Friday, January 20, 2017

It's YOUR Breath

Have you heard this song by One Sonic Society? It's called Great Are You Lord. A video of the song is at the end of this post.

I was humming the chorus while I was getting breakfast this morning. "It's your breath in my lungs so I pour out my praise, pour out my praise to you, Lord."

Isaiah asked for chocolate milk and it's a bit of a production because he thinks that he should help. He wants to pour the chocolate, but I say no. So he wants the lid to the cup instead. I give him the lid and in the process of me holding the cup and him putting the lid on, he got frustrated over who knows what. I tried to get the lid tonight and he managed to swat the cup out of my hand. I'm wasn't a hard hit. I'm not sure how it knocked the cup out of my hand. But it did. And there was a whole cup of milk on the floor.

I kept on humming. The words to the song were not lost in my brain. It's your breath in my lungs..." I found myself singing, "It's your breath in my lungs so I won't scream over spilled milk, I won't scream over spilled over....It's your breath. Great are you Lord."

If it wasn't HIS breath in me my morning would have gotten off to a very bad start. Instead I got a towel. We cleaned up the milk. I poured another glass of milk. And we continued on peacefully.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Little Stories

 I've been posting some everyday stories on Instagram and realized that if I want to keep them I need to write them here! I guess if you are on Instagram (and when I cross post to Facebook) this is a repeat for you!

I watched President Obama's farewell address one morning with the children. My goal for this inaugural season is for my children to see the peaceful transition of power. That is one thing that makes America very special. They have been aware of the angst surrounding the election and following. They have heard Jeremy and I have discussions. They know that any political leader does not dictate how we choose to live our lives. However, I also want them to know that we respect our national leaders and their office. Don't be under any illusions--none of them sat on the couch for the whole speech!
There are moments when I realize it's been too long since I've heard from Isaiah--and then I go looking. I found him in the bathroom this time. He had the bag of unifix cubes--math counting blocks. When he saw me, he started grabbing blocks out of the toilet and putting them back in the bag saying, "all clean." At that point I figured I might as well go grab my camera--all the blocks were going to have to be washed anyway!
 These 4 big ones enjoyed having their littlest cousin to play with one morning!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The 7 inch Snow

written by Aliza
We got 7 inches of snow on Saturday. I was so exited. I got dressed quickly to go outside with Josiah and Anna. The snow was so cold and deep. It was powder snow so we couldn't build snowmen or snow forts or have snow ball fights. But I had fun prancing and dancing in the snow. Josiah declared that singing Let It Go is a winter tradition so I sang Let It Go.
Here is the pile of snow clothes, boots, coats, hats, you think it would be bigger, but I think I was still out in the snow when mom took the picture.
It was still coming down at 4 pm and got so deep that it all most over my boot!
Daddy came outside to build a slide with us. He found a big board and piled snow on top of it. After that Josiah got his boogie board and tried the slide/sled. He LOVED it! But it wasn't until the next day Anna gave it a go.
I tried it around 5:00 pm when no one was around. It was so fun and cold!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

It Feels Official Now

When I agreed to be the hostess for an all day Bob Jones University Press display here in Salisbury, I also agreed to storing a copy of just about every piece of curriculum they print. My boxes arrived Thursday and Friday of last week. Thankfully, a few years ago I decided that I wanted to meet the consultant that I have ordered through. I met her at a convention she was working and helped her set up her display. Because of that experience I knew how I wanted to organize the books.
I stacked the books by grade on our bed.
Then repacked them in tubs and boxes by grade.
The boxes are stored in the back of my closet. I was pretty proud of this solution because they are in a place that we will not have to move them to get to anything else.
Jeremy said, "Now how many times a year are you going to have to load and unload all of these books?" So far--once a year unless I'm asked to hold displays in other towns. (This is not a pyramid business. I earn commission and % off my own curriculum order under the company Homeworks by Precept.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Joy Dare::December

