Friday, June 24, 2016


My sister, Janell, and I are sharing an interest in Fair Trade buying recently. As I got involved with Trades of Hope and read some books and started following blogs and listened to my sister's stories and what she has read I have developed an awareness of human trafficking and the horrors that are involved in that industry. Through Janell's search for affordable clothing that she could buy through a Fair Trade company, she discovered Elegantees.
The Mission of Elegantees: "Sex trafficking is enslaving a human against their will to perform sexual favors while someone else makes money from it. Elegantees has joined the fight against this by helping provide a new life for those brought out of it. Our mission statement is to provide hope to survivors of sex trafficking in Nepal. A positive source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self-image, and confidence restores lives one elegant tee at a time." (from
Elegantees spreads their story by allowing customers to host a Trunk Show. Janell loved her shirts so much that she decided to order a trunk and host a show. It's not a buy in business--just a way to spread the word. Naturally, we thought that Trades of Hope accessories would be the perfect fit for these solid color styles so I set up my table and we had ourselves a little boutique!
I happened to have a lot of fun playing dress up and trying on different shirts and dresses. I love the shirt I picked out. It is comfy to wear and I know that I've supported a worthy cause.
Now, I know that I still need to wear the $2.86 t-shirts from Walmart, but if you ever have need for new clothes and are going to pay full price somewhere else--keep Elegantees in mind!

Communicating with a One Year Old

Isaiah is at that stage of language development where he comprehends everything we are saying, but we understand very little of what he is saying. It doesn't matter that we don't understand all those cool sounds that come out of his mouth, he just keeps on talking to us!

One evening Isaiah opened the door to go outside. He took one step out and realized that the ground was wet. (It has just rained after being sunny earlier and he wasn't expecting wet.) Isaiah turned around and pointed and talked and I knew exactly what he was communicating. He wanted me to hand him a rag off of the pile of rags I keep on the washer for spills. I handed him a rag and he proceeded to wipe up the "spill", the rain on the step. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Open Gym

Remember the American Girl Doll of the Year, McKenna? She was a gymnast. Aliza introduced Anna to the McKenna video quite a while ago and Anna has watched it who know how many times. Anna doesn't watch it for the story--she watches it to learn gymnastics. Anna also watches some youtube gymnastics videos too. I finally picked a date to take Anna to open gym at Beachbounders. Anna marked off the days on the calendar and talked endlessly about what she was going to wear.

The day finally arrived and the last hour seemed like it was going to last forever! Getting ready included getting dressed, a high ponytail (because that's how everybody does their hair) and makeup. Especially sparkly eye shadow. (I don't have many options so thankfully what I had was good enough!)
I was a bit worried because Anna had all these ideas of what a gym was going to have. I was also worried because Anna has a habit of being really excited about something and then just hanging on me when the time comes to do that thing she was really excite about. This time I didn't need to worry. The gym was everything she hoped for and (with me close to her) she took off. She said she wanted to do balance beam first and that's what she went straight to and where she spent most of the time.
Open gym was an hour. She took her first break about 40 minutes tighten her ponytail. She was telling me that gym had "rocks" and she described them to me--the "rocks" are vaults. lol. She was pretty excited that she could get up on the vault using the springboard.
The bars were pretty fun too. She definitely did a few cartwheels on the floor. I thought she might like the floor more--maybe next time. Today she was describing to me how the floor was bouncy. She liked that.
It is always fun to make little girl dreams come true. There was so much for her to look at and take in. She loved playing and wants to go again to play. But taking a class? Anna says she will wait until she is 9. =)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

McDonald's Picnic

My Gramma had a couple days completely alone in her house so we decided to break up her day with a trip to the park. It was cool in the shade and WINDY, but it turned out to be a really nice time together.

My kids are always up for McDonald's for lunch. Isaiah even scored a Happy Meal of his own for the first time. Gramma came with a tablecloth and extras, but by the time she and I got to the table the children were set up and eating.
It's amazing how much fun a little guy can have at the park! He was climbing and sliding and swinging and loving every single second.

Aliza was the photographer and videographer. =)
When it was time to go everyone was still having fun and not ready to leave! Going back to Great Gramma's house for a little bit made leaving easier. Some things, like eating ice cream on Great Gramma's lap on the sofa, are privileges only for the great grands!
I'm so thankful for this memory!

Friday, June 10, 2016

On Growing Up

All little girls grow up to be big girls, so I should not be shocked. Somehow my heart is shocked though. It's a feeling I can't quite describe. If I would cry, they wouldn't be sad tears--they would be happy, proud tears that come from knowing this girl's heart the way only a Mom can know her daughter's heart. Knowing what hurts her, what makes her happy, what her questions and fears are.

It was yesterday that I realized how grown up she is. She faced having 4 baby teeth removed with grace and class--something even a year ago would not have been possible. She thought of the questions she wanted to ask the dentist before the procedure and asked them confidently. She held back the tears when the moment was real and just reached for my hand. She's just fine knowing that she going back in a couple weeks to have 3 more baby teeth removed.

Now with a mouth of less teeth that makes biting and chewing more of a chore, she's still ok and using problem solving skills. It's so normal. It's just life. It's just shocking when it's my girl showing me that she's growing up. I wouldn't change it or stop it for anything!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Wildtree Workshop

A few months ago I was invited to do a Trades of Hope party in collaboration with a Wildtree Workshop. Wildtree offers organic, mostly gluten free, non GMO oils, spices, and quick meal mixes. They also offer customers the opportunity to get together with friends to put together freezer meals. I decided to observe at the workshop because the cost seemed a bit high to me; however, one participant came with extra meat she did not have room for in her freezer. She gave the meat to me and I got to take home a freezer meal. It was delicious! A very good marketing ploy!!

