Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Around Here This Week

 A bunch of monkeys celebrated Lydia's birthday at Coco's Funhouse. Aliza is over the age limit to play on the bouncy houses and Isaiah is just at the age to really start enjoying Coco's. Aliza brought some quarters to play games and was pretty thrilled when Uncle Jeff handed her a pile of quarters too. Lydia wasn't feeling very well which was super sad for the birthday girl!
 Josiah got to spend an afternoon and evening fishing with his Grandad. Grandad had asked Josiah where he wanted to go next time they went fishing and Josiah told him that he wanted to catch striped bass. It was pretty exciting that Josiah caught the 20 inch "keeper."
 The warm light was on at Krispy Kreme this weekend. This was our first time to take the children to Krispy Kreme since it opened here. They enjoyed watching the doughtnuts raise, cook, cool and be glazed.

 Monday was the first day of school. I took no pictures. It went pretty much how I expected it would and we were completely finished by lunchtime. Then in the afternoon we watched the solar eclipse. I don't know what rock I live under, but it wasn't until Saturday that I realized that we would actually be able to see anything. So I didn't have any glasses or anything to safely see the eclipse. Mom stopped by to watch with us and she showed us how to use a paper with a hole in it to see the reflection. That didn't work very well--only because the eclipse wasn't well defined. We had some cloud cover to contend with.
 What ended up working better was looking through the ipad after Jeremy taped a sunglass lens over the camera lens to block some of the reflection. We can all say that we saw the eclipse!
 The pool seems to be our water of choice this summer. Yesterday I took Renee and Lydia with us.

I am easing into the school year this time with just a couple days of school these couple weeks before Labor Day. I'll see how I feel about that when May rolls around!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer Winding Down

In May, when school was almost over, I made a list of projects I wanted to complete during summer break. This week I crossed off the last one--painting the cabinets in the laundry room.
Now they are white. This is a pathetic after picture, but you get the idea. I have a few more things I want to do in this space to finish it off.
As I was finishing the painting project, our school books arrived. Oh the excitement!

Aliza gave me no peace until I had her books and papers organized and watched the orientation lessons with her. This year Aliza has her own notebook with lesson plans in it for each subject which makes her feel very grown up. I was very impressed with her teachers. They definitely have 6th grade as a year to prepare for the changes that come in Jr. High and High School. One of Aliza's big goals for this school year is to really understand math so that she can advance to Pre Algebra next year.

This is what my organization looks like for this year. All the workbooks, answer keys and handouts still fit on 2 shelves--barely!
I don't really feel ready to start school again. I'm not sure what my problem is. I guess I better get myself ready because Monday is coming!


Friday, August 11, 2017

All That Corn

This was Grandad's third planting of corn this year and there is one more to come. I don't remember a crop bigger than this one. The picture is the second half of the about 200 ears of corn he pulled. Josiah was there to help him pull the second half. I think this was the first time he pulled corn and he enjoyed it.
Aliza helped husk. I was super proud of her for sticking with the job!
It got to be lunchtime and it ended up that Grandad and I were out there together finishing the husking. Moments to treasure. However, this job was big enough that I was determined to finish the husking before I ate lunch because I did not want to have to go back out to husk after lunch!

Mom had plenty of corn in the house to start cutting it off the cob.

Gramma was silking the corn and that's what I did after the husking was finished---along with giving the kids lunch and putting Isaiah down for a nap! Gramma declared that this was the "silkiest" corn she had ever seen and that Grandad would NOT be planting this variety next year. (lol)
After the corn is blanched, Mom cools it is large bowls. When she was done with the sink she sat the bowls in ice cold water in the sink.
We had 4 gallons of corn cut off the cob and that made 32 pints of corn to freeze. Aliza particularly loves this corn. Her Grandma told her that she could take some home. Aliza didn't think it would taste the same if she ate it at her house. No one will be complaining about the work when we eat it at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Heart in the Wood

Some days I decide that I'm going to get a whole bunch of stuff accomplished which is all great except that I get really frustrated when it's not getting done. Today was one of those days.

I decided that, after a year of looking at a gallon of paint, it was time to start painting the laundry room cabinets. My goal was small--to my standards--just one coat today, no more. I barely got started and realized that the brush I had was not going work, everyone wanted to help me and if they weren't begging to help they were needing something else. I thought I was giving up for today.

We did the errands we needed to do which included getting a different brush. I made some zucchini bread and got lunch. And then, while everyone was on the computer, I successfully painted until it was time to put Isaiah down for a nap. These days I rock him until he is almost asleep which has the effect of also practically putting me to sleep. So I took a break (that means I took a nap on the couch too) and then I finished the last little bit of the first coat. Success! I was feeling pretty accomplished and was ready to reward myself with a shower.

I got in the shower and there was no water. This happens every once in a while. The water pump decides to take a break and we have to go under the house and give it a good whack with a golf club and it works again. I've done this before--in the winter. I did not want to open the door to the crawl space. I've seen a snake come out of the crawl space and I have an extreme aversion to snakes. Even though I got what I wanted to get done, I had been snippy with the children when they were in my way and I was just feeling kindof yucky. So I, very maturely, sat on the porch step and whined.

