Monday, April 24, 2017

Food, Eggs & Candy

That pretty much sums up our Easter celebration. We were with my family and enjoyed Mom's ham dinner.
Isaiah had his own competition free egg hunting area. I followed him around while the others found their eggs in record time. Isaiah caught on quickly and was excited about putting eggs in his bucket.

That would be chocolate dripping down Isaiah's chin.
Aliza declared this the best Easter ever. She chose to hide eggs instead of finding eggs. This was pre-planned from last year and Grandma didn't disappoint. She had a bag of candy and the "big egg" that she fills with surprises for each grandchild. I think it was the perfect combination of feeling grown up and still not missing out on the fun kid stuff for Aliza.
Josiah, Caleb, and Gideon make me smile when they get to have a few hours to play together. I really don't see or hear from them when they are together.
It was a great day. The warm sun added to the celebration and made it really feel like spring.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Girl's Room Phase 3

One of the main goals for this room update was to create personal space for each of the girls. The new bed frames all for storage underneath. Clothes that were in the dresser are now under the bed eliminating the need for a dresser to take up precious floor space. Aliza and Anna love it!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Best End to Easter

I have a couple posts percolating in my brain, but tonight I need to get this story in writing while it's fresh in my mind. AND it's so exciting I can't wait to share it!!

When I tucked Anna in bed tonight she said, "Mommy, I've never prayed to tell Jesus that I believe he died on the cross and that I want to follow Him. And if I die I would go to the the 'dark.'"  I asked her if she wanted to pray. She said yes, but that she wanted me to pray. I told her I couldn't pray that prayer for her, but I could pray and she could repeat after me. That's what she did and after she said Amen she gave me the biggest hug. Such a precious moment.

Aliza was with us and it was a very special moment for her too. It really was the best possible end to our celebration of Resurrection Day today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Girls Room Phase 1 & 2

The girls share a small room that has seemed to grow smaller as they have grown up. The ceilings are barely 7 feet so bunk beds are not an option. They have had trundle beds since Anna outgrew a crib. Aliza is getting to the point where she wants her own designated space and a space (her bed) to be available during the day to sit and be. It was her bed that was pushed under as the trundle.

Last fall Aliza and I were talking and looking around on Pinterest (my Mom *may* have been involved) and we came across a room layout that seemed perfect for them. We did some measuring and came to the conclusion that it was the solution we were looking for. Aliza was teary--she was so happy. It took some planning and creative thinking (Mom comes in here again lol), and the time has finally come for this room redo to begin.

Phase 1 was taking out the trundle beds.
Phase 2 was painting. Aliza will be quick to tell you that paining was NOT in her original plan. She wanted to just move furniture around and be done. I saw the opportunity to update and refresh the room. Choosing paint color was a process. Aliza wanted basically the exact same color that was already on the wall. I wanted a very light color to make the room feel larger and brighter. Ultimately, I chose fabric for curtains and matched a color to the fabric.

In the end there were no tears. Aliza appreciates how the lighter color makes the room feel bigger and she approves. In one afternoon and evening I did 3 coats of paint and made a trip to Lowe's for a 2nd gallon of paint. I'm glad I powered through and got it done. I did not want to wake up the next day knowing I had to go back in there for one more coat. There was not a single Before I can grab him, he had bounced so hard on the mattresses that he fell over and into the still wet wall. He got paint all over his pants and foot. It was one of those moments when I didn't even have the energy left to be mad.

Next phase will be rearranging the room layout. I can't wait!

Friday, April 7, 2017

He's Playing Soccer

I knew it would happen one day, I just wasn't sure when. It was after watching his cousin play indoor soccer this winter that Josiah decided he was ready to play soccer. He's had two practices and a game and he's loved every minute so far.

Soccer is Jeremy's thing so he took Josiah to the store to get his gear. Josiah was so nervous as we drove up for his first practice. It took a minute to figure out where we were supposed to be, but when I met the coach I knew all would work out.
His coach is a college aged "kid." He knows soccer inside and out, is kind, spoke well to me as a parent, and wants the kids to learn the game and have fun.
They lost their first game. I didn't know how Josiah would respond to a loss, but he walked over to us with his head up and didn't really miss a beat. He was ready to go to practice and is looking forward to his game this weekend.