3958. Anna is determined to learn to ride bike without anyone touching her bike. She made some progress today.
3959. All Josiah's questions
3960. The first batch of Puppy Chow
3961. My husband and my dad like each other
3962. Seasonal decorating inspires me to dust
3963. I'm glad the kids decided they HAD to ride bikes. The fresh air was great and when Josiah's chain came off, he fixed it himself
3964. Pulled out allll of our Christmas tree ornaments for the first time in 10 years
3965. 4 kids painting=an opportunity to be calm and patient
3966. Lots of decorations and lots of helpers and the tree is festive
3967. Everybody got to hold baby Sean. Josiah had the hardest time giving him up
3968. Movement in the right direction--an answer to prayer
3969. Parenting is always and forever a learning process
3970. Rainy day and we got to spend it at home
3971. School finished and prepared for tomorrow before supper
3972. A beautiful luncheon
3973. Josiah read publicly for the first time. He did awesome.
3974. Got to have a conversation with a woman I've been wanting to get to know
3975. Aliza saw a picture of her dance costume and it's beautiful
3976. Aliza has no more teeth to be extracted. All finished as of today.
3977. Dad was able to come up and fix our lock
3978. It was a strange day and I gave us a break--no school
3979. Shopping with Aliza for her Christmas gifts to give
3980. Meeting some neighbors while trying to find the home of a misdelivered box
3981. Finding Christmas cards in the mailbox
3982. The best hamburger at the cutest diner in Berlin
3983. Watching Anna shop for her gifts to give her siblings
3984. A home for my scrapbooks
3985. Aliza is taking her Daddy up on an offer and has been an amazing helper
3986. A sermon leaving us very joyful
3987. The soft heart that follows consequences (after the anger)
3988. I was finished showering when electricity went off
3989. My big boy doing his Christmas shopping
3990. I'm getting better at 5th grade long division
3991. Talked my sister's ear off
3992. Anna and Ezra played happily for hours
3993. Aliza and I survived math in spite of my impatience and she still loves me
3994. The battery charger charged the car battery in time for Aliza to get to dance
3995. Wrote a couple real letters in my christmas cards
3996. Jeremy had a moment of insanity and made a Christmas purchase
3997. 2 pairs of boots, 2 sets of socks and 1 winter coat=a shopping trip with 4 kids and warmer kids (even though it sounds like only half of the kids are warmer!)
3998. A surprisingly rare moment when we are all working around the table
3999. Making dessert to give away
4000. Josiah picked a book and read 50 pages
4001. Holding this sweet bundle
4002. Wrapping presents--what a privilege to be able to give gifts
4003. Pool day with Daddy in the pool
4004. Pizza picnic by the (indoor) pool
4005. Threw caution to the wind and spent the day at Jeff and Janell's house--unplanned
4006. Drove through all kinds of farming countryside with Isaiah so he would get a nap
4007. Josiah motivated all of us to get allllll the schoolwork done so that we can be on Christmas break
4008. The first TV series I've watched and enjoyed in a very long time. (This Is Us)
4009. Baking every day
4010. Sun and no wind for outside work
4011. Anna picked a yoga instruction book at the library today so naturally she led us all in a yoga class tonight
4012. Pazelles, ice cream, chocolate syrup and cherries delivered by our neighbors
4013. A really fun pre Christmas visit with my sisters and Mom
4014. Loving the pace of Christmas break
4015. Liz Curtis Higgs encouragement and laughter
4016. Baking day
4017. Talking to an Oregon friend I had not talked to in a couple years
4018. Boy cousin afternoon and pizza supper
4019. Mom got help
4020. Everyone--young and old--dealt with disappointment and came out with relationships in tact
4021. Tomorrow will dawn a day to start again and make memories
4022. Christmas morning--all the excitement
4023. Totally surprising Aliza
4024. Happy Birthday Jesus plates, cups and napkins
4025. Caleb introduced Josiah to the joy of breaking rocks apart to see what they look like inside
4026. A handmade Christmas gift made with me in mind
4027. Shopping alone this evening
4028. Anna and her 20 containers of play doh. She shared really well.
4029. Lego building
4030. Aliza plays with that silly hatchimal constantly
4031. Living on leftovers for supper--I'm still on vacation
4032. Finished another book
4033. The last of the Christmas errands
4034. My crazy travel plan worked and went pretty smoothly
4035. Visiting with one of my favorite aunt in laws
4036. Isaiah and that remote control car
4037. A really neat children's museum at an old train station
4038. A few pretty snowflakes--just enough for the kids to be snow excited
4039. Fun Christmas gifts

We packed a lot in to 4 days...

