Thursday, May 18, 2017

Oh yes!

Aliza finished 5th grade on Tuesday. Josiah finished 3rd grade on Wednesday. And Anna  finished kindergarten today. I'll talk more about our finish later!
As soon as Anna finished we were out the door to pick strawberries. It was a hot morning and I had some good helpers and a good eater. We went to an orchard in Westover this year. I kindof liked the laid back feel of the non commercialized strawberry patch.

Isaiah's face and hands were red with berry juice. I made sure we didn't fill our baskets to overflowing to much up for his eating.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Even with healthy children, almost every month I have some sort of medical appointment to factor in to our schedule. It has taken a few years to get everyone on the same rotation, but I now have all the children on the same dental cleaning schedule! Of course this requires going to a practice that can handle seating 4 children at the same time. Lucky for us we have one!

Here's how it goes. The appointment goes on my Mom's calendar as soon as I make it! The dental assistant comes out and calls for the "Heslop Family." We all walk back and she seats each child with a dentist. I sign for some children before the cleaning and others after. I hold Isaiah while he cries during his brushing. Then I hand him to Mom. By the time Isaiah is done another child is finished. Those two go out with Grandma to the waiting room. Anna still needs me so she waits until I'm finished with Isaiah and then I'm with her. While Anna gets started, Aliza's dentist finds me to say he has time to seal her 6 year molars if I would like him to. I quickly agree (why would I make another appointment?!). Anna does awesome and meets her new dentist for next time. I take her out to Grandma and then hang out while Aliza finishes up. I was preparing for Aliza's wrath because I didn't know she was going to get sealants. She handled it well and showed that she is developing a bit of flexibility. That all took 35 minutes.

Hopefully it will go this well in 6 months!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


A few months ago it became apparent that we needed a consistent teacher for our children's Sunday School class. I did not think it was going to be me!

Prior to the realization that we needed a consistent teacher, I learned about this curriculum: The Gospel Project. Over 3 years, it leads the class through the stories of the Bible. The music is catchy and full of truths. There are Bible verses to memorize and Big Idea Questions (sortof like catachism questions). The lesson is presented on DVD and the teacher's guide covers everything else (including the ways to present the story not using DVD).
I was the one to teach the first week of this curriculum. Because of a bit of misunderstanding I did it without having seen it and it went horribly. Horribly. However, I was still convinced that this was just what our kiddos needed.

I can't remember if I read this before or after that first horrible week, but I read a blog post that said, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes comfortable." It became apparent to me during that week that I--me!?--was supposed to be the one to teach the Sunday School class. I realized that I could become comfortable teaching with practice. I also realized that I was the only one of the rotating teachers who has other spiritual input during the week in terms of group Bible study. No one argued with me!

The children in Sunday School know me very well which adds to some of our challenges. But since I've been their teacher they are memorizing their Bible verses, learning songs and after our first unit we said our Bible verse and shared the song with the adults.

I'm also comfortable! lol. For as much as I dreaded my teaching Sundays before, now that I have taken on this responsibility I've never dreaded it. That's what happens when you know that you are doing exactly what you are supposed to do. There's no better place to be.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Joy Dare::April

4284. Meals in the freezer
4285. Letting Aliza lead while I listen
4286. The first step in updating the girls room
4287. Ezra knew what we talked about in Sunday School
4288. First game was a loss but Josiah kept his head up
4289. Aliza teaching Anna
4290. Josiah doesn't complain about typing
4291. Supper was a hit
4292. The week of the month when I have patience
4293. Lovely evening to sit by the soccer field
4294. Morning good-bye
4295. Hot tea at CBS
4296. Stories to tell my Dad
4297. Josiah got to work with his Grandad
4298. Could order all the pictures Gramma wanted
4299. Change of evening routine meant I could be home
4300. Good well check
4301. Jeremy feels better so I can hide this evening
4302. Extra hugs for Aliza today
4303. Health and strength to paint all afternoon
4304. No tears and Aliza approved of the color
4305. And the room is all back together
4306. Jeremy to so quick to forgive me.
4307. Big warm-spring-day smiles
4308. Working outside
4309. Josiah's first soccer goal and first win
4310. Dirty faces, bike rides, swinging
4311. Josiah's idea for a garden and I'm crazy enough to make it happen
4312. Tiny green leaves
4313. Sore muscles remind me it's spring and I haven't used a shovel in a long time!
4314. Mom, take a picture of us! (see next picture)
4315. So fun when Mom can stop in for a quick visit
4316. Crossing things off the to do list
4317. Coloring eggs
4318. Isaiah telling us a whole bunch of colors correctly
4319. Revisiting the book of Jonah
4320. Girls room rearranged
4321. First sprinkler play of the season
4322. A beautiful, warm Easter weekend
4323. Meal and afternoon with my family
4324. Aliza hid eggs instead of hunting eggs and declared it the best Easter ever
4325. Anna's salvation prayer
4326. Green everywhere!
4327. Blooms the children bring in
4328. Taking meal out of the freezer in the morning
4329. Morning when a 6 year old needs snuggles
4330. Jeremy's neck is feeling better
4331. Daughter's scratching my back
4332. Isaiah slept all night without a pacifier
4333. Discovering Nutella again
4334. My own adventure
4335. My own supper, my own drive
4336. Visiting with Matt and Chrissy
4337. Meeting a lot of people
4338. Jeremy recognized for his hard work

