Sunday, November 16, 2008

Great googly moogly!

It's been 3 months since the last post. I feel like such a failure. Here's my best attempt to catch the highlights and get everybody back up to speed.

School started. Gabriela is going to second grade. Everett and Daniel are doing a home schooling program with Kim that is sponsored by our school district. It basically means they go to school once a week while Kim gets a break and that the rest of the week Kim gets to feel guilty for not being as diligent about teaching them every day. The boys will start kindergarten next year. Daniel is also taking speech classes since he's got a few issues to work on with his pronunciation. He had his first session last week and is doing much better with his "K" sounds, as long as he's lying down. It's a great trick - but now we have to master the standing "K".

Madeline is doing some preschool this year once a week with other families in our ward. She gets to go to someone's house and learn all sorts of fun stuff. She's quite social, so she enjoys it quite a bit. She's also doing much better on her sounds and letter recognition. Madeline's birthday is on Tuesday and she will be all of 4. The plan is that we go bowling. Hopefully that all works out for us. Grandma and Grandpa Borders will be visiting so it should be quite fun.

We had an interesting endeavor for a few weeks in September and October. We joined with a few other families in our community and sponsored Family Friendly Soccer, an endeavor to let our kids get engaged in organized athletics without all the cost, time commitment, and psycho parents that yell at their kids from the sidelines and make everyone else feel embarrassed for them looking like complete idiots as they try to relive their own inadequacies in their own youth through their children. We took about 1.5 hours out of each Saturday for practices and games, and the parents even got to get involved with playing soccer with the kids. Gabriela, Everett, and Daniel enjoyed it quite a bit, although they were happy when it was done. Dad got to coach Gabriela's team, which was a great lesson in patience and was some good exercise to boot. I even heard that comment that I can still run pretty fast for a fat man. I'm like a dwarf in that sense though - great sprinter at short distances, with plenty of rest in between.

Halloween came and went without incident or vomiting. Gabriela was a ladybug, Everett was a dinosaur, Daniel was a pumpkin, and Madeline was a princess. We do trunk-or-treat at the church and it's amazing how much candy you can get in just a half hour. We probably covered about 50-75 cars in that time. I think it's really sad how easy we make trick-or-treating for our kids these days. When I was a kid, it took us about 2-3 hours to get a bag half full of candy. We had to work for that candy, braving dogs and snowdrifts, running into things in the dark, and lots and lots of walking. Our kids sure have it easy. Lucky suckers.

I'm headed out to London on Saturday for work which should be fun. Flying back home on Wednesday to join the family up at Kettle Falls for Thanksgiving. This will be the first trip to Thanksgiving with the vast majority of the Borders family (minus Amy and Neil), so we're trying to figure out how to manage all the people in closed quarters for 4 days straight. The biggest concern is the kids. The Borders' Lodge happens to act much like an echo chamber, which small children tend to just feed off of, if you've never had the privilege to find out. I just hope we're all on speaking terms at the end of the week and that our kids aren't scarred (physically or emotionally) when we drive home. I've already started the threats with my kids. Next will come the bribes. Oh, the joys of parenting.

For those of you waiting for the annual Welling Christmas letter, it's currently under development. We're hoping to make it as good as previous years, but I'm afraid we may have run out of funny as of late, so we'll see if the creative juices will flow. Until then!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pictures, Pictures

Here is synopsis of our summer with pictures to compliment the last post. Enjoy!

Welling Family Grandkids ...aren't they cute?

Enjoying the Kettle River at Grandpa & Grandma Borders cabin

Madeline trying out a new hairdo...isn't she so pretty?

Madeline, Everett, Cousin Kaitlyn, Gabriela, & Daniel
catching grasshoppers at the cabin. Don't worry we let them go.

Birthday fun with Daniel & Everett!

Check out our new bikes...we are so cool!

Gabriela's first day of 2nd Grade!

She loves to pose! Welcome to 2nd Grade!

Back off summer break!

Well, it must have been a busy summer because it was so packed that we didn't even have time to write in the blog all summer. Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. We're now on the tail end of summer and entering fantastic fall or awesome autumn. Kim says we have to update the blog today: it is our goal. For some reason my wife sets goals for us, but I can't command the same type of demands. But, then again, a 52" Sony Bravia probably isn't the loftiest of goals for us in the long run.

What a whirlwind of a summer it has been. Since I'm obviously not going to be able to remember all the vivid details that I know our readership craves, I'll give a high level perspective and stick in any specificity as I remember it. Kim has promised to supplement with pictures to boot. Hopefully the two will coincide, although I don't know that we have any pictures documenting bowel movements and vomiting. At least I hope we don't. Maybe we'll just skip the chronicling of those distinct events.

In early July we took a fantastic voyage to Utah for the second bi-annual Welling Family Reunion. This was quite an undertaking for us, and we tried to squeeze in as many visits as we possibly could because, with $4 a gallon gas, we don't expect to be making that many of those trips in the very near future. The list of people we were able to visit with included:
  • Woods Family (Dave, LeAnne, and children)
  • Kingsford Family (Kenny, Michele and seed)
  • Ricord Family (Clint, Megan, and descendants)
  • Young Welling Family (Ryan, Tiffanie, and offspring)
  • Youngest Welling Family (Gavin and Kara)
  • Fund Family (TJ, Christel, and progeny)
  • Barson Family (Ryan, Heather, and heirs)
  • Beauchene Family (Todd, Kiersten, and young)
  • Varga Family (Bridger, Kari, and brood)
  • Rupp Family (Jeff, Julie, and scions)
  • Toronto Family (Neil, Amy, and family)
  • Grandpa and Grandma Nicholas (together)
  • Grandma Welling (alone)
  • Emily Borders (alone and looking)
  • Nancy Baker (alone and indifferent)

We didn't get to take any pictures of anybody that we visited, so you'll have to take our word for it. If you happened to take a picture while we visited you, please feel free to send it to us. We can post it on our blog! If you find yourself looking at the above list and you don't find yourself there and you live in the Utah area and you find yourself asking why we didn't visit you, we didn't know you care so much. Make it known bucko! We'll catch you on the next ride down.

