Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Have a 4 Year Old

Sometimes I forget that I have a 4 year old. She walks and talks like she is older than 4. She plays with her big sister and brother. When she is alone, however, she acts like she is 4 or maybe 2!

Between the hours of 4:00 and 8:00--today only she:
  • baptized Aliza's lalaloopsy's with bubble bath and then put a tiny dot of lotion on each head (you have NO idea how many lalaloopsy's Alliza has!) while the lalaloopsy's were innocently sitting in the doll house
  • chose her favorite pieces of my jewelry and stashed them in one of her favorite baskets (at least she knew where they were when I asked. I did find another one later on my bed)
  • dumped pepper all over a bucket of acorns that Josiah had picked up this morning. A sprinkling of pepper was all over the counter which gave her away.
  • sprayed All-Purpose Cleaner ALL OVER her bedroom which is also Aliza's bedroom. You can only imagine how mad Aliza gets over all of this.
You can only imagine how mad and frustrated Jeremy and I get over all of this too! I know it's a dumb question to ask a 4 year old, but I can't help asking her, "Why did you do this? What made you think that A, B, or C was ok to do?" Her answer is "My brain told me to." And we say, "You need to tell your brain NO!" She gets disciplined. I sigh. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Hidden Layers

After living in this house for 14 years with no move in sight, it was time to find the bottom of closets and the back of cupboards. Over the summer I moved from space to space and, for now, I have crossed the last space off my mental list. I have some aspirations for making our home for visually appealing, but first, I needed to get rid of some of the excess. I have some pride so there are no before pictures! =) And I can report that all of these areas continue to look very similar to the pictures.

The dryer is a very natural "catch all" space when we walk in the door.
It's very easy to throw things on top of the refrigerator to keep them out of reach of children. There are a few craft supplies that remain on the back corner of the fridge for exactly that reason.
The cookbook shelf is what you are looking at below. That shelf was threatening to explode every time I opened the pantry door. Now I look at that shelf for relief when I open the pantry door!
Cupboards that were very full have been pared down to size. There are more cupboards and I chine cupboard that are not pictured. =)
This is the closet under the stairs. Another explosion that was waiting to happen. My goal was to get the board games in there. I did--with plenty of room leftover! You can actually step in to the closet, see what coats are hanging there and find what you are looking for. Another door I can now open for fun.
It's hard for me to believe, but we have painted the entire house since we bought the house. The girls have a closet that goes under the eaves and turns under the eaves. In the logic of our youth, we stored the unused paint under the eaves. Including the little ones, 27 cans of paint are now stored neatly in the garage. Yay for children who are helpful and who want commission!! I didn't carry all those can out myself. =)
That closet also had a bunch of baby stuff thrown back there. I completely cleared it out. Now there are 2 tubs of girl clothes waiting for Anna to grow in to them.
And when I came down to enlist Jeremy's help with another organizing project I found this! He had gotten in to the spirit of things and decided to clean under the stove. This is my one before picture! If you ever wondered about the quality of my kitchen cabinets, yes, that is 2 pieces of raw board nailed up to be the end of the cabinet.
In between all of this the going through things I started scrubbing walls and door. When I start, it is hard to stop because I keep seeing more and more and more that needs to be done. Even as I'm ending this post more spaces are popping up in my mind begging to be reduced and organized. I'm satisfied for now.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Family Dinner Book Club--Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

This month's book selection was Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Aliza particularly enjoyed this book and is anxious to check out more Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books.
The menu suggestion didn't strike our fancy this time so I left the meal planning to Aliza. I should have known... Excuse the awkward picture below!
Each menu item was inspired by a chapter in the book. I won't give away the details of the book, but I'll tell you the menu item and chapter name--in no particular order.

Ham: The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure
Fruit: The Selfishness Cure
Crackers: The Answer-Backer Cure
Cheese: The Never-Want-To-Go-To-Bedders Cure
Radishes: The Radish Cure
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches: The Won't-Pick-Up-Toys Cure
Pumpkin Pie: The Figher-Quarrelers Cure
Hot Tea: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Herself
(I rounded out the meal with mashed potatoes and green beans.)
The house sure smelled good when the pumpkin pie was baking!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Getting in to the Swing of Things

The first few weeks of school were a struggle for me watching all my nieces and nephews going to school. My sister in law even has an empty house a couple mornings every week. I can't even imagine! I don't wish for that on a regular basis, but when given a moment to daydream it does sound pretty nice. Good thing I enjoy delayed gratification!

I stayed very close to home to get in to our morning school routine. That is going very well so I took some liberties this week. A few outings on gorgeous days reminded me exactly what the advantages of this home education thing are and I remembered that I do love it and we are all thriving.

