Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All About Blueberries

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day to pick blueberries. I don't think the temperature hit 80 degrees and there was a cool breeze. The sun was shining and the bushes were loaded with berries. The children were good pickers, well, they mostly emptied my bucket into theirs and there were several squabbles over whose turn it was to dump my bucket. Whatever gets the job done!

I froze most of them.
And I also made a pie. There is nothing healthy about this pie at all. (You know it is not trendy to post unhealthy food on a blog!!) However, it was most delicious especially eaten out on the deck on a perfect evening with my husband beside me and my children happily playing together.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Around Here This Week

When we visited my Aunt and Uncle in June, Laurie served home canned pickles. I don't usually eat pickles because the sweet/sour juice aggravates my paralyzed vocal cord and I cough and can't breathe. But I thought since they were homemade I would try one. I bit into it and it was my Grandma's pickles. It brought back so many memories of meals around my Grandma's table. Since it didn't make me cough, I HAD to make some. Of course I went to Mom's because she has all the stuff to can. We made 10 pints. It's a super easy recipe.
Wednesday morning we had a Lego disaster. Thankfully it wasn't more than a Lego disaster. Aliza stores her Legos in the top drawer of the girls dresser. She was getting some things out to play with Josiah and Anna wanted to see. Anna pulled on the top drawer and managed to tip the entire dresser. Aliza's trundle bed was pulled out which caught the dresser and, thankfully, no one was hurt. However, the big sets that Aliza's keeps on top of the dresser slid off and shattered. There were lots of tears. Aliza was so sad. Anna felt bad...it was an accident. And Josiah just wanted Aliza to play with him. Everyone was crying. It was a rainy day and became a Lego rebuilding day. There's nothing like a good disaster to bring siblings together. We all sat on the floor and helped Aliza. She went step by step through the directions and rebuilt her Cinderella castle first. By lunch time she was having fun. Since Wednesday she has rebuilt both of her large sets and has also rebuilt a lot of her smaller sets. And now she says that it was a good thing that those sets broke.
My little chef. Anna is always helping me in the kitchen. There *may* be times that I try to sneak in the kitchen to make a dessert or a meal by myself! Tonight she was especially impressive. We made zucchini fries. (I'm trying to use lots of zucchini!) I cut the zucchini and tossed them in flour. Anna did the rest. she cracked the eggs for the egg dip. Rolled the zucchini in the egg and then in the bread/cheese mixture and then put them on the baking tray. Some moments she seems SO grown up. I have to remind myself that she is just 3!
I'm starting to get ready for baby. I have 10 weeks left. First on the checklist is to get rid of all the baby girl clothes. Mom helped me today and we came across a few treasures. Like these teeny tiny baby shoes that Aliza wore. Dear me...this being-done-having-children thing is going to take some processing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Weekend of Adventures

Jeremy had an invitation to play in a golf tournament so we went to WV a day earlier than we had planned. This meant that Karen worked the first night we were there and I needed to figure out a plan to have the children out of the house so that she could sleep.