At the Welling Family Bi-Annual Reunion, we got to hang out with everybody and reacquaint ourselves. I got to introduce my family to The Settlers of Catan, which became an instant hit with the whole family. There were a couple of really late nights and I think I can state that we got everybody hooked.

While at the reunion, my brother Ryan came up with a fantastic competition for the entire family. You see, the day before, during the family picture, we had to put the camera in an adjacent county to get all of us in the shot because we didn't have a wide enough lens. So Ryan came up with the idea that we need to have a Welling Family Biggest Loser competition. Now, for those of you that may want to say that that's a redundancy in terms, nobody asked you. We all thought a friendly rivalry among siblings and spouses would be a healthy way to egg each other on to losing a few pounds. We even set up a webpage for documenting the weight loss each of us experienced. My idea was that we take fat picture of ourselves (shirts off for men, Spandex for women, just like in the TV show). I couldn't find anybody else that thought that would be a good idea, though. I just figured seeing everyone's fat rolls spilling out over form-fitting attire or giant man-boobs sagging from gravity's pull would be a good way to kick-start the weight loss, if not from humiliation then simply because of the vomiting that would ensue because of it. Just trying to help.

We also got to spend some time up at the new cabin near Kettle Falls that Kim's parents have been able to pert near finish this summer. It's in decoration phase: there is furniture and beds and all the trim going up all the time. It's an absolutely amazing place and we're excited to have it only a few hours away for getting away from the headache of everyday life. If you feel so inclined to visit us, we'll take you up there.

Anyway, we got to float the Kettle River and we got all of the kids to brave the water this year. They're becoming regular fish. Everett and Daniel got to spend their 5th birthday up there and they even got bikes this year. They were extremely excited and think they're pretty grown up now.

Which brings me to a subject I know you're all wondering about. Everett has been on and off during the summer with the potty-training, which has been not fun when you're traveling or staying at other people's houses. Anyway, Kim has been pumping Everett full of flax on a daily basis as a means to keep the kid regular. And, I am happy to report that we have finally turned a corner. Imagine my surprise when I was sitting at work one day and I get a phone call from home. I answer the phone and find that it's Everett on the other end. And what does he say to me? "Dad, I just had an 18" poop." Yep, 18". Now, let me just jump in here right now and state that it's not a normal occurrence that we measure our feces at the Welling home. But since Everett has had such a hard time defecating anything larger than a raisin, this turd was monumental. Literally. Okay, figuratively, since it's not actually a monument hanging on the wall. But monumental in the sense of size. You know what I mean. So the moral of the story here: God bless flax!

Last week we went to Silverwood Theme Park with the Borders family. For those of you not from Washington, it's pretty much just like Lagoon in Utah. We went because Gabriela won a free ticket for reading at school, and Kim got a free ticket for volunteering at the school, and I've wanted to go ever since we moved to Washington. Gabriela was adamant that she wanted to ride some roller coasters, so after hitting a couple of kid rides when we showed up, Kim and I took Gabriela, Everett, and Daniel to Roller Coaster Alley to rider on Tremors, which is a wooden roller coaster that goes 60 miles per hour and goes above and below-ground. Now, let me preface this by saying that Kim has never been on a roller coaster before. This was her first amusement park ever, which is pretty amazing in and of itself. In addition to that, Kim hates heights and hates extreme speeds, so the fact that she was willing to go on this ride and be brave in front of the kids was pretty awesome. It took us a little over an hour, but we finally got up to the front of the line. When we got up there, they told us we needed 1 adult per child (since our kids were under 4' tall. A nice man in front of us with his 2 kids said he would ride with one of our kids. Gabriela said she would do it and so she hopped on the ride just before us. As they left, Kim and I looked at each other wondering how in the world she was going to react to her first roller coaster with a complete stranger. When she got back, about 90 seconds later we could see we didn't have anything to worry about. She had the biggest smile on her face getting off the ride. Once she got off, it was our turn to get on. I sat next to Daniel and Kim sat next to Everett. And now, who better to tell the rest of the story than Kim herself.

I put on a brave face for Everett, but inside I kept thinking what have I got myself into. The first steep incline was not too bad...until we got to the top and went straight down into a tunnel. I thought I was going to die. It was so fast and we kept going up and down into tunnels. I laughed the entire way because if I didn't I probably would have burst into tears. After what seemed like an eternity we pulled to a stop. I unbuckled my seat and with my wobbly legs and heart racing I stepped out of the seat....I had survived. I am glad that I did it...but I don't think I will do it again...until Aaron drags me to Disneyland or someplace like that.

