Sunday, August 31, 2014

Plain Old Fun

Whew! The days are flying past me. School went much much better this week. Josiah has completely floored me. He looks forward to reading the most and is doing great. He's not ahead of what is being taught, but he right on target with his teacher. And, so far, he hasn't fallen asleep during school! ;)

On Friday we hit the beach and only did Phonics and Reading for school. Sand, water and sun therapy. I'm not a huge fan of sand. However, my children are huge fans of sand!!

Today was a much anticipated fishing trip with Jeremy, Josiah, Uncle Brian, Caleb and Grandad. Unfortunately it was especially breezy and they did not catch a fish. Well, they caught a tiny fish, a skate and a crab. The boys seemed to have good attitudes about the day not turning out the way they hoped and managed to entertain themselves. Meghan and her younger boys and me and my girls hung out at the beach house. We had some especially unhealthy food and the children were happy on the bit of beach.

Anna practiced doing cartwheels....which she does very frequently.
Aliza had a blast sitting in the surf. She giggled and laughed. It was great to just sit and listen her joy.
When the boys got back Brian got in the water off the dock (he could touch) and Caleb started jumping in. Josiah watched for quite a while and then he decided to take the plunge. Once he did it the first time, he had a BLAST. Brian said Josiah had a huge grin on his face every time he jumped.
Aliza went down the ladder and hung on to Uncle Brian for dear life. I'm glad she got in, maybe next time she will be ready to jump.
And then there were synchronized jumps with hi-fives in the air.
Seriously, there is nothing better than watching your children having fun. They jumped until Brian was so cold he couldn't stand it any longer. Everyone fell asleep on the way home...I think that means it was a good day. I want it to stay summer all year!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

School

We started school last week. Maybe I should just stop there.

It's been hard. I like my clean and organized school cabinet though.
1st grade is going well. Drawing pirate scenes makes it even better.
3rd grade is the one that blindsided me. Both the intensity of the curriculum and the attitude of the student. We will work through it and be ok.

Anyone want to give an opinion on the worth of memorizing the Preamble of the Constitution? I'm going back and forth.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Funny Story

There's this little piece of my life story that is unique and it happened a lifetime ago--I was 17 that year and that was 17 years ago.

My family moved from Oregon to Maryland that summer of 1996 and after much deliberation and school visiting it was decided that I would attend the Christian School associated with the church Dad was pastoring for my senior year of high school.

What made this a big deal was that this particular school was adding their high school one year at a time and the year that I was a Senior the school added their Junior class. I took 3 classes with the Juniors. I did 3 classes ACE (essentially homeschooled, but I did most of my work in the school library) and I was a teacher's aide for one period.

That year was a defining year in my life. It was a hard year. I put my parents through the wringer. I also prayed in my room every day before I went to school. And, thankfully, it was a year that I made good choices when I could have--more easily--made unwise choices. It was a humbling year.

I wanted a full blown high school graduation and my Mom made it happen. I planned my ceremony and there were 75 people in attendance (I think.) and I have a Holly Grove Christian School high school diploma.

Over the years the school has grown and graduated many classes. I really didn't think that anyone remembered that there was a "class" of 1997.

Fast forward 17 years... I received a letter from the newly forming HGCS Alumni Association and in the first paragraph of the letter is says "....it has been 17 since the first graduate received her diploma..." And I laughed and couldn't stop laughing.

17 years!!?? They just announced to every HGCS graduated that I graduated 17 years ago and that makes me 35 years old! There is definitely a group of people who will know EXACTLY who that graduate was. I guess it's a good thing I made good choices that year! And, apparently, I'm not forgotten.

I thought being a class of one was done and over with long long ago. You never know when the past will come back to surprise you!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sports Camp

I alluded to the fact that this was a super busy week. Every evening the children attended Mega Sports Camp. It was sponsored by a church that hosts Upward Sports. I didn't really know what to expect. The price was right and it was a team sport experience (PE) so I went for it. It turned out to be almost a sports based vacation Bible school.


