Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Official Summer Good-Bye

It's kinda hard to say good-bye to what has been a spectacular summer. It was hot, but not too hot and a lot of days had the perfect cooling breeze. We took one last trip to the Cove this morning. The water was cold, but that didn't keep the children out of it completely.

We were almost ready to leave when a church group arrived. At first we thought it was a wedding since that has happened while we were at the Cove before. Instead of was a baptism. We enjoyed being able to observe. It was an African American church and they baptized three people. The tide was low so those individuals had to walk out a long way in the water! They sang spirituals and prayed. It was a cultural experience for the children.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Josiah and Anna were scavenging in the shed recently and found Jeremy's BB gun. Since then Josiah has wanted so badly to shoot it. Tonight was the night and he was thrilled. Jeremy was with them (the girls shot too) the whole time and I'm pretty sure I should have just stayed in the house.

But I went out and grew quite concerned over the way the BB gun was being seen as a toy. And since Jeremy had already taught them to keep the safety on until they were ready to shoot, Josiah thought he could do anything with it as long as the safety was on. So I initiated a conversation about how ALL guns, no matter how big or small, are made to hurt or kill an animal--or person. I'm that Mom with a warrior boy who is curious about guns and hunting. I try to tell myself that boys and weapons is as natural and to be expected as girls and glitter, tiaras and high heeled princess shoes.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Baby Lunch

My dear and long-time friend, Maria, planned my baby lunch this time. Bless her heart. She started our time together by noting that this is the 9th Sheats baby and my 4th baby so she had to do some thinking to come up with an idea that hadn't already been used! It was a music celebration theme. Babies are always reason to celebrate and babies make our hearts sing. (The Grandmothers heartily agreed!)

Zephaniah 3:17 says "The Lord your God is with you. He is might to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing." Maria encouraged me to take this verse with me during my surgery and recovery. It's interesting at what points this verse has come up in my life--it was painted on the wall above my bunk in the YES training house in Baltimore, it was sung in our wedding, I've had it memorized for years and now upon the arrival of our 4th child.

Maria made Aliza her helper. This was such a special gift to Aliza. Maria picked her up early so that Aliza could help her set up the cupcakes and favors. Aliza sat beside Aunt Meghan and ordered off the adult menu. She acted very ladylike during lunch. (Except that this is maybe the one picture where she isn't sticking out her tongue. What can I expect? I did the same thing to my Gramma.) I was so proud of her. She has become quite a helper in the last week or so.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bits of Life

I made spaghetti with a spaghetti squash tonight and it was a successful meal--for Jeremy and I. I had leftover of "real" spaghetti for the children (and me). I felt very accomplished and also learned a need a sharper knife for cutting spaghetti squash in half.

I've had three very successful Trades of Hope events since I joined the company in August. This probably surprises me more than anyone else. I love that even at a very small level I can feel that I am positively impacting women's lives in other parts of the world. I've learned that I really enjoy sharing about the artisans and their stories. The "and now do you want to to buy something or host an event" part will probably always feel awkward to me. As long as the mission is bigger than the business in my mind and heart I'll be happy.

On Saturday I had planned a magic disappearing act. I planned to disappear to my parents quiet house to scrapbook and nap alone. I decided that morning to invite Aliza to go with me. I decided to invest in her and our relationship. It was still a quiet day for me--in the sense that all I had to do was listen. I didn't have to say much! I'm pretty sure the rewards for spending that time with my daughter are far greater than having those hours to myself.

We are back in the Bible study and dance class routine again. Josiah and Anna have a really great teacher. Aliza loves her Bible study class. She and I have been working hard on memorizing our verses. (We have the same verses to memorize.) Aliza thought the verse was so hard and then she had it down in 2 days. Of course she loves dance and declared that the class time was far too short. =)

I'm having the most constant pain/soreness that I've ever had in a pregnancy. If I don't bend, squat or lift I can make out pretty well. This has given me incentive to be very consistent in reminding the children to take care of their things. It also means that when Meghan stops by she tidies up the toy room and living room and I don't say anything. It also means that my Mom has given me the "you must accept help" chat. It also means that Jeremy is helping a lot.

In 3 weeks I'll be holding a baby. It almost doesn't seem real. I have the bitty baby clothes ready to go. The crib will be set up eventually. =) We wonder if we are ready for nighttime feedings. I suppose one is never ready for that, but is given the grace and strength when the time comes. The doctor was pretty forthright with me last week about these last couple weeks with my medical history. I'd appreciate your prayers for a healthy baby and a healthy Mama. I've taken nothing for granted this time around and will most likely be crying tears of gratitude and relief when I get this baby in my arms. But, oh my goodness, those bitty baby clothes are so so sweet!

We are having that crisp warm weather that makes us all want to just live outside. That's all the bits of life for now!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Anniversary Dinner

One random day I was standing in our yard and I thought how much fun it would be to have an outdoor dinner in that particular spot. It didn't take me long to figure out that Mom and Dad's 40th Anniversary would be a perfect excuse for a dinner. I pitched the idea to Janell and we were off. First with a shared Pinterest board for ideas and then the fun of merging our ideas into reality.