Pemberton Park has some nice trails to walk and places to explore. They had most of their school work done so after Isaiah's morning nap I threw some sandwiches together and we left almost at noon for a hike.
I carried Isaiah in the b'jorn. Everyone wanted to do another trail, but I couldn't. All of the baby's weight is on my shoulders and lower back, but it was good to get exercise and fresh air. We will go again this fall. There is a letterbox waiting for us there too!
Another day we got an invitation for one last swim at the pool. I dropped everything and they swam. I didn't even take my bathing suit because I have very low tolerance for cold water! I was perfectly happy to sit and watch and entertain Isaiah. The children swam---and shivered. I pretty sure I heard Josiah's teeth chattering. lol.
Just for the record--Aliza and Josiah had dentist appointments this week. Neither of them had any cavities. Just sayin'!!! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Music and Culture

I had the great idea to bring some music and cultural education in to Aliza and Josiah's life by taking them to hear the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

The musicians were absolutely phenomenal. There was a flutist that I could have listened to all night. They sang in English, Russian and Ukraine. During the concert a slideshow was looping of pictures of the outreach work the group does and different scenes from Ukraine. Have you forgotten, like me, that Ukraine is fighting a war? That Russia is still invading Ukraine? It was rather sobering to see the men and women dressed in lovely black dresses and suits and being told that some of them lived in war zones and others have been separated from the families because of the war.

Fifteen minutes into the concert, Aliza has tears streaming down her face and wanted to go home. The combination of the pictures and the emotion filled music was too much for her to process. She buried her head in my shoulder and continued to cry for the next 45 minutes until intermission.

At about 40 minutes into the concert Josiah starts crying. He just wanted to go home!

Needless to say, we left at intermission. It was all we could handle! Aliza was pretty surprised when I told her that I had no regrets about her seeing those pictures because not every one in the world lives like we do. We kept talking about her feelings in the car and we got to the point where she could say she felt sad for the people and we talked about compassion, caring and empathy.

I had another Mom lesson: Intense emotions are labeled "terrifying" when a growing up girl doesn't know how to describe what she is feeling or how to process what she is feeling.

In the kids defense we had already had a big day before the concert started!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Three Big Personalities

Anna decided it was time for some new shoes--sneakers, she calls them, in particular. And socks. It was true, Anna was due for some new shoes. She and Aliza went to the store with me. Anna was beside herself with excitement. We picked out socks first, but she was immediately distracted by the hair bows displayed beside the socks. So she picked out hair decoration and then picked out socks and skipped her way over to the shoes.
She made a beeline to the end of the aisle and was immediately convinced that she would choose the black and neon hi-top straight from the 80s tennis shoes. She tried them on and loved them. I showed her a glittery silver and purple pair. She tried those one and immediately ruled them out. Then she saw the rainbow color sneakers, tried those on and declared them very comfortable and the ones she wanted. THEN she saw the display of Frozen sandals and flip flops. Couldn't leave without a pair! When we got home she laid everything out, tried everything on and declared that everything looked fabulous on her. All week she has carried both pairs of shoes with her everywhere and changes them frequently. Today she told me that she needed another pair of sneakers. Sorry, kiddo, that will have to wait until you finance your own shoe collection!!!

Josiah has been dreaming of building a playhouse/treehouse for most of the summer. He and Anna decided to take action. They scavenged the garage for wood, hammer, nails and screws. They decided on a location and asked permission. Wood has been drug across the yard to the tree. They worked until dark trying to attach the wood to the tree. Josiah is so determined and confident that he can make this work. I cheer him on in his endeavors.

Aliza has written another play this week. Each person in the family has a part. The play is 7 written pages (printer paper, kid printing) in length complete with stage instructions and costumes chosen--with changes--during the play. Aliza has such confidence in all of us!! Her vision far exceeds our skill! I negotiated for being able to hold scripts instead of memorizing our lines during our big performance for all of the stuffed animals in our house. We have practiced several times and our director (Aliza) is quite stressed out about her actors lack of focus and silliness. Jeremy had us laughing so hard we were crying the other night. Of course Jeremy and I just look at each other, while our daughter is so seriously giving all of us detailed instruction, and I can hardly keep a straight face. Tomorrow was supposed to be our big performance but our practice schedule has been disrupted so it looks like the performance will be delayed. Aliza has graciously decided to call the play "Belle's Bloopers" so that whatever silliness ensues with her actors will be ok because "bloopers" are supposed to be funny. (And so that she won't be disappointed if we don't live up to her hopes and dreams!)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Through the Bible in 13 Months

Around this time last year, I finished reading Radical, by David Platt. I would highly recommend this book except that it will make you think, rethink and think some more and will potentially ruin your North American worldview.
I decided to take on one of the action points suggested at the end of the book which is to read through the entire Bible. I looked at the list of suggested resources and decided on the reading plan called "Read Through the Bible Plan for Shirkers and Slackers." I've tried to read through my Bible before (I don't know how many times I started) but I always got stuck somewhere around the middle of Exodus if I started in the Old Testament and maybe I would make it through Luke if I started in the New Testament. What I loved about the Shirkers and Slackers plan was that each day the reading was from a different section of the Bible. It was divided by History, Law, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Psalms/Proverbs, Gospel and Letters to the Churches. So when reading law I knew it was only 3 chapters and the next night I would move on to something else. I didn't count if it was broken down into exactly 365 readings and some days of the week had more readings than others so by the end I had to just plow through--but I was so close I wasn't going to quit! I started 8/1/2014 and finished 9/3/2015.
As an aside, I'd like to show you my Bible. When I was in 8th grade the New Student Bible was produced. There were cool introductions to each book and commentary boxes throughout. I thought it was the greatest thing ever and my parents gave me this Bible for Christmas. I've used it almost exclusively ever since. Eventually it got pretty worn so I had to keep it in a cloth/leather case. Now I have no desire for a new Bible, but the back binding has completely separated and the front is getting very thin! I need to research if it is possible to get new binding for a book...but then I would have to ship my Bible somewhere and hope it returns safely to me!! lol.
Now that I finished this current project of reading through the Bible I decided to pick and Radical and read it again. I got halfway through the first chapter and decided that was enough for one night--I had enough to think through again.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Joy Dare::August

