Wednesday, August 31, 2011


 I've been thinking about balance today. It seems that all of life is a balancing act. Particularly, today, I have been thinking about how to teach my 5 year old to have balance in her life.

Then I started wondering if all 5 year olds are obsessive over their interest-of-the-moment.

I guess my problem is that my 5 year old is obsessed with something I am not really interested in. Minecraft. A computer game. There is nothing inherently bad about it. Every conversation that she is engaged in begins and ends with Minecraft. She wants to give me lessons and talk to me about it all the time.

On the flip side it is an extremely valuable bargaining tool. I can get her to do practically anything if the privilege of playing Minecraft is threatened.

Then I tried to put her same obsession into other things, and they would still be obsessions that I would need to teach her to balance with other interests. If she was reading and thinking about a book series as much as she thinks about Minecraft I would still need to make her go outside and play etc. But I wouldn't feel the need to limit her access to books the way I feel I need to limit her access to a screen. Or if she played dress up or house or played with friends as much as she thinks and plays Minecraft I would still need to balance those interests with other activities.

I'm struggling with this a bit. Does anyone want to weigh in?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fire Engine Snacks

This is a great project for any fire-engine-loving child. They were fun to make and fun to share at Bible study tonight!

Frost a graham cracker. The obvious color choice would be red. My children wanted purple and blue. So that's what we did!

Use pretzel sticks to make a ladder.

Vanilla wafers for wheels.

A gumdrop for a light and any rectangle shaped candy for a cab. I happened to have a chocolate bar so that's what we used.

Our fire engines!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wind and Rain

I think it is safe to say that, for our area, the media over dramatized this storm. We had inches and inches of rain. It poured for over 12 hours. There was wind, but there was very little damage.

The advantage of us being at my parents during the storm was that their house is brick with new windows. Their house is quiet! We spent a lot of hours sitting in front of the big bay windows just watching the wind and the rain, but we hardly heard it. My parents lost electricity at 4pm and it was not restored until 9am. We expected that.

The ironic part is that our house did not lose electricity at all. Jeremy and I came home this morning to check everything out before we brought the children home. We have some branches to pick up. Josiah is happy about that! The other ironic thing is that the biggest limbs that we lost fell before we left yesterday morning.

We had a good time with my parents, grandparents and sister. Lost of time in the dark to visit. It is amazing how much technology is still available to us after electricity is out. Jeremy's iphone and ipad were still functioning. The disadvantage was that the children could play games. The advantage was that Jeremy could continue to track the storm. There are always seemingly equal advantages and disadvantages with technology.

Nobody slept well. Anna cried really hard several times. At 4:30am the entire family was awake and Aliza had a very hard time falling back asleep. After Jeremy and I checked our house, Brian's house and Matt and Chrissy's house we picked up the children and came home. I was counting on good naps. Somehow Aliza managed to keep herself awake. After her night I have no clue how she did that.

Now everybody is asleep and I'm looking forward to a quiet night.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good Morning Irene

I woke up at 6:15 this morning and it was raining. That was the end of sleep for me. Now I have nothing better to do than blog while I wait for Jeremy to get home from helping Dad finish up Brian's house and do a couple errands. The Sheats men get it done--at the last minute! So let me tell you it is POURING!!! The wind is kicking up a little bit here and there. The worst is not expected until late tonight.

So first Dad put the tire on our mower. I had no doubts that everyone would be helping.

Under that blanket are all my scrapbooks. Our bedroom is upstairs. I figure if I lose the scrapbooks I have probably lost everything else. The only obsessive thing I'm taking with me is my wedding negatives. I don't consider taking my computer obsessive. I'm leaving all of Aliza's school books. Jeremy says those can be replaced. I'm taking a ton of food and drinks.

Sure hoping this turns out to be much ado about nothing! That being said we already have a large tree branch on the ground.

I'll be back when this is all over!!! =)

Friday, August 26, 2011

24 Hours

Today was B.U.S.Y. I was headed to the library and my sister called and said, Do you know your zip code is under a recommended evacuation? I said "By when?" She said, "10am." Nice. It was after 10. I saw no reason to change our plans. As it turned out the evacuation included our zip code but our house was not in the flood zone. I picked up Kelsey and we headed to the library to stock up on new books for the weekend. I bought Aliza and Josiah flashlights so we will read.

After the library we went to my brother's house to clean up their yard. He's been working in his wife's home area this last week so they are just staying put until the hurricane passes. Kelsey was a huge help. She took care of the children and I took care of yard stuff. We picked up McDonald's, went to the bank, took Kelsey home and got back to our house at 1:30. Rest time was late. I rested, hopped up and started cleaning up our yard. Let me tell you it is humid. I was dripping sweat.

