My Family

I don't really want to publish close-ups of my children's faces, or their actual names, in interest of their personal privacy.  But I can tell you a little about each of our blessings, because I can't help but mention the so-important people in my life, and this will help you get to know them a little bit.

Hubby.  DIYer extraordinaire.  He teaches construction, wood technology, etc.  I always said that we're blessed he chose that subject area, since the skills have enabled us to buy houses with 'potential' and fix them up for ourselves, do a lot of our own maintenance, and, finally, to build our own house.  He says, "You design it, and I'll build it."  Who couldn't love that?  He's so patient in having our kids work alongside him.  He is passionate about making sure they can take care of their own homes when they are adults...And he hopes to be called on to help build a home or eight, also!

Princess Bossy.  Daughter #1 (26).  She will not be surprised, nor offended by this label.  Actually, the only part that will offend her is the 'Princess' part, because she always insisted she was no princess, she was 'The Queen.'  I tried to remind her otherwise, but to no avail.  She is a wonderfully take-charge person, unafraid of taking on major responsibility, and who speaks her mind.  -Very caring, too, which is a great combination.  She loves boisterous or strenuous outdoor activity as much as she loves learning, reading, and intellectual discussions...and shoes.  At this point, she has her BA in Theology, and is working as an executive assistant to a dean at a law school, and in ministry positions at church.  She loves to sew her own creations and to throw ceramics on a wheel. She is vegetarian and loves to cook and entertain. She has BIG plans, and sees great possibilities.  The grand plan might change from one week to the next, but she's always fully invested.  She is so excited to be living in their own home, and to mom to "Lucy" and "Bertrum," 2 adopted doggies.  ;-)

Prince-in-Law Helium. Although he has many other stellar qualities, we immediately think of Prince Helium's sparkling eyes in attempt at rapier wit.  His particular brand of humor is almost identical to Hubby's, and we respond similarly... Good-humored eye-rolling and groans intermixed with the laughter.  He takes it all in stride, and is a fun addition to the family.  He also has a strong Christian faith, which guides his decisions and demeanor.  He's a fairly traditional person, while appreciating the strengths and talents of his head-strong and intelligent wife.  He allows her to be the capable and independent-thinking woman and partner she is... also recognizes her need to debate and argue... But he also gives her the assurance that she has someone to rely on when she needs him.  Prince Helium has finished law school, and passed the bar last fall.  By that time, he had already been hired by a law firm for which he interned, and was hard at work.  He's very active, loving soccer, bicycling, gym workouts, and bouldering.  He and Princess Bossy camp, enjoy walks or long runs together, argue legal or theological issues, and while she loves to cook, he loves to help out, and, of course, eat the results!  More recently, their spare time is spent on keeping up and improving their new home and yard.

Prince Stoic.  Son #1 (25).  He is as quiet as Princess Bossy is loud.  If you want him to share his feelings or aspirations, you have to know the right questions to ask. He's a disciplined, dedicated, and detail-oriented worker, whether it is in framing a house, doing his physics homework, or making guitars.  Our house would not have gotten finished without his time and efforts, and he also took my plans and made them into our working blueprints with his skills in computer drafting.  He loves Indie music, photography, and playing tennis.  He has his AA degree and is currently working in the Electricians' Apprenticeship program.  He has led the junior high youth group at church, and spends most spare moments working on his motorcycles, particularly his Honda Cafe Racer.

Princess Sassy.  Daughter #2 (22).  I don't mean 'sassy' in a bad way.  She lives out loud...Quiet is not her way, but has a bold, somewhat varied approach to life. She's either overjoyed or angry.  Bubbly or stern.  Her hair has been its natural blonde curls or straight and brunette...or maybe something like purple.  She can live in sweats, participating in things like game of Ultimate Frisbee, or be as at home in a dress and frilly apron, baking in the kitchen, often teaching friends those skills.  She loves bargain shopping at thrift stores.  She never feels better than when she's had a good, long run or done one of her fitness DVD routines.  She wasn't a 'school person' and took a nannying job the year after high school, taking care of young children in 5 different families!  She worked as elder care provider in order to support their family while her dh finishes his degree.  That job became too physically difficult with her pregnancy, so she quit that just in time to start coaching track at the local junior high. Her specialty is hurdles.  She's been volunteering there for 4 of the last 5 years, and will finally have a paid position this season.  All of her previous interests and experiences paled in comparison to becoming a mama in July 2013. The happy and healthy baby prince keeps her constantly busy, and she is glad to devote herself to him, --and her husband, of course.

