Monday, October 23, 2017

Great Falls--Virginia

 I tried not to get my hopes up too high that this weekend adventure would actually happen, but the weather was perfect and the plan fell, very neatly, into place. Saturday morning to packed up for one night and headed to Great Falls, VA. The children had never seen a waterfall and were really excited to have family time. I had sortof forgotten, but quickly remembered, that tourist sites in big cities attract a lot of people!

There were 3 overlooks that we walked to. Super easy walks that were just right for that day.
 There were several kayaks that captured Isaiah's interest.
 Josiah was really glad to have his binoculars with him.

 There were a lot of rocks to climb on and get different views.

 Don't worry! I didn't just forget pictures of Anna. She isn't very fond of posed pictures these days.
 Aliza was absolutely in awe of creation and the Creator. She found a quiet spot to do an Instagram story.
 At the third overlook Jeremy had the big idea to take pictures through the binoculars--and it worked!

This was a super introduction for family adventuring for us. Getting to the hotel was high on the kids' agenda so we didn't stay too long. There is nothing more exciting than a family slumber party in a hotel! ha! My mom taught me well how to camp. ;) Just as exciting as the hotel was getting to eat supper at Bob Evans (kids choice) because you can get an ice cream sundae for dessert for $1.29! Despite everyone being tired they all handled the really long wait for our food well. Then it was a night time swim in the ice cold pool before bed. 

To be continued...

Friday, October 20, 2017

Parks and Trails

I've found that a doctor appointment throws off the whole day, so after Isaiah's 3 year old well check yesterday we met my mom, picked up some lunch from Chick Fil A and headed to a Trap Pond--a park I've been wanting to check out for a while. It was a beautiful day--warm in the sun and cool in the shade. The playground called the kids names before they could finish eating!
 Josiah was our fearless tour guide. He took his job very seriously!

 I didn't expect Anna to be scared to walk across a bridge, but holding Grandma's hand made it possible!
 Isaiah didn't miss out on anything!
 Aliza enjoyed some solitude. She really appreciated the beauty and marveled at God's creation.

 The Nature Center was really neat. All of the children engaged in the exhibits. Isaiah especially enjoyed the aquarium and being nose to nose with the fish.
 The girls enjoyed dressing up in park ranger garb from the 1930s.

 When a friend invited us to meet them at Pemberton Park for a walk this afternoon, I knew it was a little crazy, but I wanted to see them and the weather was still perfect and so we went. The children weren't quite as happy today! Aliza found a kindness rock though, which was new for her and made her happy.
 Before we even started on the trail, Isaiah found his way into marsh mud and fell. His boots, pants and arms were pretty well covered in mud and he was upset. We made our way back to the car for paper towels and then we started again. Today's walk was in prime napping hours, but Isaiah was just a trooper. He hung in there the whole time with me carrying him only a couple times.
Josiah found a good tree to explore. It's no wonder Isaiah was off the path...

Yesterday was just about a picture perfect afternoon. Today--not so much--but despite the bickering, complaining and whining I got to talk to my friend for a bit. And we finished school this evening.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Celebrating Isaiah

We celebrated Isaiah's birthday! I almost forgot! The big kids thought it was terrible that I didn't have a big party for Isaiah. His birthday was in the middle of a busy weekend with full weekends on either end so it was low key, but I don't think he minded at all.

Cars and trains are Isaiah's thing. I made brownie cars for snack for his CBS class. When Isaiah saw me making them, he recognized them as cars right away and was really excited.
This time Anna was the one who wanted to buy a present for Isaiah. She also had some specific dessert ideas for his birthday supper. Ice cream sandwiches and candy! Grandad came for supper. We had a fun evening celebrating Isaiah.
I thought some train themed photo props would be fun. Aliza thought they were!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Seven years ago my grandparents moved from a large house in South Carolina to the one bedroom apartment attached to my parents house here in Maryland. When she moved, Gramma down sized to the best of her ability, but she still brought more than could fit in her house here. Grandad asked us to go through the thirty or so boxes that were stored in the shop.

