Thursday, May 29, 2014

Starting Summer Off Right

I had planned to pick strawberries last week, but then I got sick. So this was the week. We had to actually work for our berries this year. The berries were smaller and a lot had white tips, but they were still yummy!

We picked 5 gallons of berries. (I believe those are 1 gallon buckets.)
I think we ate almost one bucket fresh. We walked in the door and the children sat down and started eating! Granted, it was lunchtime and we were all starving.

I made 3 batches of jam and froze 9 full quart bags. Anna helped me top berries for a little while. She's my kitchen helper!

The reward for getting berries done (read: the reward for the children happily entertaining themselves while Mommy worked on berries) was a morning at the beach. It was well deserved. The children were great on berry day....hmmm...maybe I need another berry day.

It was a nice warm day, perfect for sitting on the beach. My children thought it was a perfect day for swimming! They were in the water the whole time. Whatever makes them happy! I'll get in the water in July or August!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Garden Tour Weekend

This was the year that Aliza asked if she could come along on the Garden Tour. At first I said no, but then I thought about it and talked to Brandi and Karen and we decided it would be fun to have Aliza join us. And, in fact, it was fun to have her with us. She did great on the tour.

She had a slight obsession with water. At every opportunity she was touching the water. She also very much enjoyed lush, green grass. I believe it was more than once that she was making "grass angels". Of course I was quite tempted to join her, but being in my mid thirties, that probably wouldn't have been appropriate. There's not a lot better than laying in soft grass with the sun in your face.
I decided that I want to grow pineapples. Jeremy wasn't so sure about that.
The life size doll house was open. (Christie, do you remember that little house? You would have LOVED the inside of it.) This was the first time that I had been in it and it was just adorable. Aliza really enjoyed checking out all the rooms.
The day took all of Aliza's physical and mental energy. She was so tired by evening. Joel had just gotten a new camera and he was trying it out on any willing subject. He got some cute pictures of Josiah and Anna and we were encouraging Aliza to join in. She laid on the ground and suggested a family picture. We ended up like this...
...and this picture ended up on Facebook. We all look happy right? When Aliza saw it on facebook she was a bit mortified. I explained to her that this picture had a secret in it. Everyone thought she was laughing...but Aliza is really crying mad because Jeremy and I are laying on her and she is pinned to the ground. OH.My.Word. She was SO mad. But it's still a cute picture, right?!

So this day was a bit of a life stage change for me. The Garden Tour had been adult alone time for me and now it includes my growing up daughter. And this is how Mommys and Daughters become friends. I'm happy about that. (I still need alone time though.)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Closing Our School Year

So much for the "coming soon" promise of the previous post. I got a stomach virus on Monday and I'm still not running at 100%. It is a strange experience for me to be pregnant and have no appetite or desire to eat anything.

The last day of school actually started at 2am last Thursday morning with Aliza waking me up crying because her ear hurt. She only dozed the rest of the night, as did I, so I was on the phone minutes after the dr office opened making an appointment. We had just enough time to get Josiah finished with kindergarten and out to the car to be on time...only to find out the car battery had died. I've learned to use the car charger and after 10 minutes or so the car started. Aliza had a major ear infection. We got her antibiotics and some ear drops for pain that worked very well. She was able to finish the very little bit of schoolwork she had left.
Aliza still wanted Grandma and Grandad to come for supper to help us celebrate and since ear infections aren't contagious we went for it. Aliza chose potato soup and Josiah chose chocolate covered strawberries. It turned out to be a good evening together.
Friday morning it was pouring rain as in pouring an inch of rain per hour. I had my review with the Board of Education that morning so I drug all of our work and myself out in that rain! It was an easy review. One of the reviewers was the same person I had in January and she remembered me.
Friday evening we drove to Jeremy's parents for the weekend. When we got there the children were busy while Jeremy and I unloaded the car. They brought me to the living room and gave me flowers and a card and gift for finishing school and being there teacher. It was completely unexpected and very sweet of my mother-in-law to remember me.
My 3rd year of "teaching" is complete. We had a really fun weekend that you'll hear about some time!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kindergarten Graduate

*I decided kindergarten gets a post by itself. Another post on the last day of school coming soon!*

The last day of kindergarten! It's a bittersweet day for Mama! Mostly very sweet though. The whole family gathered together with Josiah to watch the last K5 Beginnings lesson with him. His teachers have a little graduation ceremony complete with memories of lessons from the year. At the end I gave Josiah his diploma. He wasn't sure how to react at the moment (told me I could put it on his desk), but later in the day he became quite proud of that diploma. 