4339. My own hotel room--a first!
4340. Chrissy brought me food
4341. Cell phones to keep me talking on the trip home
4342. Hugging all my children
4343. A night's sleep
4344. The children's story set me up perfectly for the Sunday School lesson
4345. Isaiah's favorite book
4346. Isaiah using all his muscles to help Josiah
4347. Some extra conversation time with Josiah
4348. A soccer Mom went out of her way to initiate a conversation with me
4349. Isaiah so cooperative in spite of being so scared at his well check
4350. Alllll the library books
4351. CBS Sharing Da
4352. Talking to my mother-in-law multiple days in a row
4353. I keep on reaching out to people around me
4354. Finishing school subjects
4355. Cut irises
4356. Grandparents here for the weekend
4357. Daddy/Son soccer practice
4358. Basil, mint and chives planted
4359. Aunts and grandparents to watch Aliza dance
4360. Jeremy fixed the lawnmower!
4361. Chrissy could visit for a little while this afternoon
4362. Aunt Meghan to the recital hair rescue
4363. Anna and Renee saying their Bible verse in church
4364. Jeremy still likes it when I have reason to wear a dress

Friday, April 28, 2017

My Own Adventure

I can't remember the last time I set off on an adventure completely on my own. I got to visit some friends and get paid by the hour for talking about something I use every day and love! Before I left town, I spent an hour in one of my friend's offices talking. Then, an hour or so later, I stopped and ate at Panera.
I forgot how long 3+ hours in the car all by myself is! It was made even longer by traffic at the bridge and a huge downpour thunderstorm. In the dark and rain I was completely disoriented and couldn't find the apartment complex I was spending the night at. Chrissy walked down and around the block until she found me and hopped in the front seat. In the day, I realized that had I kept driving straight I would have ended up in her parking lot! Oh well. It was so fun to spend an evening with Chrissy (and Matt). She introduced me to Wegman's grocery story. (Amazing!!) We ate ice cream and talked...until I decided that I HAD to get some sleep.
Friday morning I woke up and headed over to the Frederick Fairgrounds to set up for the MACHE convention. (Maryland Association of Christian Home Educators). I was one of five consultants working at the Bob Jones University Press (BJU) display. I was the newbie consultant so I was learning as much as helping. The first order of business was setting up tables, putting on table clothes, assembling book displays and finally putting out all of the books. Here are all the supplies in far as you can see...
Once we figured out how to assemble the book displays they weren't hard to put together.
Three hours after starting we put the finishing touches on the tables.

The convention was Friday from 4-9 and Saturday 8:30-4. Friday evening we were busy--almost constantly placing orders. We had four laptops set up to place orders and there was hardly any time when none of them were being used. On Friday night they were often all being used. There was a 25% discount on all books at the convention so customers were coming in with their lists ready to place orders.

After stopping for frozen yogurt, I almost fell into bed. And before I knew it, it was time to do it all over again. Saturday was slower, but the time still passed more quickly than I thought it would. I talked to a lot of people and placed more orders than I could keep track of. We were each given the freedom to take a break, but mine didn't come around until right about 3:00 when Chrissy brought me food. I was starving! It was a pouring rain kind of day so we sat in the car while I practically inhaled the food. Chrissy hung out with us for the last hour and then stayed to help clean up. She ended up taking apart every one of the book displays. She's just awesome like that! Cleanup went so much faster than setup.

The consultant who organized this convention sent us this picture as a thank you. I enjoyed getting to know each of these ladies! I learned so much and have a lot more confidence in answering questions and placing orders.
I declined staying for supper and started for home. The drive home was much smoother. I got home in time for the bedtime circus which made all the children very happy. I was ready to hug them all, of course. The girls had lots and lots to tell me. I then crawled in to my own bed and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow, I'm pretty sure!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Food, Eggs & Candy

That pretty much sums up our Easter celebration. We were with my family and enjoyed Mom's ham dinner.
Isaiah had his own competition free egg hunting area. I followed him around while the others found their eggs in record time. Isaiah caught on quickly and was excited about putting eggs in his bucket.

That would be chocolate dripping down Isaiah's chin.
Aliza declared this the best Easter ever. She chose to hide eggs instead of finding eggs. This was pre-planned from last year and Grandma didn't disappoint. She had a bag of candy and the "big egg" that she fills with surprises for each grandchild. I think it was the perfect combination of feeling grown up and still not missing out on the fun kid stuff for Aliza.
Josiah, Caleb, and Gideon make me smile when they get to have a few hours to play together. I really don't see or hear from them when they are together.
It was a great day. The warm sun added to the celebration and made it really feel like spring.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Girl's Room Phase 3

One of the main goals for this room update was to create personal space for each of the girls. The new bed frames all for storage underneath. Clothes that were in the dresser are now under the bed eliminating the need for a dresser to take up precious floor space. Aliza and Anna love it!