Okay, let's be honest. She loved it and she knows she loved it, she's just afraid to admit it. In all actuality, of all the roller coasters we rode the rest of the day, that one was probably the scariest, so she's really braver than she thinks. So we got to ride on a bunch more rides. The kids liked the log flume ride the best, although the one that was probably the most fun to ride for me was Thunder Canyon. It's one of those rides where you ride in a big round raft and you get to watch everybody else's faces as they get drenched with water. We jumped in line and Madeline promptly fell asleep in her stroller. After a 45 minute nap, she woke up just in time to jump on the raft. Needless to say, she wasn't completely awake and not exactly ready for a water ride. Once we got everybody strapped in, they sent us off. We hit the first rapid and, of course, it washed over Madeline. She proceeded to cry during the remainder of the ride. And it didn't matter how much the rest of us were laughing and getting drenched, Madeline just kept crying. And at the very last rapid, the biggest wave I had seen the whole ride washed right over the top of Madeline and drenched her from head to toe. And there she sat with these big wide eyes, looking like a drowned rat, dripping wet, shivering and crying. I don't think I've felt that bad in a long time. And what made me feel worse was I kept on laughing because it was so much fun.

All in all, it was a great day, the kids had lots of fun, even Madeline, and it was a great weekend to end the summer with. On Wednesday, Gabriela started second grade and Everett and Daniel are going to be doing a home school program with Kim (best of luck to her). So, we're back to regular schedules and enjoying the cooler days and cooler nights. We'll try and be better the rest of the year at the blogging thing now that we're back on the schedule.

Talk to you again next week!

Friday, June 27, 2008

And we're back!

We apologize for the inconvenience. I guess with Kim posting the last post, I figured she'd have the initiative, the desire, nay the extreme pleasure of wanting to post again when I got busy with work, life, etc. and that I wouldn't need to worry about it for a bit. Needless to say from the lack of posts that that was not the case. So here it is, 6 weeks from the last post that we attempt to catch you up. Unfortunately, my usual verbosity (verboseness?) will probably make that quite the challenge. Hence, I am starting to write this on Friday evening in the hopes that it is written by Sunday to be posted. Fortunately for all of you, you won't have known that there was an additional two day wait besides the 6 weeks so the suspense won't have killed you.

So here it is, Friday night. That means movie night. Being the cultured parents that we are, or maybe because we want them to fall asleep quickly, we've put on Thoroughly Modern Millie. They do like the show though, so it's good for everyone. Of course, Kim has left me tonight to go TP someone's house. I know what you're thinking: isn't that type of riff-raff reserved for, well, riff-raff, as opposed to housewives with four small children that need to be carted off to bed shortly? Well, I would have to agree with you on that. But for some reason, Kim is feeling the need to relive the teenage years she missed out on since she was an angelic homebody that didn't get out too much. I'm calling it "Kim's Kooky Phase". Please everyone, say a silent prayer that she gets it out her system before the kids can really know about it and try to model her behavior. Thanks folks!

So, back to what I said I was going to talk about more than a paragraph ago. It's the end of June and. since we last left you, Kim had her birthday and Mother's Day (thanks everyone for pitching in for the gifts), Aaron had his birthday and Father's Day (again, thanks everyone for the presents, you're all too kind), Gabriela finished off first grade (top of her class, of course), Aaron traveled to Allentown, PA twice for work (all went well, thanks for asking), we got a visit from LeAnne and Dave and took them up to Kettle Falls for the weekend (played a lot of Settlers of Catan and got them hooked), and we're now gearing up for our trip to Utah for the 4th of July for the 2nd Bi-Annual Welling Family Reunion. Those are the major events that have happened. I'll embellish the details on a few just for the sake of embellishment. You're welcome.

Kim is 33 now. That's right, she's a third of a century (though technically she needs to be 33 years, 3 months, 3 days, 3 hours, and 3 minutes old before she's really a third of a century, but fortunately we're not technical around here). And of course, I wasn't around for her birthday. I was in Pennsylvania for a workshop. Thankfully, Kim has fantastic friends that brought her fruit pizza, took her out to PF Chang's for lunch, brought her presents, and toilet-papered the house (apparently that's what friends do?). The two Sundays previous to her birthday was Mother's Day and the kids and I prepared a fantastic dinner of barbecued Hawaiian chicken which was absolutely amazing, minus the burnt parts. She also got her favorite new movie, Enchanted, on DVD. I think she had a great day.

The following month, it was my turn. I turned 34, which I was pretty indifferent about until somebody mentioned that it was just 6 years shy of 40. Talk about a major buzzkill. I don't think I should have to think about being 40 until I am 40, or soon to be 40, not 6 years before. That's all together too depressing, no offense to the sad saps who have the unfortunate responsibility of already being 40 or soon to be 40. My condolences. I've heard that 40 is the new 50 - how's that for even more depressing. Anyway, you'll never guess where I was on my birthday. That's right, back in Pennsylvania for another workshop. The fun never ends. I did get to go to a minor league baseball game that night and sat in the dugout box seats on the field, right behind home plate. That was pretty cool. The following Sunday was Father's Day, and I got cedar planks (it's for cooking, not for fencing, or even for swordplay for that matter) and a 3-disc DVD set - Ben Hur (good), Citizen Kane (bad), and The Maltese Falcon (amazing).

On my birthday, Gabriela finished school. She is officially a second grader now. She also finished Harry Potter Book 3 (finally got back to it after reading every other book in the house) and she's on to The Goblet of Fire. She earned a trip to our local amusement park (if you can call Coeur d'Alene, ID local) so we're planning a trip there later this summer, probably when the price of gasoline gets up to about $6.00 Lucky us.

I am happy to report that we have officially stopped buying diapers. This is a major milestone in the Welling family home. And what are we doing with all this freed up cash? That's right, it's going into good old gasoline. So much for debt reduction. Anyway, we're still having some issues with Everett, as you might have guessed. Clay poop is our evil nemesis. So Everett is now cleaning out his own underwear any time he has an accident, which seems like about 5-6 times each day. He's also not going to get to take swimming lessons unless he's poop-free. We're hoping with enough incentive, it will all get through. Literally.