I decided on the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Center--a museum for children. The children and I set out for Winchester and a fun day of exploring. The museum opened only a few months ago so everything was shiny and new. Some exhibits are still being developed.
There were 4 floors of activities. We spent the most time on the second floor. There was a Potomac River Watershed exhibit. It's always fun to play in water. There were 7 different tables of building manipulatives and an area to build roller coasters.
Josiah enjoyed the dinosaur exhibit.
There was also a real ambulance to play in. This particular driver made me a little nervous!!
This is the roller coaster exhibit. When it was just us in the area, Josiah really moved the pieces around and tried to figure out how to get the ball to go the farthest. I missed Jeremy here--he would have been able to help Josiah be really successful.
We had a picnic lunch across the street on the grounds of the George Washington's Office Museum and then revisited our favorite exhibits. The crowd thinned out after lunch and we enjoyed the museum more. Everyone was tired when we started the drive home. I was a little early so when all 3 were sleeping when we reached our exit, I kept driving and took the LONG route back to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Grandma was awake when we got back to the house. I kept my eyes open for a Pioneer Woman cooking show and then I was fast asleep. I was tired after walked up and down 4 floors of steps multiple times!!
Saturday morning was a nice lazy morning. Then at 12:30 we decided to pack and picnic lunch and head to Poor House Farm Park for a letterboxing adventure. Karen knows a couple that plants quite a few letterboxes in the area so we knew they had a series of dragonfly stamps at this park. It was a perfect day for a picnic and walk.
There were 7 stamps and I got us off to a wrong start by finding the last stamp first. It even made sense with the clue. But then, of course, the 2nd clue didn't make any sense and we spent a lot of time wandering along a creek in a thickly wooded area. Oh well. It's always fun to explore, right?!
All of the stamps were hidden in ziploc bags covered in black or camo duct tape.

Once we got on the right path, there were gobs of the most delicious wild raspberries. We snacked as we walked.
We found 6 out of the 7 stamps. Some were quite difficult and others were a lot easier. I think it's fun. It's a free adventure and it gets us out to new and different places.
This time, though, it was the raspberries that really stole the show. They were sooo yummy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Some Days

Some days it seems that everyone wakes up tired and cranky....even Mommy.

It's the days that the bickering and whining start first thing in the morning and Mommy realizes that staying in the house is not appealing at all. So, against her better judgment, Mommy devises a plan and presents it to her children. One child is excited. One child thinks of something else they'd rather do and starts whining. And the third child thinks of yet something else and starts arguing with second child. Mommy's plan wins and we pile in the car.

The two unagreeable children are in the back seat together and continue to bicker and whine and fight and make everyone else miserable. Mommy is pretty sure she should turn around. But instead we arrive at our destination to follow the clues to a letterbox. We find the spot, but there is no letterbox to be found. (Gas wasted. Fail.)
So we visit Daddy at work. Everyone is happy to walk around holding Daddy's hand while ladies oooh and aaahhh over how much everyone has grown and how wonderful it is that Aliza loves reading this summer.

It's just after 11am when we get back in the car and the whining begins in earnest again for McDonalds. (Oh no. They did not get McDonalds.) We had one more stop to make that did not prove profitable, but they did get a ring pop out of that which held them over until we got home.

There was all manner of Ninja nonsense during lunch and lots of Mommy saying (not altogether kindly) to sit down and eat.

Anna went to bed late last night and woke up extra early this morning, but she's 3 going on 12 so she would not let herself fall asleep for a nap. Cue extra screen time. I took a nap.

The nap didn't help me, to my dismay. Do you know how utterly annoying and taxing it is to listen to bickering and whining? My general approach is to be quiet and ignore because after a while they work it out and play nicely. Which is what happened, but today it only lasted short periods of time and the cycle started again.

And then there was Anna, who didn't nap, and now wants to eat constantly and help with everything because if she is still for more than a nanosecond she will fall asleep. So I'm mopping the floor with the steam mop and she decides that she is going to hold the cord for me. (I need to hold the cord, it's just how I do it.) She does not want me to touch the cord. I comply until she starts standing on the cord and jiggling the cord so that I can't move the steam mop easily. And I yell at her and tell her she must stand right here beside me and walk with me. And then she stands on the cord again (on purpose) and I'm ready to explode.

There's still supper to get ready. There's still a thunderstorm to live through with all of the childhood drama. I don't know if I will survive. Daddy eventually got home after supper and I think if I can just keep breathing I will make it.

Then everyone's in bed. Asleep at last. I'm left with myself and the day and the mistakes I made. I've got two hours to get over all the annoyances because Mommy is going to wake up tomorrow to those three little faces and some how I have to make it a better day. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ladies Day

My Mom invited her daughters to go to a musical with her in Lancaster area called Half-Stitched. It's based on the book by Wanda Brunstetter. Our ticket included lunch so we left bright and early yesterday morning to be in Lancaster by 11am.

