Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of 2011

Tis been a long year, that's for sure!  LOTS of changes, lots of joy, and our own share of pain.

Our year actually started on October 23rd of 2010.  I had two months left in my pregnancy with Ezra...and we were moving.  We had known we would be leaving CMTS eventually...but not like that.  This is where the pain comes in ~  the intense desire to want to defend ourselves and say THEY were wrong.  But in reality...God had plans for us.  God planned a time of rest for my Joshua.  A much needed rest.  We moved into an empty apartment in the home of our friends, Claude and Sharon Morin.  Josh was also given a job putting together snowplows.  Not only that, but with the job came a pre-approved two week vacation when Ezra was born!!!!  What a Godsend!  

Josh started his job, and the girls and I learned to live together without Papa.  He would leave the house by 0645 and would come home between 5:30 and 11pm (on average it was 9 or 10 before he walked in the door during the snowfall months).  Ezra decided to take his time cooking, and was about a week and a half late.  What joy it was when he finally arrived after a short 6 hr labor.  My first Man child.  Truly love at first sight!

Josh continued working at Storks Automotive until the end of August.  We joined my parents as they set up for the Creation Festival in Pennsylvania in June.  When we came home, we knew it was about time to move on...but I would not let myself get too excited.  I was totally ready to see Josh more often, and totally ready to see what God had planned next for us...but I tried really hard not to put all my eggs in one basket (the basket of moving on). 

One night in early August, Josh came home from Storks and told me we needed to look up Christian Teen Treatment facilities or something like that.  We ended up finding several ranches we were interested in that first search.  We checked them out, and settled on LUC Boys Ranch.  We finally (after many attempts) got a hold of the Program Directors at the Boys Ranch, and Josh wowed them with his verbal resume!  I think Erik was salivating by the time he got off the phone!

Anyway...we moved to the Boys Ranch.  We left PA on Labor Day.  We drove to OH and spent a couple days with my family.  Then we dragged Mom and Dad on a road trip to see our new digs.  Dad must have been impressed!  He got to help skin a buffalo the night we arrived!  Mom started calling Dad 'Jeremiah Johnson.'

Family Christmas pic Sample #1

Family Christmas pic Sample #2

Sample #3

Yes, my table is dirty...get over it.  Ruth wiped it off, and she only wiped where we sat to eat!
We have been living at the Ranch for almost four months now.  Josh is settling in to his job...learning how to work on a ranch, and also how to deal with the guys who live here.  Most nights Josh comes home with stories...that actually remind us a whole lot of what we have been through (or are going through now) whilst raising our kiddos.  Kind of interesting if you think about it.

We switched houses at the beginning of December.  The house we moved into when we got here is big, beautiful (has 2 bathrooms), but wasn't Josh and Rebekah.  We could relax there, but didn't completely feel like it was ours, if that makes sense.  Josh, one night at work, had to go into one of the staff homes that was unoccupied to turn lights off.  The house is called The Farmhouse.

The Farmhouse is quite ghetto-looking from the outside.  Quite rundown, etc.  On the inside...oh my.  It is humongous!  Anyway, Josh started thinking that it would be the perfect place for our little family of six.  He felt cramped in the other house...most like a caged animal, actually.  There was no room for improvement on the other house.  This one has puh-lenty of room for improvement, and it has a basement where Josh can work on his woodworking projects to unwind at night.  (I should mention that a friend of mine knew about the Boys Ranch, and had been praying, since we started talking about moving here, that we would get the Farmhouse!)

Another cool thing that could be happening for that since we have been here more than 3 months, Josh will be having a meeting with the higher-ups to see where they think he will fit best here.  From the scuttlebutt we have could be that Josh is being groomed to be the Farm Manager.  Do you know what that means?!?!?  It means he will continue doing farm chores, and child care just like he is now!  =P  It also means he will be more responsible for things that happen with the animals.

Anyway, that is it for the Larsons!  You may now go on with your New Years festivities! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas with the Larsons 2011

Christmas has been interesting to say the least this year!  =P

The girls and I decided we wanted to try to spend Christmas Eve with Papa who was working, so we worked together with another staff wife to get some goodies together thinking/hoping our husbands would be able to be inside with us!  The boys had other ideas, and decided to act up and get consequence time on the Josh and Ron spend Christmas Eve and a little into Christmas morning out watching the boys work off their consequences (Josh got home after 1 am).  The girls Ezra and I hung out with the boys and made them Chocolate Chip cookies for their evening snack.  As we headed out of the dorm a little after 8:30p, Anna puked on the floor.  We stopped to say good night to Papa, and when we got home at 9pm, Anna erupted again on her car seat and outside of the van (funny enough, she turned AWAY from the open door to puke on her seat!  =P).    Mama rushed everyone into the shower, and threw the kids in bed (gently), and tried to relax for the evening.  Not an hour later, Anna erupted again...4 more times between 11 at 2:30am.  that means Mama got to give Anna one more shower for the night and ended up changing her own clothes...4x. 

So we laid low on Christmas Day.  Anna ate...a lot for having lost it all night long.  All the while, Shalom complained of not feeling the greatest!  =P  I am writing this at midnight...Shalom has puked 2 or 3 times since 9pm, and cried a lot because her tummy hurt.

And so...I will stop my own whining, and let Josh show you how we ended our day:
 Anna was last to decorate her house and she really got in to it. she is so cute.
Hears the construction crew hard at work to try and finish the ginger bread town in time for the ginger bred families to move in before Christmas is over.