As soon as school was over Josiah took a new interest in his reading books. He chose two to read when I laid out all of his work from the year. He also read one last night. This is definitely new growth in reading. Somehow I have to keep him interested in reading this summer.
Jeremy and I are proud of how much Josiah has progressed in reading and writing this year.
Grandad and Grandma came over for supper and chocolate covered strawberries and Josiah was happy to show them his work.
A graduation isn't complete with out a family picture, right?!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Recital and Mother's Day

For the next who-knows-how-many-years I will attend a dance recital on Mother's Day. That's the day for recitals at this studio. I have no idea why. I'd like to ask and I'd like to suggest other options, but they've been doing it for 31 years so I'm pretty sure I should just keep my mouth shut!

The doors opened at 1:30 and there was this HUGE line of families at 1:25. The entrance is at the back of this picture where the buildings look like they intersect. There were plenty of seats, even extra, but I guess some wanted to be make sure they were up front. I didn't care where we sat. I had a great seat for the rehearsal and Aliza and I stayed all 3 hours of rehearsal so that she could watch the other classes. I had my videos and pictures so I was happy just to sit and watch the recital. I took my Kindle for good measure, but didn't use it! Two and a half hours--no intermission. After sitting that long I was feeling sortof pregnant!
Chrissy took pictures for me. It would be silly for me to post pictures after posting the videos, but they were just what I wanted for Aliza's scrapbook. Aliza LOVED the stage. She grinned the whole time. She told me her Mother's Day gift to me was her dance. I told her the best Mother's Day gift would be no drama about performing. And there was no drama whatsoever. I dropped her off where she needed to be and there was no looking back. Phew! She's growing up!
Back to the Mother's Day part of the day. Jeremy made breakfast and I made the mistake of going downstairs before it was served. Josiah saw me and looked at me with big puppy dog eyes and said, "I guess we were too late." You better believe I went back to bed so they could serve me breakfast in bed!

Jeremy played in a golf tournament the Friday before and he put a few dollars in the raffle for a Mother's Day gift basket. He happened to win and it really made my day. Before I even really saw it I asked if there was a getaway in it and Jeremy said yes (with a silly grin on his face). Bracelet/earrings, restaurant gift cards, Shore birds tickets, a beach was an unexpected and very special surprise. (We'll be able to use the getaway nights next winter during Ocean City's off season.)
After the recital we went to my parent's house to pick up Josiah and Anna (weren't we nice to allow them to skip the recital??!), have supper with my grandparents and visit with my aunt and uncle visiting from New Mexico. When my Mom came home from work Aliza got to show her the dance videos and we continued to visit until way too late. We were all utterly exhausted when we got home.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dance Recital--Jazz

I have more to say about our first recital experience...and pictures. But for now here are the videos from dress rehearsal. Jazz is in this post and Tap is in a separate post.

Dance Recital--Tap

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rain Gutter Garden

This week flew by, but we finally got phase 2 of the garden planted yesterday. I bought a 10 foot rain gutter. Jeremy cut it in half. Josiah drilled holes in the bottom for drainage.

Then Jeremy screwed each gutter into our privacy fence.
Personally, I think these are about the coolest thing ever!
I had help putting scooping dirt into each gutter and planting seeds.
I planted two types of lettuce and spinach in the gutters. And a few marigolds for fun. 

We were pretty tickled to find broccoli sprouts and a cucumber sprout in our swimming pool gardens.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Concert Success!