When I got home there was a reverse 911 call from our County Executive on my answering machine. He was calling to inform us we were in the evacuation zone and to assure us that the county was taking all emergency preparations. Later in the afternoon I had a message from our electric company assuring us that they were getting personnel in place to restore power as quickly as possible but to expect widespread extended outages. Those calls left me with a hyper feeling.

With any luck we will have some sand left. Aliza and Josiah helped me carry bricks while Anna played in the exosaucer on the deck. It is lovely to have everything cleaned up.

Our lawnmower had a tire blowout this week. It is sitting on a jack in the middle of our yard. Dad is bringing a tire tomorrow so it should get to the garage before the storm. Josiah worked so hard to fix it this evening!

And while we were working, Jeremy won this plaque!

I feel wound up tonight. It may take me a little while to fall asleep. Tomorrow is another day. I think I'll be able to update one more time before we lose electricity.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

48 Hours

I guess we are on the 48 hour countdown to whatever Hurricane Irene will bring. I started thinking about being prepared for no electricity this morning, but there was no way I was tracking 3 kiddos to the store for just a few things. I went this evening and it was just about too late.

No milk.

Plenty of bottled water!

No size D batteries. (That's what flashlights require.)

No bread.

I'm of the opinion that when it comes to times of possible emergency food should be rationed, but that is not a subject for tonight!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Earth Moved

Today was my second earthquake experience. The first was a very long time ago in Oregon. It was 5am when I woke up and figured I must just be shivering so hard that the bed was moving and then figured I threw the covers somehow to make the mini blinds swing back and forth. It was not until I woke up later in the morning that I found out it was an earthquake.

My family made a couple big moves during my time at home. After a tornado passed in close proximity to our house in Kansas a key question to Dad when he told us where we were moving was "What are the natural disaster possibilities?" One of Maryland's only plusses for me (at that time) was the low chance of natural disasters. An earthquake was not even on the list. Hurricanes were the only real possibility.

Today a few minutes before 2pm I was sitting in the rocking chair waiting for Josiah to pick out a book to read before rest time. He was stalling and I was getting frustrated. I figured I must be far more tired than I thought I was because it looked like the closet, windows and bed were moving. It felt more like a vibration so then I thought that the dryer (I was doing laundry) must be horribly off balance. Then I thought, "So off balance that it could knock down the house?" By then it stopped and Aliza called me. I started thinking earthquake? Not here!? So I went to Aliza and she said, Mommy, I think our house was shaking. I agreed with her and then she rationalized that she must have done it. I went downstairs to check the dryer (haha) and made a call to Jeremy. I figured he was really going to think I was nuts when I told him our house was shaking. I tried to call 3 times and could not connect to his phone. That made me a little nervous so I figured I'd just call Mom and tell her that I know I'm crazy but I was upstairs and I'm sure my house was shaking. Well, I got through to Mom and told her that I was nuts and she said "We felt it too." It was about 5 minutes too soon for the earthquake in Richmond to make the news, but we found out soon enough.

Since we don't have TV, my father-in-law keeps me updated when I need to know weather related information. (We've worked out the details of what I need to know and what I should not, for my own mental health, know.) He texted me right away and then called. My Mom made sure I was ok. I had a couple other people text me and I was reminded how absolutely blessed I am to be surrounded with people who care about me.

Anna--9 Months

Miss Anna is 9 months old. She's been out of me as long as she was in me now. For some reason that is a milestone in my brain. She is pretty much pulling up anywhere there is a hand hold and exploring.

Due to the way she crawls, Anna can roll on to her side when she wants to check something out. We call it her Miss America pose.

Nothing is off limits for pulling up. Here she is getting the ketchup out for Grandma Karen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Water Weekend

The theme of the weekend was water. In many different forms.

First was a bath. Anna enjoyed it as much as the others. She was splashing. Aliza and Josiah made sure she was quite wet.

Then it was a swimming pool and hopscotch sprinkler. Aliza thought that was super fun.

Later that evening we went to a pool party. All of this was at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Of course, Anna loved the water. She was taking in all the action and was not that active herself.

Aliza and Josiah started out in the children's pool. It wasn't long until Aliza wanted to go in the big pool. Josiah wasn't so sure. But later....

I was so proud of him! He learned to trust the floatie and had a great time. They even drug Mommy in to the big pool.

So much fun.