I didn't see it coming that Jeremy would be a side line coach. ha. He was great though. Jeremy figured out a lot of the kids names during the game and he was encouraging all of them. I did, however, tell Jeremy that he had to go over to our coach after the game and introduce himself!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Joy Dare::March

4198. Seeing the children thrive in "club"
4199. A wonderful birthday outing with Aliza
4200. Anna helping cut shoe pieces for Sole Hope
4201. Conversation and play all afternoon
4202. Josiah taking out his own splinters =)
4203. Snuck in a quick conversation with Maria
4204. Cooking all of Aliza's favorite foods
4205. Isaiah telling me his is excited
4206. Grandma and Grandpa and Joel and Brandi here
4207. Brandi with me for grocery shopping
4208. Aliza and Josiah so loved on at their birthday party
4209. Aliza soaking in all the stories around the table
4210. Mom, Dad, Van, Karen, Joel, Brandi and Jeremy and I visiting around the table
4211. Long naps after birthday week
4212. Handed down clothes
4213. Remembering Aunt Floss
4214. Mom stopped by
4215. Baby turtle and discovered road
4216. Aliza made supper all by herself
4217. Tea in the afternoon
4218. Bright sun
4219. Thinking about screens and screen time and how to navigate it all
4220. A worldview I didn't expect to hear, but really appreciated
4221. "Hospitality is being a good listener." -the nester blog
4222. Raising boys talks with Meghan
4223. Celebrating Jeremy
4224. Seeing a friend doing well
4225. God school done on a travel-to-WV day
4226. An evening visit with Christie
4227. Family bingo was fun
4228. Hearing Josiah having fun with Christie's boys
4229. Letterboxing in the cold
4230. I didn't have to get in the hot tub
4231. A quick visit with my uncle
4232. Aliza's worship during her favorite song "All That Matters" by Colton Dixon
4233. Successful--even enjoyable--art project
4234. I was able to get groceries--thanks Mom.
4235. Anna chose some jobs to do and did a great job.
4236. I heard Aliza teach her Grandpa how to play Minecraft--over the phone!
4237. The time change makes for some late mornings around here
4238. Could attending Core Group because of a friend's generosity in taking my place as helper in the children's class
4239. Spent the evening with Anna in her club class because she needed me
4240. The resource to answer hard questions
4241. Being at Mom's house just felt good
4242. Mom could fix Aliza's dance costume
4243. Great Blue Heron by the road
4244. Cancelled school just because we all needed it
4245. Cookies and reading out loud this afternoon
4246. Anna and Josiah helping me cut out jeans for Sole Hope
4247. Lunch and shopping with Mom
4248. Leftovers for supper
4249. Organizing Trades of Hope inventory
4250. Aliza approved of curtain material and paint without tears
4251. Watching The Shack and all my tears
4252. Pear and Gorgonzola pizza
4253. Used up all my energy teaching Sunday School
4254. "Spring" in the diffuser today
4255. Josiah really listened to the sermon
4256. Anna's new organization skills
4257. A new mousepad on my computer
4258. The Insanity of God by Nik Ripkin
4259. Inviting someone to visit
4260. Dance spring break means we didn't have to leave CBS early
4261. Josiah super excited about helping make pancakes
4262. This girl loving her new twirly dress
4263. Breakfast for supper
4264. Enjoyed the conference keynote speaker
4265. Some some Trades of Hope stuff
4266. So happy for evening kid snuggles after being away all day
4267. Jeremy able to take care of everything when I'm sick
4268. Listening to the banter when they came home from church
4269. Aliza being so helpful
4270. Anna's kindness
4271. Able to do just enough
4272. Umbrella illustration of God's love protecting us
4273. Josiah loved soccer practice
4274. Meghan could braid Aliza's hair for dance pictures
4275. I could eat supper nromally
4276. Janell's quick visit after work
4277. The children needed Grandma's visit and attention
4278. The compliment from Aliza's Wednesday night teacher
4279. Systematic cleaning
4280. Soup, salad and a service project for Bible study this week
4281. A nice evening with Jeremy's cousin's family
4282. Back to memorizing
4283. Feeling back to normal and on top of things

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

On Being Sick

I've been sick the last couple days and I keep thinking that there are a few things that I want to remember. So while Anna is catching up on her schoolwork, I'm going to write a quick list.
  • The house will continue to run when Mom is sick. No one starved; in fact, Jeremy was amazing at taking care of everything. (That was Sunday)
  • Aliza was super helpful to me and willing to help her siblings. (That was Monday)
  • Aliza can do some cooking and is able to help Isaiah with eating. 
  • Everyone was unhappy when I couldn't eat meals at the table.
  • Anna was so kind. She was the one that pulled up the blanket, touched my face and brought me chapstick when she noticed my lips were chapped.
  • It's interesting to be a fly on the wall of your own house and listen to interactions and conversations. 
  • It was hard to remember not to kiss Isaiah's cheeks. 
  • Life doesn't stop for Mama to be sick. My deadline for being better was Tuesday afternoon and my body cooperated. (Thank God!)
  • Today there are about 3 children who are happy that Mommy can sit at the table, but quite sad they have to do schoolwork!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Parenting Book #1

I have a list of parenting books that I'm reading through. Just when I was getting settled in with school age parenting I have a tween and the teenage years are looming!

