Monday, October 31, 2016

*It's Late and I Can't Think of a Title*

Anna really, really wanted to go trick or treating. Aliza and Josiah remember going one year in Chrissy's neighborhood, but I had forgotten that Anna was a baby and that year and had never gone. Janell was happy to take her with Renee and Lydia to the trunk or treat in their community. Anna borrowed their Anna costume and off she went. She was perfectly happy to go without me and was absolutely thrilled with the bucket of candy she came home with. (She was great about sharing with her siblings!)

The days have been beautiful here and today was no exception. I just don't have the heart to keep anyone inside so our recent routine has been to scatter and do our own thing in the mornings and then scramble to do the paper schoolwork in the later afternoon to--hopefully--get it done before supper. Aliza has a certain amount of work that she gets done in the morning. She has more schoolwork to do in a day than the others.

This morning Josiah decided that he was going to build a fort in a tree. This has been his dream for a long time. He and Anna found wood in the garage and dragged out tools and nails. I was not optimistic about how successful this project was going to be. And I told Josiah that I was afraid he was going to end up disappointed. By this afternoon I was glad that he wasn't discouraged by my pessimism.
This is the tree that he has had his heart set on and has made several attempts. This time he found that a piece of plywood fit just right between the limbs. He was not at all sure about sitting on it at this point!
This afternoon he headed back out, and with some team work, he nailed in a couple supports.
Anna thought the wheelbarrow looked like a good spot for a nest. She was a few yards from the tree so I set her up with her computer so that she could watch her lesson.
Josiah was convinced the platform was sturdy when I offered to climb up and stand on it. He was super proud of himself.
The reward for his effort--he did some of his school papers in his fort. I've heard that there are some more building plans for tomorrow.
I would have been willing to do school after dark, but we did have some halloween family plans and school needed to be finished first. We had jack o lantern stuffed peppers for supper and then watched Finding Dory together this evening.
The movie did not get rave reviews from my children although Jeremy did laugh here and there. Aliza and Anna both cried. I think the theme of being separated from parents was intense for them and we don't watch enough movies for them to know that the main character is generally Ok in the end. They were so emotionally involved I did resort to asking them if they know the difference between "fanciful" and "real" stories something that is explicitly taught by BJU starting in kindergarten. lol. Of course, there was a bowl of candy this evening.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Isaiah-- 2 year Photos

Jeremy took some pictures for friends last weekend and we tagged along. After they were done, we took a hike and I asked Jeremy to grab some pictures of Isaiah. I am pretty thrilled with the results.

This is Isaiah's "I'm feeling insecure face."
This is his, "I'm not happy at all and if I look down and can't see you it will all go away" look. I rescued him immediately after this one.
Well, maybe Aliza got to him first.
We kept walking and when we let Isaiah off the path he was all smiles.

Isaiah is such a happy boy. He is playing in the sandbox now and will probably play happily there until I make him come in for supper. He runs as fast as he can to keep up with his big brother and sisters. And he likes to line up his trucks and tractors.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pumpkins and Succlents

This idea came across my blog feed and I found directions Pinterest. I couldn't believe that it was possibly as easy as the directions said, but it was! So I'll share...

You want a flat topped pumpkin. I was very torn between the white/green ones and orange. Orange won this time. I had lots of helpers giving input too! For the record, though, we left the nursery with just one pumpkin.
Take the stem off the pumpkin and gather some moss and succulents.
I used spray adhesive to attach the moss.
And then craft glue to attach the succulents to the moss. I stuck the roots down in the moss and used glue around the top of the succulents to sortof keep them in place.
I have mine on the picnic table on our deck and it still looks good. They say it will last as long as the pumpkin lasts and then you can plant the succulents elsewhere.

I'm planning to see how succulents do in my gutter flowerbeds. It is quite lovely to look out the window and see this--it makes me smile.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Jeremy grabbed a couple pictures while we were having family pictures taken last weekend. It was a lovely afternoon, the temperature felt like summer and the foliage looked like fall.