So the Woods familia came to visit us last week. They are the first of my family (besides Mom and Dad) to come visit us. We showed them all of the Tri-Cities and, after the 15 minute tour was over, we decided to take them to Kim's parents' cabin in Kettle Falls since it at least has two bathrooms, as opposed to our house. We had a great time playing bocce ball, horseshoes, baseball, Settlers of Catan, and going fishing and throwing rocks in the river. We even got Dave and LeAnne to watch Batman Begins, which they both liked (big shocker).

So here we are, preparing to have a fantastic 4th of July and trying to get everything ready so we can make it as enjoyable as possible. If you'd like a visit and you're in the neighborhood, please let us know and we'll try to squeeze you in. No promises though.

Talk to you again soon. And wow, got it all done in one day. Lucky you!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It's My Turn

Wacky Hair Day at school on Friday, May 16th: Gabriela had 7 pigtails with ribbon, Daniel & Everett spiked up their hair and well Madeline just didn't comb her I guess that is a little Wacky.

Since Aaron is gone for the next few days I am taking the liberty of writing on the blog. I am not this posting may not be as funny as previous posts, but you will know what is going on in our family. As you can see I have made some changes to the look of our page. It is spring and we needed something a little more lively!

The past few weeks have been busy. As you know Madeline and I went to Utah the last week of April and into May. Madeline enjoyed the plane ride, until the last 15 minutes when she didn't want to stay buckled in her seat. It was great spending time the Kingsford clan. The kids were wonderful and listened to what I asked them to do. Madeline had a great time with Ainsley and especially enjoyed "playing pins" with all the kids. We are glad that Taryn is doing so well and look forward to spending more time in Utah this summer.

Madeline on the airplane and then at the Salt Lake City Airport

We also spent time with friends from BYU and were able to attend Emma's baptism. It was a great day and we are glad for your choice to be baptized Emma. Way to go!

Emma's baptism day - with her dad Neil

Everett and Daniel had a nice visit to Spokane while Madeline and I were away. They stayed with Grandpa and Grandma Borders. They went to the family cabin in Kettle Falls while they were there and even had a visit to Red Robin. Good times. They went to Jenny and Aaron's next and enjoyed playing with Abby and Tyler (we will only mention that during this period Daniel was sick with the flu for 2 days..thank you Mom and Jenny for taking such good care of him:) ) After a couple of days they went over to Matt and Rachel's house and loved playing with Isabelle, Abram, and Eli. Matt took them fishing and had a BBQ with Andrew and Christy. Thank you family for taking such good care of our kids!

Everett with his tiger and Daniel with missing teeth

Aaron and Gabriela spent the time working in the yard, planting flowers, and planting our small garden. Gabriela was able to go home with friends after school until Aaron came home. She had a great time. Aaron missed me terribly of course...and the rest of the kids (maybe not terribly). Life around our house isn't the same without ALL of us here.

Gabriela after we pulled out two wood ticks lodged in her head; at Andrew & Christy's wedding reception in Sunnyside with Emma, and Erika (Christy's sister)

Now it is May! We love spring, though today feels like the middle of summer at 98 degrees! Aaron is in Allentown PA until Wednesday night. The kids and I will keep busy by making sure our lawn doesn't die and watching the American Idol Season Finale..Go DAVID!! We are looking forward to going to Kettle Falls for Memorial Day weekend. Thanks to our friends and family who take such good care of us and love us. We love you all and enjoy hearing from you. I hope you didn't mind hearing from me today! Aaron will be back soon and will keep you laughing. Have wonderful day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Home alone (almost)

Hello everyone,

It's good to be with you again, sharing our lives with all our friends and the world at large. I told my Sunday School class today that writing a blog takes the place of writing in my own personal journal, which is actually a weak attempt at self-righteous rationalization when I am, in fact, not writing in my journal. But due to the fact that this blog will forever be available on the world wide web so long as all of Google's servers don't crash simultaneously or we decide to unplug ourselves digitally in the future due to the dominance of robots and / or artificial intelligence computers taking over the world, I think I'm at least making a dent in the chronicling of our family life. Let's all keep hoping that Google rules the future world rather than robots, and it should all work out just fine.

So, another eventful week in Washington. Daniel lost his second tooth. He officially looks like a jack-o-lantern and we're hoping that he gets his bottom two teeth in before corn on the cob season. Can you imagine trying to eat corn on the cob with no bottom teeth? The cob would just keep spinning endlessly in your hands as the two top teeth consistently pushed it downwards. What a sick, twisted, cruel joke that the human body would play on itself - to instill that incessant craving for sweet, delectable, corny goodness and not have the ability to sate that need. Madness, I say. MADNESS!!!! Then again, I guess we can sever the corn off the cob. But it's the principle of the matter! Man should not live by cut niblets alone.

Madeline gets to be Mommy's little girl this week and gets to be more spoiled (if that's possible) by taking a trip with Mom to Utah. She got to ride on an airplane, which I heard went pretty well except for the last ten minutes where she decided that she had sat buckled up long enough and proceeded to have a tantrum and cause a gigantic scene on the plane. Thanks to fantastic breeding on our part, she doesn't look at all like an al Qaeda operative (plus the fact that she looks like she's 3) and they didn't have to call in the on-board US marshals to take over the situation and wrestle her to the ground. Frankly, I think she would have given them a run for their money.