Our water theme continued on our trip home. We drove through some horrible thunder storms. I drove through the worst of it. I was concentrating so hard that my neck and shoulders were sore and I had a pounding headache by the time we got home. At one point the lightening cracked so close to us and at the same moment the thunder roared. I jumped and got goosebumps. Aliza got Panera for supper out of the deal because we just needed a break. We make it home safe and sound just in time for us to unload the car--you guessed it--in the rain!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A New Niece to Love

Aliza and Josiah had just snuggled in to our bed when I received a text from Janell at 7:12am. Lydia Eve Hale was born at 3:33am Friday morning. She weighed 6 lbs 8 oz and is 19.25 inches. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was so surprised! They went to the hospital and had a baby and didn't tell anyone. =) Good for them! Plus I slept all night. Good for me! I wasted no time this morning in securing a babysitter to stay with Josiah and Anna so that Aliza and I could meet Lydia.

My beautiful niece, Lydia Eve.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Grandma taught Aliza to use a peeler. At Grandma's house, Aliza is happiest if she has a job to do.

I told Aliza that if she put her hair in braids or ponytails she wouldn't have as many tangles. She took me up on the offer after a particularly bad brushing experience. She went all out with 5 rubber bands at the bottom (in a specific color order) and 2 clips on each side on top. I happened to think she looked quite adorable and grown up.

This is the definition of Josiah right now. These are his working clothes. At this moment he was getting ready to burn some brush with Daddy. So he has his hat and with his sunglasses on top of his hat (like Daddy). His favorite truck shirt. He would rather have long jeans on, but I try to discourage that this time of year. And his working shoes. I'm of the opinion that he is rather adorable and quite grown up looking too!

It looked for a while like my sister was going to have her baby yesterday so Renee came to stay with us. She reminded me of her Mommy finding a tub to stand on so that she could play with the doll house. She just fit right in with our family and Josiah was so so sad to see her go this morning. He went outside three times to stand on the deck and check to see if the car had left. Janell's 24 hours of contractions turned out to be braxton hicks.

While Renee was here, her sippy cup was often within Anna's reach. Anna wanted that cup more than anything else. I finally gave her a straw and cup to play with and bought her a sippy cup of her own today.

Such a big helper. Josiah scrubbed Daddy's golf clubs with great enthusiasm. The enthusiasm may have been partially because he was staying up late to help.

Anna pulls up all the time now. Such a big girl. She still just has 2 teeth and she started playing peek-a-boo.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Beach Baby

Aliza, Josiah and Anna all love the beach, but Anna took to the water faster than either of the others. This was her first trip to the beach being mobile. I sat her on the sheet....

...and away she went. No fear. She did her army crawl straight to the water, sucked the salty water and sand off her fingers and never flinched or cried. It was fun to see this fearless adventurous side of her personality shine through!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

An Odd Habit

My last post was on Saturday. Wow! My mind has been busy thinking about school. Too busy. As in it is time to just start so that I can stop thinking (ok, ok. Worrying would be more accurate) and start problem solving. But I'm not going to talk about school tonight.

This poor creature is Josiah's beloved cat. It used to be my cat back in the day when it actually looked like a cat, but Josiah has adopted it and that is fine.
Josiah has an odd habit. When he in a relaxed zone like when he is falling asleep or when he is really into a DVD he will pull fur off the cat and put it in his mouth. It is so gross! This has happened to the point that the cat has large bald spots!

Last week along with his allergy episode the doctor noted that his throat was red. She did a strep test that was negative. I could tell his throat was sore. He told me his Mini Wheat cereal was "big" and when he ate chicken nuggets with ketchup he cried. I noticed that he was coughing once in a while.

Later in the week we were at my parents eating lunch along with Brian's family, Laura and Linda, I think. Josiah started coughing until he gagged and threw up. I cleaned up the plate and table and then he pulls a (small) wad of fur out of his mouth and says, "Look Mom, HAIR!" He then proceeds to eat his entire meal.

That afternoon he said, "Mom, my throat doesn't hurt anymore." Seriously?! I guess my son had a hairball stuck in his throat.

I have been far more adament in stopping him from eating fur. Now he sees the look from me and hides the fur behind his back and says, "Mom, don't look." With a big grin and sparkly eyes.

Silly, silly boy!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My New Job Arrived

I thought I was going to take the boxes and hide away while I looked over the material, but Jeremy and I decided that we wanted to look at everything together. I could hardly wait until the children fell asleep to tear open the boxes!

