Sometimes I get ideas of weekend adventures and I wonder if they will turn out well or be completely miserable. Last weekend we visited my aunt and uncle which sounds great, but it is a 6 hour drive to their house. I'll tell you right away that it turned out to be a great trip!
The children had the best attitudes and were amazing travelers. They are very used to the 4 hour trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house and they decided that 2 more hours wasn't going to be bad at all. We made exactly 2 stops on the way and on the way home we only stopped for lunch. That was a little crazy and only happened because Isaiah fell asleep and by the time he woke up we were too close to home to stop.
On the way we stopped at a rest area to use the bathroom. We walked in and I said, "Hey kids, that's a pay phone." They said, "you mean you have to put money in it to use it?" And they were amazed. Later in the weekend, Anna was playing with a rotary dial phone that my aunt had. She said, "Don't worry Mom it isn't real. It's old fashioned." And I taught Aliza, Josiah and Anna how to dial on a rotary phone. By the time I got to the 8th number in our phone number they were bored. It takes SO long to dial a phone number one number at a time!
We arrived in a good frame of mind with our sanity in tact. It was an amazing feeling! We ate supper and headed out to go sledding. My aunt and uncle lives in the mountains and my uncle enjoys creating sled runs and having people over to use them. The snow had melted in the week before we came and he was pretty concerned that the sled run was past its prime. However, we are from flat land and are easily impressed. He had nothing to worry about!
He had a fire at the top of the run and several lanterns along the way. As the evening went on the snow froze and the children went far and fast.
Isaiah did not miss a single turn and was determined to go all by himself. He carried his sled up the hill all by himself too. No complaints. And when my uncle took a turn and laid out flat on the sled, you better believe the next time Isaiah went down he was laid out flat on his sled.
Saturday morning my uncle made a fire in a hunting cabin for my aunt and I to have a little time for conversation. We called it the redneck coffee shop. While we talked, the children and men went sledding again.
And then they went to the stream, explored and had a couple stick races.
Saturday evening my cousin and his family came to visit and we went sledding again. It was a little warmer Saturday night and the rides weren't as fast or far. Everyone still had a really good time. We left Sunday morning with some pretty special memories. No one was ready to leave. I've already been asked when we can go again.
I followed an advertisement for a school showing for Disney's Frozen on Ice and inquired about tickets. I was given the information and showed up on the Friday morning at the Civic Center for the show. The children were looking forward to it and Mom was with us. We went to the ticket counter only to find out that the school show had been cancelled. The people working at the ticket counter were not very sympathetic or overly kind. We headed back to the car to figure out what to do next. (We ended up at the Delmarva Discover Center from my last post.) The kids were disappointed. I was super disappointed! The children handled it SO well though. Anna gave me a hug and said, "Mom, the important thing is that we are family" which made me cry.
I went ahead and emailed the promoter who had given me the information about the school show. I was polite and acknowledged that maybe we did not communicate clearly about the date or location. We had a couple quick emails back and forth and half an hour later he told me that 6 tickets were at will call under my name for the Sunday show.
By Sunday the boys and Jeremy decided they really didn't want to go so the girls and I met Janell's family at the show. I picked up our tickets to find out that I did not have to pay for them and the seats were on the top row of the lower tier of seats. I really didn't know how to feel about the whole thing--excited, guilty, thankful. Janell's family sat with us and we had a great time.
The girls were completely absorbed in the story. They sang every song and just loved every minute.
To add to the excitement as soon as we got back to the car, Anna lost her top front tooth!
The girls wanted a snow cone in a souvenir cup so badly, but they were $15. I told the girls we would get ice cream on the way home. Aliza learned the lesson--if all of us got snow cones at the show it would have cost $45, but we got fancy rolled ice cream at South Pole for $18.
That ice cream was some of the best I've ever had. I have never seen rolled ice cream before, but Aliza knew from watching cooking shows exactly what it was when we walked in. Ice cream was a great ending for an afternoon that the girls will remember for a long time.
