Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mostly Pictures

Jeremy, Joel and Josiah spent an afternoon at the driving range. When they got home Josiah came to the living room and announced, "Everyone, come to the kitchen. I have something to show you." I had NO IDEA what was going on and my jaw about hit the floor when he showed me his own set of golf clubs. Josiah was beyond thrilled. He was so proud and grown up.
They went into the pro shop to look around and Jeremy saw this used set of junior clubs for a price he couldn't walk away from. Read--not a planned purchase!
I think Jeremy is pretty excited about the prospect of having a golfing buddy. =)
It's a little heavy, but Josiah can carry it. He's also super excited about the pockets. His Daddy loaded him up with balls, tees, a towel and a water bottle. Now Josiah has his sights set on a glove.
Josiah has quite the swing! He gets good distance. Sometimes he hits farther than his uncles!!

I'm learning to golf--really I am! Jeremy is teaching me and I'm getting better!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pure Generosity

Bright and early this morning I heard Josiah's feet hit the floor. He came straight across the hall into our room and hopped on the bed. Mom, he said, I want to send a package to Caleb today. Josiah wanted to go to the store to buy a LEGO set for his cousin and then send it by mail...the whole 5 minutes to Caleb's house from our house.

I had plans for the morning. We needed to get school almost finished so that we could go to LEGO time at the library this afternoon.

I kindly told Josiah that we weren't going to the store this morning. I wish I could buy every LEGO set Josiah wants to give, but, unfortunately, I can't. He let it go and I thought it was a closed issue. On to school!

An hour or so later, Josiah came to me with his John Deere tractor. THIS is what I want to send to Caleb he tells me. I saw the sincerity in Josiah's actions and I got on board. We hunted down just the right box. Then he needed to choose something for Gideon. And then he wanted something for Meghan too. I had some shower gel stashed away and Josiah thought that was a good idea for Meghan. He wanted to pack everything with candy and thought maybe we should go to the store to buy candy. Luckily I had a bag of M&Ms on hand and that was acceptable.

Then it was time to pack. Josiah wanted packing peanuts and bubble wrap. I offered Walmart bags and he decided to wad paper in balls with he carefully placed around the truck and tractor.

Thankfully I found some shredded paper packaging that could substitute for bubble wrap. And, oh yeah, Mom we need to put cookies in! A bag of chocolate chip cookies was added.
He added a note which I wrote just as he dictated and he signed his name. Man, I was feeling loved just helping him get this ready! After putting on the lid, Josiah carefully carried the box to the car and put it in the trunk....just that it wouldn't get disturbed during travel.
I sold Josiah on a person special delivery. After some Mommy behind the scenes work to make sure his surprise wouldn't be ruined...we drove over to Caleb's house. Josiah, just as carefully as before, lifted the box out of the trunk and carried it up to the house.
He pushed the doorbell and then ran back to the car! Mission accomplished!
Josiah was so excited on the way home. It was the most precious, innocent, pure display of generosity and love.

Over an hour later than I had planned we got to work on schoolwork. But, you know what, who cares! Nothing was more important than making a special delivery today. It was worth every second. The truth is, I got excited about our delivery too. Josiah's enthusiasm was contagious. It truly is better to give than to receive.

I heard that a couple little boys were very surprised when they lifted the lid of that box! I wish I could have seen their faces.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bits and Pieces

I'm only thinking in bits and pieces tonight.

Aliza did a neat science project to remember the stages of a butterfly's growth cycle. You should hear Aliza try to say metamorphosis while she's reading. The painting was fun and then became a family paint fest.
Anna was up late last night. While I was talking to my mother-in-law she did this. Didn't you know these things are stickers???!! Stinker.
I've had vivid reminders recently that life is fragile and not forever. Eventually I'll lose everyone who is important to me and I don't like that. At all. I feel like I'm getting older.

We had our first co-op day last week. After the first week the jury is still out. Maybe it's the classes being offered this semester. Maybe it's the time commitment. I'm not sure it's the best fit for us.

We've had a couple weekends with no plans. It's been lovely. Family time. An afternoon at my parent's house. Golfing for Josiah and Jeremy. A trip to Tutti Frutti. It's always nice to start a week feeling relaxed.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Routines

I am very pleased that we are able to participate in Community Bible Study again this year. There was question as to whether there would be enough elementary aged children to have a primary class. Aliza is so excited about her very own class. I am not allowed to set foot over the doorway of her class--which is perfectly fine with me! She has homework to do which follows the adult lessons. We are studying the book of Genesis this year. Aliza has her desk all set up. Her homework is her responsibility. I won't remind her or nag her to do it. Last week she had it done early and enjoyed sharing all of her answers with me.

This week I helped in the children's class. The project involved ink and stamps. Anna thoroughly enjoyed the ink. It as all.over.her.
Josiah is the oldest in the class by a solid year. He takes his Legos to play with and he still hates when I leave him. I was happy to see him being a good listener and answering questions today.
Aliza also has dance class on Bible Study day. It's a quick transition that sortof leaves my head spinning! On these nice days Aliza likes to teach Josiah, Anna and I jazz sequences in the yard.