Kim gets to spend a week taking care of someone else's children as she watches the Kingsford's kids while Taryn has her operation. It will be interesting to see whether Kim comes back saying Michele's kids are a breeze compared to ours or vice versa. I'll let you know what the verdict is when she gets back. I think she's just happy she won't have to do the spring cleaning while she's there. Michele reminds me a lot of Monica on Friends, and I don't think anyone could live up to the standards placed there. We have our own thoughts about spring cleaning at the Welling house. The rule is - if there isn't enough dirt for anything to grow in it yet, we're just helping to keep the dust mites alive. Just one of those "circle of life" kind of things. We're just doing our part.

Everett and Daniel have entered the stage of incessant whining. Their favorite line is: "It's too hard" or "It's too boring". These lines seem to come up anytime their parents ask anything of them, like "can you please go clean your room", or "will you please go brush your teeth", or "will you please find it in your heart to stop whining for 10 minutes so your mother and I can have an intelligent conversation without the constant droning, the fake crying, the flailing of arms, and the annoying running in place that regularly accompanies this incessant boo-hooing that seems to only occur when you're not sleeping, for the love all that is SACRED AND HOLY!" Okay, I've never actually said that last sentence, but I'm pretty sure I'd get the same response. Everett and Daniel are staying with Grandma and Grandpa Borders this weekend, then will be passed back and forth between aunts and uncles until Kim comes home on Friday. I wish them all the best of luck!

That leaves Gabriela and Aaron. We're having a fantastic daddy-daughter week with just the two of us. Friday night, after Kim and kids left, we went to the store and bought snacks, then rented TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for those of you who are acronymistically challenged) and went home and pigged out on junk food. Gabriela got Whoppers (the chocolate kind, not from BK) and I bought the new A&W Rootbeer Float beverages. Note to those of you who are curious - it tastes just like rootbeer that has melted ice cream in it. I really wasn't that impressed, especially for the price of a 4-pack. Gabriela agreed with me. Anyway, Gabriela woke up the next morning and decided to eat the remainder of the Whoppers, then complained about a stomach ache the rest of the morning. While she nursed her stomach (spelled s-t-u-p-i-d-i-t-y), I worked on the yard. In the afternoon we went and bought some flowers and the start of our garden. We now have watermelon, pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, and a sunflower planted and we're hoping that they all grow. We've also got some strawberries that we planted a few weeks back that look amazing. I'm really excited about the garden - I think it will be our first since we've been married. Can you say - slacker? Hopefully something grows and we'll be reaping what we've sown all summer long.

So, that's about it. It took two days to write, but it's done. And that's two weeks in a row. Ha!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Under Promise, Over Deliver

Well, apparently this is becoming more of a monthly post rather than a weekly post. And I can't blame the lack of posts on the lack of good writing material. Have I got some elaborate stories that I could tell involving turkey basters, dry ice, and Philippine immigrants? Technically, no but that's beside the point. What I can tell you is that it's been an event-filled March and April, filled with fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, escape, true love, and miracles. Mostly that's because I finished reading The Princess Bride (S. Morgenstern is a literary genius, just so everyone knows). So, without further adieu, the news.

Let's see, I'm going to start with the present and work backwards. Kim got a new calling today - she's no longer going to be leading the music in sacrament meeting and flashing me knowing grins as I struggle to contain four children without someone running half-crazed up and down the aisles screaming, shouting, and giggling like a goofy idiot. And when I say someone, I mean me. And what is the new responsibility? MIA Maid advisor. Kim's pretty jazzed since, during our near 11 years of marriage she has always been in the Primary. How will she be able to deal with 14-15 year old girls, of which our ward has about 14-15? It should be interesting to watch.

Kim was brushing Daniel's teeth on Monday and as she was doing so, she noticed that he had 2 loose teeth, which is kind of disconcerting since he's only 4 and won't be 5 for another 4 months. In reviewing his day, Kim recognized that he probably knocked them loose on the neighbors' swing that day. So, after much boo-hooing from Daniel (he tends to freak out and get melodramatic at the drop of a hat) Gabriela informed him that losing teeth equates to money from the tooth fairy. At that point, Daniel recognized the fortuitous circumstances that a loose tooth at this age presented. He lost one tooth on Friday and the tooth fairy brought him a whole dollar. We're hoping that compensates for the big hole in his smile that he's going to have for a little while, although we hope his mouth recognizes the hole and overcompensates with a growth spurt in his periodontal region.

On to Everett and the battle with bowel movements. We're feeding Everett FiberOne bars and fiber-enriched apple juice on a daily basis. It's helping out a little bit, but for some reason I think Everett still likes either the attention from his parents or the exhilerating sensation of poop between his buttocks. It's highly frustrating, to say the least, and we're still trying to figure out the best way to get over this hurdle, which seems to be more like a 3-story building. In the meantime, we'll be plugging away with the daily fiber intake of an entire assisted living facility in the hopes that it will "move" Everett to "get it out" and finally get this problem "wiped out". I think I've run out of puns regarding pooping, so we'll move on to the next child.

Madeline, as opposed to Everett, has taken on the potty-training very well. She's got number 1 down and number 2 has been done successfully in the toilet a few times now, as well. We're extremely proud of her and pleased it has gone this well because, let's face it, if it had been as bad with Madeline as it has with Everett, Kim might have officially resigned as potty-trainer and we would have brought in either professional help or corks. I think corks would have been cheaper, so that would have been my vote. I think it worked out best for everyone.

Kim's taking off on Saturday to go to Salt Lake to help out Michele's family while Taryn has her operation. She'll be gone for about 8 days. We feel that the best thing we can do while she is gone is split up the entire family so everyone misses each other. So the plan is: Kim and Madeline in Salt Lake, Everett and Daniel in Spokane, and Aaron and Gabriela in Richland. Should prove to be an interesting week.

