Monday, November 30, 2015

Celebrating Anna

When Anna and I talked about her birthday party she wanted Hello Kitty cake and finger jello. She went to the store with me to pick out plates and a few decorations and she was a happy little girl. It wasn't an elaborate party, but I think Anna felt special and that is really the purpose of a birthday party anyway.

Aunt Janell gave Anna finger nail polish and lip gloss--Anna was quite pleased! She and Renee promptly painted their fingernails.
The cake turned out ok. Not my greatest masterpiece!

The children had fun playing and no one left hungry. I'm so thankful for grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that make celebrating each other a priority.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Seasonally Confused

I think we hit 68 degrees yesterday--Thanksgiving Day. We could have almost had a Thanksgiving picnic! There were just 18 around my parent's table. I was sitting next to Dad and as we sat down with our full plates of delicious foods he commented on how abundantly blessed we are. And then I thought of how we sit down to a meal that is supposed to be rooted in gratitude and how I (along with many others, I suspect) believe I am entitled to this extravagant meal. Could I still have a "Thanksgiving dinner" if it was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because that was the blessing at that time?
Pumpkin pie is ok, but this Pumpkin Spice Smith Island Cake was the perfect ending to my meal.
The outrageously gorgeous weather continued today and we soaked in all the sunshine we could!

Between outside time we made our tree decorating pretzel treats and I prepared from Advent. Those activities just didn't jive with the rest of the day! So we set up the tree tonight and enjoyed the first lesson of Advent. (We need a head start!) Isaiah went to bed early. It will be fun to see what he thinks of the tree and lights in the morning.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

So Much Happened in a Weekend!

Let's start with Friday! I woke up pretty overwhelmed by all that was going to transpire in the day let alone the weekend! Once we got school finished, I felt better. I drove us to WV and we had supper with Jeremy's family. The main purpose of this trip was to visit with Jeremy's brother's family from Texas. Jeremy got to meet his niece, Evelyn, for the first time. She is 10 months old.
Evenlyn and Isaiah are very close in height, weight and developmental milestones. They were pretty cute to see side by side. Friday night Isaiah was eating some mac n cheese and Evelyn reached up on the tray and helped herself! Isaiah didn't fuss at all (he's used to being messed with!).
We stayed with Joel and Brandi, which doesn't happen often, so was pretty exciting for the children to take over the Aunt and Uncle's basement. Saturday--The men and Aliza and Josiah did the coffee run. Josiah came back with a hot chocolate which he loved. He drank it like quite a little man sitting beside Joel. Meanwhile, Brandi took Anna to Target to pick out her birthday present. (I got to just hang out with Isaiah for a bit. It was quiet and quite lovely.)
Anna came home with a Barbie toy, Frozen earmuffs, fancy Frozen nightgown and a skirt and shirt. I wasn't the least bit surprised. I knew Aunt Brandi and Anna in Target was going to mean a few extra things! ;) We just visited at Jeremy's parents for the afternoon and had Thanksgiving dinner in the evening. That night Anna was so tired, but pretty excited that her birthday was the next morning. She fell asleep holding those Frozen earmuffs and sucking her fingers and for one more night she was my little 4 year old.
Sunday morning dawned bright and early with Anna asking, "Am I 5 today?" I confirmed that yes, she was 5 and she got a huge smile and pumped her fist with a "YES!!" She got to open her present from Mommy and Daddy and then we headed off to church. By the time we got to church, Anna was announcing that she is "almost 7!" Let's enjoy 5 for a day, little girl!! After church she was given more Frozen stuff and she was thrilled.
Brandi made her chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel cream cheese frosting. I've enjoyed them immensely!!! Anna blew her candles out before we could even start
singing. =)
After she put on her new outfit Anna wanted to do a makeover with Grandma. One of her most favorite things to do at Grandma's house.
We grabbed a couple pictures after church--the 5 Heslop grandchildren.
The Van Heslop family.
I had forgotten that Joel and Brandi have a hot tub so Sunday night Brandi found appropriate t shirt attire for Aliza and Anna and Joel took Josiah to buy a pair of shorts so they could "swim" in the hot tub. They thought it was the greatest thing ever.
Monday morning we drove home!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday Anna!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Family Dinner Book Club--The Hundred Dresses

I really thought that this dinner would be an epic fail. My children are not keen on trying new foods and when they found out this was a Polish themed dinner they were not at all impressed. But when they tried Kielbasa they thought it was pretty good. I chose not to dig myself into an impossible hole by serving the Kielbasa with sauerkraut! The pirogies didn't go over as well; however, I found them to do quite yummy.

