Monday, September 15, 2014

Bits of Life

I made spaghetti with a spaghetti squash tonight and it was a successful meal--for Jeremy and I. I had leftover of "real" spaghetti for the children (and me). I felt very accomplished and also learned a need a sharper knife for cutting spaghetti squash in half.

I've had three very successful Trades of Hope events since I joined the company in August. This probably surprises me more than anyone else. I love that even at a very small level I can feel that I am positively impacting women's lives in other parts of the world. I've learned that I really enjoy sharing about the artisans and their stories. The "and now do you want to to buy something or host an event" part will probably always feel awkward to me. As long as the mission is bigger than the business in my mind and heart I'll be happy.

On Saturday I had planned a magic disappearing act. I planned to disappear to my parents quiet house to scrapbook and nap alone. I decided that morning to invite Aliza to go with me. I decided to invest in her and our relationship. It was still a quiet day for me--in the sense that all I had to do was listen. I didn't have to say much! I'm pretty sure the rewards for spending that time with my daughter are far greater than having those hours to myself.

We are back in the Bible study and dance class routine again. Josiah and Anna have a really great teacher. Aliza loves her Bible study class. She and I have been working hard on memorizing our verses. (We have the same verses to memorize.) Aliza thought the verse was so hard and then she had it down in 2 days. Of course she loves dance and declared that the class time was far too short. =)

I'm having the most constant pain/soreness that I've ever had in a pregnancy. If I don't bend, squat or lift I can make out pretty well. This has given me incentive to be very consistent in reminding the children to take care of their things. It also means that when Meghan stops by she tidies up the toy room and living room and I don't say anything. It also means that my Mom has given me the "you must accept help" chat. It also means that Jeremy is helping a lot.

In 3 weeks I'll be holding a baby. It almost doesn't seem real. I have the bitty baby clothes ready to go. The crib will be set up eventually. =) We wonder if we are ready for nighttime feedings. I suppose one is never ready for that, but is given the grace and strength when the time comes. The doctor was pretty forthright with me last week about these last couple weeks with my medical history. I'd appreciate your prayers for a healthy baby and a healthy Mama. I've taken nothing for granted this time around and will most likely be crying tears of gratitude and relief when I get this baby in my arms. But, oh my goodness, those bitty baby clothes are so so sweet!

We are having that crisp warm weather that makes us all want to just live outside. That's all the bits of life for now!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Anniversary Dinner

One random day I was standing in our yard and I thought how much fun it would be to have an outdoor dinner in that particular spot. It didn't take me long to figure out that Mom and Dad's 40th Anniversary would be a perfect excuse for a dinner. I pitched the idea to Janell and we were off. First with a shared Pinterest board for ideas and then the fun of merging our ideas into reality.

We made a 20 foot garland to hang between two trees. We took several ideas and put them together. There was burlap, white and red tulle and paper hearts sewn together. It's still hanging in the yard and I still love it.
Stamped napkins. Adorable.
Mason jars. Wildflowers from the side of the road and citronella candles. (I think citronella is better in theory than reality, but we tried!)
There are 22 in the Sheats family now. We had 16 around the tables and a picnic table for some of the children. Aliza enjoyed being at the adult table. She kept Meghan talking the whole meal and afterwards when we were sharing stories and memories, Aliza was soaking it all in.
Ezra is happy to see Grandad.
Lydia was ready to see Grandma.
This was not to be our normal family dinner so the menu reflected that: jumbo shrimp, crab cakes (made by Laura), potato wedges (Laurie, they will forever be on our table!), corn on the cob, pasta salad (Pioneer Woman recipe thanks to Meghan), and rolls (made from scratch by Meghan).
And Smith Island Cake for dessert. Original chocolate and strawberries and cream (which had a lovely red layers which was perfect for our theme.
Yup, Mom and Dad cut the cake.
And had the first bite.
And when it was just about too dark we took pictures of each family with Mom and Dad. Of course, this is my family with them.
It was a very nice evening. I think everyone enjoyed it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Joy Dare::August

1630. Gladiolus from the garden on my counter
1631. If I can endure the initial boredom and bickering they will usually play happily together
1632. Little girl giggles
1633. Sabbath day of rest
1634. Conscious decision to not do the things I thought of doing and sit and draw with Anna
1635. Family day
1636. Aliza teaching Josiah to play checkers
1637. Blueberry crumble ice cream
1638. Pipi Longstocking book club dinner
1639. Josiah and Anna and their tackle boxes
1640. A new friend
1641. Sprinkler fun
1642. Intense playing
1643. Quietly working while I listened to and enjoyed their play
1644. Adding a new role makes me even more intentional in how I use my time
1645. Taking Mary Lou on a letterboxing adventure
1646. A couple willing to host us for the weekend
1647. A beautiful wedding
1648. Orange Fanta (Africa in a bottle)
1649. Pop-pop's favorite ice cream that I was hoping for this weekend--served at the wedding
1650. A cool basement
1651. Children displaying excellent behavior
1652. A really nice visit with my cousin and her family
1653. Josiah swimming all over the pool
1654. Aliza and Josiah really enjoyed sports camp
1655. Freezing corn with my sisters
1656. Jeremy took the children to sports camp and I got to do a few things I wanted to do
1657. Planning an anniversary dinner
1658. A letter from my Dad
1659. Anna participated in sports camp
1660. An evening home alone to work on projects
1661. A very boring doctor appointment
1662. Everyone was just generally happier today
1663. It's Friday night at the end of a hectic week
1664. Working with Janell
1665. A chance to keep my mouth shut
1666. Moving out of my comfort zone
1667. Snuggling with sick kiddos
1668. Rainbow dragon birthday party
1669. Lydia so sweetly saying over and over "best birthday ever!"
1670. Confidence boost
1671. The Lord's mercies are new every morning
1672. Utterly failing does not make me less loved
1673. Aliza's supper prayer for new attitudes for all of us
1674. Tears and a better attitude
1675. Josiah said school is better than he thought it would be
1676. Visiting friends this evening
1677. Bedtime discussion with Josiah
1678. New and out of my comfort zone
1679. Hair trimmed
1680. Zumba kids Wii game
1681. Crying with my daughter in her hurt
1682. Having lunch for Meghan and boys
1683. Fudge brownies from Grandma's cookbook
1684. A good night's sleep
1685. Glimpses of heaven
1686. A long Sunday afternoon nap
1687. Took Anna to her room for bed just before Jeremy found a bat in the room we were in
1688. Normal thyroid levels and a friend in the waiting room
1689. Daddy backup tonight
1690. Lost bear blanket found and returned
1691. Prayer: May the words and my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.
1692. Aliza's attitude much improved today
1693. I walked slowly (Josiah said I was faster than a turtle) and the kids rode bikes
1694. School completed with good attitudes
1695. Made bookmarks today and Josiah said I should have put "I love reading" on his.
1696. The neighbors sharing their pear tree
1697. Filling drawers with baby clothes
1698. 3 children napping in the car after a couple afternoon errands?!
1699. Empty beach
1700. Seafood dinner date
1701. Jeremy played golf this morning and while I did grocery shopping with three children I genuinely thought how much I love him
1702. Since I had shopping helpers there are some extra snacks in the house!
1703. Church tonight
1704. Some time with my girls
1705. Josiah had so much to tell me about his fishing day
1706. Jumping off the dock
1707. Letting Josiah take the adventurous risks that boys need

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.