Friday, September 30, 2011

Brain Dump

When I don't think I have anything to talk about, it is always interesting to dump my brain and see what is there. Fair warning!

  •  Yesterday was such a beautiful morning that we delayed school and Aliza and Josiah played outside--together--happily for a long time. Maybe I'll make it a tradition--2 hour delay for a beautiful day.
  • Sometimes you are the one to go through a hard time. Other times you are the one to carry a burden with someone else.
  •  Last night I got to go out for an evening with my sister-in-law. When I came home I thought of something else I wanted to tell her. Jeremy said "You were gone for 4 hours! How could you have anything left to talk about?" Meghan and I don't seem to have a shortage of things to talk about. 
  • We went to Olive Garden. Alone. Without children. Would you believe that somehow I managed to knock over my glass of water?! 
  • There are a couple other girl events in the works. Yay!
  • I'm reading The Help. Good book. It's been hard to put it down when I know I should go to sleep.
  • It is quite rewarding to watch Aliza learn to read.
  • Anna said hi, bye and clapped all in the same evening. That was a little much for Mama.
  • After a month of our lawnmower breaking every time Jeremy started mowing the grass, our jungle is now a yard again. 
  • I try to avoid analyzing why I am not an effective potty trainer. 
  • Silence is a beautiful sound!
Good night!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Capitalizing on Interest

On Friday Aliza was introduced to the food pyramid. (I have since been informed that this is an old version of the food pyramid, but I'm sure the concept is still valid.) She found this to be wildly interesting and immediately wanted to make her own pyramid. I drew the pyramid, she wrote the categories and we copied the foods her teacher put in each category. Aliza wasn't finished. She checked the refrigerator and pantry to see what we missed. She still wasn't finished. She went up to her room, gathered her food from her kitchen, put it in a bag, brought it downstairs, and one by one we made sure each food item was on our pyramid. Finally, we posted her pyramid in the dining room where everyone could see it.

What I didn't realize was that Aliza expected us to eat only the food included on her pyramid. "Grilled cheese" wasn't on her list and at that moment she couldn't understand how foods could be separated into different groups. I accommodated her and made hotdogs, macaroni and cheese and corn for lunch. For supper we had pizza and we divided that in to groups. The next morning when she wanted candy before lunch, I told her we were not eating anything from the sweet group before lunch. She said oh. ok. and that was the end of that! Woohoo!

 This was a learning experience for me. As you can imagine this project drug out for a long time! I am result driven. When I was in school, I was not a learner. I was an outstanding student. I did my work well--to make a certain grade (an A to be specific). I could memorize well and I was willing to play the game to get the result I wanted or the result I perceived someone else expected. 

What Aliza did on Friday was learning. She worked with that food pyramid. We didn't do Math or Bible on Friday. That bugged me. My instinct was to have her "make up" that work this weekend. I decided against it. We had a school day on Friday and it was a good school day. There is no need for Aliza to feel "punished" for doing the extra work that she didn't even realize she made for herself.

I have a feeling that my children are going to teach me to be a learner while they go about satisfying their natural curiosity.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An Artistic Daddy

 I'm so thankful Jeremy has artistic talent. I don't. I can barely draw a stick figure. We were given a book called 365 Projects to Do and Make. Aliza loves that book. She looks through it and marks every project that she wants to do. Most of the projects are involved and complicated. I take one look at them and I have an intense desire to clean bathrooms!

 One Saturday Aliza was determined to do a craft. Lucky for me Daddy was home! He sat down at the table with Aliza. I took Josiah and Anna outside. It turned out to be a most lovely Daddy/Daughter date. Aliza talked his ear off while they worked together for the better part of the morning.
A bookcase with boy books and girl books, a dresser, a stove, a refrigerator and 3 beds which Aliza painted.

And for the rest of the day they were especially close buddies!

Friday, September 23, 2011


It was a very rainy 2 days in Williamsburg. There was a putting green directly outside of our 3rd floor room. Aliza, Josiah and Jeremy were able to enjoy that the first day. It was chilly, but the children went swimming. They even tried out the outdoor pool for a few minutes. Joel and Brandi came that evening. All 3 of the children had colds so we spent lots of time watching PBS Kids and swimming in the indoor pool.

As soon as Brandi arrived, Aliza declared that they needed alone time. What does this 5 year old need to talk privately to her Aunt about? Minecraft, of course!!!
Aliza just giggles when she sees Joel. Josiah, on the other hand, is ready to wrestle.

Walking to the pool in the rain. We had the pool to ourselves that morning.

Josiah loved the bubbles in the hot tub.
Anna LOVED the water. We had to hang on to her because she wanted to reach over the float to splash the water.

