgeous over there!!  I could identify the wheat and the barley (okay…so I had a little help) but we couldn’t identify this crop.  Anyone know what it is??


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pullman again

It’s one heck of a lot hotter now than it was when I was here in June, and it’s certainly not as green, but Pullman and the surrounding area are just as beautiful today.  It’s been a more difficult trip, since we are getting Emily settled at college, and that’s always bittersweet.  Pics later…I’m enjoying a nice quiet evening in a hotel tonight!  :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

what would YOU do…

…if you had a Friday night mostly to yourself?? 

Tonight I realized I really have to get a life.  :)  Jim is in Portland, Hailey’s out on a date, Em is out saying goodbye to her friends, Tori’s at camp, and the boys were tucked into bed about 8.  So what did I do with my Friday evening?  An evening all to myself?  Uh…yeah.  Since the computer’s been de-bugged and is running again, I cleaned the carpet in the living room and had a small bowl of jello for a treat.  Hello?  How pathetic is that??

Sigh…………I gotta get a life……  In the meantime, since I’ve maxed out the ‘excitement factor’ for my Friday night, I’m going to bed.


What is it that attracts people to computer viruses?  I mean, I so do NOT get the mindset that thinks writing and unleashing viruses simply to wreak havoc on other people—or companies!  While it’s not the end of the world, it is a HUGE drag.  Unfortunately, I’m getting good at installing hard drives and starting up a new system.  This will be the second time in about 18 months…  I am grateful that the laptop still works well, but having our main family computer out of commission sucks.

Yes, I have antivirus software.  And yes, it was up to date.  As of last night, anyway.  :(

Guess I know how I will be spending my ‘quiet evening alone."


Ryan’s changed a bit over the years.  Yesterday I needed a picture of him when he was very little and I got to flipping through all our old pics.  Check out how much he’s grown!

Then. His referral picture:

Yang Fu Tao

And his original visa picture.  Note the seriously furrowed brow.

Yang Fu Tao visa cropped

And now, age 5…

July 25 to 31 047

With a few stops in between!

Adoption day

2nd group of baby pictures 003

And once we got home

November 2005 011

After we’d been home 6 months (He can still wear the swim trunks he has on in the third picture!!)

may 06 005

orange shirt


At 2, wearing the outfit he had on the day we got him!

Nashville 039

At 3, having a nap with his new brother


At 4

 playing around 019


What a joy to have this child as part of our lives.  Hard to believe, but it’s already time for kindergarten!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

irritating squirrels!

Remember this picture:spring in the garden 001

from this post?

Well, Monday I was out looking at my peach tree.  There were probably close to 15 or 20 gorgeous peaches approaching tennis ball size.  My mouth watered just thinking about how delicious they would be!  Yesterday I was out in the garden and the d!*n squirrels around here have sheared off every branch that had a peach on it.  EVERY branch!  ALL of my peaches are gone and my poor little tree looks very sad.   We’ve managed to save most of the blueberries from the birds, but they got the cherries and now the peaches are gone.  Not the happiest day.

The apples, however, are abundant.  And ripe!  I have red Gravensteins ready to pick and make into pies and sauce, and our big tree will be ready to go in another 2 weeks or so.  Another bumper crop.  :)  Anyone want some apples?  There are more than I can deal with!  I canned 50 quarts of applesauce last summer (which we haven’t come close to finishing!) and have more apples this year than last.  You’re welcome to them!  Just let me know.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

roll call time

Okay, everybody…c’mon out!  I know you’re there and read this blog, but who are you??  There are people who read this all over the US and the world!  (Blows my mind…but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

I’d love to know who you are!  Some of you I recognize, but many of you I don’t.  Leave a brief comment telling me where you hail from and what brings you here.  We’d love to know more about you!   :)

Thanks!  Can’t wait to ‘meet’ y’all!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

being real…again

I have several recurring dreams.  I’d love to have them all come true, especially the one about…oh wait—not sharing that one here.  ;)  They’re all great dreams, but one of them involves a winning lottery ticket.  And right now, it’s the dream that would be nice to have come true.  