Prince-in-Law Steadfast.  Prince Steadfast is moral, serious, responsible, and thoughtful. --Pretty darn cute, too, with such a look of love in his eyes whenever he looks at Princess Sassy. And now an awesome daddy, to boot. He doesn't share the characteristics, but understands and respects his wife's more impetuous, emotional approach to life.  They balance each other well.  His father-in-law and I are in awe of the spiritual maturity he exhibits daily through his Christian faith.  He is dedicated at work and in his college studies toward a degree in engineering, but is certainly not all work and no play.  The prince has an easy-to-get-along with way about him and a fun sense of humor.  He's always ready to join siblings-in-law outside for rousing game of soccer or on the couch for a competitive video game contest. Really fitting in as a brother, he does loving things like accompanying the younger kids on a road run at their respective paces, and helps out with challenging math problems. He loves rock-climbing, rafting, camping, and watching movies with his wife.    

Prince Inventive.  Son #2 (20).  This one was born to solve problems and build his own versions of everything.  We used to call him the Cardboard Engineer, because he was always building cardboard versions of tools and technology with working parts.  He moved onto wood, and now metalwork.  We think the sky is the limit for his abilities in this area.  He has an eye for detail in mechanics and building, and down to what he wears and the 'just-right' length of his hair.  He helped frame our house, too, at the age of 12.  Like his older brother, he started out playing baseball, and has switched to tennis.  He's quiet, too, but sociable, and has always had a smile that goes from ear to ear.  He's is admired at his job for his excellent work ethic and ability to get things done right and in short order.  He's working 2 jobs, and will soon start his junior year of college, planning to get his degree in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing.  Still inventive, he and Stoic have business ideas in the planning stages.

Princess Artiste.  Daughter #3 (18).  She is a much quieter girl than her sisters.  Her personality speaks through her paintings and her fashion... and the occasional sharp and witty zinger.  She used to think she would love to combine her love of art and clothes, and someday be a fashion designer.   Now she's having a hard time deciding between a career in sports nutrition or interior design. She is the one I can count on to follow through with my requests, or see things that need doing and get them accomplished.  While everyone runs after their own interests, she is the one quietly holding things together and making sure things happen as planned.  Often found behind her drawing pad or the sewing machine, she also likes working out, and runs hurdles in track.  After never having had a formal lesson, she joined the high school swim team as a freshman.  The past 2 years she swam on the varsity team, but because of shoulder issues, decided to join the cross-country team her senior year, on which she ran in the 3rd or 4th varsity position.  That experience, along with her grades and test scores, got her offered a scholarship to a private Christian college, where she has now begun her freshman year.

Prince Go-for-it.  Son #3 (16).  He is not one to hold back, but just jump in with both feet.  The idea of thinking first is something we're working on!  He is the one who always brought in bugs, frogs, and snakes as a young boy.  He is the first person I knew to make a garter snake, usually a mild-mannered creature, mad enough to bite him.  He could also identify the gender of snakes and differentiate between types of frogs by about age 4.  For years he lived for fishing and baseball, baseball and fishing.  He filets his own salmon, brines them, and smokes them.  Like Princess Sassy, he's quite social and is comfortable conversing with almost anyone.  His athletic passions are now split between distance running and a renewed love of baseball.  He is concurrently running in the 4th varsity position on the cross country team, and turning out for a select baseball team.  He's decided that the baseball will have to take a backseat to the running, which he hopes he can continue in college, while he also pursues a degree in Marketing and Sales.

Princess Eager.  Daughter #4 (14).  She wants to keep up with her old siblings, and try everything.  She yearns, though, to have activities of her own, and not just follow the rest.  She's always seemed to be in a hurry...A hurry to speak, a hurry to run and dance, and in a hurry to grow up, but while not missing anything.  She could be called Princess Cupcake, as she is the cupcake maker in our house.  Like her sisters, she often bakes and sews.  She loves to make gifts and plan events. She also enjoys outdoor activity...riding bikes, playing ball, or swimming.  She catches on to new things quickly.  She was an early math whiz, and is now our best speller.  She tried gymnastics, volleyball, and soccer.  She did well at them all, but didn't feel any of those were her niche.  She joined Go-for-It on the high school cross-country team this year as a freshman.  She runs 9th on the girls' team, which puts her right between the varsity and junior varsity, so she has run races for both.  She is recently passionate about photography.  She has a starter level digital SLR camera, and is often asked to take portraits for friends.