All of us loved the play. It was equally funny and serious. Most of us cried at times. I had no idea what to expect (I had not read the book) and I was pleasantly surprised. I would go again. Next time my sister Linda has to be able to go with us because she loves plays and it almost seemed wrong to be watching it without her!

We spent a bit of time visiting our Great Aunt and Uncle and then headed to our supper destination--Cheesecake Factory at a big mall. We walked around the mall a bit and then ate before heading the rest of the way home.

I'm so lucky to have a great bunch of sisters...and a Mom who enjoys our company!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day Trip

This was a first for our family. We took a day trip to Young Life camp where Joel is working for a few weeks this summer and Brandi was visiting him for the weekend. It was a BIG day!

We arrived at camp in time for lunch. Lunch with 400 middle schoolers is a loud experience and Aliza's eyes were pretty big the whole time. Lunch was quesadillas and chips which worked our for all of the children. Aliza loved the quesadillas and Josiah and Anna ate chips.

After lunch we walked around camp and saw all the different activities that campers can participate in during the afternoon free time. A zip line that ended in the bay, a huge swing called The Screamer, kayaking, tubing, sailing, swimming, ropes course, frisbee golf, a gym, game room, rock wall--the possibilities were almost endless.

Of course everyone wanted to see Uncle Joel's "house" so we headed up to his room and changed into swimming attire for the afternoon. We spent a good amount of time at the pool. An ice cream snack where Josiah loved the huge display of animal heads. There were leopards, polar bear, bears among others. Then we spent a good bit of time just watching the swing.
Jeremy and Aliza did a little kayaking.
Then we headed back to the "house" to change for supper. And this is what happened...

...We ALL fell asleep. Aliza and I were on couches in the lobby and I heard some staff talking about going down for supper. We took some groggy children to supper. Supper was pizza and wings and Josiah couldn't even eat. He was still suffering symptoms from a sinus infection and he was so tired he just couldn't eat.

We stayed for the evening Club meeting. There was music, entertainment and then the Club talk. Basically a sermon. The children loved the music, thought the entertainment was scary and Aliza listened pretty well to the talk. The campers were dismissed to the outdoors to spend 10 minutes of quiet time with God. We kept shushing our children, told them to go give Joel a quiet good bye hug and then walked past 400+ kids sitting in the field quiet with God.

The kiddos changed into pajamas and we headed for home and had them tucked in their own bed right after midnight.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Life in Pictures

Our highly anticipated community 4th of July parade was rained out today because the effects of Hurricane Arthur were visiting. The parade is the candy-event-of-the-year for my children so they were pretty bummed that we will miss the rescheduled date. Since it's been a rainy kind of day I thought I'd share some of our fun this summer.

Aliza, Josiah and Anna have discovered boogie boards. We were at the beach yesterday as the storm was coming up the coast. It was super windy and our normally very calm beach had decent waves that were almost crashing. The children really enjoyed that. (The pictures are not from yesterday.)

We have finished watching another season of Amazing Race. This map has been fun to use to track the race. I think I need a race break. Aliza gets so involved in the race--she wants to speculate and talk about it all the time. This time I made the mistake of verbalizing that there was one team that I did not care for. As would be expected, maybe required, that team became Aliza's absolute favorite...and the competition was on!
I'm not sure what it going on in this picture, but I think they are cute kids. =)
Lots of bike riding.
Selfies with Grandma Karen.

Anna during Bible School. Her favorite activity was dressing up. She wore that flower necklace every night and there were a whole bunch of fun sunglasses for try. She also decided, for whatever reason, that it was necessary to wear the green striped Strawberry Shortcake leggings to Bible School just about every night.
So far I can still decide on a daily basis if I want to show the baby bump or hide it. Aliza takes the doll (names Charlotte) we made with her everywhere.
This was a perfectly calm day at the beach.