This is great way to live life. I love having them at home. They are learning so many things. Josiah received a new reader today and I was so excited to see improvement from last week. Learning to read is a slow process of baby steps.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Some Fun

Have you ever seen these pictures that are covered in black stuff and you scrape it off to find the picture? Totally addicting. Aliza and Josiah worked really hard on theirs and I spent an unspecified amount of time on one myself. It was fun! Mindless! And something ridiculously rewarding about uncovering the color.
My children have not been to the mall in a very very long time. I can't remember the last time. At least a year. I had a couple things I needed to do at the mall and Mom could meet us so we made it an event. It was fun to do something completely different. We had lunch at Chick-Fil-A complete with balloons. You've never seen three children so excited about balloons (and so sad when said balloon floated into the sky late this afternoon). Then Grandma sprung for a couple rides.

Anna wanted to ride, but only with Grandma. =)
Josiah declared there was nothing fun to do at the mall. (The play area was temporarily closed). Anna was exclaiming over pretty dresses. When she saw a male mannequin that was dressed in something her Daddy would wear she ran over and hugged its leg and gave it a kiss--just like she hugs her Daddy.

After my 3 necessary pieces of business everyone was a little squirrely and it was time to get out of there before anything disastrous happened. Josiah was moaning, loudly enough, that his "feet were running out of battery" and he was going to stop walking at any second. He did, somehow, manage to make it to the car!

I'll be perfectly happy if it's another year, or 2, until I have another mall adventure with this gang!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Joel and Brandi Weekend

Jeremy's family came to visit us this weekend and on the agenda was a trip to the Cove. Aliza reminded me that last year it rained when Joel and Brandi were here. This year it was warm and sunny, but just cool enough that I did not want to be in the water! Brandi and I left the water play for the Daddy and the Uncle. We had no trouble spotting the Daddy and Uncle in their bright green shorts!

There were only a few people on the beach. It wasn't long before each child had their own sand castle hole. It worked better that way. No more fights or tears over crushed castles.

Daddy makes a sand castle...
...and Anna squashes it. Over and over.
When Anna got cold, she curled up beside Brandi.
Before church, we got homemade ice cream at Chesapeake Bay Dairy. This place is absolutely amazing and delicious. It's as good as The Island Creamery--without the lines! I love the Blueberry Crumble ice cream. Plus they have cow benches to sit on and that's just too fun.
Josiah had lots of man time with Joel and his Daddy. He was so sad when Joel went home today. There were sad tears after they drove away. Anna wants Brandi to do everything for her instead of Mommy including blowing her food to cool it, change her diaper, put on her shoes and lay with her at night while she falls asleep. I've got lucky kids to have so many wonderful aunts and uncles.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kindergarten Round Two

Lesson 9 did not disappoint as one of the most fun lessons in kindergarten. Fireman hats, a lesson from a firefighter on how he gets dressed, drawing a fire engine and writing a sentence and finally, making fire engine snacks. To make it even better, Josiah did not remember making these snacks with Aliza two years ago.
 Gotta love the "cheese" smile! He worked hard on his fire engine snacks. Josiah made ladder trucks and pumper trucks and fire chief trucks.
 Everyone got in on the fun.
 This one ate more frosting than anything else.
And then there's 2nd grade...
On this day, Aliza was introduced to a thesaurus and how to use it. She enjoys using a dictionary and was completely horrified that there had to be two resources to use for writing. She has continued in this thought pattern...every time she sees the word thesaurus on her worktext page she scribbles it out with her pencil. English in not her thing right now. History and science are her preferred subjects. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Joy Dare::August

I just started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp (the book which popularized this Joy Dare challenge) for the 3rd time. I never read a book a second time. This book, though, I can't seem to get enough of. I want it's message to become ingrained in my heart and life. If you haven't read it, at least once, you really must! 