Isaiah was very sober in front of a camera and a person he didn't know. He would not even stand on his own. But when we were finished and we let him walk on the dock and touch the water that was almost even with the dock he was all smiles. I held my breath--he didn't fall in.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Back to LIttle Things

Aliza found my blog books. I had 2013 out looking for something and she started reading. She read it cover to cover. She laughed out loud. She came to me several times with big hugs to tell me that I'm the best mom ever because of this or that that she had read about. She asked me if I'm still writing. I told her yes, but I didn't feel like I had as much to say recently. Well, she told me that I NEEDED to keep writing and she rattled off a list of post ideas. I suggested maybe she needed to start writing too--a mom/daughter blog. After seeing how much she loved reading about her life and how much insight it gave her in to her Mom, I'm going to keep writing about the little things.

We have continued having, for the most part, monthly Family Dinner Book Clubs. This month was Charlotte's Web. Aliza and Josiah loved the book. (I think Anna must be too tired by the time we start reading because she is too busy to sit still. Her hands are touching everything!) Dinner was country fair food--BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, kettle chips, dill pickle spears and soft pretzels for dessert. Josiah wanted to be the conversation question reader this time. The children were carrying on a great conversation. I asked a question here and there, but, for the most part, let them talk and listened. The fourth question was "If Charlotte were to write words about you in her web, what words would best describe you?" Such a great question! They started talking about themselves and then Aliza said, "Let's take turns telling each other what words best describe them." And they were off... It was beautiful. They rattled off lists of words for each other. Some silly, but none offensive. I found it interesting that all three (Aliza, Josiah and Anna) gave words to each other, but never asked me to join in. And then for me they decided Charlotte would definitely write "good cook." (Based on what they eat, I think that has more to do with the amount of time I spend in the kitchen than how much they like to eat what I put on the table!)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Our Gymnast

Anna has been practicing cartwheels since she was 3 and has been working on handstands and bridges this summer. She loves going to open gym. She wasn't sure about a gymnastics class, but I felt like if we found the right one she would love it. Anna is the child that a lot of things comes easy for so I also thought that a situation where she was challenged would be good for her too. However, gymnastics is an expensive, competitive sport and she is only 5 so I was being careful not to push and break our budget.

A new gymnastics gym opened up in town. We went to the open house--I didn't register for a class. Earlier this week I found out, on very short notice, that a homeschool class was opening the next day. I went back and forth with Jeremy all day because--the money. Finally, at 10pm I sent a message of interest and received a reply back that the tuition for the homeschool class was 1/3 of the cost of the evening classes! That made for an easy decision!

Anna was very excited when I told her she was going to gymnastics class when she woke up that morning. We showed up for class and the welcome we received was a little confusing. Apparently, there was some confusion as to whether the homeschool class was actually starting this week. They read the facebook post that I had seen and responded to and agreed that, yes, it conveyed that the class was starting this week. I filled out that papers, paid and no one else showed up. Anna had an hour long private class!
I think she smiled the whole time. New for this week was a backward roll, handstand to a bridge and doing a flip on the bar. She was worn out by the end of the hour!
Occupying a 2 year old for an hour in a gym where he thinks he should be able to run and play is a whole other story! Isaiah did quite well, but this next week I will be more prepared!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Joy Dare::September