I'm going to have to break this long post into days...
Thursday: We drove to Quakertown, PA for Christmas with Jeremy's extended family. It was nice to get there a little early to have some extra time to visit since drove on to WV that night. Uncle Darryl is so great with little guys. He took Isaiah all around and showed him where staircases led and answered all of his questions. It's not very often that you find someone outside of immediate family who is willing to figure out what a 2 year old is saying!

We had dinner and one of Jeremy's aunts had gifts for the children. That made their evening fun! Isaiah received a remote control car. I don't think he had ever seen a remote control car before and he was fascinated. There was plenty of room for him to race that car all around.
The 3 hour drive to WV was a little painful! Isaiah could not understand why we were leaving Grandma after we had just seen her. He was miserable and took forever to settle down and fall asleep. We arrived in WV at 11:20--before Grandma and Grandpa. Isaiah was so upset that Grandma wasn't at her house. Poor little guy! I sat up and rocked him until Grandma got home. He followed her around for a bit and then she put him to bed.

Friday: The children woke up and there was barely a dusting of snow on the ground. They were so excited. When Isaiah woke up he found presents under the tree. He was told "No" to opening them multiple times and Grandma caught him opening a gift. This was the reaction... That's what he does when he is shy or embarrassed. I don't think he was crying.
Somehow we had to get through the day while we waited for Brandi to work. There is a children's museum in Martinsburg that we decided to check out. It was a winner! One wall was lined with Thomas the Train tracks. The other wall was lined with a Lego city and plenty of legos to play with.  
There were consoles through the middle with activities and historical information. The girls are playing with dolls here.
This exhibit was Tunnels through Time. Anna and Isaiah had fun in the kitchen. The art on the walls was gorgeous.

Tunnels connected each room.

The wall of this walkway was lined with magnetic train scenes. The magnetic pieces could be used to fill in the train cars. We didn't stay in this area very long. Isaiah would have loved it, but the older ones lost interest quickly.
There was a virtual bike tour through Martinsburg--then and now. We wore 3D glasses and pedaled exercise bikes while we watched the video. I didn't hear much of the video because there was so many exclamations among ourselves. 
A valiant attempt of a picture of the 4 of them...
We went back to the first room. We almost didn't go back, but it turned out to be pretty fun!
Anna sold train Hawaii...haha.
There were snow flurries and it was so picturesque. The balcony was a really neat place to look out over the tracks and old buildings. Then we heard a train whistle. And a huge freight train came through. The engineer waved at us. Isaiah was super excited. It topped off the adventure just perfectly.

That evening we opened gifts and enjoyed being with family.

 Saturday: The Heslop guys and Matt watched the new Stars Wars movie. The Heslop girls and Chrissy visited all afternoon. The Heslop children were on screens.
Sunday: I told the Heslop children there would be a lot less screen time! It was a beautiful day! When Christie suggested we meet at the park, I knew we were in. It was so nice to get some sun and fresh air.
The children had fun playing and all of the adults went down this huge slide--more than once!
The outing ended with frozen yogurt at Sweet Frog. My boy getting to know these boys is one of life's little surprises that I will treasure!
Monday: We came home.
Tuesday (today): We are all out of sorts and trying to recover from the fun! It's not pretty. Everyone is tired and grumpy!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Day

I had to get myself together to be ready for Christmas morning, in light of Christmas Eve. I slept well, but woke up tired and one of my first thoughts was hoping that Mom still felt better. My concern was that the medicine would wear off and she would be back to where she was. I didn't even text Dad. I put it aside and focused on my family. (Patting myself on the back. lol)

The children and I woke up at 7 and Daddy told the children they could wake him up at 8:30. So by the time I was getting texts from friends asking how my Christmas was--we were just starting to open gifts! I tell the children it is Daddy's job to make them wait and almost die of anticipation on Christmas morning. My Dad did the same thing to us!