We tried to make oragami dresses following a youtube tutorial. That didn't go so well. I thought I had a better chance watching an English speaking tutorial than following graphics with directions written Japanese. lol. Mine remotely resembled a dress. Aliza crumpled hers up less than 2 minutes into the video. Josiah stuck with it to the end--his could have passed for something like a strapless dress. (Art class only requires your best effort!! ;) )
The Hundred Dresses gave us a great platform to talk about discrimination and how we should respond when we are treated unkindly by our peers. Good meal, good discussion, attempted art--I guess it was a success!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


The kids raked a big pile of leaves and had some fun the other day. They LOVED having me outside with them--I have got to do that more often. It's possible that I LOVE the quiet in the house while they are outside! ;) Josiah gave me a huge hug and said it was the "best day ever" when I was outside so I think that outweighs a moment of peace and quiet!

Isaiah watched from a distance. He eventually made his way over to the bikes to play with the wheels.

They take a long running start and jump in the leaves.

Anna dresses for fashion--not the weather or season! Random story: This child has no lack of self esteem. At church tonight she threw open the door and said, "Hi Renee! Don't I look fabulous!!?" She had on her new maxi skirt which does look darling on her. In her defense, Anna is also very generous in telling Aliza and I when we look fabulous also. Thankfully at almost 5 years old, I still regularly meet her definition of looking fabulous. haha.

All my children in one picture. It melts my heart.
The next morning Isaiah was ready to check out the leaves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cookie Lovin' Kid

I made chocolate chip cookies this week and now I want to make them every day because it is just beyond cute to watch Isaiah spot the cookie, point his finger, smile, squeal, and kick his legs until he gets a cookie. And then he holds the cookie and continues to squeal and giggle..and then he eats it. Of course this process involves constant movement so it is next to impossible to get a picture that is not blurry.

On the day of his 13th month, Isaiah took his first step. They have been few and pretty far between until today. I saw the most today and I think it was 4 or 5. =)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's a Messy Life

I have this struggle between being happy with who I am and having higher expectations for myself. I struggle with wanting to walk in humility without feeling humiliated. Those feelings came together in one classic moment of life.

It was about 5:15pm. The hour that puts fear in every Mom's heart. Kids are a little crazy and a whole bunch of things need to come together for supper to be cooked and put on the table. Lucky for me, I had a roast in the crockpot when a car pulled in our driveway. The kids were excitedly announcing that someone, "who looked a little bit like Grandma" had arrived. I continued folding the basket of laundry in the dining room while trying to figure out who I was expecting. Right about then the phone rang..."Hi Carla! I'm in your driveway. I'm meeting Jeremy to get some help with my computer and I think I'm a bit ahead of him." And I heard myself say, "Come on in! I'll welcome you in to my mess."

And I really meant it. I wanted her to come in and visit. But my mess! I quickly picked up socks, shoes and coats so that she could walk in without stepping over things. There were papers all over the counter along with cookies just out of the oven. Half a basket of laundry was on the dining room table. Toys all over the living room floor along with all the throw pillows from the couch. Isaiah had a stinky diaper. It was simply family life in all of its messy glory.

She came in and we visited and nothing bothered her. I've known her a long time. It was all fine. BUT, I'm still bothered 12 hours later. She was a professional when her children were young. Here I am at home all day and I can't (don't?) keep up. Interestingly, I had just done some reading and had purposed, yesterday, to be more present with the children. On the floor with Isaiah. Not running in circles doing housework when they need help with schoolwork. In one sense it all backfired.

But, you know what, nothing about that visit would have changed if the house had been company ready. I would have just been more stressed and less available for the children. So, just call me from the driveway, I'll welcome you in to our home and my mess for a visit. I'll sit and talk with you and I'll enjoy every second of it. Just know that it is one happy, joy filled, intentional mess that I welcome you in to!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Joy Dare::October