I often am afraid that our screen time is out of control and some weekends it is, but, overall "growing up social" made it me feel pretty good about our 2 hour a day time limit. I liked how this book incorporated how screen time affects your child's love tank (based on the 5 Love Languages). There are also chapters for single parents for adults to evaluate their own use of screen time.

Here's how this book made a real life impact. Josiah plays games on my phone during Aliza's dance class. He is usually the only school age boy at the studio, but one week another boy his age was there. He had met this boy and gotten to know him a little bit. So I told Josiah that when he walked in to the studio he needed to say hi to the other boy AND ask him what game he was playing. Josiah wasn't sure he wanted to that, but he did. You know what happened? Josiah ended up sitting down beside him, they played the same game and talked the whole time. If I had not instructed Josiah, he would have walked past the other boy, sat down, played his game and wouldn't have said a word to each other.

Gaming is here to stay. So are phones and every other electronic device. My goal is to teach my children how to have relationships and be sociable within this new world that is so normal to them.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

So. Much. Fun.

This was not quite an expected weekend to go to West Virginia, but when my friend Christie told me it would be a great weekend to hang out with her we made it happen. I wasn't sure if it would work out, but after we arrived, had supper and unpacked the car, I went over to Christie's house--alone--to visit. We drank tea, sat on the couch and talked. It was so good. I got back to the house in time to lay with Josiah. The girls had already fallen asleep!

Isaiah's new trick for the weekend: Jumping off the coffee table on to the mattress over and over and over.
Saturday morning we met at the library to play some family bingo. Each card had 8 animals on it and you filled up the whole card to win. Everyone had a great time. Oddly enough, Josiah, Isaiah and Karen each won a round.

After bingo, I introduced Christie to letterboxing. There was a series of letterboxes in the library that we found first. Christie and her boys were hooked. It was a little crazy walking through the adult non-fiction stacks with my littles.

I printed out a couple clues that morning in case they loved it and we used them. The  next one we found was a few blocks away in a chocolate shop. Isaiah lost all self control at that point, but it was a really neat letterbox.

Finally, we went over to the B & O Railroad station. It was freezing, but that didn't stop us! As soon as we got there a train came through which made the kids happy. Christie and I figured out the clue and she laid down and pulled the box out of the cliff. This little outing makes me want to print out a whole bunch more clues!
Josiah went back to Christie's house with her and her boys while I took Isaiah home for a nap. I took my girls and picked up Brandi and we went over to Christie's house for tea. My girls loved her teapots, teacups and decor. We could hear the boys playing upstairs having a lot of fun together. This was the first time Josiah really got to play with Graham and Liam in a really relaxed way. I think I can speak for Christie--our heart were full because we never dared to think that our boys were ever get to really know each other. Such an unexpected, sweet life surprise.
There was one more weekend promise made to the children--swimming in Joel and Brandi's hot tub. The air was so incredibly cold, but they lasted out there about 30 minutes.
The adults watched from inside--and I still shivered watching them!
Brandi made hot chocolate when they got inside and turned on the fireplace. (Brandi, it wasn't a long visit, but your hospitality was amazing and made us feel so special!) Isaiah and Joel had an epic rough housing session which turned in to all the children and Joel running in crazy circles around the house.
Playing Guess Who is always a requirement at Brandi's house. =)
Everyone was so excited and tired when we got back to Grandma and Grandpa's house. The kind of tired that makes it hard to fall asleep. After the kids were asleep, I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow. I didn't really want the day to end though. I had so much fun.