3709. Handled the library, getting to the car in a downpour and changing a blowout diaper in the car with 3 other children commentating like a veteran mom.
3910. It's so hard to enforce a reasonable bedtime when the girls are having so much fun together
3711. Josiah's history test
3712. The beautiful day before a storm
3713. Deck and sandbox cleaned up
3714. Organizing in the spring paid off--I easily found the fall clothes I had stored
3715. The thrill of the thrift store find
3716. Helping a friend in a tangible way
3717. The excitement of some new toys, books and games
3718. Mom was available on short notice to help with a big job
3719. Aliza and Aunt Laura having great cooking conversations
3720. My kids get to play outside on gorgeous days
3721. Making gummies
3722. Prayed for my Gramma and her back pain went away
3723. Family Labor Day picnic
3724. Getting cereal boxes ready to send to Haiti
3725. Strawberry jelly in the freezer
3726. An evening walk
3727. The productivity of my day is not reflected in the state of my house
3728. First day of Community Bible Study
3729. Apparently Isaiah has a second mommy--his oldest sister
3730. A fun time at the cove
3731. A husband who can come home and pick up where I left off for the evening (and there was a lot left this evening!)
3732. Friday motivation to get schoolwork finished
3733. Maybe Josiah and I are finding a school rhythm
3734. Anna pretty excited about her bible study homework
3735. My children have some really special aunts
3736. The car is vacuumed--it was a monumental task
3737. Sweat and hard work
3738. My once-in-a-while special phone chat
3739. Shopping with my girls
3740. Church
3741. The comfort in an at-home family day
3742. Emoji cookie cutters
3743. Individual fruit cups being prepared
3744. My mama heart begins to understand my own mama's heart
3745. My scrapbooking proteges. I love letting them create with every bit of my stash that I let them use.
3746. Throwing schedule out the window to play with cousins = totally worth it
3747. My brother is grounded in reality
3748. Aliza came out of her first dance class happy
3749. Warm enough for another comfortable beach morning
3750. Baking a turkey and it's not even a holiday
3751. I don't think life could get much better for this boy
3752. Asked a seemingly far fetched question and got a very surprising answer
3753. Aliza got in on the dreaming session and she caught the vision
3754. So many tears when Daddy left for an overnight before a golf fundraiser
3755. Lots and lots of black eyed susan's blooming along the road
3756. Check in the mail
3757. An evening beach party
3758. Aliza's message written to us in the steamed up bathroom mirror
3759. Jeremy was able to golf and met his goal to support Young Life
3760. Thanks to this thing the circle around the sink drain is white again--the toilet bowl is white too!
3761. Board games and pretend picnics
3762. Getting to know better some ladies from my core group
3763. My plan went as I planned
3764. I forgot how great pedicures are
3765. Home all day
3766. Scrolling through pictures with my Gramma and Grandad
3767. Painting my girls nails
3768. Anna painting my nails
3769. Spelling words for Anna to write stories because she just loves to write
3770. A very fun trip to the zoo
3771. Talking about filling others (emotional) buckets
3772. Catching up in person with Chrissy
3773. A question
3774. One focus today: school
3775. About 9 inches less hair in my house
3776. Aliza decided that she was glad I made her join choir
3777. A lovely visit with a lovely couple
3778. The best way to eat an orange apparently
3779. Found just the right dress for Aliza
3780. Aunts that way to invest in my children
3781. Thanks to choir we are listening to Christmas music already
3782. Gorgeous blue sky
3783. Snack of the week--it is so much fun and looked forward to. It's worth cleaning up the mess
3784. Patience in the quantity I needed
3785. Isaiah finds an ant, squashes it and then looks at his hand and exclaims, "Got it! There it is!"
3786. Isaiah went into his CBS class without crying
3787. Jeremy teaching art
3788. It happened that Janell could stay with the littles and I didn't have to take everyone to an appointment
3789. Josiah had a ball with Renee
3790. When you don't have many chances to see a friend, you ride along with her while she picks up a kiddo
3791. Mom stayed longer so I could go grocery shopping
3792. It never gets old--the thyroid cancer test came back clear
3793. Way over the top excitement over the ditch being filled with water overnight

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Aliza's Baptism

Watching Aliza grow in her own faith over the last months and make the decision to be baptized has been one of the most rewarding parts of parenting thus far. I'm so proud of who Aliza is growing up to be.