Each evening started with an opening where the "God's Game Plan" theme for the night was introduced. There was a mascot who did this (see below) motion and then all the kids yelled the game plan. They sang a couple lively songs and then headed out to play their sport.
Aliza and Josiah played soccer. The 3 and 4 year olds did soccer the first 3 nights and tball the last 2 nights. Anna participated exactly one night--Thursday night. She's actually pretty coordinated so I was frustrated that she wouldn't leave my lap.
Jeremy sent me videos on Thursday and Anna can hit a ball! Right or left handed! Thursday night I got to stay home and work on some projects that I've been wanting to do. It was a lovely evening.
Josiah LOVED camp. The group he was with was pretty small. He learned some things and just had a good time.
He informed me that wearing his hat backwards made him run faster. =)
Aliza had a good time too. I'm really glad she tried a team sport. She really really likes dance. ;) She saw the cheerleaders one night and was super glad that she didn't choose cheerleading. I had to chuckle though--she looked like me on the soccer field. Standing in one spot...looking at the clouds. She did her best in all the drills.
Then the last night the campers were allowed to go up front to do the motions for songs they learned. Aliza was grinning and completely in her element.
There was also a closing group time each night where they sang more songs, practiced their Bible verse (Jeremiah 29:11-12), and listened to a sports story and Bible story. They talked about Moses all week. It really was a great camp.

We are just not used to having to eat supper early and hurry out the door for the evening. It wore us all out. I could handle it for a week, but I'm definitely not ready to make it a lifestyle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Weekend of People

This was an ambitious weekend and I had some moments of anxiety before it started. Thankfully our children rose to the occasion and everything went exceptionally smoothly.

Our first stop was dinner with my Gramma's sister on Friday evening. We had a nice meal together and then we introduced her to letterboxing. She took us to the location and if she and I would have been paying closer attention we would not have missed the location! Jeremy spotted the concrete pillars we were looking for on our way out and then we had success. It was dark which added an element to the adventure.

We then made our way to the home of our host family for the weekend. Staying with a family we did not know was a new experience for us, but it went very well and we saved a bunch of money by not having to get a hotel.

Lunch on Saturday was at the Freed Reunion. Aliza and Josiah enjoyed kicking a soccer ball around in the church gym. We left soon after the meal to meet Joel and Brandi before the wedding that afternoon. I admit...I fell asleep waiting for Joel and Brandi. Luckily I woke up just in time to hurry everyone into their clothes and get to the wedding as the procession was beginning.

It was Jeremy's cousin that got married. I cried. It was everything a wedding was meant to be--faith, family, personality, purity, joy. It was just absolutely wonderful. The bride and her Dad just beamed as they walked down the aisle. This was just after the groom arrived at his place on the stage on his skateboard.
The parents each gave a blessing. Jeremy's aunt made me cry again.
The bridal party (all 16 of them!) sang. The bride played her flute.
The reception meal included (among other things) the bride and groom's favorite jello salads that their Mom's make. Dessert was their favorite desserts that their Mom's make. The bride's brothers provided the music. And there was line dancing and square dancing. At 9:20 we left. Our children were utterly exhausted. From pictures it appears that we missed quite a dramatic exit from the reception.

We tried for a family picture. Anna was upset because Brandi couldn't be in the picture. Just ignore Aliza's tongue!! haha. That's the last picture of Anna with her white blanket bear. She lost it during the reception.
Sunday morning we spent some time with Joel and Brandi. We parted ways at noon. I thought it would be a good idea to find a place to eat on the route to our next destination. That proved to be a bad thought. We ended up on the turnpike, in accident traffic for at least half an hour, and then there were no signs for food until 1:30. Once again the children were amazing. There was no whining, complaining or carrying on. It was the pregnant Mom in the car that was about to lose it!

About 3:30 we arrived in Rehobeth Beach to visit my cousin and her family who were camping. We swam in the pool and had supper with them--campfire nachos and mountain pies. Good stuff. We had a lovely visit with them. We arrived home at 9pm.