Honestly, I didn't feel that great about how our gift giving went. It was more children directed than parent directed. The age differences in the children really showed. Once Isaiah opened one gift he wanted to open ALL the gifts and the concept of this is yours, but the other ones are not was difficult.

Aliza, Josiah and Anna wanted to GIVE their gifts to each other first. There were lots of hugs.
Anna picked out a Nerf gun for Josiah and Josiah picked out the same Nerf gun for Isaiah. That was pretty cute to watch unfold. You should see Isaiah run around with Josiah.

I try not to make a big deal about what we give our children for Christmas, but this time I'm making an exception. There was only one thing that Aliza REALLY wanted. It was the most popular toy this year and not to be found in stores anywhere--a Hatchimal. We told her that we would not be able to get that for her, but it might be a possibility for her birthday in March. She didn't fuss, but there really wasn't anything else that she got very excited about. I didn't know what I was going to do until one morning Jeremy called me. He said, "I bid on a Hatchimal on ebay. I really didn't think it would happen, but I won the bid." I couldn't bring myself to ask him how much he spent. He told me and the rest of the day I fluctuated between feeling guilty over the price and giddy over how excited Aliza would be.

The week before Christmas Aliza had a dream that she got a Hatchimal for Christmas. The night before Christmas she was still hoping that maybe she would get a Hatchimal, but knowing that there really wasn't any chance that she would. Her reaction did not disappoint.

As soon as Anna realized that Aliza got a Hatchimal she burst into tears because "it was not fair." My heart was split--one girl was so excited and my other girl was so sad. Anna got over it in a reasonable amount of time and Aliza generously shared the hatching experience with Anna. I understood Anna's disappointment, but I thought we did pretty well in choosing a gymnastics balance beam for her. (It's foam--4 inches off high and 4 feet long)

I didn't see this one coming though--Isaiah rejected the Tonka tractor we gave him and all he wanted was what we gave Josiah! Isaiah loved tearing wrapping paper and he just wanted more and more and just wanted to be in what all the other kids were doing.

Honestly, I loved giving the children gifts, but the process of all the emotions was not very much fun. All morning I had someone super happy and excited and someone else in sad tears.

I did check in with Dad after our gifts and Mom was feeling good when she woke up. Not up to par--she had a lot of medicine pumped in to her the night before, but they invited us to come to their house for leftover supper and to open our gifts. It was good. I took more pictures that I usually get to since it was a smaller group. Like Mom said--it just wasn't what we had planned and hoped for. Isaiah was happy with the truck his Grandma and Grandad gave him--that was nice to see!
We had Christmas devotions for church--carols, the Christmas story, prayer and sharing. I had a lot going on in my heart on Christmas. Thinking about Mary the mother of Jesus in light of the Bible study we just finished about her. Remembering people close to us and around the world who are hanging on to the HOPE of Christmas, but not celebrating the extravagance of Christmas like we did. Then we had a birthday party for Jesus. Mom found the cutest plates, cups and napkins that said Happy Birthday Jesus. We lit candles, sang Happy Birthday and ate cake and ice cream...and Christmas cookies. Isaiah's little voice chimed right in on Happy Birthday.

The depth of my appreciation of having so much the most important things in life continues to deepen--married parents and siblings, strong, healthy family relationships, faith. Just by our little "messed up" Christmas celebration I found out that I love my parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews more than I thought I did. We don't just "pass on the road" to do our duty to show up at our parents house on a holiday. I genuinely enjoy being with them. I value the role they play in my life and I'm pretty sure they value the role I play in theirs.