I'll probably have a lot to say next Sunday, since it will just be me and Gabriela through the weekend and all next week. I'm hoping she doesn't expect her hair to get done in ponytails or braids and that she's happy with eating minimally prepared food. I just don't hope I get reported for supplying her with graham crackers and sardines for school lunch. I might need to think that out a little bit better and plan next week with some actual meals.

That's it for the Welling update. Keep posted, though I won't be promising more frequent updates anymore: under promise and over deliver is the new motto for the blog. That being said, if I get anything more in here before Independence Day, you should all feel privileged. Until next time!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A month gone by, and nothing to tell...

Well, so much for New Year's resolutions. We went through the whole month of February without a post. We even had Leap Year on our side. We'll try and get back on track for the month of March. For now, let's catch you all up on the Welling happenings.

The month of February was terribly unexciting and uneventful. We stayed home every weekend and did very little around the house. Makes you wonder where all the time goes and how you can accomplish so little so quickly. Since there's nothing to talk about for happenings, we'll just tell you about each of us.

Gabriela is still in 1st grade and she's still the smartest kid in her class. She turned 7 yesterday and got a call from Grandpa and Grandma Welling in Kazakhstan to wish her a happy birthday. She thought that was really special. We had lots of cake left over from Grandpa Borders' 60th birthday party on Friday. She got about 10 books and read them all today. She's quite a voracious reader.

Everett's potty-training is still going pretty crappy. Literally. Kim has decided to bag the whole thing and move on to Madeline. We're hoping peer pressure gets the best of him and that he'll finally give in once everyone else is out of diapers. Otherwise, we'll just leave it to his missionary companion or loving spouse.

Daniel has started worrying about monsters under his bed, in the closet, under the seat in the car, and anywhere else you can possibly imagine. We've tried to convince him that all his pajamas and his blankets are monster repelling, so they can't get at him. He's not quite buying it though. If anybody has other ideas, let us know.

Madeline has to be the funniest little kid ever. She say the funniest things sometimes, with the funniest facial expressions. We've decided we need to stick her and Jaxon in a room together with a video camera just for the comedy that would most likely ensue. Might be some of the best YouTube yet.

Kim and Aaron are doing great. We're trying to get the house into a decent state before we have people come and stay with us during Uncle Andrew's wedding on March 29th. Hopefully that will work out, but work is pretty crazy so who knows what will happen. We're also headed out of town this weekend to go to Arizona and visit Dave and LeAnne. It will be nice to go where it's warm, but Richland has been in the 60s this week, it's been nice here too.

That's about it. Until next week...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lazy week and lazier Sunday

Another week has passed without me even realizing it. The week itself was not all that interesting. However, the weekend has been quite eventful, or uneventful as the case may be. Here's how it all happened.

Monday thru Friday meant work for Aaron. Gabriela got school off on Monday because it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Yes, yet another holiday where the rest of the working world (comprising the US) curses all government employees because they get the day off for remembering people. Did any of the postal workers do anything to commemorate Dr. King's life? No, it was probably more centered around staying at home, in their pajamas, and watching all the shows they have been TiVoing for the past two months while cleaning their AK-47s. Sounds like a just system to me. But, I digress.

Anyway, the week went well. Gabriela is still the smartest kid in the class and attending school simply for the access to a social life. And on that note, I found out that Everett is looking like he's a math whiz. The past couple of weeks we have been playing Monopoly quite a bit, both the regular kind and the Star Wars version. The kids love playing it. Well, working with the money and the dice have really paid off. Madeline was rolling the dice today and after she rolled a 4 and 5, without anyone saying anything, Everett told her she needed to move 9 spaces. I was quite impressed with his prowess at simply picking that up. I think we've either got an engineer or CPA on hand. It's very cool.

By the way, the probiotics are not cutting it. We've had some good times and some bad times this week. Good times at the beginning of the week, worse ones around the end. Needless to say, we're throwing away a lot of soiled underwear this week. Darn the clay poop.

Anyhow, Saturday came around with a trip to Costco and then I went to work for the afternoon. When I got finished and drove home at 4 pm, the parking lot was coated in ice. We had freezing rain coming down, and apparently it had ben for a while. I had some fun with the truck and did a few donuts in the parking lot. Tried some drifting, but I think I need some pointers from my bro Ryan before I can really feel accomplished at that. I should probably watch that Tokyo Drift show, but I haven't watched any Fast and Furious movies and I don't want to. I'm just afraid that I'd be able to hear my brain cells collapsing while watching the shows, no offense to anyone who actually has been able to bear them. More power to ya.

So, I saw about 20 cars off on the side of the road on the way home and my regular commute of 7 minutes turned into 30. Seriously, some people have absolutely no clue how to drive with ice and snow. We had an enjoyable evening watching "What about Bob", a classic Bill Murray flick with a little more profanity than I had remembered. I forgot about the Tourette's moment in the movie, so once we muted through that, it was good. The kids liked it a lot too. We were in bed by 9 o'clock and got a call from the Elder's Quorum presidency letting us know that church had been cancelled. Which, I hate to admit, was a big moment of happiness for Kim and I because that meant she didn't have to lead the choir and I didn't have to teach sunday school. That meant pleasant dreams and sleeping in for Sunday morning.

What we didn't expect for Sunday was to find about 2 inches of snow on the ground this morning. And the snow did not let up today until about 8 pm. We've got between 6 to 8 inches on the ground right now and, with the 1/2" of ice covering the roads, I'm wondering if I'll be attending work tomorrow. We're feeling really happy about being snowed in, although I'm wishing we had a snow shovel right now. Might make for getting out of the driveway a bit easier.