It is now late on Wednesday night and I'm still not sure that I'm recovered from the weekend! That is mostly because this week has been as hectic as the weekend, but more on that later.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Our Computers Will Never Die

When I was a child, my father owned a lawn mower repair shop. He sold and repaired lawn mowers for a living as did his father. Because of his expertise in small engine repair we use an extremely old lawn mower as my father can keep it running forever.

Fast forward one generation.

My husband is a computer repair guy. His job is to keep people happy by keeping their computers running so that they don't have to buy new ones until absolutely necessary. Now, I will say, I have never seen him go to these lengths on a client's computer. I'm pretty sure he would tell them to buy a new one because they would not want to see the price tag on him taking apart and putting their computer back together. BUT, in our house, we use computers until the technology is so out of date that they just cannot be used anymore. Quite honestly, in 13 years, I only remember one or maybe two computers being completely retired. (Retired meaning living in the museum of computers in our shed!) But let's not count how many new (or used) ones have come into our house in the meantime!

Anyway. At the beginning of the summer this computer screen just quit working one day. Everything else seemed fine. Jeremy took it all part, identified the $20 piece that he thought would most likely fix it and set the computer on his dresser for a couple months. Now school is approaching and that is the computer Josiah uses so I asked about it's status. A few days later a package arrived with the piece in it and last Sunday Jeremy sat down to put it all back together.
Using double sided tape he sorted out the 50+ screws that measured in various lengths from 0-2 mm! This man has patience--and some cool tools to pick up teeny tiny screws! He followed directions from a website called ifixit.com
Several hours later he was finished and the screen worked! I wish you could have seen the grin on his face! And the satisfaction with which he said, "And I only had 5 screws left!"
So $20 and a proud husband later this computer is in perfect working order! Here's to another 7 years--my first MacBook--maybe it will see Josiah into high school!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

All About my Kids


Kids. Moms love them beyond understanding. They grow up faster than fast. Kids can make a day the worst ever or the best ever for a Mom. And, I think, kids are designed with just the right genetic make up to drive a Mama crazy--for the Mama's own good, of course!

Aliza is my helper these days. She is happy to pick things up off the floor for me and to clean up when she is asked to. She's at the neat stage where she can play pretend games with Josiah and Anna and have big girl conversations with me. She loves to be included in anything that I do. Having alone time with Mom is very important to her (and to me).
And then she can look like this! There's no guessing how she is feeling! What a serious responsibility it is to guide and shape a child's personality. Aliza still takes her homemade doll, Charlotte, with her wherever she goes!
Josiah is leaving the tractor stage and entering what I call the "warrior child" stage. Hunting (read: weapons. But we tell him he can only shoot animals), fishing, ninjas, super heroes. Dear me...I liked tractors! Josiah has a sensitive and more introverted nature. His feelings can get hurt and he cries. I'll keep it that way as long as possible. He talks to me when I tuck him in a night and then give me a big hug and kiss. I tell him I love him and he responds, "I love you more."
Josiah and Anna have been playing together a lot this summer. They have so much fun together and then it's usually not too long before Aliza joins in too. Josiah has learned an awful lot this summer from PBS shows, Fetch and Wild Krats. He's a smart kid!
This little one is quick to correct you if you call her "little"! Most of the time I think she is 3 going on 12. I read to her every afternoon and make her lay down for a bit, but she doesn't nap. She has figured out how to boss Aliza and Josiah around. She's the peacemaker when one's needed. Anna is quick to say Thank you, Mom and I'm sorry, Mom. I let her dress herself--she certainly has opinions there!
Here's an example that just cracked me up. This is a Barbie book from the library. Barbie is on the right and Anna declares, every time she sees this page, that she does NOT like Barbie's shoes. One day Anna went so far as to say that she was scared of those shoes.
Two pages later, Barbie is wearing these shoes and Anna approves. Anna would prefer to wear any shoe that is too big for her.
And, finally, this is baby boy. Another boy! I don't know if my heart can take it! He's getting stronger....believe me, I know! He's 29 weeks and that only gives him about another 8 before he enters the outside world. I'm praying for a strong, healthy, happy baby! He's already a part of the family. His siblings are looking forward to and curious about his arrival.