We’re in the ‘life is expensive’ phase around here.  Oral surgery.  Old cars.  Two girls in college.  Old appliances.  One girl in private school.  Old house.  Two kindergartners this fall (although they’ll be homeschooled, not in private school, it still costs money.)  Braces.  Driver’s ed…for the 4th child.  Weddings and graduations.   Solutions for Logan’s hearing issues, which more than likely won’t be covered by insurance and could run several thousand dollars.  Most of the time it’s okay, but right now we seem to be doing the  ‘more month than money’ thing.

We’ve have used a budget for over 20 years and been pretty faithful to it.  Our major investments in life so far have been twofold:  education for the big guys, and the adoption of the little guys.  I have no regrets about any of it and know for sure that every penny we’ve spent over the years has been well invested!   Through it all, God has faithfully provided everything we’ve needed and then some—my checkbook says that what we’ve done is totally impossible and yet every bill is always paid on time.  God’s blessing, for which we are eternally grateful and humbly in awe…

So why the grumble?  Well…some very large unanticipated expenses with those aforementioned old cars have me stressed out.  Totally stressed out.  We went on our annual vacation this year (camping, which we love!) and the Suburban needed nearly $1,000 worth of work before we could come back.  Talk about a shocker to the bottom line!  And what’s worse:  they didn’t really fix the problem.  They sort of fixed it, but the ‘fix’ caused a new problem in a related system that will cost another $400 or so to fix.  Ugh.  Then on Saturday my mechanic (aka Jim) was working to fix the brakes on the car the girls use.  It’s a 1994 Honda Accord with 217,000 miles.  Awesome car!  Anyway, it needed the front rotors changed.  So, after many hours of work, Jim got the spindle nut and the steering knuckle off, but the rotor and the hub won’t separate from the bearing housing.  (NOT Honda’s finest engineering design!!  It definitely had my engineer using some choice words yesterday.)   Then, because we use this car every day, he decided last night to put it back together and work on it in a couple of weeks when we’re down one driver—Emily leaves on Sunday for WSU—so that being without the car isn’t as big a deal.  Sounds good…except that as he tried to put everything back together, the CV joint came apart!  So now I have a dead vehicle in the garage with another $200 or so in expenses to fix it.  And one exceptionally grumpy, frustrated husband!  And a checkbook that says, simply, “NOT possible!”

In all of this, my poor husband gets very frustrated.  Expenses pile up quicker than the income, it seems.  He works hard to provide, and every need here is always met.  But still he struggles.  And today, looking at the rest of the month, I’m finding my faith being stretched.  It’s not a bad thing, but it’s sure not fun.  While the winning lottery ticket sounds heavenly, I am fairly certain that it’s not the solution God will provide.  After all, if we have the winning ticket, we don’t continue to lean on Him.  We don’t have to trust that He is faithful.  We don’t get the opportunity to practice Hebrews 13:5  “Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’’   And we don’t have stories to share with our children about God’s provision every day, in every season of life.

So today I put this out here.  It’s not a complaint; instead, it’s an opportunity to publicly remind myself that my God is faithful.  My God cares.  And my God provides.  Those are good things!  My only job is to trust.  Waiting on His provision can be hard, but with friends to keep me accountable and not grumbling, it will be fun to see what happens next.     

And in case anyone thinks life is all gloomy and terrible around here, it’s not.  We’ve had some exceptional weeks with Logan!  He’s making good strides with speech therapy.  He’s working hard on his impulse control.  He loved vacation last month, VBS last week, and had a blast at the Mariners game yesterday afternoon with Ryan, his big sister Hailey, her boyfriend Alec, and Alec’s siblings.  What a treat!  Everyone is healthy.  There’s plenty of food to eat and clothing to wear.  The girls start new adventures in school over the next few weeks!  So do the boys.  Jim has a job that he (mostly) enjoys.  I am blessed beyond measure to stay home and take care of this crew.  That’s just a short list of the blessings of the day.   Blessings like that make the faith-stretching days easier.  :)  And today, that’s a good thing…