Prince CuddleBunny.  Son #4 (10).  I don't suppose I'll be able to use that name too long, before he'll object.  After 3 miscarriages, we all felt very blessed to have this little guy in our family.  He brings smiles to all faces and is happily included by his older siblings in almost every outing and activity. From an early age, he never seemed to realize he was any smaller or younger than anyone else.  During the housebuilding, he was on site with his tool belt on.  He had the training wheels taken off his bike at age 4.  He now bakes with his sisters, and plays ball and games with his brothers. He has quite a memory and a sharp mind.   As old as he sometimes seems for his age, it's a blessing for Mom that he still likes to give hugs and cuddle up.  He prompts Dad to work on the garage addition, rain or shine.  Dad says, "Maybe we shouldn't work today, since it's raining?"  The prince just says, "I have boots...Come on, Dad."  He does about the same prompting Mom to go for long walks or bike rides with him.  He keeps us young in more ways than one!  He has a developing passion for baseball, and his big brother says he's 'gifted.'  If that doesn't help motivate a guy, I don't know what does.  :-)

They are truly a great bunch with great promise.  The kids are involved in church, Sunday school, and youth groups, as well as their sports.  They have really great discernment in choosing their friends, and we have 'regulars' around here a lot that have become almost family. It gets noisy and, at times, messy...but it's happy noise and industrious mess.  I wouldn't ever trade for clean and quiet if it meant an empty house.

Our Furry Friends

For those interested in pets, I thought I'd introduce the pet part of the family.  Actually, we're not really ones to regard animals as children.  I had a cat from age 9 to 21, who was my best buddy and 'child,' but having human children changed that kind of outlook for us.  That said, though, if we weren't pet-loving people, we sure wouldn't have this menagerie of them!

Millie, usually found at Princess' Artiste's feet during school.
--She always looks like she's in trouble for photos
Millie joined Princess Bossy as her partner in Dog 4-H over 15 years ago.  Prince Stoic and I found her at the Humane Society.  She was about 2 months old, and quite shy.  
Millie understands English--  If anyone says, "Would you like a bath?" she is GONE...but if it's "Would you like to go for a ride?," she's in the car and ready to go.  She also 'talks' back.  She used to tell Princess Bossy all the woes and trials of her day...or maybe just let her know that she was frantic about where she'd been and worried that she was never coming back!  Since Princess Bossy has left the nest, Princess Artiste is Millie's sidekick.  It's a little amusing to see Millie try to choose when Princess Bossy is home for a visit.  We lost Millie this past year, but it doesn't seem right to remove her from this page!

Martin Ul-Dartin, is what we call him 'for long!'
Martin and Lewis were adopted from the Humane Society 9 years ago.  Lewis was an orange tabby, and although very great with the family, he didn't have a lot of 'street smarts' (yard smarts?), and Martin was always able to sneak up and jump him from behind for a lark.  We think his lack of awareness and fight may have been why he disappeared one winter 5 or 6 years ago...the same week the kids caught a glimpse of a coyote in our yard.  Martin is huge, and looks too pretty to be as tough as he is.  Most of the time he hangs out on his own, but when he gets the need for companionship, he follows us around, very obviously demanding attention.

Always having had wonderful and easy-to-care-for cats, we decided to add another pair to our home 6 1/2 years ago, after just finishing our house...So another trip or 3 to the Humane Society gave us Chai and Zeta, our first female cats.  The woman at the HS said that Martin should accept them fine as long as they were under a year, and since he was male.  She said females were much more territorial and unaccepting of other cats.  We were to find out how right she was, but later.  
Zeta was annoyed with impromptu photo session.
This was her happiest shot!
Those 2 kitties weren't as care free for us as others had been. Like many girls, they liked to do their nails...and double-handedly destroyed the seats of our dining room chairs, and started in on my favorite ruby-colored leather chairs.  Thankfully, they outgrew that bad habit. Chai, we fear, met the same end as Lewis.  Zeta, named after Catherine Zeta-Jones by Princess Artiste, because she was such a beautiful kitten, continues on. But I think she'd tell you that her life is not all rosy, as she is not at all thrilled to share us and our home with other pets.  She has the softest fur...and an attitude.

Rosie: Like a toddler...Full on, or naptime
Rosie is a rambunctious youngster, a lovable oaf...Our 6 1/2 year old Lab.  She thinks she's my baby, and harbors the delusion that she's about 20 pounds, instead of close to 80.  She sits beside me while I'm at the computer, and once or twice a day, decides she should try to crawl up into my lap!  Every morning, she tries to go so fast down the stairs for breakfast, that with her weight and the momentum, she hits the hardwood sliding, and often ends up in the bathroom across the hall. Rosie has done wonders for Millie, who after the death of our older dog, had gotten a little tired and overweight.  Not now...They love to tear around outside and both play like puppies.  Rosie does NOT understand much English, and tries to convince us she's starving to death all day long...

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