Thursday, August 25, 2016

Some Summer Days

A big part of my summer story is adding my nieces to our family life a couple days every week. I love them dearly, but taking care of 6 children is---taking care of 6 children! When everyone is happy and playing and getting along it's great. When any one of the little girls was unhappy, feeling left out or mad about something, it wasn't so great! I took a few pictures along the way of some of our days.

Some days I thought I had lots of snacks on the counter for the afternoon.
Every day the snacks were empty and something else was added to the counter!
Some days I took 3 girls to dance camp. Other days I took 5 children to swimming lessons.
Some days they had water balloon fights.
Some days we took walks and bike rides.
Some days I took in the sweet moments of quiet and peace.
One day was Lydia's birthday and she brought her ginormous unicorn birthday present.
That afternoon I had to take the ginormous unicorn home and she rode in the front seat.
Some days everyone played happily outside for hours building a village and pretending.
One day our neighbors were getting ready for a birthday party and invited us over to try out the bouncy house water slide.
I think it all added up to a pretty great summer for everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Revised Commission System

I liked the idea of commission, but I did not like thinking of "jobs" for the children to do every day. I tried. Then I gave up. It was only a matter of time, though, until some children had things that they wanted and they needed money. So I had to come up with something sustainable and that meant it had to be repeatable in a way that did not involve my brain!

I came up with a list of daily and weekly jobs that need to be done. I wrote them on popsicle sticks and coded them "weekly", "daily", and "Anna" with washi tape. The big kids draw 2 daily and 1 weekly job every day and Anna draws one job.

It's working pretty well. There are some jobs that I'm still teaching the kids how to do do. For the most part they can be pretty independent. Work is getting done and money is being earned--everyone is happy.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Picking Up Potatoes

Years ago, I remember feeling so blessed that Josiah could work with his Great Grandad in the garden. Now, 5 years later, my heart was about to explode watching the big boys be a big help to their Great Grandad in the garden and Isaiah getting to run around in the dirt and follow his Great Grandad around for the first time.

It was a beautiful day. Warm, but not too hot and not too humid. I brought chairs out to the edge of the garden so that Great Gramma could enjoy the day too. I'll add a few words, but the pictures will mostly tell this story.

Panoramic shot of the garden. There were 2 rows of potatoes to dig.

Josiah standing protectively by Isaiah while Great Grandad uses the tractor to plow up the rest of the row.



Isaiah wants to hoe too.

All morning Isaiah was right there by Great Grandad doing exactly what he was doing.

Isaiah loved the wagon. He got to ride a few times.
The party really started when Caleb and Gideon arrived. Those 3 boys stuck with it until the end. And then they were allowed to dig a big hole in the garden--using pick axes. Josiah was especially excited about that.
From the sidelines--


The girls picked zinnias and then wanted to tie them with ribbons to make bouquets. Great Gramma obliged.
It was McDonalds for lunch. And then after the children were back to playing my Gramma had pretty dessert for Meghan and I.
(Isaiah fell asleep on the way home, didn't move when I changed his diaper and took a very long nap!)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bathroom Remodeled

One day my Mom said, "Carla, I want you to give me the paint cards that you want for your downstairs bathroom." Another day while she was here she was measuring and mentioned that Dad might have a piece of linoleum leftover that might fit the bathroom. And I said, "Have you seen how bad the laundry room floor is? Do you think he has one big enough for both rooms?"

We were leaving for the weekend and the request was made for Jeremy to take out the sink. My birthday was coming up, we were leaving the house empty for a few days and Mom and Dad were about to work some magic.
I had bought a pedestal sink back in December and didn't know how or when it would get installed. I just contented myself to let it sit in the box in the shed. I started looking around at different decorating ideas and found that I really liked white walls and a sort of modern farmhouse look.