Yes, we had our own internet cafe.
Fun times and good memories. We came home utterly exhausted. But we had fun so it was worth it. I keep reminding myself and looking back at the scrapbook pages... Exhaustion is worth the memories.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Anna--10 Months

Anna is 10 months old today. She can be a little chatterbox saying Da da da. I try to get her to say Ma ma ma and she responds with Da da da. And boy, does she know who her Daddy is! When he walks in the door she is one excited little girl. Today I held Anna up to the window so she could she Daddy get out of the car and she immediately started with Da da da and banged on the window. She only has 3 teeth and she continues to be content and laid back. Laid back until her brother is too rough with her and then she lets me know! She'll have no problem keeping up with her brother and sister.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hunt Club Farm

 Last week we spent a long weekend in Williamsburg with Jeremy's parents, brother and sister-in-law. I did a little research and found a petting zoo in Virginia Beach. We left early in the day and had some family time at Hunt Club Farm.

The goats were excited for a snack. Jeremy called the little guy at the bottom an opportunist. He got an extra handful.
Aliza didn't want anything to do with the chickens.

There was tractor to play on. Josiah couldn't have been happier.

Me and my girls.

This was the coolest thing. First you put food in the cup....

....Then you pull the rope...
....And the goats wait at the top for the food to arrive. As soon as the goats saw us arrive they ran up the ramps to wait.

The baby goats were a hit.

Lots of fun on the playground.

The farm gave us buy 1 get 1 free coupons for Menchi's. I was so happy since I was hungry for ice cream. This was such a neat place. You put as much yogurt as you want in a bowl, add whatever toppings you want (there are tons to choose from) and then pay by the ounce.

After weaving our way in and out of Virginia Beach, sitting in traffic and driving through thunderstorms, it felt like we had been on the road ALL DAY by the time we got to Williamsburg.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Family Memories

So there are a lot of pictures on this post. Blogger has made it far too easy for me to upload pictures now and I just couldn't choose!!! 

We took family pictures with Laura Dye. The idea was to create an evening full of family fun in a pretty setting. Family portraits with everyone looking at the camera is a disaster waiting to happen for a family like ours so this no pressure approach worked out great for us. Laura and I talked about going to the beach, but given the ages of my children I thought that the driving range, a picnic basket filled with watermelon and orange soda, bubbles and balloons would be quite exciting.

I put some (ok...for me it was a lot) effort into coordinating our attire and I must admit that when I realized thaat I could buy orange Crush in glass bottles I was giddy. Laura and I didn't even talk about colors and she showed up with polka dotted balloons in the perfect colors. =) 

It was hard to choose. I hesitate to even call these my favorites because I'll look through them again and I'll see another one that makes me smile.
He's got a mighty swing.

Aliza instantly declared this picture her most favorite. I worry about her sometimes!

Our one family shot....Aliza has her tongue out. My point about disaster in the making proven! But this picture still makes me happy. It is who we are! Golf club in hand to convince Josiah to cooperate. Aliza with her tongue out. Baby on my hip. What a time in life to remember!

And, oh yes, I love him. A LOT!!!

My first reaction...Wow! Her fingernails were clean. hahaha.    
Laura has her favorites up on her blog. If you are local you should have her take your family pictures! You'll love her.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Unbelievable Continued

After the Mommy time out abruptly ended, I thought the unbelievableness of the day would be over. It wasn't. So we'll just continue on.

My next move was to clean up lunch. In the process I realized my sister had tried to call me. I was in the middle of texting her that my lunch hour was so horrendous that I was not in the mood to talk when the phone rang.

Our caller ID announced that the call was from California. I knew who it was and just had to shake my head at the timing. We support New Life Ministries based in Laguna Beach, California and every once in a while they call to thank us for supporting them. I have never answered that phone call before, but today I did. On the other end was a wonderful woman ready to listen. I spared her and only told her in the briefest of ways that I'm a mom and I had a horrific lunch hour that included discipline, poop on the deck, a hose and a baby. She told me that she was a mom of 4 and remembered those days. We chatted a bit and she prayed for me. Aaaahhhhh. Just what I needed. It was just the human contact, encouragement and prayer that I needed. I was ready to call my sister after that.

Then we were ready for a very late rest time. I took Aliza and Josiah up only to realize that Josiah was not going to settle easily. I read to him and left him to play in his room. While I was reading to Aliza, Josiah decided that he needed to use the potty. He took  care of that by himself. He came back to ask me if he should flush. I said yes. After a minute, he came flying back into the room almost crying. He ran straight to Aliza saying, "LIZA, LIZA, MY PACI WENT DOWN THE DRAIN." With a few questions we realized that while he was flushing his paci dropped into the toilet and was flushed. Oh. My. Goodness. It was all I could do not to laugh. It was our conscience decision to let the whole paci thing take its natural course. So today Josiah lost his for good. Aliza felt so bad for him that she got teary eyed. Josiah told me that the paci truck was taking paci's to the paci store to be painted green and blue so we needed to go get one. He has one that has a hole in it that he can hold if he wants to. Josiah has slept without a paci on several occasions, but today he did not fall asleep, however Aliza did.

So it wasn't the peace and quiet I was hoping for. I survived. I needed just a couple things at the store. I was going to take everyone tomorrow, but I decided to go tonight because I did not think I would be able to take Josiah in a store without buying him a paci.

That's the end of this unbelievable day. When I was thinking about starting tomorrow I thought of Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait on him."


I just had a series of events take place that were so unbelievable that I have required myself to take a computer time out. The best way for me to process something is to talk about it so here we go.

