Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Day 1

Today begins our annual pilgrimage to Ohio to visit my Grandma. I went into this trip feeling very ambivalent. Maybe the feeling came from not knowing until just a couple weeks ago whether it would be feasible to make the trip because of Covid. Maybe I just wanted to remember Grandma the way she was last year yet I don’t want to miss a chance to see her again. We all had a harder time leaving Jeremy at home this year. 

Once we got on the road and the dust settled from all the last minute packing and car loading, I settled into the rhythm of this trip. 

We drove 8 hours with 2 minivans, 3 sisters, 1 Mom/Grandma and 7 cousins. 

The day went amazingly smoothly. Isaiah spent the afternoon in the other van and I heard that he got to be the big cousin and did a fabulous job entertaining Sean. 

We pulled into our hotel exit at 6pm, hungry and road weary. We tried 3 sit down restaurants that we all closed and then settled on the Arby’s drive through. After what seemed like 15 minutes but was probably only 5, we realized the line was not moving. The truck at the ordering position was in park. In the rain I walked up to him and asked if everything was ok. Arby’s did not have power due to the storm. The 12 other cars in line were glad I asked! 😂

We had to settle for McDonald’s. It was quite the process to get food, eat in the hotel room, carry all our luggage up, get settled...

Just when Janell and I thought we could settle in, at 8:30pm the indoor pool reopened from the storm and we took some very happy children to swim. For the 4 who wanted to swim, it made their day, which, of course, always makes it worth it for the Mom to put in the extra hour after a long day! 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Joy Dare::June

7207. Afternoon of playing outside with friends
7208. Finding the quiet place
7209. Surprised with lunch
7210. A beautiful day to visit on the porch
7211. The women I get to call friends
7212. Little white flowers
7213. A spot to sit on the beach
7214. Isaiah sleeping on my arm
7215. My heart at peace
 7216. Forging a new friendship
7217. A full calendar
7218. Aliza and Anna thrilled with their finished blankets
7219. Bike ride with the boys
7220. Warm mornings to walk
7221. Alone in my house for an hour
7222. Sister time
7223. When the road trip get to the point where all you can do is laugh
7224. Kenyan tea
7225. A quiet morning to relax
7226. Surprising Bea
7227. Safe drive home
7228. Beach time with friends
 7229. Family evenings
7230. Holding a baby
7231. Isaiah kept himself quiet for an hour
7232. Learning to love my teen well
7234. Rain
7235. Showing up for others
7236. Ocean waves
7237. Grandad is ok
7238 After beach ice cream
7239. Jeremy got the mower running
7240. Giving Grandad a hug
7241. Weekend sleeping in
7242. A working day with Maria
7243. Picking up supper and eating with a friends
7244. Hearing all about the childrens' days
7245. Healthy kids
7246. Isaiah wanting all the Daddy snuggles
7247. Bonfire evening
7248. 4 kids with clean teeth and no cavitites
7249. Talking to Karen
7250. Jeremy calling during the day
7251. Evening at home
7252. A slow day
7253. Steak dinner for Jeremy
7254. Jeremy laughing
7255. An evening with friends
7256. Ice cream cake
7257. 10 children playing together
7258. My Dad
7259. My children’s’ Dad
7260. Planning again
7261. Playing hard
7262. Pacing myself
7263. Heart to heart talk
7264. Spontaneous plan for the day
7265. Flipping off the surf boards
7266. Girls playing piano every day
7267. New shoes for the kiddos
7268. When Isaiah falls asleep in the car like he’s still a little kid
7269. Cut hair—8 inches shorter
7270. Anna loving her shorter hair
7271. Not too hot to play outside
7272. Finishing the 4th blanket top
7273. Eating intentionally
7274. Singing hymns
7275. Dividing the produce into boxes to give away

7276. Morning with Aliza 
7277. Summer tea time
7278. Flowerbed weeded
7279. Sunday morning walk
7280. Sunday rest
7281. Sunday fire and s’mores
7282. Happy news from the dance studio
7283. All the new books
7284. Isaiah walked a lap with me
7285. Home all day
7286. Interactions with friends on text and phone
7287. Compelled to pray

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Some Little Things

It is as hard for me to believe how my calendar filled up almost overnight in June the way it emptied almost overnight in March. We have been spending time, mostly outside, with friends, going to church and Bible study, club and youth group. I have already turned down one weekly activity for the summer just because I want to quiet the schedule. A trip is in the works and a vacation is being dreamed up.