Aliza got to choose the music for the service. Here is her playlist: 

Priceless by King and Country
Exhale by Plumb
Breathe by Jonny Diaz
Move by Toby Mac
I'm Not Alone by Kari Jobe
Rooftops by Jesus Culture

She chose each of these songs because the words were meaningful to her at different times over the summer.
Pastor Grandad preached on the story of Naaman in I Kings. He used it as a foreshadowing example of New Testament baptism. It was a particularly great sermon. I had never thought of the story of Naaman in that context.

Before the actual baptism Aliza gave her testimony via a pre recorded video. Aliza gave me specific permission to share her written testimony here:
This summer my faith has grown stronger. Really it happened when Mom and Dad left for the Poconos. I was tested by scary sights and memories. I had to trust that Jesus would tell them to leave. I prayed every time I thought about a scary thing. One time when I was talking with God, He said, "Talk to your Mom about this." So I went to talk to with Mom. She showed me some verses that talked about safety. I really liked Psalm 4:8: "I will lie down and sleep in peace for alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Now that verse is beside my bed and I read it every night.

Also this summer, I listened to Grandpa preach his sermon. When I prayed the closing prayer, God told me an idea. I could buy food for the poor. I used my own money to buy strawberries, apples, and 2 cartons of eggs and delivered them to a homeless shelter. The eggs were on sale! I think God made them on sale so I could buy 2 instead of 1.

I talked to Grandad about being baptized the same week I had the idea. I told Mom and Dad and now I'm going to be baptized. Being baptized is telling telling everyone and especially God that I am His daughter and that I will trust, follow and obey Him.

Both sets of grandparents and Jeremy and I were involved in the baptism. Aliza was "poured" as opposed to "immersed." It all has the same symbolic meaning just different ways of doing it.
There were lots of hugs and smiles afterwards. Then the congregation and Aliza, for the first time, took communion together. At our church we have the opportunity to take communion during worship time each week as individuals or families. Aliza will now join Jeremy and I at the communion table.

It was pretty special that my entire family was able to come to together to support Aliza. What an incredible gift that faith is now being passed on to the 4th generation and that all of my siblings are following Jesus and raising their children to choose the same path.
It was also a huge privilege to have Jeremy's family with us. We are so blessed by the legacy of Christian faith that the Heslop family has given us. We are so thankful that most of Jeremy's family is within traveling distance and is willing to make the trip for special events.
I had a lump in the my throat a times. When I looked at my Dad preached and realized that he had baptized me and was now baptizing my daughter, watching Aliza's heartfelt testimony, and just knowing how many people love Aliza and are supporting her in this decision and in her faith. My heart was very full and I know Aliza's heart was overflowing. The next morning she was working on schoolwork and she stopped and said, "Mom, I just still feel so blessed."

Monday, October 3, 2016

Happy Birthday Isaiah!
We had so much fun celebrating Isaiah this weekend with balls--beach balls. The emphasis was the ball not the beach! Isaiah just loves balls. There were a dozen beach balls in our house when he woke up from his nap. He wasn't sure what to think at first, but with Uncle Joel and a bunch of siblings and cousins it wasn't long before there were balls being thrown and running and all kinds of craziness.

It is so sweet to watch a 2 year old receive gifts. They are so pleased with anything and are perfectly happy with one thing. Isaiah waited so patiently while Grandad opened the packaging.

The t-ball was a big hit--literally. Isaiah couldn't hit it hard off the stand, but when anyone handed him the ball he tried to hit it out of their hand--that was a little scary! It didn't take too long for us to get it outside and then he preferred to use the bat as a golf club.

Isaiah does his level best to keep up with the big cousins. I guess they are all used to having a little one around because they do a great job looking out for him.
I'm not saying that "I can't believe Isaiah is 2" because I can believe it. He has a lot of words that he is not afraid to use and I've taken on his will more than once this week! It's usually over whether or not he can eat ice cream right before a meal and if he actually has to take a nap. Once in a while he is just too cute for his own good--like when he insists that a grape is actually a ball and kicks it across the kitchen floor. A good parent would scold him, I'm sure, but I laugh right along with the rest of my children.

Isaiah, I love you! I can't wait to watch your personality develop this year.