So, lazy day at the house, playing games with the kids, Kim doing scrapbooking, etc. Got a phone call from Mom and Dad and chatted with them for a little while. Kim's mom and dad are on their way to Peru to visit friends and will be having lots of fun there where it's summer, rather than winter. The only bad spot to the day was the phone call from Kim's sister Emily to let us know that Pres. Hinckley had passed away. We were very sad to hear it, but we're happy to know that he is with his wife again and that he's surrounded by loved ones and all the people that have passed on that have benefited because of his work here on the Earth with building temples and doing temple work. We've been blessed to have him as our Prophet and he will be greatly missed. We are also blessed to know that the Church will still be in capable hands even though he is gone.

That's it from Richland, Washington. Peace, out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Did I really spend my Sunday evening writing this?

Well everyone, yet another week has passed and the Welling family remains alive and kicking. Here's the update for the previous week.


Okay, nothing happened to us last week. Let's be honest here: our life is pretty mundane and ever-so-uneventful. Oh, we might have the occasional happenstance of unordinary when Aaron has to fly out of town for work and leaves Kim with the kids as she tries to cope with being a single parent for a few days. I forgot that happened this week. Okay, here comes the elaboration.

Wednesday Aaron left for Moline, Illinois to conduct a workshop with a client. He did a very nice job and made it home in one piece on Friday evening. While in Moline, he got to stop at the John Deere gift shop and bought his kids souvenirs: toy tractors for Everett and Daniel, a plush pig wearing a John Deere T-shirt for Madeline, and a T-shirt for Gabriela that says "I Love John Deere" with a tractor on it. She put it on immediately right after she got it. What a great kid.

Oh, here's another exciting front. Everett is still not potty-trained. Okay, that's really not the exciting part. The exciting part is our attempt at helping him become potty-trained. Now, I would like to warn the squeamish that the next paragraph may not be the most enjoyable or even most appropriate to read, especially if the details of fecal matter are not something you're particularly interested in, but unfortunately the state of our children's fecal matter is one of the most memorable things to happen this week, so I'm writing about it. Interesting? Doubtful. Stupid? Probably. Revolting? Most definitely. So skip it if you can't handle it. Don't say I didn't warn you.

So, Everett is still working on the potty training. He's got #1 down, although he still has some accidents which revolve around excuses like: "somebody was in the bathroom", or "I was too tired to get up" or "My pants were cold and I wanted to warm them up". Nevertheless, he can do #1. It's #2 that is causing the problems. The biggest reason for this is that Everett has what Kim likes to call "the clay poop". Now most of you might be asking, What is the clay poop? I'm now asking Kim to dictate while I type. She knows best anyways, since I absolutely refuse to change Everett's diaper anymore because, let's face it, I'm a pansy when it comes to changing poop diapers and I start to get the dry heaves when they smell really bad. These are Kim's words: "The 'clay poop' is poop that sticks to your bum and does not come off, so you have to shake your bum to get the poop to come off. That's the stuff that comes off. The rest of it just sticks there and won't come off. I can't believe you're writing this, Aaron." Her words, not mine. Anyhow, since the feces are fickle and most uncooperative, Kim's mom's dietitian's advice (can we get more convoluted) was to add probiotics to Everett's diet. The addition of the probiotics is supposed to balance Everett's bowels and make normally formed turds that should be easier to defecate and not linger from stickiness. We're hopeful that this will be the case and that we will turn a big corner in the potty-training. I'm sure you're all very excited to keep abreast on this front, so we'll you updated on how everything comes out.

Saturday was exciting for us because, after 8 months of living in our new home, Aaron finally dedicated some time to do some of the home improvement things that he has been successfully neglecting. We would like to report that the trim and the final shelf have been added to the bathroom closet. We are hoping to paint the inside and put on the baseboard next week and then add actual closet doors. Amazing, I know. Once this project has been completed, we will be focusing on the kitchen pantry and then the laundry closet. Given past dedication, we will probably have all that finished in the next 12 years.

Since it is becoming standard fare for the blog, I'll give a movie review. We borrowed a video from our friends this week: The Illusionist. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this movie at all, because it came out the same time as The Prestige and I couldn't imagine how it could even possibly compare with The Prestige because that movie just plain rocked. I loved it! And it had David Bowie in it, which was extra cool. Can't you totally see David Bowie, Hugh Jackman, and Christian Bale singing the soundtrack from Newsies during the breaks? Boy, would I have loved being a fly on that wall. Anyway, I was quite surprised that I liked the Illusionist. It was a good plot line and although I had some of the ending figured out before the end, I didn't have it all figured out, which is always an added benefit for me. My only problem was everybody and their accents. It takes place in Austria, but none of the actors really talked to each other beforehand as to what kind of accents they should use. I couldn't tell if they were supposed to have a German, English, or Swahili accent. That kind of annoyed me. But other than that, good show. PG-13 because of some gratuitous sensuality which we happily skipped over.

Last, but certainly not least, we got a call this morning before church. I looked at the caller ID and it said wellingra, which I knew could only mean one thing: Mom and Dad had figured out how to use Skype and were calling us from Kazakhstan. I talked to Mom for about 15 minutes and they said they were doing well, that the weather was just at -1 degrees today and, if it stayed that warm, they were going to try and get out of their apartment to see a little more of Astana. She said that it had taken them forever to figure out how to use their laptop and hook it up to their DSL connection. I reminded Mom it had only been 3 weeks and, considering their age and lack of tech-savvy that I thought they were doing a bang-up job between the two of them. They get to go to Sofia, Bulgaria in April for a humanitarian conference. I told Mom I was very jealous and that by the time they come home, they'll probably have more European stamps in their passports than I do. I'm very jealous and excited for them.

