Thursday, July 02, 2009

Family Updates

I know it's been quite a while since our last family update, so here it goes. On April 3rd I had a hysterectomy because my uterus was prolapsing. Mom McDonald was kind enough to come out and help with the children while I was recovering. Jake was also able to take off from work, to ensure I got enough rest. Things are now more or less healed and back to normal.

Unfortunately, while I was in the hospital my grandmother, Mrs. Claire Murray passed away from complications with pneumonia. She was cremated and we had a grave side burial service for her at Christ Church in Pomfret, CT. I went up for the service and left the kids in care of a babysitter. I played my flute at the service, and only managed to make a few mistakes due to emotional turmoil. There was a dog present and that was perfect for my Grandma.

Otherwise I've just been busy being a Mom. I did manage to plant my first herb and vegetable garden this year. It all seems to be growing well and we've just started enjoying the fruits of my labors. Jake was kind enough to build me 3 huge garden boxes that make the whole thing easier. They keep the weeds to a minimum and require less bending and reaching on my part.

Anyway, enough about me. On to Jacob, who packed up and headed off to Drill Sergeant School. He'll be there from June 9th to August 13th. On his way down to the school at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC his mustang's engine died. He left the car at the shop and continued on in a rental car. I the drove down two days later, sold the mustang for scrap and found a new vehicle for Jake in Columbia. We are now the proud owners of an '02 Mercury Mountain. Haven't heard of it, well it's built sided by side with and is essentially the same car as the Ford Explorer.

Other than the trying trip down to SC Jacob is doing well. He is scoring high, and taking it one day at a time. Although we never would have chosen for Jake to become a Drill Sergeant, it will have some advantages for Jake's career. It ensures his promotion to E-7 down the road and gives him additional training that will count towards college credit. So we are reluctantly preparing to move to Columbus, GA at the end of September. It's not that we have anything against Columbus; so much as we love it here in Fayetteville and know we'll be returning here once his two years as a Drill Sergeant is over. However; it will be nice to be only an hour or so from Collin and Sara in Atlanta.

We are looking forward to this weekend as Jake gets a three day break for the 4th of July. The kids are hyped up waiting for him to arrive tonight. The kids are all doing really well. James finished kindergarten and will now tell you he is a first grader. With that he also was able to start Tiger Scout in the Cub Scout program. We went on a family camp out where he received his first award for placing flags in the cemetery for Veteran's Day. He received his second award for a Nature Walk we did with the Boy Scout Council in this area.

Mikey loves that all the Tiger Scout activities are family friendly, as he thinks he's one of the boys. Mikey loves all things active from swimming in our pool, to playing on Fort McDoanld, climbing trees, camping, or just plain running around. He has soooo much energy!
Evey isn't as excited about all Mikey's adventures, but is right in the thick of all the "boy" things. She still loves her princess dresses and changes her outfit 2-3 times a day. Thank goodness for good thrift store finds! I don't feel as bad when she comes in from outside with grass stains and dirt all over. I've also learned that dollies, barbies, and ponies wash too.
Stephen has no idea that he is the baby of the group. He believes he can do anything the big kids do. He is very small for his age, but quite inventive in compromising for his short stature. We love hearing his 10 or so words, and are often encouraging him to speak more, but in this crowd it is hard to get a word in edgewise. Stephen loves to sit and "type" at the computer so he wants to put his two cents in now:
dddnjnnnddndssdsdsssssdsdmsdksks,mm. lddvf rg lflfll

Well there you have it. I hope that this update finds you and yours whole and well. I'm not sure if I'll get another update out before we move, but will definitely post our new address as soon as I have it. We miss you all.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Craziness in the McDonald Family Life

So it's been quite awhile since I updated. Where to well James is doing well in Kindergarten. He is reading now! It's hard to imagine my little guy so grown up. We have run into some problems with him containing all his energy, but thanks to creative teachers he is still doing well.

Michael is my very busy boy, into everything, and constantly running. He loves his Thomas the Tank Engines and has now horded all of them & their tracks/accessories up to his room. We are still having a few issues with his speech, but are diligently doing speech therapy 2 times a week. In addition we are still having some potty training issues... doesn't want to do #2 in the toilet. Any suggestions? We've tried bribing him with new trains, and that isn't even a big enough motivation to try.

Evelyn is also a little behind on the toilet training, but a much more willing participant in the process with random successes that end in great praise and barbie dolls. Our little "princess" has become very adamant that she is into all things girly... changing her princess dress 2-3 times a day, playing with dolls, barbies, and ponies, but most often roll playing in dressup clothes. Her constant talking & illustrating her imaginations has resulted in a rapid increase in her speech and although we are continuing with therapy she is now at an age appropriate level.