Here's what you have to know about Gramma. She was very sentimental. She saved every card that was sent to her. She sent A LOT of cards so she received a lot of cards in return. Gramma also loved to give gifts which means that she received a lot of gifts. Every gift she received was so special to her--which means she kept every knick knack, candle and collectible that was given to her.

My uncle got the boxes down from the loft for us to sort through. I ended up helping him so he didn't have to climb up and down the ladder. I may have encouraged him to just drop the boxes marked "photos" only to later find out that those boxes contained framed photos. We definitely did not handle those boxes in the delicate way that Gramma would have appreciated.

Mom, Janell, and I went through the boxes throwing away paper and setting aside things that were obviously for donation. Along the way, we did find sentimental things--like the corsages from the my wedding--which I took a picture of and then threw away.
Our children gathered things that they thought were pretty to take home. Anna has all of her treasures laid out on a bedside table in her room.
One of my Great Great Aunts had a hobby of blowing eggs and decorating them. The picture below is supposed to look like a lamp/lantern. We found quite a few eggs decorated by her and I kept the ones I wanted and the ones no one else wanted.
Then last week when my aunt and cousin were here, we went through the boxes again with them and whatever was left was donated. Gramma had several large collections of spoons, salt and pepper shakers, 2 different Christmas villages and a couple more. We laid out each collection and everyone could choose which pieces they wanted. This is the spoon collection.
In one box we found a bunch of desk supplies--crayons, paper, pens, pencils etc. I brought home a bunch of paper and a tupperware container of pens, pencils and such. Several days later I looked through it and in the bottom I found a business card of Grandad's when he owned the mower shop and this notebook that would have been used for marketing. That's one thing we quickly figured out--open up every box and drawer and anything else that can be opened because there is most likely something inside and sometimes it turns out to be an unexpected treasure or memory.
My van was full of boxes and when I unloaded them at Salvation Army I was sad. There was nothing that I wanted in those boxes, but it was another finality. Another moment when I couldn't believe that "someday" was today.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Joy Dare::September

September was quite a month! There aren't many pictures, but there is a lot to be thankful for.
4709. The littlest cousins
4710. Kinda begged Janell to stay for tea
4711. Windows open all day
4712. Shopping time with Anna
4713. Lunch with Maria
4714. Jeff taught Sunday School
4715. BBQ conversation
4716. God suggest rest; He commanded it.
4717. When a friend gives you just the bit of wisdom you need.
4718. A new supper recipe was an unexpected hit
4719. Remembering Anna is only 6 and ONLY in 1st grade
4720. Answering a bunch of questions about home education
4721. Heard one sister say, "I'm scared I'm going to wake up during the night feeling scared." The other sister said, "If you do, wake me up and I'll pray for you."
4722. Gramma won't have to have surgery
4723. School felt more natural today
4724. A really kind offer from a friend
4725. Ask, "What do you want me to do with this? not WHY
4726. Being able to find words for feelings
4727. Jeremy made me a cup of tea
4728. All 3 reading the passage for CBS homework together
4729. Car conversation about God
4730. Spectacular sunset and full moon from the 5th floor of the hospital
4731. Tears
4732. Reconnecting with my 2nd cousin
4733. Reception provided and taken care of
4734. Pictures, memories
4735. Grieving with my children
4736. Plastic plates and cups
4737. Joel and Brandi
4738. Found all the clothes I needed to buy
4739. Beautiful programs and bookmarks
4740. Dad talking to the great grandchildren at the viewing
4741. The unexpected people who came to the viewing
4742. Deb taking care of my children
4743. Meeting some extended family
4744. Flowers
4745. Finding normal again
4746. Anna's first dance class ended well
4747. Uncle Jay and Grandad around my table
4748. Helping in Isaiah's CBS class for the first time
4749. Aliza is so happy to be back with her dance friends
4750. Finding out someone reads obituaries
4751. Helping Mom for a day
4752. Josiah must have had a really good time with the men because he talked the whole way home
4753. Finding a few treasures in the boxes
4754. A last swim for the summer
4755. Giving a gift
4756. "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." C.S. Lewis
4757. A really short grocery list
4758. Getting old photos into boxes that can be stored inside
4759. Supper given to us
4760. William could help Jeremy
4761. Finding a treasure beneath all the pencils
4762. Practiced hospitality
4763. Did something just for myself
4764. The way parenting keeps growing me
4765. Getting all 3 girls to dance and Anna didn't cry
4766. Aliza could follow all of her Daddy's instructions to make the computer to work so she could watch a highly anticipated show
4767. "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." John Piper
4768. Encouraging Josiah to keep trying new things
4769. The whole family eating supper together
4770. A God-sent phone call
4771. Peace and freedom in my soul
4772. Jeremy had a friend help him shingle the shed
4773. Card in the mail
4774. Aliza's bad day got better
4775. Tea and conversation and life long friend
4776. Meeting Jeremy's high school friend
4777. Cookie delivery
4778. Making that orthodontist down payment
4779. Spaghetti squash on the menu
4780. Leading worship and so out of my comfort zone
4781. Catching up with Meghan over a period of days
4782. A couple that Jeremy and I didn't want to stop talking with
4783. Morning chai with Mom
4784. Marigolds in a vase
4785. Aliza so excited about orthodontics
4786. The assistant that peeked out of the office to say that Aliza had the cutest giggle
4787. Josiah's drawers full of amazing handed down clothes
4788. Cool breeze and blue sky
4789. Anna shopping for Isaiah's birthday
4790. Girls playing together
4791. Pumpkin bread