My children gathered around to watch, I suppose. Isaiah was the first to grab a shovel and say, "I hit snake with shovel." Nothing like a 2 year old man to make you feel confident--or at the very least smile! Josiah got involved then and got out his BB gun ready to protect him Mama. And somewhere in the midst of all this conversation and dreading the task at hand I looked up and saw a heart in the wood. 
It was such a tiny moment and a tiny thing, but it caught my eye and I knew that these boys loved me and I was loved.

So Josiah asked if he could pump his BB gun and I laughed whole heartedly. Because all I could think of was him protecting me and ending up getting hit with a BB by an over zealous boy-man. He assured me the safety would be on.

I got the door to the crawl space open (nothing opens easily in an old house) and we looked all around for any movement. And then I stayed as far away from under the house as I could (which actually means my head was under the house) and I stretched as far as I could and gave that water pump 3 relatively wimpy whacks with the golf club. And got out of there as fast as I could. A minute or so later we had water again.

That little heart in the wood got my attention and changed my perspective so that I have had the most ridiculously productive and happy evening. Seriously, it's the little things that matter most.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Lot Less Paper

Jeremy is a firm believer in keeping paper. When we got married, I dutifully filed all of our bills and papers in folders neatly kept in a filing cabinet. When the filing cabinet got full, I would transfer the folders into a banker's box and store it in the closet. 16 years, a business and several rental properties later and we had quite pile of boxes. And my filing system down graded to throwing paper in a box like this:
One evening in June, Jeremy came home with a document scanner that he had rescued from the trash. I didn't really know how this would change my life until later that evening when he got it working and I saw the possibilities. This scanner can scan something like 30 pages a minute and saves them automatically in a specified folder on the computer. All I had to do was stick a pile of papers in the feed and walk away.
After a week or so I realized that if I was actually going to make it through the pile of boxes, I would need to set up a scanning table downstairs so that I could keep it going easier. That's what I did and as I circled through the house all day I added paper.

I found some treasures as I went through all that paper. This is probably my favorite. Land line phone bills from when I was in college at EMU and dating Jeremy. There were 11 page bills that were full of calls to Harrisonburg, VA. That would have been 1999. Thank goodness we didn't have texting then. I would never have gotten any studying done!
About six weeks later I was down to the last two boxes and a whole stack of folders that someone had piled on top of the boxes. By that point I was determined that I would finish!
Last weekend, after a bunch of rain, we had a perfectly still day and we burned 10 bags of paper. You'll never know the difference when you walk in my house that all this paper is gone, but I know it's gone!
The scanner is now on my desk where I can continue to scan and discard paper regularly. I also have one little folder where I will keep paper that we need to have on hand for a while.

My children can thank me in 50 years for this effort! ;)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Joy Dare::July

4532. Catching up on errands and cleaning
4533. No one terrified during fireworks
4534. $1 ice cream cones after fireworks
4535. Aliza had so much fun at a friend's birthday party
4536. A day at home
4537. Dinner with my friend
4538. Jeremy's car is working again
4539. Josiah refers to Grandad's boat as "our boat"
4540. Parade candy
4541. Dinner and an evening with my grandparents
4542. Pool
4543. Supper at Mom and Dad's house
4544. Rainy day, slow morning
4545. Birthday thoughtfulness
4546. Made sure I did a scrapbook page
4547. Black raspberry chocolate chunk ice cream
4548. Feeding baby goats
4549. Date with Jeremy
4550. Lawnmower fixed
4551. The girls could visit Great Gramma
4552. Kinda fun to run into my sister in the grocery store
4553. Visitors at church
4554. Isaiah pedaling
4555. Beautiful evening to sit outside
4556. Dropped 2 kids off for the morning
4557. Playing games after cleaning out the game closet
4558. Feeling productive
4559. Dropped 3 kids off for the morning!
4560. Doing what I can
4561. Feeling the value of marriage and family
4562. Isaiah and I doing the library program thing
4563. An afternoon of boy play
4564. Clean kitchen counters
4565. Giving a Bible Study welcome
4566. Redirecting my perspective
4567. This week of VBS has been so good for the children
4568. 16 married years
4569. Steak and ice cream date
4570. Salty relaxation in the Salt Cove
4571. My Brave Friend inviting 10 Heslop's to her house
4572. Our husbands talking and kids playing
4573. Listening to a sermon
4574. Lazy Sunday afternoon
4575. Lunch with Matt and Chrissy
4576. Pedicure
4577. Leftovers ready to heat up for supper
4578. Fresh zucchini
4579. First batch of juice was delicious
4580. Tuesday-talk-on-the-phone afternoon
4581. Cove morning
4582. Aliza was invited to play with a group of girls and she did
4583. The pool water felt so good!
4584. Isaiah used the puddle jumper floaties
4585. Aliza's game arrived early
4586. All the fresh fruits and vegetables
4587. It felt so good to get the outside work done--sweat and all
4588. At home day
4589. Hammock on the porch
4590. Hummingbirds at the feeder
4591. Some girl time this evening
4592. Aliza snuggled in with me during the thunderstorm--it was late, but not too late for giggles
4593. Sunday time for reading
4594. "Grandma Friendly's" after church
4595. My kids' sensitivity and innocence
4596. They loved the strawberry, kiwi and spinach popsicles
4597. A couple little houseplants
4598. The change I was praying for
4599. Decorating cakes=Aunt time
4600. Sparkly eyes
4601. Hummingbird sitting still
4602. Cooking to give away
4603. A couple extra boys for the afternoon
4604. Sports camp week
4605. Visiting with my Great Aunt
4606. Seriously dirty legs and feet (Isaiah)
4607. Trying to remember to give my children my eyes
4608. Swimming
4609. Listening to the rain and frogs
4610. Mending
4611. Picking the first green pepper
4612. Interesting documentary
4613. Sports Camp songs
4614. No humidity today
4615. Paper burning bonfire
4616. Books to fill our bags
4617. Celebrating my Mom
4618. Green grass to mow