We made a 20 foot garland to hang between two trees. We took several ideas and put them together. There was burlap, white and red tulle and paper hearts sewn together. It's still hanging in the yard and I still love it.
Stamped napkins. Adorable.
Mason jars. Wildflowers from the side of the road and citronella candles. (I think citronella is better in theory than reality, but we tried!)
There are 22 in the Sheats family now. We had 16 around the tables and a picnic table for some of the children. Aliza enjoyed being at the adult table. She kept Meghan talking the whole meal and afterwards when we were sharing stories and memories, Aliza was soaking it all in.
Ezra is happy to see Grandad.
Lydia was ready to see Grandma.
This was not to be our normal family dinner so the menu reflected that: jumbo shrimp, crab cakes (made by Laura), potato wedges (Laurie, they will forever be on our table!), corn on the cob, pasta salad (Pioneer Woman recipe thanks to Meghan), and rolls (made from scratch by Meghan).
And Smith Island Cake for dessert. Original chocolate and strawberries and cream (which had a lovely red layers which was perfect for our theme.
Yup, Mom and Dad cut the cake.
And had the first bite.
And when it was just about too dark we took pictures of each family with Mom and Dad. Of course, this is my family with them.
It was a very nice evening. I think everyone enjoyed it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Joy Dare::August

1630. Gladiolus from the garden on my counter
1631. If I can endure the initial boredom and bickering they will usually play happily together
1632. Little girl giggles
1633. Sabbath day of rest
1634. Conscious decision to not do the things I thought of doing and sit and draw with Anna
1635. Family day
1636. Aliza teaching Josiah to play checkers
1637. Blueberry crumble ice cream
1638. Pipi Longstocking book club dinner
1639. Josiah and Anna and their tackle boxes
1640. A new friend
1641. Sprinkler fun
1642. Intense playing
1643. Quietly working while I listened to and enjoyed their play
1644. Adding a new role makes me even more intentional in how I use my time
1645. Taking Mary Lou on a letterboxing adventure
1646. A couple willing to host us for the weekend
1647. A beautiful wedding
1648. Orange Fanta (Africa in a bottle)
1649. Pop-pop's favorite ice cream that I was hoping for this weekend--served at the wedding
1650. A cool basement
1651. Children displaying excellent behavior
1652. A really nice visit with my cousin and her family
1653. Josiah swimming all over the pool
1654. Aliza and Josiah really enjoyed sports camp
1655. Freezing corn with my sisters
1656. Jeremy took the children to sports camp and I got to do a few things I wanted to do
1657. Planning an anniversary dinner
1658. A letter from my Dad
1659. Anna participated in sports camp
1660. An evening home alone to work on projects
1661. A very boring doctor appointment
1662. Everyone was just generally happier today
1663. It's Friday night at the end of a hectic week
1664. Working with Janell
1665. A chance to keep my mouth shut
1666. Moving out of my comfort zone
1667. Snuggling with sick kiddos
1668. Rainbow dragon birthday party
1669. Lydia so sweetly saying over and over "best birthday ever!"
1670. Confidence boost
1671. The Lord's mercies are new every morning
1672. Utterly failing does not make me less loved
1673. Aliza's supper prayer for new attitudes for all of us
1674. Tears and a better attitude
1675. Josiah said school is better than he thought it would be
1676. Visiting friends this evening
1677. Bedtime discussion with Josiah
1678. New and out of my comfort zone
1679. Hair trimmed
1680. Zumba kids Wii game
1681. Crying with my daughter in her hurt
1682. Having lunch for Meghan and boys
1683. Fudge brownies from Grandma's cookbook
1684. A good night's sleep
1685. Glimpses of heaven
1686. A long Sunday afternoon nap
1687. Took Anna to her room for bed just before Jeremy found a bat in the room we were in
1688. Normal thyroid levels and a friend in the waiting room
1689. Daddy backup tonight
1690. Lost bear blanket found and returned
1691. Prayer: May the words and my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.
1692. Aliza's attitude much improved today
1693. I walked slowly (Josiah said I was faster than a turtle) and the kids rode bikes
1694. School completed with good attitudes
1695. Made bookmarks today and Josiah said I should have put "I love reading" on his.
1696. The neighbors sharing their pear tree
1697. Filling drawers with baby clothes
1698. 3 children napping in the car after a couple afternoon errands?!
1699. Empty beach
1700. Seafood dinner date
1701. Jeremy played golf this morning and while I did grocery shopping with three children I genuinely thought how much I love him
1702. Since I had shopping helpers there are some extra snacks in the house!
1703. Church tonight
1704. Some time with my girls
1705. Josiah had so much to tell me about his fishing day
1706. Jumping off the dock
1707. Letting Josiah take the adventurous risks that boys need