Saturday, July 30, 2016

Beach Trips

We have taken regular trips to the beach and pool this summer. There are not many pictures to show for it and I'll tell you why! Isaiah.

Isaiah didn't have a lot of interest in the water until last week. Thankfully it was the hottest week, so far, that he decided that he was ready to be in the water. I was ready too! The water felt really good. When he's not in the water, I'm following him around.

Aliza discovered that reading at the beach is pretty fun. She carried her own chair down to the beach. Aliza also really likes being in the water. She is doing great in swimming lessons---last week she was playing in the deep end and jumping off the diving board!
The first thing Isaiah does when we set down the bags is open up the lunch bag--no matter what time it is. It drives me crazy! He is set and determined and does he ever EAT! You would think that I do not feed the child breakfast. This particular day, over the course of the morning, he ate his sandwich and started in on mine. We've been going to the beach with groups of Moms which saves me because there are some toys that Isaiah can play with. Honestly, though, he is more interested in the food than the toys.
A bunch of the Moms are boy Moms so there is a large pack of boys that Josiah can run with. (Between 3 of the Moms that regularly come, there are 10 boys--not counting mine!!) When the boys are playing in the sand, Isaiah will follow them around and check out what they are doing.
It's been a better water summer than I thought it would be. I still get stressed about the beach. I try really hard to enjoy it, but I can't say that I really have yet. My rule is that you have to carry back to the car what you carry to the beach and the children have been really good about that. There is still plenty of summer left to enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2016

It Was the Grandparents

There are lots of stories from the children's time with Grandma and Grandpa, but those are theirs to tell. This one, however, includes Jeremy and I--sortof.

Jeremy and I were having supper at a corner cafe in downtown Stroudsburg. There were lots of young people on the street looking at their phones and walking. Jeremy started commenting on who was making their second or third rounds past the cafe. It was during this meal that I was introduced to the craze of Pokemon Go. (It's a game, an app, where you walk around in the real world and catch Pokemon characters. That's the best description I can give!) While I'm sitting at the table, dumbfounded by the sheer number of people who are obviously playing this game, I receive a text from my mother-in-law. "Oh my...We are on a Pokemon adventure...It all started after we went to the park and Grandpa thought maybe we should check...Josiah and Aliza caught some."
The adventure included driving to local locations to get more balls (needed for the game).

Jeremy and I had our own conversation about the game. The waitress told her story of patrons who were way too involved in the game. Jeremy was telling me stories he heard of people who were injured while walking and not paying attention to where they were going. And as sat there watching, we saw two guys walk through an intersection without looking when the red hand was on the crossing sign.

As it stands now the game is not on Jeremy's phone and we haven't heard much about it from the kids since we've been home. The children have started watching the cartoon and checked out a couple books from the library. I know that time changes perception. A show that was not allowed by my parents seems very tame now--even to children who are very sensitive to what they see on TV.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Being Us

In honor of our 15th year of marriage, Jeremy and I spent 4 (!!!) nights together--alone--in the Poconos. Jeremy's parents made this happen by not only giving us timeshare nights, but also staying with our children. It's a bit of a strange feeling being alone, just the two of us. It takes a few hours to unwind and relax, but ultimately I realize that this guy is my friend and my love and we will be just fine together after our kiddos grow up and fly to their own nests. My vows mean more to me now than they did when I said them--if that's possible. I think I mean that I have a better understanding of the gravity of what I promised. I'll be standing beside Jeremy, holding his hand and cheering him on until death separates us.
Our retreat was along the Delaware River which was directly connected to a driving range and golf course. The first thing we did? I walked to the river and Jeremy hit a bucket of balls. Maybe we are an odd couple that way--we both have things we enjoy separately and then we are happy to enjoy being together again.
We did a couple walks/hikes to falls. The highlight was Dingman's Falls.
It was an easy walk to the falls along this boardwalk path. I almost felt like we were in a zoo exhibit. lol. But for strollers or wheelchairs this path is awesome. Rhododendron bushes covered the mountainside and were blooming with white flowers. 
I decided that we had to take the trail to the top of the falls. It was also a very nice trail of mostly steps. Lots and lots of steps. This was the view from the top.
We went to another park that had 3 smaller falls. It was a nice hike. The falls were pretty. I didn't really enjoy watching teenagers jumping over the fence to jump off waterfall cliffs...but, whatever. After hiking we decided we wanted Mexican so Jeremy searched for the nearest Mexican restaurant. It turned out to be a hole in the wall treat. We were hot, sweaty and thirsty so the casual atmosphere was perfect for us. The only thing was that the table coverings were flannel and I was hot and did not want a blanket over my legs! ha.
I discovered that I am an acceptable golf companion on a chip and putt golf course. We played it twice and I got the ball to the hole (in way more strokes than Jeremy) every time.
However, I did manage to hit the ball in the stream every single time we played those holes. Jeremy fished it out for me every single time. It was kinda sad though when it was one of my best shots that ended up in the water.
I wasn't going to take my scrapbook stuff, but, at the last minute, Jeremy encouraged me to. I'm glad he did. He golfed one afternoon and had a great time with the group of guys he played with and I scrapbooked. It turned out that there was a large table in the living area and I spread out and left my stuff out the whole time. Scrapbooking makes me happy. Golfing makes Jeremy happy.

