Sunday, January 24, 2016

Emily Joy

There is so much to say about this little girl.  She's our princess, our tom boy, our bowl full of energy and joy.   She's always within arms reach of me.  She loves everything girlie, makeup, princess dresses, playing mommy.  Equally, she loves playing with her chickens, toads, caterpillars, bugs and dirt.  She loves to bake and garden just like momma.  She would probably live outside if we let her!

She played T-ball for the first time this past Spring.  She played on Saydel Silver.  She was a little shy which always amazes me, but she made some friends and seem to have a good time.  And when she wasn't sure if she wanted to play or not, the promise of a treat ticket at the end of the game always made her happy.

In the fall we did some drop in gymnastics.  She loved it!  I definitely see a gymnast in our future!  

Emily started preschool in late August.  She has been so excited to go to school like her big brothers. She looks forward to going to school every day.  It's been nice, but kind of strange having some actually alone time each day.  I've had at least one child home with me for the last 10 years. 
Here she is at her first school concert.  The 4 year olds put on a holiday concert.  They sang songs, opened a present and then got to make a gingerbread house with mom and dad.  

Here is our spunky girl after we decorated the Christmas tree!
I almost forgot!  Also in the Fall Emily went to a cheer-leading clinic hosted by the Saydel high school cheerleaders.  They performed during half time of one of the varsity football games.  

Last but not least I think she has already found the love of her life.  Her baby cousin Amelia who was born in July of last year.  When she is around her, she just can't get enough.  I hope they always share this special bond!  I also hope that Amelia will always be so willing to let her cousin hang all over her.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Drew Henry

Drew Bug is in the third grade this year.  He is growing SO MUCH!!  He too, is doing a great job in school.  I get complimented so often by how good my children are.  As a parent that is so reassuring!! 
First day of third grade!

 In the Spring he and Brodie played on the same team for baseball-Saydel Black.  Drew improved so much this year and was so much fun to watch.

 He loves to go fishing.  Here he is with a blue gill he caught on our camping trip this past summer.
 Here is a photo of all our kids in March when we went to South Carolina to see Jake graduate from basic training.

Both Drew and I got sick on our trip to see Jake.  Drew was so sick we rushed him to the ER in the middle of the night the day before Jake graduated.  He had a tremendous fever and was complaining of stomach pain.  At first they were pretty sure it was his appendix.  After a CT came back negative they saw that he had pneumonia.  We stayed in the ER all night while they gave him IV antibiotic.  He was such a trooper.  We came home at 6am and were out the door by 7:30am to head to Jakes graduation.  He barely complained but you could tell he was miserable.

Drew is certainly one of our stronger kids.  He is such a fun, goofy, lovable boy.  Things are never dull when he is around!  

Thanksgiving 2015.

Brodie Michael

Brodie.  Brodie.  Brodie.  

Mr. Brodie is in 4th grade this year!  He is the best student.  I am constantly being told that he is such a good student and friend.  He makes us so proud!

Brodie is super athletic and loves sports.  Last Spring he made it onto the All Star team for baseball.  He even hit his first homerun!  He had an awesome year!

Over the summer he and Drew attended a football camp at Iowa State.  Football is his favorite sport and he just can't ever get enough.  He constantly plays football in the backyard, trades football cards with his friends, watches games and follows players stats, he is a true fan of the game!

Paul Rhoades with Brodie and Drew

And of course he is a die hard Detroit fan just like his daddy.

First day of 4th grade.

Brodie and mom on his field trip downtown to the sculpture park.
Our first crop of radishes!  Brodies favorite  veggie!
This was Brodies first year of tackle football.  Our team was awesome and we went 6-1 for the season.  I absolutely LOVE watching these boys play.  The kids have such an awesome group of friends and I can not wait to see what these boys do as they get older.  There is a lot of talent in our 4th grade boys.  
Of course you are going to be good when you have the best coach ever!  

In September Brodie turned 10 years old!  

 Big brother Tony got him his own mp3 player!

Right now we are about half way through the basketball season.  The boys are 0 and 4 but continue to improve each week. It's always so busy with all the sports practices and events but I wouldn't have it any other way.  My most enjoyable moments are watching my boys do what they love!


This has been a big year of growth for Tony.  Not just physically but he has socially grown as well.  He went to Prom last May.  He went with a group of kids from school and wore the kilt you see below.  I was asked to be the driver for him and his buddies.  I even got to tag along to dinner before the dance.  He had a really good time.

In August Tony started his senior year at Saydel.  Hard to believe he is almost 18.  His grades are doing much better this year, and he is set to graduate in May.  Yay!!
 (First day of school)

Since school started, on Friday afternoons Tony joined the anime club.   He has really gotten into that and has purchased some pretty cool costumes.  He and his girlfriend, Katelynn went to Anime Iowa in November.  It was his first convention and he had a blast!  It was all he talked about for 3 weeks leading up to the convention.  He was quite popular, as he dressed as Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul, one of his favorite animes.  He had numerous people stop him and ask for his picture!  Quite a boost to his self esteem!  He already has plans to go to the big convention this summer in Corralville.  

Tony continues to work at Batteries + Bulbs in Ankeny.  He has mastered every flash light and light bulb in the store.  This job has been the absolute best thing that has ever happened to him.  He has grown and matured so much this last year.  It's amazing.

Tony plans to graduate in May and remain living at home.  He would like to work full time for a year and then go into graphic design at DMACC.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jacob Christopher

Where to start with this child.  Well, first off he isn't a child any more!  He will be 20 years old in a month.  Yes, you read that right, 20 years old!

In November 2014 he came home from college and told Will and I that he wanted to quit college and was joining the army.  A couple weeks later on December 11, 2015 he enlisted into the United States Army.  
On December 31st he flew out to Fort Jackson, South Carolina to start 10 weeks of basic training.  It was a rough 10 weeks having no contact with him and not being able to check in and see how he was doing.
On March 12th be graduated from Basic Training.  The whole family drove down to watch this huge accomplishment. 
He then went directly to Fort Eustis, VA to start his AIT training.  He would be working on Apache helicopters.  His official title...15Y: AH-64D Armament/Electrical/Systems Repairer.

On May 22nd, 2015 he married Shelby in Virginia.  She lived out there off base until he graduated from AIT on August 26th.

In September we had a get together with friends and family to celebrate them being back home!

They were home for a couple weeks until Jake left again in September for his first duty station in South Korea.  This was a rough good bye!  We weren't sure how long it would be before we would see him again.  Shelby stayed behind, unable to go with him to Korea.

He was able to take some leave time the day after Christmas this year and flew the long plane ride back to Iowa!!  He got to spend 10 days at home.

While he was home he helped Shelby get settled into an apartment in Ankeny.  They also adopted a dog.  Meet our granddog...Gizmo!

He left again on January 9th, 2016 to finish his time in Korea.  He is set to come back in September of this year if everything goes as planned.  We are hoping sometime in April or so we will get to find out where his next duty station will be.  Crossing my fingers it's somewhere closer than South Korea!

As you can see it's been a whirlwind of events with our oldest child!  We love him more than anything and are so incredibly proud of the man he is becoming!