Mom painted the bathroom and laundry room walls white. Dad put in floor, sink, toilet, baseboard heater and patched some holes (that were there when we moved in) and probably more. I love the white walls, but when we walked in the new linoleum on the floor was AMAZING.
Mom called us during the weekend and asked, "What kind of toilet do you like?" Sometimes it is just best to answer and not ask questions. I will tell you this toilet is a huge improvement. There has never been a more beautiful toilet! =) And see that electric baseboard heater? Dad said there was no way he was putting the rusted one back in after he took it out.
With the walls being so pretty, I wasn't in a huge hurry to put anything on them--including the mirror. I was a day late--Isaiah managed to knock it over and break it before it got back on the wall. So Anna and I set out on a mirror hunt. I had a dollar amount that I wanted to stay under. I checked Goodwill first. (I have no luck at Goodwill.) Then we went to Hobby Lobby. I haven't been in the store for years and, oh my goodness, I could have picked a million things I loved there. Anna was even more excited than me. I've never seen such a shopping enthusiast. This mirror caught my eye and guess what? Mirrors were 50% and that put it under my limit. It's huge. Too big for the room and sink by decorating standards, I'm sure. But I love it.
Shelving was next on my list. I went shopping in my house and decided that this shelf needed a new job. Anna and Josiah helped me paint it white. It is not a perfect paint job and I'm ok with that. The imperfection makes me smile because having such excited helpers and them talking to me while we worked is so much better than a perfectly painted piece.
I'll find just the right things to finish off the shelves someday.
I picked up this hook at Hobby Lobby too. I figured it could be a towel holder for now.
I still have the window to figure out. I think I want to do 2" faux wood blinds. The window is not a standard size so I have to see where I can get some for a price I'm willing to pay!

Next time I'm ready for a project painting the cabinets in the laundry room white will be at the top of the list.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me the BEST birthday present EVER!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Joy Dare::July

3547. Anna did her dances  for the parents on the last day of dance camp
3548. Downstairs bathroom emptied and being painted
3549. Aliza and Josiah had a really great week at Bible School and did an awesome job singing their songs
3550. A smooth late night trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house
3551. Hugging my friend for the first time in 9 years and talking non stop for hours
3552. Rainbow in a cloud
3553. Fireworks with all my children snuggled in a piled on
3554. A 4th of July sermon in a Baptist church that I could agree with
3555. Our favorite pizza buffet for lunch
3556. Enjoyed the lovely evening visiting outside with family and watching the girls play in really cold water
3557. Getting to see where Matt and Chrissy live
3558. Coming home to a remodeled bathroom and laundry room. More amazing than I can say.
3559. Looking at new flooring and white walls all day
3560. The preparation for the water balloon fight
3561. Aliza completely voluntarily helped me so much this evening
3562. Swimming lessons went really well. This was very nice to have Mom's help
3563. Treats when I picked up my nieces this morning and treats on my step this afternoon
3564. Aliza being a huge help in the kitchen
3565. Dolphin fins seen at the beach today
3566. Mid morning ice cream because Great Gramma likes treats!
3567. Papa John's pizza for supper--it has been a long time since we had Papa John's and it was yummy!
3568. The extra quiet of this evening
3569. Snuggling with the kids who need extra snuggling at bedtime
3570. Coloring with Anna while she talked
3571. A very summery supper
3572. This old and still getting a birthday card from both of my Grandmas
3573. Making relationship a priority with this "big" helper
3574. Baptisms
3575. Just going to do what I can this week and let the rest go--I hope. I'll try!
3576. Deciding to pick up the trash on the playground
3577. Friend talks
3578. The joy in communicating with Isaiah
3579. Laughing at Anna's antics
3580. That new floor in the laundry room
3581. Overheard some bathtub evangelism happening
3582. Thunder made leaving the pool easy
3583. Hugging each child extra long tonight
3584. No tears when we left
3585. Jeremy all to myself!
3586. Sitting by the river
3587. Sleeping all night without interruption
3588. An afternoon to unwind alone
3589. Calls from my big girl
3590. Finding waterfalls, enjoying creation and The Creator
3591. Hole in the wall Mexican restaurant
3592. Bedtime going better for Grandma and Grandpa
3593. Pure morning quiet for Bible Study (that would be mid morning quiet not crack-of-dawn quiet)
3594. Chip n putt golf
3595. My first Thai food
3596. Woke up really early because I get to see my children today
3597. Jeremy can work in the car. I can drive.
3598. Four sets of arms ready to hug us
3599. Aliza had oh-so-very-much to tell me. Some big things happened in her heart.
3600. The new bathroom sink installed
3601. I've thought that a wheelbarrow would be handy to have. Now that's one at my house.
3602. Aliza jumping off the diving board and swimming comfortably in the deep end.
3603. One on one Bible study
3604. The middle of July and our grass is still lush and green
3605. Aliza found a new book series that she's excited about
3606. One of my favorite ice creams--blueberry crumble
3607. Sometimes we switch chores--I mowed the grass. He did the dishes and swept the floor.
3608. Popsicles and intense conversation
3609. Our newest tree
3610. Anna was my (very enthusiastic) shopping companion this morning
3611. Aliza wants to be baptized!
3612. A long Sunday afternoon nap
3613. Visiting with Linda and Phil this evening
3614. Jeremy recovered my One Thousand Gifts app
3615. Warm water at the Cove
3616. Sand in the bottom of the bathtub--we are having fun!
3617. Giggling with Anna over making snapchats
3618. New light in the downstairs bathroom
3619. Isaiah and Anna dancing and playing together
3620. Christmas in July
3621. Pool water the perfect temperature (I'm very picky)
3622. The conversation and company at the pool
3623. Wild hibiscus blooming along the ditch
3624. Finding Aliza's song to me on my phone
3625. Facilitating Aliza being able to follow through on what her God told her to do
3626. Cousin time for the kids and Mom and sister-in-law time for me
3627. The huge smiles I got from Josiah and Caleb when I asked them if they would like me to come back later to pick up Josiah
3628. The overwhelming, excessive enthusiasm over a new chore system
3629. Brother love
3630. Anna woke up wishing she could start school today
3631. Listening to some songs from high school days
3632. My husband still likes me (I know he loves me) after I meltdown
3633. Whatever cool air our little air conditioners can provide