It was pretty funny though--Aliza called me and said, "Mom, I heard that you are scrapbooking and Daddy is golfing. You are not spending time together and you can do those things at home. That makes me think that you were actually tired of us children and needed a break from us not time together." Little did she know, we desperately needed both.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Days that Filled My Heart

It was a first for us. We drove to WV after the Bible School program Friday night. It took forever for the children to fall asleep, but we did not have traffic and we arrived at midnight. After shushing my in-laws (lol), who both work nights and were still feeling like the night was young, I got the children right to bed. This time, though, I was the one who could hardly wait to get to WV. A dear friend of mine just moved to the same town that Jeremy's parents live in and I was going to get to see her for the first time in 9 years.

It was a gorgeous weekend. We spent lots of time outside. After lunch I declared myself on "friend watch." After what seemed like almost forever, Christie and her family arrived!!
I got to meet Christie's youngest son for the first time and she met my youngest three for the first time. We talked non stop for hours. It was so so good. Our project for the evening was to make a 4th of July cookout for our families--in Karen's kitchen. We successfully served supper, but there would have been several fewer mistakes (like making sure the oven was actually on) if there had been less talking.
Later we met Van and Karen to watch fireworks. Historically, Aliza has been terrified of fireworks. She conquered that fear! Anna was quite unhappy when we arrived and I ended up carrying her for the hike to our spot. Isaiah started crying when the fireworks started and then he settled down in my lap pretty quickly. This was the finale and probably how we looked pretty much the whole time. I was touching every single person in my family. My arm was around Josiah and touching Anna. Aliza was leaning into me. And Jeremy had his head on my leg! I won't complain. It was a fantastic fireworks show. And it was the 2nd very late night in a row.
We all survived the late night and got up for church Sunday morning. The sermon was particularly great--ya'll should listen to it. Isaiah was so incredibly tired. Somehow he made it through lunch and took a LONG nap--like the rest of us! We visited and played outside and ate s'mores until it was too dark and the big kids were too tired.

THEN on our way home we got to stop to see Matt and Chrissy. We visited their new home and then had lunch with them. It was a short visit, but it was so good to SEE them and the children think that their apartment building is pretty amazing. =)

And THEN we arrived home to another amazing thing, but that has to wait for another post.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Joy Dare::June

3468. I looked out the window and saw Josiah protectively holding on to Isaiah for his first gator ride
3469. The way our neighbors include our children in their outdoor play
3470. Aliza and I sure enjoy watching Amazing Race together
3471. Making sure Anna picks her own book to read at bedtime
3472. Memories found in the depths of the closet
3473. Supper turned out well
3474. Biking, swinging and touching base with neighbors
3475. A cloudy day meant we had Cove Beach to ourselves this morning
3476. New bed sheets
3477. DQ free ice cream cone gift certificates