Stephen has transformed from a baby to a toddler practically over night. He is now running around, climbing on chairs, drinking from a regular cup, and interacting with the people around him. He loves to be chased and tickled. He also is good at saying Dada, Momma, No, Uh-O, Ames (James), Byebye, Eveee (Evy), Myyy (Mikey), and a string of unintelligible words as well. He has gotten over the fear of Mommy leaving, but still cries when his Aunt Terri walks away.

Now onto Jake and I. Well, I went into planning mode for Halloween, putting on both the PTA school Harvest Party, and our Ward's Trunk or Treat. Then it was onto the Christmas Party for our Ward, which ended up being a combined ward party themed First Night in Bethlehem. It was a tremendous success, but a lot of time and effort went into the production. Once we were past that we commenced building Fort McDonald in our back yard for the kid's Christmas present. Thankfully Grandma and Grandpa Stephens came for a Christmas visit and helped us make Fort McDonald a reality.

Once the chaos of the Holidays in general ended I took a short break and just planned the twins & Jake's birthday party. They enjoyed their 4 year party at the Fayetteville Children's Museum.

After the birthdays Jake took off for Fort Meade, MD to do his Phase 2 BNCOC which is his E-6 military training for 3 weeks. While he was there I started planning our ward's Hoe Down and Chili cook off for March 7th - I'll let you know how it goes. I left the children with our sitter and went up to Maryland for Jake's graduation. We spent Valentines weekend on our own at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, and Washington DC.

It was so nice to visit our Nation's capital, national monuments, and the Smithsonian without little ones in tow. I love our children, but this was our first weekend away from them and it was a nice break.

So that pretty much sums up our family's activities since August. Future events include Jake going to Drill Seargent's Training for 2 months and then our family moving to Fort Benning - Columbus, GA at the end of September. It will be our next great challenge and adventure. Currently the plans include 2 years of Jake being a Drill Seargent and then we'll return to Fort Bragg and our Fayetteville Home.

So keep our family in your prayers and we'll do the same for you. Best Wishes, Elizabeth

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

James' First Day of School

So James started school today, and although he was excited it was bitter sweet for me. However; it was harder sending my oldest to his first day of preschool; today it seemed surreal that my little boy was starting kindergarten. He is attending Alpha Academy and I was surprised to learn they'd be in school for 7 hours every day.

The school is under some construction so things were a bit crazy at the drop off. Ever taking charge, I volunteered to help the teachers and ended up filtering students into class lines. Jake got put on car detail directing traffic. Once everyone was lined up the older students were taken by bus to the middle school (until construction is finished) while the younger students were escorted to their new classrooms.

James made himself right at home and didn't care when Jake and I parted. It wasn't so easy for me, and Jake ended up pulling me out the door. So here are some photos from the day. I will be off to pick James up from school and go to our first piano lessons. Best Wishes! Elizabeth


Friday, August 15, 2008


So we decided to take a last minute trip to Wilmington, NC. The family enjoyed the beach and hotel suite sleepover then spend the day at Jungle Rapids - a water park, before returning home. Unfortunately we have no pictures to show for it. I took tons of photos, however; I forgot Jake was the last person to use our high tech camera and had taken it off the all automatic settings. As a result I took a bunch of unrecognizable photos. I really need to learn how to properly use that camera on the manual settings!

Jake is now on his 21 days of leave (vacation) and we are enjoying having him home. We have several small day trips planed, but will be around home for the most part. James starts school in 5 days (and counting). We are however planning to swing down to Atlanta for a few days to see Collin & Sara and maybe tour the Georgia Aquarium. I hope you have a great end of summer too.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Jake's Home!

Hey Everyone,

So Jake got home late Sunday night and we couldn't be happier. The kids and I have just enjoyed being in his presence. With lots of hugs ande lots of joy everything else seems bland, but there are a few goings on to update.

First, Stephen's 1st birthday was on August 1st, but we decided to wait to celebrate until Jake came home. We will be having a party for Stephen on August 15th - back yard cook out... so please come. It is also a celebration of Jake's return & kids going back to school. No presents please.

Second, James has joined a soccor team with our local rec. center - Jake volunteered to be the coach. He will start practice in September and is very excited. As soon as we get the team uniforms we'll take a picture for you. If you know anything about coaching 5-6 year olds, Jake would appreciate a few pointers.

Third, Mikey has been having issues with Sleep Apnea so he is going to have his tonsils removed on August 14th. Please keep him in your prayers. Apparently, the sleep apnea could be directly related to his speech delay according to his neurologist. Something to do with the Language centers of the brain being the first to suffer from lack of oxygen during the sleep cycle. So having his tonsils out may be extremely helpful on that front as well. Please keep Mikey in your prayers.

Fourth, we are trying to decide what to do for a mini family vacation during Jake's leave, but before school starts. No planes involved, something driving distance from here... any suggestions?