2820. Our yard cleaned up before the rain started
2821. Well behaved, very patient children this morning
2822. This.
2823. And this.
2824. Baby laughing in his sleep
2825. Preparing for a party
2826. Enjoying my family being together to celebrate Isaiah
2827. All the cousins playing together--outside in the misty rain
2828. Looking back knowing that I have soaked up all of Isaiah's first year
2829. Hymn sing
2830. Story time with Aunt Laura
2831. Catching up with neighbors
2832. Blue sky and sun!!
2833. Sweet girls that take care of babies during Bible Study
2834. Grocery shopping buddy
2835. Heard, "Mom, I love our house."
2836. Holding a friend's baby
2837. A day later it sunk in that God was talking to me
2838. Pears right off the tree
2839. After an interrupted night--two cups of chai today
2840. An evening with my sister
2841. Holding children and not feeling guilty
2842. Mower fixed and grass cut
2843. Lots of happy children playing outside
2844. Jeremy watching a golf tournament with a friend
2845. Walking in on this sweet moment
2846. Duet
2847. Anna utterly thrilled to help me organize my shoes
2848. Forest beauty
2849. Grandma time
2850. School going so smoothly
2851. Josiah wasn't feeling well and he wanted to on Mommy's lap
2852. A husband to balance me
2853. New cleaning stuff
2854. Conviction
2855. Seeing some growth
2856. Isaiah content and happy when I pick him up after Bible Study
2857. Jeremy came home early
2858. Assembling hygiene kits with some really enthusiastic helpers
2859. Photos of Isaiah
2860. Science with a couple other families
2861. Recognizing my failure and knowing what I should have done
2862. Less struggling between Aliza and I recently
2863. A day with my mom and sisters
2864. Pumpkin cheesecake shake
2865. Sisters becoming good friends and playmates
2866. Deciding that since today was Sunday I was going to do a scrapbook page
2867. A day away makes me excited to see my children the next morning
2868. No one really missed me because it's fun to spend a day with just Daddy
2869. Starting the day off with worship music by Matt Redman
2870. Surprised by a thank you gift for the children
2871. Sparkling clean windows
2872. Aliza mowed the whole lawn--there are perks to having older kids
2873. Having a work partner (my mom) makes the work so much more bearable
2874. Croquet
2875. The growing pains of spiritual growth
2876. Seeing Aliza do grown up things
2877. Watching my parents enjoy their grandchildren
2878. New-to-me tops to wear
2879. Happy news from my friend
2880. Focused on school and got it done in almost record time
2881. Not the purchase I originally intended but I'm excited anyway #birthdaymoneyfromjuly
2882. Meeting some new ladies while getting a couple scrapbook pages done
2883. Away for one evening and I wake up early cause I can't wait to see my children's faces
2884. Talking it through
2885. Trying another new cleaning method
2886. Glorious fall color
2887. Seeing in myself things I'd rather not see
2888. Learning to play a piano piece again
2889. Visiting with my aunt and uncle
2890. My kids ability to sleep in after a late night
2891. Pumpkin muffins baking
2892. My house bursting with children playing happily together
2893. Visiting with my Gramma on the phone
2894. Embarrassing moments and I didn't die
2895. Peace
2896. Kids who take pictures to show me their little brother opened the new bottle of chocolate syrup
2897. my Moms
2898. Ladies to agree with me in prayer
2899. End of October warm days
2900. Heard, "Mom, I figured out that I can do my work faster when you aren't sitting with me. I have math and handwriting done." #musictomyears
2901. Shutting down school for a day
2902. Impulse purchase
2903. Engaging in conversation with a friend in the soup aisle
2904. An afternoon with Brandi
2905. Supper conversation starter--what made you laugh today?
2906. Halloween movie night with a child on my lap

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Perfectly Packed Day

It's not often that Uncle Joel and Aunt Brandi get to visit on a weekend without a major birthday celebration planned, but this time there was nothing on the agenda. Brandi and I took the rare opportunity to her and I have spend some time together. Brandi reminded me that I had some Christmas money from last year (dear me, I'm pathetic!!) that was earmarked for tea so that's what we did. It was a delicious meal as always and now another special woman in my life has been introduced to the soul refreshing goodness of full afternoon tea!
I've been waiting for the perfect chance to wear this Trades of Hope necklace--tea on Halloween with a rusty orange sweater fit the bill. It needed to be just the right combination because the necklace itself doesn't exactly scream "Carla." lol. Anyway, I sortof loved it with this sweater and a selfie is always tons better with a couple extra cute faces in it.
Later in the afternoon we were off to the park. I am savoring another week of mild temperatures. Uncle Joel was playing peek a boo with a very serious faced Isaiah. Something about swinging makes Isaiah very serious.
This is a lesson in opposites:: little boy, big boy
Sliding, exploring, swinging, frisbee
Since I was pretty sure Jeremy and Joel would enjoy ribs more when eating together, I planned supper to be our Family Dinner Book Club.
Then it was Halloween evening family movie night. This year we watched Despicable Me 2. Well, more accurately everyone else watched it. I held Anna and fell asleep. Movies and I just don't get along very often!! The cupcakes that Brandi and I picked up were amazing though! There was peanut butter cup, pumpkin, pecan pie, cookie dough, salted caramel and chocolate covered pretzel.
That's it! That's all we could pack in to one day!