3478. Bushes trimmed
3479. Kids that worked hard
3480. Spring tea with Maria
3481. Jeremy opened the shed--and started cleaning it out
3482. Hung out with my sister and tried on neat clothes
3483. Stayed up way past bedtime with my children listening to the klove fan awards
3484. Josiah and Anna had a great afternoon and evening
3485. I had time with Aliza
3486. Plenty of space at the Cove--again
3487. The interesting assortment of sounds that come out of Isaiah's mouth that almost sound like words
3488. Got rid of a bunch of clothes that have been in my closet for too long
3489. Aliza's teeth removed with no physical or emotional complications
3490. The splinter is out of Anna's foot
3491. A really nice outing with Gramma
3492. Isaiah climbing all over the jungle gym at the park
3493. Some winning Wildtree meals
3494. The day with my Mom and sisters
3495. Enjoyed the musical
3496. Found two perfect gifts to give
3497. Knew I needed to go and Jeremy was completely supportive
3498. Sometimes the best we can give is to just show up and be a presence
3499. "Grandma Friendly's" after church
3500. Finding blurry selfies on my phone
3501. Graham cracker eating cousins
3502. So much fun that everyone was mad when I said we had to go home
3503. A lovely evening
3504. My flour covered cooking making helper
3505. Finding all sorts of awesomeness in old photo albums that had been stashed under my bed
3506. The space under our bed is just about completely clear!
3507. Anna is so excited--she is checking off the days on my calendar
3508. All the noise of all the cousins at Grandma's house
3509. Snuggles with Renee
3510. Milkshakes and conversation
3511. Anna wasn't ready to leave after an hour of playing at the gymnastics gym
3512. Some days I need Isaiah to watch something--his older siblings are more than happy to accommodate me!

3513. I made some pretty good steaks!
3514. The joy of catching lightening bugs
3515. A man that I love and respect to honor today as Father of our children
3516. The longest evenings of the year with temperatures that make me want to soak in every last bit of light
3517. Funny how a simple facebook message can be just what I need
3518. Our yard
3519. Chicken, corn on the cob and apple pie and honoring my Dad
3520. These moments
3521. An easy homeschool review
3522. Some serious cousin time
3523. Working on my business
3524. Fun pool time
3525. Aliza so happy to play with girls in her age range
3526. Me so happy to share life with my friend
3527. Conversations at the swing set with Josiah
3528. Aliza did great at the dentist again and now she's finished getting baby teeth removed
3529. A few hours at the ocean: Josiah took off boogie boarding in the freezing water, the girls made new friends and Isaiah was happy in the sand
3530. I remembered for a brief moment to look past the children in the surf line and see the colors in the water
3531. Unintentionally learning history in the books we are reading
3532. Talking at the supper table about refugees and what life is like for them and the children got it
3533. I found it relaxing to pick blueberries with just my girls in tow
3534. A fiction book that I don't want to put down
3535. A Sunday of rest
3536. A long catch up call with my Mom
3537. I never know what surprises I will find on my phone
3538. Anna walked right in to the dance studio this morning and then walked with her VBS class to their classroom without me this evening
3539. Mom kept the wash going
3540. Watching Isaiah hold his own on the playground after VBS
3541. If the puddles are as deep as wading pools you might as well put on bathing suits and jump in
3542. Patience to play the board game Anna created
3543. Chocolate chip cookies that Aliza made by herself
3544. A nap
3545. 3 little dancers
3546. A thought provoking movie called "Do You Believe?"

Friday, July 1, 2016

We are #Raising Grateful Kids

Part of raising grateful kids is to make them aware that there are people in the world who have a lot less than them. Because if we are going to compare ourselves to people who have more than us we have to also compare ourselves to people who have less than us.

When I pre-ordered Kristen Welch's book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, I also received a Global Family Kit. There are several different Global Family Kits focusing on different people groups. Ours focuses on refugees.

Last week I became aware of the refugee crisis in Fallujah by listening to this interview with the founder of Preemptive Love Coalition. I have been following the Preemptive Love Coalition blog and read a book by Jeremy Courtney. They are the only known group providing supplies to refugees in Iraq. That night during supper I was telling Jeremy and the family what I had learned and how it affected my heart. Josiah was listening intently and Aliza was asking questions. It wasn't long until Josiah announced that he wanted to give all of his dollars to help feed the refugees. He ran to get his money and dumped it on the table. Aliza exclaimed, "But Josiah, what about that game you are saving money for?" Josiah answered, "I don't care about the game. I can save up for it again." Anna thought we should buy Arby's and deliver it ourselves to the people in the desert. It was amazing to watch the children process and "get it."

After that I decided it was time to pull out the Global Family Kit and learn more. You know these family activities never turn out as a Mom hopes. I had one kid throwing a fit because they didn't want to have family time. A couple others interested and a little guy into everything.
The kit includes a ball made by the people group, some maps and cards with information, questions and activities using the ball. The ball is tagged with the signature of the person who made it. Our ball came from Houston, TX made by a woman from Burma.
The kids thought it was pretty fun to learn to play hackey sack. We defined "refugee", "homeless" and "persecution". The discussion centered around what it might feel like to have to leave your home and what the challenges would be to not have a home.
I love the idea of these activities and I hope that I make it a priority this summer.