Friday, April 27, 2007


Colton has always been a climber. Even as a little guy, he's always been fascinated with getting as high up as he can. Today I snapped a picture of him climbing trees outside, then when we came inside, he began climbing up the door jambs. This is a trick he has done for quite some time. He just shimmies his little body up, and can stay there for quite a while, too!

"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

The Deck is Finished

We finally had some more sun today, so I was motivated to finish up the benches and planters. The kids enjoyed the nice weather today, as well. We've gotten out the shorts and t-shirts, and are hoping that we can pack away the winter coats for good this time.

Sadie has been enjoying the new deck. We woke up this morning to find her lying on top of the table sleeping with a cat next to her. So much for table manners! Colton learned the hard way what happens when you bring your lunch outside to eat, then get up and leave it for a couple minutes. There wasn't much left when he got back! The cats helped themselves.

Tomorrow we have soccer games again. Alex plays at 10:00 in Reinbeck, then Jack & Chase play at 2:30 in Independence, and Bryce plays at 2:30 in Cedar Falls. The weather sounds like it is going to be beautiful! Have a great weekend!

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty..." Proverbs 21:5

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Yellow Dog

We had a sad day yesterday. Yellow Dog had a bad habit of following our car out of our driveway and racing us as far as he could up the road whenever we left home. He would bark at the tires and run just as hard as he could, but never did beat us. Yesterday morning Alex, Jack and I were running low on screws for the deck, and decided to run into Grundy Center and pick some more up. As we neared the end of our driveway, Alex stopped because there was a truck coming down the road. Unfortunately, Yellow Dog continued out into the road, anticipating the start of our race, and was struck and run over by the other truck. The boys ran to get Shannon, and I checked on Yellow. I was pretty sure he was dead because he wasn't moving, was bleeding quite a bit, and didn't appear to be breathing. Jack and I started digging another hole in the pasture, and Alex and Shannon took care of getting Yellow out of the road. They discovered he wasn't quite dead yet, so Shannon went to get the shotgun. Fortunately, it took so long to find the shells (we hide them well because of all the kids in the house!), that he had died before Shannon had to use it. What a blessing. Alex and I had the responsibility of burying him. I'm so proud that my boys are man enough to handle things like this, because I tend to sob and bawl like a baby.

Alex took some great pictures of Yellow Dog just last Friday. I think we're done with new dogs for awhile. We've buried three in the past eight months. Sadie still lives with us. She is a great dog, and got about three times the hugs yesterday that she normally does. We'll miss our Yellow Dog.

"Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief." Proverbs 14:13

Deck Building 101

Last week Shannon gave me the go ahead to design and build a deck/patio for our backyard. What fun! We borrowed Papa Joe's truck and trailer on Wednesday and bought the lumber. No time to begin that evening--church and cheesecake baking took up the whole evening. Thursday AM I had bible study at church, so didn't get started until afternoon. Alex and I were able to get the frame built before Shannon got home from work. We began placing the footings and leveling the frame on Friday, which took most of the day. I'm thankful for strong boys to help with the hard parts! I'm not very good at taking before, during and after pictures, but Alex did snap a picture of us. We were able to get about a third of the decking on before dark.

Saturday was taken up with soccer games, and we weren't able to get to work until after 5:00 PM. We got the decking finished and the frame for the benches made. Sunday we started back to work after lunch, but got stopped by the rain before finishing the benches.

Monday morning we were up early and completed the benches, and were able to get the table finished as well. The last project will be making a portable bench to use around the table.
I appreciate all of the help my boys provided. We had fun (at least I did!) working through design challenges.

The beauty of homeschooling is that we can do projects like this when the urge strikes. We did math (measuring, cutting, designing), art (we painted shutters earlier in the week, and anytime something didn't work out exactly as planned, we declared it "art"), physics (construction, leveling), home economics (Jack grilled supper for us Saturday evening, and the kids were in charge of their own snacks), science (played with/dissected a few worms while digging holes), child care (had to take turns watching the littles), plumbing (replaced the kitchen faucet Tuesday), and probably a lot more, but I can't think clearly right now! I'm praying their wives will thank me someday. I'll post "after" pictures some other day. It's rainy and cloudy outside today.

"Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself int he field; and afterward build your house." Proverbs 24:27

Two Wheeler

Friday afternoon the kids and I were all outside working on the deck, and I commented to Jackson that Colton's training wheels on his bicycle were bent upwards so much that they weren't even touching the ground. Jack jumped up, grabbed a wrench, and in a minute and a half Colton's bike was sans training wheels. He hopped on and off he went! Now he wants a kickstand on the bicycle to stand it up when he's not riding it.
"For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught." Proverbs 3:26

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baking Brownies

Jackson and Colton got the itch for some chocolate brownies this afternoon. Jack did the work and mixed up the batter, then got distracted with answering my cell phone before putting the batter in the oven. Naomi, not one to miss an opportunity, helped herself to some brownie mix. She obviously wasn't very remorseful!

Who can blame her?

I can smell them's my turn!

"The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning." Proverbs 16:21

Monday, April 16, 2007

Before and After

Chase finally relented and let me cut his hair today. He has been growing it out for a very long time, but his hair was just not cooperating. It wants to grow straight forward. There's not a bit of curl or wave in it, either. I finally convinced him to throw in the towel and cut it all off. I think he looks very handsome with his new 'do. He's much more streamlined and aerodynamic for soccer, too!

"He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he." Proverbs 16:20

Face Lift

We finally had the opportunity to do some yard work yesterday afternoon. The weather was beautiful, and we were motivated to get some things done. I started out by making a list. Shannon just went outside with some boys and started assigning jobs. Some were relegated to the garage to clean, some were in charge of picking trash up out of the yard (dogs!), and others were put on pick up sticks duty. Shannon and Jackson got some broken limbs out of the trees, Alex and I got the garage in order, and Chase, Bryce and Colton alternated between cleaning and playing with the girls. We got some new swings for the swing set this weekend, so they were very excited about playing.

The boys helped me take down and paint the shutters and the front door. The green is now history. Our new color is Blackberry Wine. It's a glorified purple, and we think it is beautiful. The guys were great helpers when it came to taking down and putting the shutters back up. I've included a picture of Alex hanging out the second story window replacing one of them. What fun!

I'm pleased with what we accomplished, but there is still so much more to do! My next project: Build a patio outside the back door by the driveway. I'm not sure when we'll begin--soccer takes up most of the day on Saturday. By the way, Alex, Jack & Chase (same team), and Bryce all won their games on Saturday.

"She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

Friday, April 13, 2007

What's Cookin'?

This week we made some aprons for the kids. I invariably have helpers when it comes time to make supper each evening, so I decided to make the girls each an apron. Colton decided he wanted in on the action, so he picked out some fabric as well, and then Bryce and Chase decided to each have one, too.

Today Bryce and Colton made chocolate chip cookie dough. We never seem to get the cookies baked, just enjoy the dough. Instant gratification!

"She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants." Proverbs 31:24

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Don't mess with Cinderella!

This morning was very special, as Katie and Naomi each got a new Easter dress. All week long they have been impatiently waiting until they can wear their new clothes and fancy shoes. Today was the day, so after baths, we headed upstairs to my room and got dresses and lacy socks on, hair combed, and pretties in their hair. Katie's dress was light blue gingham, and I told her that she looked just like Cinderella. At one point, Naomi tried taking the hair brush from Katie, and Katie vehemently grabbed the brush back and said to Naomi, "Don't mess with Cinderella!".

What sweet little ones we have!

We had brunch at church, then our morning service. Alex sang special music with the Youth Group. Following church we went to Grandma & Grandpa Storjohann's house for dinner and an Easter Egg Hunt. Alex bowed out this year, thinking he was too old. He still got to collect the loot from Grandma & Grandpa! The boys and Shannon spent an hour or so at the park playing basketball.


"It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel." Proverbs 20:3

Friday, April 6, 2007

Is there a doctor in the house?