Later, when my sister Laura decided to host a workshop I was all in. Here's how it works: The workshop hostess chooses a list of 10 meals for her guests to prepare. The guest registers for the workshop by purchasing the Wildtree bundle of oils and seasonings. Upon purchase the Wildtree rep supplies the guest with a detailed grocery list and instructions on how to assemble freezer bags with the purchased meat and vegetables prior to the workshop.

The guest brings their 10 (or more if they split the meals in to smaller portions) freezer bags to the home of the hostess and they are given a box of their bundle of Wildtree ingredients. The box includes all the ingredients to finish preparing the meals along with recipe cards with all the ingredients listed and cooking instructions and another set of recipe cards for the suggested side dishes. There are enough Wildtree ingredients leftover to prepare all of the meals a second time.
So after I opened the box, I took all of my ingredients out and arranged them in my work space.
Oh! There are also stickers to label each bag. The cooking directions are also on the sticker. Here I have a fish meal ready to finish preparing.
After adding the Wildtree ingredients I brought my bags home a filled my freezer! What a great feeling to have a bunch of meals ready to go in my freezer!
For my first time, it took less an hour at the workshop to complete my meals. Jeremy asked if I had good girl time at the workshop. I said "not really" because I was working and had to concentrate on what I was doing! Janell and I have been scheming as to how to make it a bit more cost effective for us by sharing the Wildtree bundle therefore splitting that cost. And so far my Jeremy and I and Aliza have enjoyed eating the meals! (I don't base success on the tastes of the others!!)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Joy Dare::May

3384. Aliza's bright smile through her whole dance recital
3385. Isaiah slept much better
3386. Aliza's logic this morning: "Mom, I only have two books left and it's a rainy day. Can we go to the library?" I said yes.
3387. These 4
3388. The grass has been mowed!!
3389. We made the most of the sun and blue sky between rain this afternoon
3390. I'm feeling the end of the school year--it's time to clean, organize and declutter
3391. The mundane of everyday life
3392. Between rain showers the children play outside
3393. A book that Aliza and Josiah want me to keep reading at the end of every chapter
3394. Anna sticking with helping me with recycling
3395. The quiet of early morning
3396. The house feels lighter after an afternoon of sorting boys clothes
3397. My children stay awake as late as they have to, to make sure I tuck them in. I don't mind because it is a precious time and it won't last forever.
3398. Little boys playing with cars
3399. A giggly girl trying to help choose cards for her scrapbook
3400. Sisters playing happily together for hours
3401. Sunshine!
3402. The girls had a lot of fun with Janell's family
3403. Josiah so proud and excited about his little garden
3404. Take out Japanese for supper
3405. Sitting on the deck soaking up the sun
3406. Jeremy did the cooking and Aliza made dessert
3407. He's going to be a good Daddy one day
3408. Linen closet neat and organized
3409. Taking every advantage of the sun peeking through the clouds
3410. Two kiddos requested snuggle time
3411. Morning full of birds chirping
3412. Supper with my Mom and sisters
3413. A really fun time bowling
3414. Josiah finished 2nd grade!
3415. Aliza learning about growing up--and her comments are priceless
3416. Passed on the caffeine tonight which should lead to better sleep
3417. Aliza is finished with 4th grade! We did the it's-summer-vacation happy dance
3418. Grocery shopping done early since sun is in the forecast this weekend
3419. Sang and rocked Isaiah to sleep
3420. Scrapbooking and lots of it!
3421. Hours of children happily playing
3422. A really low energy day falling on a Sunday
3423. It was fun to walk through the strawberry field even if the breeze was cold and the berries were hard to come by
3424. Celebrating another school year completed with Grandma and Grandad
3425. My sister's text
3426. Isaiah fell asleep in my arms at nap time
3427. Morning walk before the rain
3428. Being approached with an opportunity felt like a compliment
3429. Lots of dirty little feet at the end of the day
3430. Flowers replanted with extra care
3431. The quiet is so quiet I just want to stay awake and enjoy it
3432. When Jeremy walks in the door before 6:00
3433. Aliza and I just couldn't resist opening the boxes to look at the new books
3434. Sunshine craziness
3435. Aliza on a mission to throw things away make cleaning out the toy box easy
3436. Traffic was crazy and we had the sense to just stop and eat supper which made the rest of the trip much better
3437. Enjoying every last bit of light outside when we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's house
3438. Anna's "I love rainy days" song
3439. Irises in every color and size
3440. Fresh squeezed orange juice and the girls loved it
3441. Aliza singing in church with a huge smile on her face
3442. Isaiah discovered the cows that pasture behind Grandma and Grandpa's house
3443. An extra day in WV
3444. Just enough sun to convince us to detour to the National Zoo on our way home
3445. A roof and bench during the downpour
3446. Just the 6 of us being together
3447. A little bit of back up support
3448. Sunny AND warm
3449. Anna was awesome at the dentist today
3450. Amazing supper that a friend cooked for me
3451. Fun kids to go places with
3452. A really smart sister
3453. Neighbors looking out for us
3454. Isaiah didn't feel good which meant productivity looked like me sitting on the couch holding him as much as possible
3455. Helpers to cut veggies
3456. Jeremy willing to take time out of his day to help one of my friends
3457. Riding the lawnmower for the first time
3458. Playing games with Great Grandad
3459. Meals in the freezer
3460. I guess I was tired! It was my morning to sleep in and I did.
3461. The Sunday pace
3462. The list of accomplished things
3463. Isaiah's finished baby album
3464. Being with my family this evening
3465. Aliza giddy over a new book series
3466. That moment when I realized I needed to forgive someone and the relief to my mind that resulted
3467. As soon as the craft drawer is decluttered, major projects are started (the picture was just the beginning)