625. A sparkling clean refrigerator
626. Professional advice
627. Dinner date with Aliza
628. Lots of time to read while waiting
629. Anna saw a rainbow for the first time and exclaimed
630. 10am children playing together so I can tackle a big project
631. 1pm the second attempt at big project was successful
632. 10pm changed heart and renewed spirit
633. Celebrating Mom's (60th) birthday with the whole family
634. An evening with Josiah
635. Text conversation
636. A beautiful afternoon playing outside
637. New library books--even one for me!
638. Aliza so excited to decorate folders for school
639. Chrissy at the library with us so I could "parent" at the check out counter
640. Silence after bedtime
641. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
642. The hope of a new day and a new start.
643. Seeing Jeremy's uncles and cousin who we haven't seen in many years
644. Lots of driving, but I was alone with Jeremy
645. My parents who welcomed me into their lives with they hearts full of love
646. We can go places for the weekend because Jeremy can work while I drive
647. Tears
648. Arriving at our destination
649. Family reunion
650. Making the extra stop to see a Great Aunt
651. Being brave to go on his first ride
652. Fun at the amusement park
653. Doctors and nurses to take care of Mom
654. Seeing Dad at the hospital so tired he's falling asleep standing up but not quite ready to leave Mom's side
655. Friends to let us crash at their house for the weekend
656. Organizing for school
657. Mom resting at home
658. Everyone helping with school prep
659. Live streaming
660. No electricity means we are unplugged and spent the afternoon outside on a blanket with Legos, books and snacks
661. Aliza so excited for her first day of 2nd grade
662. New routine
663. Listening to tap shoes click on the floor
664. Crazy beautiful weather
665. Sitting with my Mom and Gramma--each of us doing needlework
666. Our big backyard
667. A day to be outside
668. Jeremy's sermon
669. Listening to Aliza, Jeremy and Josiah play
670. Intentionally making time for prayer
671. Freedom to choose the method by which my children are educated
672. Hayrides and cherry tomatoes and fish and tractors. All at Grandma's house today.
673. Josiah is bearing poison ivy well. He has complained very little.
674. First day of kindergarten went smoothly.
675. Pretty napkins
676. Had many opportunities to practice self control today
677. Evening out on a day I really needed it
678. Scones and tea made just for me
679. Talk time with Jeremy
680. Cooperative attitudes
681. Meghan helped me clean for company tonight. So very thankful.
682. Forgiveness expressed
683. Time at the park
684. The children met their 2nd cousin on the Heslop side. He's a lot older than them but they had fun playing soccer with Addison
685. Ice cream after church
686. Spoiling my nieces while everyone helps Jeff and Janell move
687. Steamed shrimp for dinner
688. Being happy for my sister
689. My brother's phone call
690. Jeremy stayed home for an extra hour so I could grocery shop alone
691. Josiah interacting with a little girl at the library with Down's Syndrome
692. The feeling of accomplishment when schoolwork is finished
693. Aliza dancing in the backyard "meadow"
694. Anna so pleased with herself in figuring out a "clap, tap" rhythm and teaching it to me
695. Corn in the freezer
696. In the shop with Josiah. Listening to him chatter. Watching him move around like he owns the space
697. Hearing about a friend's mission trip to Haiti
698. A sister who understands my oddities
699. Just the right song on the radio
700. A kitchen just big enough for 3 chairs at the counter for helpers
701. Being home when someone needed help and a prayer
702. Everything about Laura's shower--the work, the food, the company and the clean up

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Bridal Shower Tea

Laura's bridal shower tea was a huge success. We prepared for 17 guests which is the largest tea I have been involved in. Somehow I managed to drop the ball on taking pictures of people, but I can show you a bunch of food!

Aliza is the lucky oldest niece to have attended all of her aunt's bridal showers. (Now that I think about it...maybe not Janell's. I can't remember!) This time she was a helper in the kitchen. Her first job was to put a white chocolate chip inside each raspberry. Please note for future reference that this is a VERY yummy treat!
Aliza also helped to set the table.
 Janell arrived with to decorate. Mom had a some fresh flowers, but Janell had no concept of what she was going to do with them. With a little of this and a little of that and in almost no time at all--there were beautiful centerpieces on the table.
 Laura and her friends arrived and there were all sorts of exclamations from Laura about how perfect everything was and how amazing her family is. Given what we did, I think it's fair to say we think Laura is pretty amazing too!

First off. Soup. Butternut squash or Roasted Red Pepper.
 Salad. Laura made homemade croutons for us. Yum.
Sandwiches. Cucumber on white, Chicken salad with sunflower seeds and diced apple on whole grain tortilla, ham and swiss on rye and cheddar and apple on wheat.
Scones and clotted cream. Plain and Raspberry White Chocolate Chip. I made the scones and cream.
Finally, dessert. We had Linda's chocolate chip cookies, individual cheesecake in little crystal punch glasses, fruit cups and mini s'more cupcakes. I found this arrangement on pinterest and it worked out! I asked Gramma if she had a blingy brooch. She had one that was just perfect! Aliza carefully (one-by-one) arranged the raspberries around the dress.

Time for presents! Each gift was so thoughtful and generous. I did not disappoint with my gift. (Unfortunately it would not be an appropriate picture.) Laura's almost mother-in-law gave her a recipe book in which she had written some of her son's favorite recipes. Meghan and I think we are going to tuck this idea away for future reference. What a sweet idea!

And then, just like that, it was over! Laura, Linda and their friends, went to Ocean City and us *older* sisters cleaned up! It's all good. I was tired by the time the party started from 3 hours of solid food preparation. Aliza LOVED being with me all day. She begged me to sit down and hold her at the end of the day. I did and soon convinced her lay beside me on the couch so I could close my eyes. I think she almost fell asleep too.

The last one of us sisters to get married...that means that next bridal shower will be for the next generation? Maybe Aliza!!? Crazy thought.