As we quickly flipped through each book I remembered how happy I am that Jeremy and I are in this together. I remembered that when the idea of homeschooling was first kicked around it was Jeremy that got excited about it first. Jeremy has a natural gift for teaching so I wasn't really surprised when he said, "I wish I could stay home and teach." There have been moments since that I have felt so thankful to be on this journey with a husband who is so supportive and wants to be involved.

It took about 5 minutes for that pile of books to go from exciting to overwhelming! The left pile is all student materials. The 3 cases on the right pile are the instruction DVDs and the spiral bound books are teacher's editions. I have some studying and preparation to do. I'm pretty sure that once I figure out how the curriculum flows, I will find it to be well organized and easy to follow.

We chose to use Bob Jones University Distance Learning on DVD curriculum. It is not the cheapest homeschool curriculum on the market. I'm counting on it living up to its reputation. I'm also banking on Aliza responding well to instruction on DVD.

I woke up at 5:30 the next morning thinking about the pile of teacher's editions sitting on my desk. I didn't fall back asleep. My mind was busy. Since then I have a sort of game plan to get myself situated. I think fitting school into our life is going to be an ongoing experiment.

This week I sent my letter of intent to home school to our Board of Education. That made this whole thing seem very official and final.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Some Little Moments

First I must finish the story of Josiah's lips. This morning I decided to call the pediatrician to follow up on Josiah. I talked to a nurse who is familiar with our family and had seen Josiah. I explained that I had tracked his reaction to the Ibuprofen I had given him and told her that Josiah's uncle had the same reaction. The nurse didn't say anything so I asked if she had ever seen anything like that. She said they had seen it a few times. I said that surprised me because the Doctor I saw did not made any comment that a reaction to Ibuprofen was possible when I told her I had given him the medicine. (I had even taken the bottle I gave him the medicine from with me and showed the Dr.) The nurse then told me that the Mom has to say what the reaction was to. The Doctor cannot say unless there was an allergy test. I was floored. Here I had gone to a professional thinking they could help me determine why in the world my son's lips had swelled to 4 times their actual size and she could only give him Benedryl and tell me that Josiah's airways were open. Nonetheless, his chart now reflects that he is allergic to Ibuprofen.

Now on to some of our recent memorable moments:

I sent the band outside!

This little boy decided to try skipping naps. It didn't work so well for him.

Homemade Play-Doh: FAIL.

She just started pulling up to her knees and now she is up on her feet!! Anna has done too many new things in the past week. I know she'll be walking before I know it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reaction to Ibuprofen

Josiah woke up during the night with a low-grade fever so I gave him Children's Ibuprofen at 9:30 this morning. Jan came over to watch the children while I had a dentist appointment. She reported that everything went fine with no incidents of any kind. Just a few minutes after she left I noticed that Josiah had two large spots of swelling on his lips. This happened to be almost exactly two hours after I gave him the Ibuprofen.

My Mommy alarms immediately went off. I thought it was the strangest thing and had nothing to attribute it to. I called the Doctor right away and then my Mom and by then my voice was cracking. Over the next hour his lips puffed up to the size in the picture. He looked like a duck. The inside of his lip was showing on the outside. I kept checking on him every couple minutes just to see how much the swelling had increased.

I left for the doctor as soon as my Mom arrived to stay with the girls. I got to the office early, but just explained that his lips were continuing to swell and I was scared. The receptionist took one look at Josiah and sent a nurse out to the waiting room to check on him. She went for Benadryl and in the meantime we were called back to a room and the nurse practitioner followed us in. She said it was an allergic reaction to something. His breathing was clear. His throat was red, but the rapid strep test came back negative. I felt better knowing that a professional had seen him, but was still had no clue what could have caused such a reaction (besides a bee sting and it didn't make sense that a 3 year old would be stung by a bee and nobody know).

I texted a picture to my mother-in-law who is on vacation and farther away than normal. I didn't want her to worry until I knew what was going on. I talked to her later and told her the story and when I got to the Ibuprofen part she said "that's what it is." She told me that her son, Josh, had the same thing happen to him. It happened a couple times before he figured it out and since then he has not taken Ibuprofen and has not had any more lip swelling issues. I was starting to feel better! I texted a picture to Josh and asked him to call me. I told him briefly and he said, "oh yeah, that looks exactly like me." It baffles me a bit that the doctor wouldn't have suggested that, but....who am I to say. I will never give Josiah Ibuprofen again and it will be added to every allergic list I am responsible for!

Tonight Josiah's lips are considerably improved. I gave him Benadryl again before bed. He is improved enough that I will sleep tonight. After a hyper vigilant day I'm pretty tired tonight!