One of our trusty engineers has just about completed their studio apartment and is waiting for headquarters to inspect and stamp the paper work

our First Engineer on the site has put up an a-frame house for a small ginger family

The General Contractor on the site is struggling to complete all the work orders and deliver all the supplies, in order to meet our deadlines.

The First Engineer has fired all her hands and sent them under the table at a much lower rate; in hops to increase productivity and finish in time.   Hope her plan works out

Looks like our Second Engineer is getting supplies ready to send her crews on to the yard detail.

There's our Contractor team working hard to clean up all the unwanted debris from the job site before the yard can be put in.   Only five of the ten workers are working on this house. The other five must be hard at it somewhere else.

The First Engineer has completed her first house.

Those hired hands are hard workers.

Well the two Engineers are looking rather pleased.   They must be on schedule.

I think our Ginger bread families are going to be quite surprised when they arrive at their new homes.

Its starting to look like quite the housing complex now.

Looks like they got the roofs on those buildings just in time for the first snow.

What a pleasant looking studio apartmen this one turned out to be.

Our local Mr. Jiff has been sneaking around our new development after hours.   He'll probably get picked up for candy snatching, or some other mister meaner.

It's getting close to the deadline.

Our Third Engineer  is not looking happy.   Hope everything is still running on schedule.

Work carries on even though there is a foot of snow on the ground.

Another snow storm is just slathering this house.  

The contractor is looking very pleased.

Looks like the Third Engineer has finished with time to spare.  (This is Mama interrupting to say that somehow Anna grew up overnight - even Josh...who TOOK THIS PICTURE got confused and thought is was Shalom...several times.)

This housing complex is about full of houses.

The yard work is just about completed.

Arranging houses and street addresses.

I would like to thank all the hard workers that put in so many long hours and so much dedication; in order to finish this neighborhood on time.  The new home owners should be quite pleased.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The "Hanging Tree" gets a makeover...

When we were checking out this new house, called The Farmhouse here at the Ranch, Ruth asked me about an ugly dead tree that had a rope hanging from it.  She asked me specifically why it had a rope in it.  I told her that it was a hanging hang the horse thieves, of course!

The tree obviously needed to come down.  It was dead, and a good storm could drop it right into the girls bedroom!  It had to go.  Immediately Josh saw the beauty in the tree.  The tree branches off in three direction, and Josh got all excited about making a coffee table out of the wood...right where it splits.  He said that the inner wood has swirls and "fingers" branching out where it split.

See the swirls?  That is at the base of one of the splits.

See how it splits into three different limbs at the top?

Josh is amazing - to look at AND at making things!  =D

I didn't come up with the idea of making a blog post about our hanging tree till I was in the basement with him, so I don't have any pictures of the tree, or Josh cutting it into a slab of wood.  I AM quite impressed at what Josh comes up with to do with his hands!

This is EXACTLY why we chose this house over the Triplex!  Josh has his own wood shop, a work place in which to relax and enjoy himself!

Homemade Soap Giveaway

Hey People!

My friend Em makes soap!  Check her out here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

365 days with Ezra Nehemiah Larson

My final days...

Within 24 hrs

I think I have one of these of Josh with each of the kiddos!

Trying to be a Mama's helper...She is smiling a) because there is a camera in her face, and b) because she knows we will be picking him up within seconds!

The Larson's.  Exactly seven days after our Little Man joined us in the flesh!

The girls STILL love him to pieces!

This picture is for Grandma Larson.  Josh came home in this outfit, and Grandma has waited five and a half years to see another little Larson Man wear this outfit!

Pictures are out of order...this is Ezra as we know him today!

Checking out the scenery from the safety of  Mama's ring sling.

PapaT's first Little Larson Man.  It was love at first sight!

Ezra has ALWAYS been a smiler!  I love his smiles and joy!


The Boy found his fingers early, and has stuck with them!

Handsome trying out outfits for Aunt Joanna's wedding.

Loving the warm weather.

"What's this you say?  You DON'T want me crawling?"

Aunt Joanna and Ez-Bo.

Handsome and his favorite Shalom.  They have pretty much the same temperament, except he has a smidge more get-up-and-go...but both wear a Happy-Go-Lucky hat!

No, Mama, I will not stay in my seat, even if you buckle me in!

Handsome is as Handsome does.

What do you mean I can't walk along furniture at 8-9 months old?  I'm doing it, and mighty proud too!

Ezra Nehemiah:  A Walking Machine!

God certainly knew what he was doing when he sent up Ezra.  Both Shalom and Ezra came into our lives during a very trying time.  Shalom was given to us (and named) by God after a time of frustration, and anxiousness.  Her name means Peace God has Obtained, and she has brought along a whole lot of joy and happiness with her!  =D  Ezra came at a time of great strife and turmoil for the Larsons.  His name means Help and Comfort of Jehovah...and he also brought a whole lot of joy with him!  Both of these gifts remind me of the Psalm that says, " Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning."  Shalom and Ezra brought the new dawn with them when they came. 

You know what else comes new in the morning?  New mercies.  Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3:22, 23, " 22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed , because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."

Because of God's compassion, we are not consumed.  He brings us new mercies each morning.  He brings us, or opens our eyes to the Peace, Joy, Help and Comfort that is around us.  Amazing, isn't He?

Thank you, God, for the help and comfort you sent to Josh and me, through our kiddos!