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Beach Trips

We have taken regular trips to the beach and pool this summer. There are not many pictures to show for it and I'll tell you why! Isaiah.

Isaiah didn't have a lot of interest in the water until last week. Thankfully it was the hottest week, so far, that he decided that he was ready to be in the water. I was ready too! The water felt really good. When he's not in the water, I'm following him around.

Aliza discovered that reading at the beach is pretty fun. She carried her own chair down to the beach. Aliza also really likes being in the water. She is doing great in swimming lessons---last week she was playing in the deep end and jumping off the diving board!
The first thing Isaiah does when we set down the bags is open up the lunch bag--no matter what time it is. It drives me crazy! He is set and determined and does he ever EAT! You would think that I do not feed the child breakfast. This particular day, over the course of the morning, he ate his sandwich and started in on mine. We've been going to the beach with groups of Moms which saves me because there are some toys that Isaiah can play with. Honestly, though, he is more interested in the food than the toys.
A bunch of the Moms are boy Moms so there is a large pack of boys that Josiah can run with. (Between 3 of the Moms that regularly come, there are 10 boys--not counting mine!!) When the boys are playing in the sand, Isaiah will follow them around and check out what they are doing.
It's been a better water summer than I thought it would be. I still get stressed about the beach. I try really hard to enjoy it, but I can't say that I really have yet. My rule is that you have to carry back to the car what you carry to the beach and the children have been really good about that. There is still plenty of summer left to enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2016

It Was the Grandparents

There are lots of stories from the children's time with Grandma and Grandpa, but those are theirs to tell. This one, however, includes Jeremy and I--sortof.

Jeremy and I were having supper at a corner cafe in downtown Stroudsburg. There were lots of young people on the street looking at their phones and walking. Jeremy started commenting on who was making their second or third rounds past the cafe. It was during this meal that I was introduced to the craze of Pokemon Go. (It's a game, an app, where you walk around in the real world and catch Pokemon characters. That's the best description I can give!) While I'm sitting at the table, dumbfounded by the sheer number of people who are obviously playing this game, I receive a text from my mother-in-law. "Oh my...We are on a Pokemon adventure...It all started after we went to the park and Grandpa thought maybe we should check...Josiah and Aliza caught some."
The adventure included driving to local locations to get more balls (needed for the game).




Jeremy and I had our own conversation about the game. The waitress told her story of patrons who were way too involved in the game. Jeremy was telling me stories he heard of people who were injured while walking and not paying attention to where they were going. And as sat there watching, we saw two guys walk through an intersection without looking when the red hand was on the crossing sign.

As it stands now the game is not on Jeremy's phone and we haven't heard much about it from the kids since we've been home. The children have started watching the cartoon and checked out a couple books from the library. I know that time changes perception. A show that was not allowed by my parents seems very tame now--even to children who are very sensitive to what they see on TV.