And just for fun--this is what we are reading these days. Aliza chooses all chapter books. American Girl, fairies and princesses
Josiah chooses Legos and tractors.
Anna picks Barbie and I throw in a couple others for her. I'm sure that the Barbie choice is the effect of having a big sister.
I've ordered schoolbooks, but I'm wondering, Can summer last forever?!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Joy Dare::June

1476. Sidewalk chalk
1477. Listening to the Klove Fan Awards via good old fashioned radio
1478. Labor of love
1479. A glimpse of our healthy baby boy!
1480. Heard from my 8 year old--"I just love how I look today!"
1481. Josiah got to work with his Grandad
1482. Picking peas and another bucket of strawberries
1483. Listening to conversation while shelling peas
1484. Dinner with my mom and sisters
1485. Taking time to read books and hold a 3 year old who just wanted to be rocked
1486. Lovely beach day
1487. Josiah easily rode his bike without training wheels
1488. I'm content with pale white skin because I never want another sunburn like the one I have
1489. Trying new activities like archery, shooting and kayaking
1490. A pregnancy that has allowed me to stay active
1491. Summer activity busyness
1492. Scrapbook time that was so refreshing
1493. Being shown new bicycle tricks
1494. Aliza working so hard and being successful at riding her bike without training wheels
1495. Calling my Mom a whole bunch of times today
1496. Restocked pantry and refrigerator
1497. A neighbor with a Band Aid
1498. Little sister washing big sister's hair
1499. The beach all to ourselves
1500. Father's Day cards
1501. Spending some time with Dad
1502. Looking forward to the weekend like it's vacation
1503. Seeing friends from long ago
1504. Marie modeling to Aliza how to be a good friend
1505. Arriving at Dan and Laurie's with all of us in good spirits
1506. Learning to play new board games
1507. Afternoon visiting and baby holding
1508. Hearing happy laughter and play coming from outside
1509. 4 wheeler, a stream and a campfire
1510. A husband who loves being a Dad
1511. My Dad who is invested and interested in me and my family
1512. Amazing travelers
1513. Knowing an opportunity is not a fit and trusting God for direction to fill the gaps
1514. Leaving with memories made
1515. Bookworm
1516. Everyone on the couch reading or being read to this afternoon
1517. Aliza has gained so much confidence on her bike
1518. Pool party with Community Bible Study
1519. Next thing I knew they were outside in jammies and bare feet catching fireflies
1520. Josiah said, "This is the best life in the whole world!"
1521. A quiet road to ride bikes
1522. The fire siren sounded and everyone continued to play outside. No one came running to me.
1523. Wild black raspberries
1524. First family dinner book club
1525. Joel and Brandi's highly anticipated arrival
1526. A new record--3 bike rides/walk in one day (morning, afternoon and evening)
1527. Rebuilding the Lego Mine
1528. Lazy day at home
1529. New friends
1530. Kids asleep early
1531. A grill delivered to us
1532. Aliza and Josiah had a great first night of Bible School
1533. Mom had help at work today
1534. Boogie boards
1535. Josiah spontaneously thanking his Daddy again for rebuilding his Lego Mine
1536. My Bible School friend
1537. Drenched in a downpour during a bike ride
1538. Provision
1539. Time with Grandma and Grandpa
1540. Slow paced day
1541. As soon as I sit down my lap is filled with a body or two or three
1542. Bible school memories--songs, friends, crafts
1543. Aliza telling Josiah how proud she was of him singing
1544. Anna's recent obsession with dressing herself which leads to memorable fashion designs
1545. Aliza and Josiah learned to play Rummikub.
1546. Family day
1547. Reconnecting conversation
1548. Supper halfway ready for tomorrow night
1549. Christian radio station
1550. Josiah's ability to think of other people