I did get Josiah's blanket pieced together.
I think the quarantine period solidified some friendships for the children and me.
We went to the cove last night with this family. When a storm rolled in, we moved the party to our porch for supper. The kids played through a couple downpours and had a great time.

Isaiah has been surprising me with his mental math skills. He asked me if 15 + 15 equals 30. I said yes and he told me that he knew that because 5 + 5 is 10 and 10 + 10 is 20. A couple nights later he asked me if 360 + 360 equals 720. I thought a minute and then told him yes. I asked Isaiah how he knew that one. He said he guessed. I told him there was no way he guessed that and then he gave me a complicated explanation that actually made sense for the most part. The funniest part is that he makes me prove that he is right on the calculator.

This is the best book I have read on relationships:
Single, dating, engaged, married--it is for everyone. This is the book I will give my young adults. It is grace filled, hopeful, honest, and Bible based.

There are also some pretty great things happening on the business front and on the home renovation front. It's nice to see some long time hopes falling into place--slowly, but steadily!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Joy Dare::May

7129. Windows open
7130. The girls had so much fun doing dance costume pictures
7131. The continual practice of contentment
7132. Planning to the end of school for Aliza
7133. After church walk on a beautiful evening
7134. Popcorn on the porch
7135. Masks for the children
7136. New BJU customers
7137. Outside time with cousins
7138. Painting helpers
7139. Completely unexpected additional discount
7140. Children played outside for a long time leaving me in a silent house
7141. Visiting Janell
7142. Baking brownies for Renee
7143. Shoes for Anna to enjoy wearing
7144. Hearing Aliza laugh during Zoom call with youth group
7145. Aliza so diligent with school
7146. Josiah conquered a fear
7147. This week’s dessert—Apple pie
7148. Freshly painted stair spindles 
7149. Getting out and walking
7150. Seeing my Grandad
7151. Breakfast made for me and notes
7152. Jeremy did the dishes for the day
7153. All the boy cousin noise
7154. That last-week-of-school feeling
7155. Giving Isaiah his kindergarten diploma
7156. Starting yet another project
7157. Making my mother in law happy
7158. Chick-fil-a lunch
7159. An afternoon with Janell
7160. Teaching the girls to use a sewing machine
7161. Isaiah excited to have a loose tooth
7162. Enough patience
7163. I have a high schooler!
7164. On the road to WV
7165. Children who know how to be grateful
7166. Patio visiting
7167. Tea with Christie
7168. Aliza’s pure excitement over having Japanese food for supper
7169. Josiah telling the Bible story in full detail
7170. Refreshed after being away
7171. Grace from my children
7172. Sisters to keep me grounded
7173. Anna and Isaiah got to see friends
7174. Walking in silence 
7175. A homemade loaf of bread
7176. Visiting with Linda
7177. Anna walking with me
7178. An hour completely alone
7179. Janell had an extra taco seasoning packet
7180. Stories of great faith
7181. Being spontaneous
7182. Long evenings
7183. Weeded flowerbeds
7184. Ice cream run
7185. Anna helping Jeremy wash the cars
7186. Sleeping in
7187. Meeting together for church
7188. Truth for my girl
7189. Watermelon
7190. Giving the gift of work
7191. Sean’s smile at the lunch table
7192. Afternoon with Janell
7193. Aliza made me tea
7194. Standing up/Speaking up
7195. Sewing with Anna
7196. Finishing a commitment
7197. Warm days
7198. Strawberries
7199. A day away from our house
7200. Cheering Jeremy on
7201. Late afternoon beach time
7202. Strawberry shortcake
7203. Watching space shuttle launch
7204. After church s’mores 
7205. Watching the stars appear
7206. Field of yellow flowers

Monday, June 8, 2020

Road Trip

Janell and I decided to go to our cousin's bridal shower before we actually looked at how far away it was. Typical... I assumed that it was going to be closer to where she lives and it was actually closer to where her parents live. So Janell and I made it an overnight trip and visited our aunt and uncle.