2655. Visiting and scrapbooking--still my two favorite hobbies
2656. Staying up too late
2657. So excited about what I'm thinking about that I forget where I'm going--twice!
2658. So happy to run into a friend I don't see often at the store
2659. The not fun, hard kind of parenting that is really a gift to children
2660. The latest fun game is sliding down the steps on sleeping bags
2661. "It's the things unseen that are the most important things."
2662. I had time to focus on my big kids and Isaiah had time alone with Grandma and Grandad
2663. After huge days I realize I love our simple lifestyle
2664. Heard, "Mom, I don't need you anymore." from the four year old who is reluctant to leave my side to participate in groups
2665. Children content to be playing at home
2666. Some rain
2667. More swimming accomplishments
2668. Spaghetti squash
2669. The overwhelming energy when the kids get home from sports camp
2670. At home day
2671. A good movie and my littlest man
2672. Ridiculously excited to share kindle books
2673. A really great end to the week of sports camp
2674. Once again very content with our lifestyle--it's what it best for us
2675. Lovely lunch with a lovely friend
2676. A gorgeously gorgeous evening. I didn't want it to end.
2677. Taking Aliza to the church this morning so that she could sing the sports camp songs one more time
2678. Jeremy's sermon
2679. Too many cookies in one day but they were yummy!
2680. Worked hard today!
2681. Family dinner book club night!
2682. Grandma and Grandpa are here!
2683. Backpacks
2684. Staying up late to listen
2685. Ice cream outing
2686. Aliza swam across the deep end of the pool!!
2687. Josiah started diving!
2688. Helping my friend with a bit of her classroom setup
2689. Swimming with my kiddos and Chrissy making that possible
2690. I've never seen a banana spider. It was just pretty amazing.
2691. A couple more scrapbook pages done
2692. Beach morning with the cousins
2693. Brainstorming for my teacher friend
2694. Loving Isaiah's giggles and his new vocal discoveries
2695. Jeremy took the bigs to art time and I had a bit of time to clean while Isaiah napped
2696. Anna hurt her arm while trying to do a cartwheel off the deck--nothing worthy of a trip to E.R.
2697. When I get a text to pray and I run up to a quiet place and pray for literally less than a minute until someone calls for me. God knows.
2698. Laughing with Aliza
2699. Low key weekend
2700. Getting school organized and ready
2701. Swimming lessons are finished and were a huge success
2702. Strategizing to teach our children about money
2703. Gotta make that choice again to not worry about what others think
2704. A husband to chase the bat during the night
2705. This little guy who has mastered a growl as a happy expression and who does not hold still long enough for a picture
2706. The first day of a commission based system for allowance
2707. Savoring our last time at the pool for the summer. Aliza and Josiah learned so much.
2708. The paper side of school is ready
2709. Feeling encouraged by and wanting to encourage the women in my life who are mothering little ones
2710. Special cousin friendships especially Josiah and Caleb and Anna and Renee
2711. Jeremy making sure Aliza gets some time with him
2712. Anna thrilled to make Renee and mermaid tail at the beach
2713. Really great time with my Bible study gals
2714. We should have sat down but sometimes an unexpected chance to catch up with a friend standing in the kitchen is just as good
2715. Plastic containers and pots and pans perpetually on the kitchen floor
2716. Isaiah's little personality coming out exploring Janell's house

2717. Attending two birthday parties in one day
2718. Mistakes of others make me so aware of the fragility of humanity and I must never grow weary of praying and fighting for my marriage and my kids
2719. Jelly Belly taste testing
2720. First day of school and finished before lunch
2721. Had a pretty grown up processing conversation with Aliza
2722. Tough parenting practice with a four year old
2723. Lettuce growing in the planter
2724. Little girl arms wrapped around her Daddy's neck
2725. This smile
2726. Gathering pears off the ground
2727. Cutting and peeling a whole bunch of tiny pears
2728. Delivering a warm pear crisp to my neighbors
2729. A yard full of boy noise this morning
2730. First week of school completed well
2731. Fun to open my home to friends
2732. My pear cutting helpers
2733. Playing with Anna. Making sure I give her my full attention.
2734. Scrubbing
2735. Family beach time
2736. These two had so much fun together. Their sweet expression of childhood joy are seared into my memory
2737. Aliza got the hang of boogie boarding.
2738. Another closet cleaned
2739. My friend had a great first day back in the classroom as teacher. She was in my thoughts today!
2740. Reaching out to people, making friends