We got home from doing a quick errand just after noon. That is a little late for us so I was busy getting lunch ready and Aliza had instructions to finish a lesson. Aliza has had trouble recently controlling where she uses her pencil and I came in to the dining room to find her using her pencil very inappropriately. She was soundly disciplined and I was angry. I went back to the kitchen, continued to feed Anna, assured myself I was well within the realm of responsibility in disciplining Aliza and had just put a bagel in the toaster for my lunch when Josiah came in from the deck.

He announced that there was a big pile and a little pile of poop outside. UUUUGGGGG. I walked outside. It smelled like a barn. I had to spray off the deck and his toys---that had been driven through the poop. (Now's not a good time to talk about how potty training has progressed.) I was hoppin' mad again. I got the outside cleaned up and then we went to the tub to clean up the boy. My bagel burned while I was outside. I came downstairs to clean up the poopy footprints from the door to the tub. (I should have sprayed him off outside, but I didn't think of that.)

Poor Anna was sitting in her highchair waiting for the rest of her lunch this whole time.

I made myself another bagel and we all sat down to each our cold lunches. During lunch I had to repeatedly remind Aliza to sit down. For some reason she wants to stand up whenever she talks--which is all the time. If the cottage cheese on the spoon would have fallen to the floor while she was standing up carrying on her conversation I think I would have screamed! She got back to her chair just in the knick of time. By this time I asked Aliza if she could tell that Mommy was having a hard time. She said yes. I told her when Mommy is having a hard time that is a good time for her to have very good behavior. She agreed.

Anna finished her lunch. I got her washed off and took her over to the toy room to play. As I set her down I realized that Aliza had not closed the door on the car when she came in. I sent her out to close it. After a few minutes of eating in peace I realized it was taking far too long for her to close the door. I went outside to find her. There she was--with the hose--spraying the car--with the door open. I try not to let the neighbors hear me, but this time I had to summon up some extra self control. She got the door closed and came in. The inside of the car was dry.

Thankfully, it is now DVD time. It may be DVD time for the rest of the day. I may even give Aliza Benadryl at rest time so she sleeps (just kidding). I have no desire to face the rest of the day. All of the above events took place in a span of less than 45 minutes.

Oh no, I hear Anna. Oh my! She is 3/4 of the way up the steps. Don't worry. I've already retrieved her. What was a thinking? Mommy's don't get time outs!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Work Party

 Dad invited the men in the family over for a work party this afternoon. The organization my sister works for bought new playground equipment. Dad offered to remove the old equipment for them so now it resides in his yard. My, oh my, the grandchildren will have a ball for many years to come!

Josiah was quite thrilled to be able to help!
Pounding nails.

Putting up the curly slide. Aliza is a helper too!

Helping Great Grandad secure a slide. There are 4 slides altogether!

From the other side after the curly slide was up.

Putting up the swinging bridge. I love how everyone has a job! Jeff is under the bridge.

Testing out the bridge. It gets guard rails yet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Community Tragedy

I feel like I want to write tonight, but I'm not sure how to write or even what I am feeling. I live in a community of people where neighbors are not just houses beside you. Neighbors are people who know who you are, watch your home for oddities, and talk to you regularly. There are the few busy bodies that you avoid because you know that they know everything about everyone. I'm even on the village Methodist church mailing list which insures that I know all of the "prayer requests" each week. What happened this week has successfully shaken every one up.

Simply, a woman, who I did not personally know, was reported missing. She and her husband live less than a half mile from our house. It's a house that I drive past every day. The story is all over our local news. Last night the husband committed suicide and foul play is suspected.

Probably a typical murder-suicide. It happens all the time, right? But not right down the street in a close knit community like mine. What is it about this that has kept it on my mind all day long? I don't know these people. There is no reason for it to bother me so much.

Maybe it bothers me because:
  •  just like that a household has disappeared. (the couple has no children)
  • people can have such intense issues and can successfully hide them
  • the woman is still missing
  • I let my children play outside with my watchful eye on them from the kitchen, but is that enough?
  • I wonder if I should trust the neighbors I do know
  • I really love the quiet, safe community that I live in, but is it safe enough?
I'll keep thinking. I feel like I need to process something, but I'm not sure exactly what the something is. Tomorrow I'm going to crank up the Jesus Culture music. HE is the Lord of our household and no matter what tragedy comes along we will live our life in a way that glorifies Him.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Special Friend

Aliza and Kelsey met each other at Bible School. Kelsey was the assistant in Aliza's class. Aliza talked about Kelsey the whole week of Bible School. Little did I know that Kelsey would become a special friend of our family.

Aliza, Josiah and Anna all love Kelsey. She comes along on outings just for fun. This week we went to the zoo and because someone came along we were able to play at the park. (This particular park requires two adults to supervise 3 children. )

Don't worry. Anna didn't walk far!

Aliza the Sloth.

Josiah working hard at the playground sandbox.
Now Kelsey is back in school. Aliza asks to have "playdates" with Kelsey. I'm sure we'll keep in touch with her through the school year--as long as she wants to keep in touch with us!!!! =)