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pictures and Few Words

16 years married

Anna mastered the scooter and then she took a tumble and skinned her knee and elbow

Master tricycle rider

Supper on the deck with friends and the temperature was perfection

A friend who loves your family + inlaws is a treasure for sure!

Aliza's favorite thing to do is listening to the ladies talk. =)

Somehow her face ended up with as much chalk on it as the driveway.

Boys and their binoculars


And when you know you're going home a first-thing-in-the-morning tricycle ride is a must.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Salt Cave

Brandi treated Karen and I to a new experience--salt therapy in the Salt Cave. You can read about the technical stuff on the Touch of Grace Spa and Salt Cave website. I've been explaining it to people so I thought some pictures might be helpful.

In our session there were 7 people. We arrived last and 2 of the people were clearly sleeping or intending to sleep so we got the hint to be quiet! Silence isn't required, it just depends on the group of people in the session. The chairs were zero gravity lounge chairs. There was a blanket on each chair in case you were chilly. The room is kept at 72-74 degrees. I got chilly during the last few minutes.
The floors, walls and ceiling are all salt and dry salt air is blown into the room during the 45 minute session. The lights are low and change color and there is instrumental music playing.
I enjoyed it. I'm not very good at relaxing though! I kept thinking about things I wanted to say!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Night of Lightening

I was sound asleep when the first child came into our room. It felt like 5:30 in the morning so I was very relieved to see that it was only 12:30am. There would still be an opportunity to sleep!

It was the lightening that brought Aliza into our room. It was constant. I have never seen lightening that was so constant. It was only a couple seconds later that Josiah ran over and jumped under our covers. I roused Jeremy telling him that I had never seen lightening like this. He said, "it's probably a car outside" and went over to the window to check. Sure enough--it was lightening. ;) He got back in bed a bit annoyed. After a few cracks of thunder and Anna coming in, he check the weather radar.

I wish we had taken a screenshot of the radar. It was deep purple and red over us and continuing to move over us. There was also a grid outlining the purple area. I got a little more nervous at that point.The thunder wasn't really that bad, but that lightening...!

And then Isaiah woke up screaming. At that point Jeremy left our bed and I had 4 children in the bed with me. Aliza was shaking and her hands were freezing on my right, Josiah was on my left with his head buried in the pillow. Anna was on top of me--pretty much sleeping. Isaiah was tucked between me and Aliza. My right arm was snuggling Isaiah and still touching Aliza.

Meghan texted me at 1am to see how many of my children were awake. She had two that slept through it! I checked on another friend. She was awake with children in her bed too.

The lightening had subsided a lot by 1:30. I put Isaiah back in his bed and Josiah in his bed beside his Daddy. It was 2:30 until Aliza finally settled down and the girls slept in my bed the rest of the night.

The moral of this story is that I NEED a king size bed! 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Determination

Just when we had bought a new minivan and thought we were squared away for a while, Jeremy's car started having trouble. He spent two weekends working on the radiator and hoping that it was actually the radiator and not the engine. Thanks to a good friend and you tube tutorials, Jeremy got it fixed.
He had some other "help" too! I know Jeremy was determined not to buy 2 vehicles in 2 months!
In the midst of working on his car, the lawnmower also broke. Thanks to a father in law who knows all things lawnmower, Jeremy spent the 3rd weekend fixing the mower. Now our lawn looks great AND we have two working vehicles!

There is another determined little person in my house. He is almost 3 years old. He thinks he is as old as his siblings and wants to do everything they do. I took the kids to the library to collect their first prize for the summer reading program. Isaiah didn't want a prize from the preschool drawer. He wanted something from the preteen drawer. The worst public temper tantrum that I have endured ensued. He was laid out flat on the floor--screaming. The girls checked out their books on their own and I took Isaiah outside. He continued to scream. I stood beside him calmly watching all the people walking past looking at me like I was crazy. Since then we have averaged at least one temper tantrum a day. Yesterday's tantrum was because he couldn't stay at VBS with the big kids. Kids have to be 5 for this VBS. I kinda felt sad for him--imagine a 2 (almost 3) year old saying "I wanna go VBS." Today's was over just getting dressed. It's going to be a fun stage around here!