Friday, August 6, 2010


Interesting day.  I’m tired, having been up last night way past my bedtime then up early this morning.  As a result, I’m finding it hard to get motivated to accomplish anything.  Add the grey skies to the mix and I am headed toward a blue funk.   Why?  Well, how about the countdown:

  • 2 sleeps until Tori goes to camp for a week
  • 5 sleeps until Emily’s 18th birthday
  • 9 sleeps until Emily leaves for college
  • 17 sleeps until high school fall sports practice starts, Ryan and Logan start kindergarten, and Em starts her first year at WSU
  • 26 sleeps until Tori starts her junior year of high school
  • 42 sleeps until Tori turns 16
  • 44 sleeps until Hailey leaves for her second year at UW. 

(Sorry.  Old habits die hard.  My guys all have counted days by counting ‘sleeps’ when they are young, and since Ryan and Logan still count sleeps that tends to be how I think of things these days.)

Then there’s Brent.  Torn patellar tendon in his left knee but the doctor did NOT authorize a visit to the orthopedic surgeon.  Instead, he recommended that Brent be on ‘med boards’ which is basically completely restricted activity for 6 months.  After his med boards are up, he’ll have another visit with the dr. to determine if his knee is healing (no physical therapy or activity allowed during the 6 months).  If not, then they’ll consider a medical discharge.  Consider it.  Apparently, surgery is not something the US Marine Corps is willing to invest in to repair Brent’s 40% tear.  Frustrating for us; agony for Brent.  He is SO ready to move forward with something.  He’s been in medical rehab since mid-May and it’s killing him.

And my nephew Nicholas.  Told in April 2010 that his leukemia had relapsed days before his final follow up after his March 2009 bone marrow transplant, the doctors chose a wait and watch approach initially.  Wednesday Nick was admitted to the hospital to get his Hickman placed, and while he was sedated for the procedure, they did a bone marrow test.  Guess what?  He’s one sick puppy again.  The leukemia cells have exploded, and the treatment protocol they had originally intended to use had to be modified.  Now Nick will get a medication that has caused him to have significant problems with blood clots in the past. Plus blood thinner (that he can’t be on during transplant) and other meds in his ‘chemo cocktail,’ all in preparation for a second bone marrow transplant.  It’s tentatively scheduled for early September, but no definite date yet.  Too many variables in the equation.  And we won’t even TALK about the odds of success for a second bone marrow transplant.  :(  I remind myself often that God has numbered Nicholas’s days, and that He is in charge.  And that He is the God of miracles!

Tonight Jim and the girls are having a ‘daddy/daughter date night’ in lieu of the Dad/kids camping trip they usually take.  There was simply no way to fit that on the calendar this year.  Some summers are like that.  I’m glad that they get to spend some time together and look forward to later tonight when they are all off having fun and my dynamic duo is in bed for the night.  Ahhh…peace!  Quiet!  Solitude!  (and ironing. and all the other stuff I didn’t do during the day.

You know what?  I am glad that yesterday I got to spend a couple of hours snuggling a newborn.  It’s one of my very favorite things to do and something that I would gladly do any time, any day.   Maybe I should just borrow her tonight?  She and I can cuddle up and watch movies…hang the chores!  :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

more vacation pics

On Tuesday night of vacation, there is a cribbage tournament.  Many of the teams dress up in costume (mostly the teens, but some of the adults too).  This is the first year Ryan and Logan have been able to come—it lasts WAY past their bedtime!—and they got into the spirit of the tourney in their ‘gangsta’ outfits.

Their caps are made from glow sticks, which had everyone quite envious.  The boys LOVED wearing them back to the trailer about 10:30 at night—they’re cool in the dark!

gangsta 2

gangsta 3

gangsta 4

gangsta 7

gangsta 8

gangsta 10

gangsta 11

gangsta 12

Oh, and Ryan teamed up with sis Victoria to play this year too.  Not bad for 5 years old.  Maybe next year they’ll win the whole thing.