A few months ago Brandi heard a radio advertisement for a Mandisa and Colton Dixon concert. It took a lot of effort to secure tickets and we, finally, got 3 of the last 16 tickets available for the concert. We spent the weekend at Joel and Brandi's house and Sunday evening was the concert.

You may recall that the last concert I took Aliza to ended in tears and we left early. This concert was held in a large church instead of a civic center so I had reason to believe that the things that scared Aliza would be toned down in a smaller setting. I was right, but it didn't keep Aliza from being scared and wanted to turn around and go home on the way to the concert. Brandi and I did a lot of talking to keep her in this adventure with us! Aliza had so many butterflies in her stomach that she said they "ate her appetite." The concert started at 6pm and even at intermission at 7:15 I couldn't get her to eat the sandwich I had packed for her.

So her biggest fears are smoke and the first song on Colton Dixon's CD called Noise. Noise starts with car alarms and sirens that Aliza can't stand. Brandi and I told her all of the possible reasons we could think of that Colton Dixon would not choose to do that song....Would you believe that was the FIRST song he did?! I'm glad it was the first song because then it was over and Aliza didn't have to worry about whether it was coming.

We sat on the very back row of chairs against the wall which was great. We stood on the chairs and ended up with a pretty great view of the stage. Aliza ended up having a great time. The lights weren't too distracting. The volume wasn't painfully loud. Colton used smoke 3 or 4 times and it was very short. By the time Aliza realized there was smoke and she should be scared--I could tell her it was over.

At intermission the sponsoring radio station threw out a whole bunch of t-shirts. The family in front of us caught several and gave Aliza one. She was SO excited. It is huge, but that hardly matters.
Mandisa had a fun show too. Of course the favorites are always the songs you know really well. Overcomer was the last song of the night and it was worth the wait! In the end this concert was a wild success! (Now Aliza is very curious about American Idol and can't wait until Colton Dixon's new CD is released this summer.)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Plastic Pool Raised Beds

Josiah really wanted a garden. It started with him learning about Johnny Appleseed. He planted apple seeds and since then he has had some big garden and orchard ideas. I didn't think this was the year to start a garden with me being pregnant and such. But we kept talked and dreaming and I started thinking that raised beds were the way to go. That led me to Pinterest which led me to the idea of using plastic kiddie pools for raised beds. All of a sudden a garden didn't seem out of reach and I got really excited about the possibilities.

It didn't take much convincing to get Chrissy to go with me to Home Depot to buy gardening supplies. She's had her own garden and is good at making sure I make good decisions. =) We got mulch, garden soil, top soil and after a stop at Michaels we ended up at Walmart for 2 plastic swimming pools. I could have maybe saved a few bucks if I had asked around to see if anyone had old plastic pools they wanted to get rid of, but I didn't.

Josiah wanted to go along last night, but I really needed a night out so I promised that I would not buy seeds without him. This morning we bought seeds. We ended up with more than plenty seeds.
It was close to lunch time when we got home, but Josiah was ready to get right to work. Power tools aren't my thing, but Josiah's enthusiasm spurned me on to greatness! How hard can a drill be? He was completely confident that we could figure it out! And we did. It wasn't too hard at all. We did a little experimenting and in no time at all we had drainage holes in our gardens.
Then it was lunch and school. We couldn't work any more on the garden until school was finished. That included a nap for Josiah. I guess drilling all those holes wore my little man out. First we put mulch in the bottom of each pool.
The children and I finished the first pool before supper, but I just couldn't lift the last bag of garden dirt out of the trunk...and I needed a couple more bags of topsoil. So Jeremy helped after supper.
Josiah was most excited to plant watermelon. I have no idea how watermelon will do. I know they will take over and spread out. Here Josiah is supervising Anna in planting watermelon.
Watermelon and cucumbers in this garden.

Carrots, broccoli, chives and some flowers in this pool.
There is a cherry tomato plant in between the pools and zucchini on the right end. There are also 2 pots with Josiah's apple seeds.
I don't have a whole lot of confidence with my gardening skills, but it's a fun experiment nonetheless.

There is a part 2 to the garden story that will come along next week. =)