We stayed up late talking around the fire and then Janell and I had a quiet Sunday morning before we needed to leave for the shower. The silence was just about the most luxurious thing I could imagine right now. Then we went to the stream and up the mountain.
And then we surprised our cousin. She was genuinely surprised.

It was a fun little trip!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

This Week

There were times this week that I could forget that a virus is swirling around us. The fact that the news has turned to racial injustice and riots has helped that feeling, I’m sure. 

Helping turned out to be a theme this week. We helped Laura with some yard work. Aliza used a push mower for the first time. It was fun to make a big visual impact and encourage my sister. This is an after picture.

Anna couldn’t wait for me to start her blanket after finishing the top of Aliza’s. The second one came together more quickly then the first. Anna did a lot of sewing. I even walked away a few times.
Anna couldn’t keep her hands off of it. She used it right away. Currently it is right beside her pillow, along with the backing, waiting to be finished.
We spent a day with my mom and Janell. In the morning we picked strawberries. It was great timing. The berries were delicious. Then Janell and I used Grandads garden to plant pumpkins. We also planted squash and green onion for him. Aliza was sure to point out that Janell was digging the holes, Josiah put the seeds in and covered them and I basically did nothing. It was an accurate assessment.
Then Aliza went shopping with Janell for the rest of the blessing bag supplies and Josiah and I helped put the bags together. That was a fun project. I delivered one bag on my way home and the recipient was so grateful. There’s not much more fulfilling that doing something kind for someone else.

I got a little obsessed with the space shuttle launch to the International Space Station. The launch was amazing. We watched 11 minutes and by the time all of the rocket boosters had detached and they were in orbit, my eyes were a little misty. Something about it was moving. 

Then today we missed the docking by 15 minutes but I ended up watching it off and on for a couple hours until the men entered the ISS. The attention to minute detail, the communication and watching them work in space in real time just captured me. The girls were about to strangle me when I wanted to watch the welcome ceremony too! I assured them that *someday* they would be so glad that their mom made them watch history. Lol. 

We ended the weekend with s’mores. The children were LOUD and crazy but in the end (they were still really loud) they were laying on the blanket looking at stars and watching bats fly.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Normal Doesn't Feel Normal

With a couple exceptions, our life pretty well went back to "normal" this week. We met in person for Bible Study--keeping distance and being very aware of our space and having conversations about how to live life while being wise and safe. 

I brought some sourdough starter home with me last weekend. I had zero confidence that I could actually make it work.
 I fed my starter pet and it grew...
...and it produced an edible loaf of bread! Later in week, I also made sourdough pancakes. I'm not sure what will be next, but I have a bit of starter saved in the refrigerator.
 The next thing to navigate was a family gathering--not my whole family, but 3 sisters, a brother in law, Mom and 8 cousins. And my brother stopped by. One of my sisters was visiting from out of town and, of course, you see family. It was a *chilly, windy* porch visit. I tried to arrange the chairs with some space and we ended up with a nice visit together.
 Aliza had youth group. They all wore masks, spaced the chairs out and played games that did not involve any sharing of cards, dice etc. It was SO good for her.

Jeremy ended up mostly doing this project for me: He spray painted this table on the porch. 
 I had some leftover spray paint from another project so did not labor over a color decision. I plopped the handful of silk flowers that I've collected into a vase and I love it! The porch has become my favorite spot. I can't believe I rejected that porch as unusable for so many years! I'm sure there is a life lesson in that!