I believe that's it for the week. Keep it really real.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

American Gladiators and Dehydrated Water

So, the second week of January is behind us. It started out with me getting a fabulous promotion at work which will definitely help in getting us out of the big gaping hole we like to call "Debt" and in taking our kids off of eating Top Ramen and ketchup packets. We had been rotating between ketchup and hot sauce until Taco Bell banned us from their stores in Washington State. Didn't think it would be economical to drive over the state line just for free hot sauce packets, so we're happy for the added income.

Gabriela went back to school and we have started to see Kim's sanity returning after a long holiday hiatus. That is, Gabriela had a holiday hiatus, not Kim's sanity. She's been sane the whole time, although there was that one instance when we received calls from the neighbors in the middle of night because Kim was trick-or-treating in her bathrobe. However, I've got her convinced that it was just a bad dream from the baklava she had eaten the night before, so I'd appreciate it if none of you mentioned it to her. Thanks!

Madeline is having an issue attending Sunbeams at church. Of course, I can't really blame her. If someone told me that I had to give up a 2 hour block that consisted of playing with toys, napping, assembling puzzles, playing games, making stuff with clay, and eating goldfish crackers and Cookie Crisp cereal, all to go sit on hard chairs and listen to somebody talk for those same two hours, I probably wouldn't feel all that hot about it either. Actually, I'm starting to take her side. It's a good thing Sunbeams aren't smart enough to unionize. We could have the same thing on our hands that the Writer's Guild of America is giving to the media. Hey, maybe we can just give the WGA goldfish crackers and Cookie Crisp with some extra Play-Doh and that problem could go away. Then we could get back to some decent television again.

Speaking of decent television, have you seen American Gladiators? I cannot believe that this show is back on television. And I'm definitely blaming this one on the WGA. When we can't get decent writing, we get throwback shows from the early 90s where we get to watch "athletes" that have so much human growth hormone running through their veins that they are automatic candidates for the baseball hall of fame. My favorite moment was watching "Titan" a 250 pound man whose pecs crush walnuts pick up and toss this 150 pound weakling down a giant foam pyramid. This is what they're trying to pass off as entertainment. And unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it except ignore TV entirely and devote our lives to YouTube. Actually, some of the stuff I've seen on YouTube is much funnier than the drivel on TV lately. Did you ever get to see "Chocolate Rain"? I haven't laughed that hard in the longest time. Check it out when you get a minute. It's a laugh riot.

So we rented Stardust this weekend. Now that was a great movie! Totally reminded me of Princess Bride, but much better special effects and a great cast. I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. It's got the great adventure element to it, the comedy, and a good love story to boot. Definitely not for those aged 12 and under, as there are some scary elements to the movie.

Yesterday we went to the dry pack cannery and attempted to replenish some of our food storage that has probably become dust because we have had it for so long. We got a bunch of carrots, potatoes, milk, flour, sugar, hot cocoa, apple slices, and black beans. I joked with Kim that the only thing we were missing was dehydrated water. But, in all actuality, there have got to be a few suckers out there that would be dumb enough to buy dehydrated water. It would take quite the marketer, but imagine the tag line:

Double the output of the water in your storage by buying Wondrous Duplicating Dehydrated Water. This colorless, tasteless, odorless, and weightless additive, when added to water can increase the level of your water, simply by sprinkling the invisible powder over a half full container. After 10 years of containment, your stored water will double.
And in fine print:
Please be aware that this process does not happen overnight. Water will need to be in a non-transparent container and cannot come in contact with any air during the 10 year period. Any exposure to sunlight or air during that time will make the product null and void.

And, of course, by the time everybody gets to see if this stuff actually works, you're long gone, living the high-life on some South American beach. Of course, you would have cheated a lot of unsuspecting, naive, over-trusting people and you'd probably feel really guilty, not to mention go straight to Hell later on. Wow, I'm glad I talked myself out of that one in the blog here. I almost gave up that promotion.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sledding Fun - January 1, 2008

Aaron didn't crash & burn everytime...those are just the moments that were captured on film!

There goes Everett down the hill!

Gabriela and Daniel down together.

Madeline sat on a stump and ate snow the entire time!

This is how Daniel spent most of his time sledding ... maybe that is why he was so adventurous!

First week of 2008

Since I am no longer calling my parents each Sunday because the long distance charges to Kazakhstan would probably cause hemorrhages to my brain as well as my bank account, I am devoting that time to writing to the blog. We'll see how long that resolution lasts.

The Christmas and New Year's break was great. We stayed in Richland for Christmas. We had an enjoyable time just hanging around home, staying in our pajamas, and doing very little on Christmas. On Wednesday we drove to Spokane where we stayed with Kim's family for six days. We got to go sledding twice (they actually have snow there) and we got to see a few movies, on DVD and in the theater. The kids loved the sledding and we started to see just how crazy Daniel is. The kid has no fear. Madeline couldn't even be coaxed into riding down the hill.

I saw I Am Legend, which I thought was a very good film, although not for the faint of heart. Kim, Gabriela, and I went to see National Treasure 2. We all thought that was a worthwhile time and would recommend it for anyone who liked the first one.

For Christmas, Everett and Daniel got lots of Hot Wheels and they're enjoying playing with them every chance they get. Gabriela and Madeline got Littlest Pet Shop stuff and Madeline loves playing with them all the time. That kid has quite the imagination and can play for hours by herself inventing scenarios and stories with all her toys. She just started Sunbeams today and we're so happy we've got to the point where we have no more kids in nursery. What a blessed day!

That's about it for this week, or at least that's what is top of mind. More to come in the future. Please stand by.