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Happy 3rd Birthday Isaiah!
Usually it's boots, pants and no shirt, but on this day it was boots, shirt and no pants. Isaiah is fun and sweet and ornery and smart and growing up and talking like he's going on 7 and my baby and I'll hug him and kiss him and rock him to sleep for as long as he will let me. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Back to the Mundane

Today we finish our second full week of school. We've had some partial weeks earlier in Sept and late Aug, but it feels good to have a couple full weeks in. Aliza continues to be excited about school and high strung about getting everything finished in the time frame she wants to have it finished in. Josiah and I are finding a rhythm. He enjoys his reading assignments. I am waiting for him to read right now and it's taking him forever...and he just admitted that he didn't want to stop and is reading ahead. Anna is doing well with school. She doesn't like the discipline of having to keep at her lessons, but her reading is coming right along and she enjoys writing for the most part.

BUT let's talk about Isaiah. Do toddlers get more ornery when they have older siblings!? He's learned that if he chases the big kids with anything they think he might throw or hit them with, they will scream and run away and carry on. He employs this tactic especially during school time. Isaiah can make the biggest messes: I have found trails of lotion through the entire house that happened in a matter of minutes. He systematically peeled an onion on the floor (imagine the peelings all over the floor) and then put half a roll of toilet paper in the toilet while I was cooking a dish that I couldn't leave for supper. Anything that can be dumped will be. I'm finding myself putting toys up high that I constantly seem to be picking up. He's just generally messy, ornery and inclined to test limits and my patience at every turn.

And naps are another whole issue. I have always said that no 2 year old should be giving up naps. I think 3 year olds should still be taking naps! Isaiah has been skipping naps a couple times a week. It drives me crazy! It doesn't matter, though, whether he takes a nap or not, he is almost always the last child to fall asleep at night. I stay in the nap routine and most days I rock him for a long time and if he falls asleep, he falls asleep while I'm rocking him. Most of the time, I can remember that these are sweet times that won't last much longer. (I have wished, though, that we had bought a nicer rocking chair! lol)

On the other end of the spectrum, there is nothing like making the first orthodontic down payment that makes one feel like a parent of a growing up kid. Aliza had her scan and xrays for her expander this morning. She LOVED the whole process complete with smiles and giggles. It made the staff happy to have a happy patient. =) I'm not sure what it is that makes Aliza so excited about this process, but excited she is! I'll take it! It's a lot easier to dish out the dollars for a kid excited to participate in the process.