Last, thank you all for the prayers, words of support, funny stories, and everything else that got our family throught these past 15 months. It hasn't been easy, but it could have been much worse if we didn't have the support you all provided. Thank You!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Random Family Photos

Back on the Wagon

So I apparently haven't posted since January of last year. I didn't think it'd been that long, but alas things have passed by me rather quickly. A family update...

Jake deployed to Camp Arifjan Kuwait May 17, 2007. Stephen Davis McDonald joined our family a month early on August 1, 2007 weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. and 22 inches. The children and I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in Utah. We returned 2 weeks before Jake's mid-tour leave. He managed to be home for his & the twins (3rd) birthdays. His parents joined us for the 1st half of his visit home and we blessed Stephen.

Jake returned to Kuwait and we returned to our routine. No major events of note happened in the spring, just the usually craziness. The kids' last day of school was May 30th and I started praying I'd survive the summer and potty training the twins. So far Mikey's doing pretty well, but Evey has little interest. A family funeral sent the children and I to Utah over the 4th of July for 2 weeks.

Now we are home and prepairing for Jake's return after 15 months of deployement. The children are starting to sense the nearness of his return. We are counting down with a paper-link chain. It is so tiny now compaired to where we started. I have no idea where this summer went, but I'm glad Jake's deployment is drawing to a close.

In addition, I can't wait for the kids to restart school. I love haing them home, but miss the routine school provides. It is also more difficult for me in the summer with Jake gone - it seems my babysitters make a fortune while I run to the grocery store and do errands. Anyway, James will be starting Kindergarden, the twins will return to pre-school 3 days a week, and Stephen will start pre-school 1 day a week.

So that pretty much brings this up to date for our family. Hope yours are doing well. God Bless!

Friday, February 02, 2007

January Summary

Hello Friends & Family,

This month has proven very busy for us, but that's a good start to the New Year in my book. Jake's NCO was transfered to another unit and he was given the job as NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge). Normally that is an E-6 slot, but as Jake will be going before the promotion board as soon as he can find a free second, his Commander wanted him to have the job. He is definately learning on the run since they have left for 2 weeks on a training exercise to Ft. Lewis, WA. This training is to help them prepare for their deployment. Jake will be home Feb. 15th. They are still on schedule to deploy to Kuwait in Mid-May for a year. The unit was granted block leave April 7-15 (Easter) and the Commander made it clear no other leave would be granted prior to their deployment.

So we will be coming out to Utah for Easter so Jake can see everyone before the deployment. This also means that our Baby, due Sept. 2nd, will arrive without Daddy here. This was apparent to us prior to conception, so there's no big surprise there. We're hoping Daddy can take his mid-tour leave around his birthday next year to meet our newest little one.

So far the pregnancy is going well. The morning (all day) sickness is starting to subside now that I'm about 10 weeks along. On Feb. 9th I have an OB appointment, and should get a definative answer about whether to expect one or two additions to our family. I'm still praying for one.

The kids are doing very well. Jan. 25th was both Jake and the twin's birthday. Mikey and Evey are now 2. They had a small party and enjoyed their cupcakes and presents. I'll send a few photos out in another e-mail. Jake was glad the focus was on them, and not him, but he enjoyed his presents too. James is very focused on birthdays right now, and planning his own although its not until March 9th. Apparently we're having a super man party, outside, with lots of balloons. Sounds good to me.

James is also doing very well in school. He has a best friend now, Ryan. They are in the same class, and Ryan is also a member of our church, so they have Sunday School together too. Ryan's family joined us for the birthday celebration, and all us parents really enjoyed card games after the little ones went to bed.

I've also been busy with FRG (family readiness group) stuff. We had an FRG meeting to prepare the families with what to expect during the training exercise and how to start preparing for the impending deployement. I thought several people would fall off their chairs when I mentioned that the soldier's cell phones may not get reception in the field, so they needed a point of contact # in case of emergencies. We are definately becoming a technology dependent civilization. For many families this is a first time deployment and I'm shocked at how much they don't know - but that's why we have the FRG there to prepare them.

Jake and I have also been busy with our church callings. I'm still amazed every time we get to sit through an entire sacrament meeting with all 3 kids behaving. I know it will be short lived after the baby arrives, but it's nice while it lasts. James loves his Sunbeam class, and Mikey & Evey are always excited to run down the hall to the nursery room. My class and I have acclamated to each other and are working well together. Jake is busy busy busy aiding the Elder's Quorum.

Overall, we are happy and generally healthy. Jake gave us a little scare with a fainting episode due to dehyrdation & sinus infection. However he seems on the mend. Due to the nature of the episode, and his family history he's meeting with a cardiologist for an echo-cardiogram (picture of his heart) on Feb. 20th. A precautionary measure to make sure all is well before we send him off to Kuwait. Otherwise life is good and we've been very blessed. I hope all is well for you!