Shannon is at it again. Last night he and the kids were playing knee "Quackerball" in the living room. It's kinda like baseball, but you can tackle. It's played with a wadded up piece of paper for a ball and a cardboard potato box for a bat (don't ask!). It just so happened that Chase was on first base, and Naomi was up to bat. She smacked the "pook", and Chase took off for 2nd base. Alex tackled him, slamming his head into the wall. Chase refused to go down, drove on toward the window, and gouged a hole in the top of his head on the window sill. Off to the emergency room we go--at 9:00 pm. Why doesn't this ever happen during office hours?!?

We made it to the ER by about 9:40. After registering (and hoping they didn't recognize us), they called us back to the "Octopus Room". Amazingly, Jackson has never seen this room. The room is painted with murals in an underwater theme. We were able to snap a picture of Chase being attacked by the big octopus. The PA came in, cleaned up his head, punched in three staples (no pain killer!), and we were out the door in 20 minutes.

*Note from Shannon: Scars add character.
*Note from Colton: If Chase ever has a bald head, he's gonna have to shine it and polish it every day because of all of his scars!
*Note from Chase: My Dad's the coolest!
*Note from Jodi: I'm thankful for a husband who will come home from a long day at work and make up dorky games to play with the kids--even if it does mean broken windows and trips to the ER occasionally!

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend..." Proverbs 27:6a

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thou shalt not say Doofus

We have been struggling a bit with unkind mouths in our household lately, so earlier in the week I posted some "convictions" and scripture on the kitchen wall to remind us all how God expects us to use our mouths.

Conviction #1: I must understand how my words impact others--for good or for evil.
Conviction #2: I must learn how to control my tongue so that my words bring life and blessing to others.
Conviction #3: My words are a reflection of the condition of my heart.
Conviction #4: The words I use show respect or disrespect for my parents and others.

Throughout the week if one of the kids has been unkind to another, I have directed him to the wall to read our convictions. This afternoon, I caught Katie in the kitchen shaking her finger at the wall in all of the three year old righteous indignation, "reading" from the list as she recited, "You should nevah, evah, call your sister a Doofus!".

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

March Madness revisited

We finished out the month of March with a surprise birthday party for Papa Ken. When the Clarks show up, it's always a party, right? He turned 62 on the 30th. Instead of birthday cake we had a big chocolate chip cookie and cheese and crackers. The end of March also brought the end of basketball. Whoo Hoo! It was a long but fun season.

Saturday the 31st we attended a state wide youth event sponsored by Faith Baptist Bible College centered around the Final Four basketball games. Alex, Jackson, and two others from our youth group attended. Pastor Steve Cox of Clear Lake gave a challenge to the teens on being prepared for Christ's return. They organized a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, coinciding with the broadcast of the basketball games on two huge screen TV's. We enjoyed pizza (can you have a youth event without pizza?) and prizes throughout the evening. Alex and Jack's basketball team didn't fare too well. They were eliminated in the first round, and Jackson didn't even get subbed into the game. Jackson and Alex participated in the slam dunk contest, and Jack won first place. Actually, he was awarded second place, but the kid they gave first to was a little shrimpy guy who only made one of his four dunks, and it was more of a lay-up than a dunk, so we overruled the decision and granted Jack first place. They both received the same prize of a t-shirt. Alex's name was drawn, and he chose a basketball as his prize. The finale of the evening came after the games were over. Prior to the final four games, the teens were given the opportunity to predict the final score of the games to be thrown into a bucket and the closest prediction would win a prize. Up for grabs were 2 PSP game systems and a Wii game system. The winner of the first game got the choice of a PSP or the Wii system, and she chose the Wii, leaving the PSP for the winner of the second game. No one was more surprised than ALEX when his name was drawn. You see, his astute mother whispered the winning score in his ear as he was filling out his card, so in effect, I WON THE PSP! Overall, it was a very successful evening.

And now the drum roll...Bryce was the official winner of the Clark Family Bracket Breakdown! He correctly chose Florida as the winning team, rocketing his score over all the others. CONGRATULATIONS BRYCE! Notice his picture in front of the window in the living room. Do you notice anything about the window? YES! It is fixed. And it only took three panes of glass and three trips to the store to fix it ;).

"My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice--indeed, I myself;" Proverbs 23:15