The next morning Jeremy showed me a picture of the dessert he made himself and I very much wished I hadn't fallen asleep so fast!!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Celebrating the Birthday Kids

The birthday celebrations were pretty simple this year. I think Aliza and Josiah still felt special and enjoyed their days.
Josiah had an outing with his Grandad--lunch and fishing. He wanted Domino's pizza for supper and fondue for dessert.
Aliza had her lunch with me the day before her birthday. We had a great time together. She was so shocked that I bought a book for her at Barnes & Noble. It totally made her day. On her birthday she kept me busy in the kitchen! French toast for breakfast, potato soup for lunch and Chinese for supper.
Jeremy and I thought and thought about what to give Aliza for her birthday. We finally settled on an mp3 player that also had an FM tuner. It was perfect. Jeremy loaded it with music he had and Aliza loved it. She loves to listen to KLOVE radio.
Aliza wanted ice cream, chocolate covered strawberries and double chocolate chunk cookies for her birthday dessert. I made a big plate for her for effect--she didn't eat all of it!
Aliza and Josiah wanted a big family birthday party so that what we did! It was in the afternoon and all I served was ice cream and cookies. So it was candles in the ice cream!
Aliza wanted to be a princess for her party. Her Grandma Karen gave her the perfect tiara and I curled her hair. It was the first time that she wanted me to curl her hair and she loved it. Her hair even held the curl pretty well.
An extra fun part of the birthday party weekend was that Joel showed them his brand new Nintendo Switch. They had a lot of fun with that.
On a whim I invited my parents to have supper with us, Jeremy's parents and Joel and Brandi. We had so much fun sitting around the table telling stories. There was lots of laughter and reminiscing. Aliza sat with us and soaked it all in.

The children all had such a fun party day that they were utterly exhausted by bedtime and proved to me that, in fact, they are not *that* grown up yet!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Joy Dare::February

4121. Scripture from a friend
4122. Aliza and Josiah working together on a science project
4123. Dad chatting about his family in the car
4124. Renee and Lydia have been great travellers
4125. Lydia snuggles
4126. Time in the car passed pretty quickly
4127. An audio book
4128. Just a quick walk through Wal-Mart
4129. Lunch with some of my cousins
4130. Sitting beside my Grandma
4131. Got a head start to home
4132. Hugging all my children and husband
4133. Jeremy capable and willing to take on the care of children and house while I'm away
4134. An exciting Superbowl game
4135. Getting back into the routine
4136. Warm enough for a bike ride
4137. A much needed nap
4138. Cousin soccer game
4139. A springish day is so good for our souls
4140. Talking with my cousin
4141. Comforting Isaiah during the first thunder that woke him
4142. Reading outside for a bit
4143. Snuggles with Sean
4144. Talented friends
4145. Soup on a cold, windy day
4146. Date!
4147. Aliza had so much fun at a birthday party
4148. Jeremy stopped and helped put out the fire
4149. Isaiah so intent on helping with Judy's puzzle
4150. Another night with cousins
4151. A lovely talk with Chrissy
4152. Weekend morning with everyone on the couch reading and watching a show
4153. Isaiah choosing to sit between his great grandparents during church
4154. Looking at pictures with Gramma
4155. A new school policy--hoping it has the desired effect
4156. Aliza so mature and taking care of herself
4157. Valentine's fondue
4158. Pink roses on the counter
4159. School finished so I could visit with Laura
4160. Successful evening in a new setting
4161. Didn't have to cook supper
4162. A book series that Josiah immediately got into
4163. It takes my involvement to streamline schoo
4164. Put some effort in making supper
4165. This:
4166. Girls playing with Barbies for hours
4167. Everyone crowded around Daddy
4168. An evening sitting beside Jeremy
4169. Celebrating Gramma and Grandad's 65th anniversary
4170. Banana splits and cupcakes
4171. Warm temperatures this weekend
4172. Trying out the new hammock
4173. Quiet family day that included work, rest and play
4174. Finding some signs of spring coming
4175. Outside read aloud time
4176. Josiah having a lot of fun outside building and creating
4177. The evening is much nicer when school is finished
4178. Isaiah walking into his CBS class by himself
4179. Everyone so excited for Wednesday night club
4180. Anna took off on her bike--no training wheels!
4181. Big brother/Little brother
4182. Second day of school outside on the porch
4183. That Friday evening accomplished feeling
4184. No one starved on the day before grocery shopping!
4185. Aliza fell asleep in my arm and she felt little and I didn't want to move
4186. Did a couple scrapbook pages
4187. Watching their childhood happen
4188. One more warm day
4189. French toast for breakfast was a big hit
4190. Francis Chan sermon
4191. Ordering pictures for Gramma
4192. Send the kids outside for a picnic = a lunch date for Jeremy and I
4193. A huge bag of new library books
4194. Rediscovered Uno
4195. Josiah's birthday morning excitement
4196. Won the battle of the temper tantrum
4197. Birthday fondue