It wasn't our original plan for the day, but that is a story for the next post!
In the little town of Pocomoke we found another treasure in our own backyard. I know I assumed it wouldn't be much of anything, but we found the Delmarva Discovery Center to be full of opportunities for learning and play.
One highlight was the big ship to explore and interact with. The children could steer the ship virtually down the Pocomoke River. (
(The ship is in the background.) The touch tank intrigued Isaiah. He didn't really want to touch but he sure enjoyed looking.
There was a skipjack to play in and Isaiah loved moving the rudder.
Every day at noon the staff do an educational program with the museum's 2 river otters and feed them. I didn't know river otters could be trained!
I walked out with a year membership. I need to support our local treasures! We spent about an hour and a half there which was about long enough for that day. I can see it being a place we enjoy going.
I've had this blog on my mind all week, but I've avoided writing it because I can't get it all nice and neat in my head. The truth is most of my writing happens in my head first as I'm going about my day so that when I sit down it doesn't take too long for me to type it. Aging, physical suffering and loss are not nice and neat topics or thoughts to think about.
Since Gramma died I have more aware and willing to reach out to others who are suffering or sad even if they are not in my immediate circle of friends. I'm not sure why except that people who are suffering need to be seen and heard and felt. The Bible likens the church to a human body where every part of the body is important and every part is needed. I remember when Jeremy was having pain in his neck--one night he told me his baby toe was hurting. I looked at him like he was half crazy and made some comment about not having enough energy to worry about a baby toe. And then later his Mom told me that neck pain is referred to the baby toe. Oops. We are all connected and even if my reaching out doesn't seem relevant or seems risky, it is most likely worth it.
And so I made supper for a family who is going through a really hard time. Mom and I delivered it last weekend and it was hard. I cried. You know what happened? I feel more connected to the family and am reminded to pray much more frequently for them.
That same day, we watched the Super Bowl at my parents house. It was such a fun game to watch. I used an inordinate amount of emotional energy, though, because in the extended family a son gave up Super Bowl tickets to bring his father home from the nursing home to watch their beloved Eagles play. And they have watched many, many games over the years but this, of course, held special meaning. And the Eagles won. And they got to have those special memories together.
While my 90 year old Grandad watched the game with us in amazing health. And I called my Grandma to wish her a happy 91st birthday this week. And my parents are learning a new healthcare system. I look in the mirror and see more gray hairs. And sometimes all I see is a wall of coming grief and loss. I could cry just thinking about it too much.
So what do I do? I invite a recent widow not *that* much older than me over for coffee/tea and conversation. I would take another meal--maybe I will. I won't give a flippant comment on a heartfelt facebook post. I'll send a private message or more.
It's uncomfortable! It's a little scary! I don't even think I'm that good at it. Most of the time I feel like a little kid trying to enter a grown up world. Awkward moments in conversation....Writing disjointed, rambling blog posts!
Thank goodness Ann Voskamp keeps preaching to me:
"The point is that your life is meant to be used up and every wrinkle
means you are wringing out the good of the wonder of this thing called
"We are the generations that are done living
the comforts of this world and we’re ready to live uncomfortable because
we’re ready for the comfort of God."
"She didn’t wait for someone else to do something. She saw a need and said to God, “Here I am – Use me.”
"You are doing something great with your life – when you’re doing all the small things with His Great love.You are changing the world – when you are changing one person’s world."
"Our actual theology is best expressed in our actual hospitality."
It is Aliza and Josiah who love when I read out loud before bedtime. I read to Isaiah in the afternoon and, Anna, I can't quite get her to sit and listen. She picks out books at the library. I'm not sure if she won't listen because the 2 bigs do or if she is tired and would fall asleep if she holds still. Regardless, we are continuing to do Family Dinner Book Club this year as hosted by growingbookbybook.com. This year each month focuses on a positive attribute and, while there is one main book selection, there is also a list of about 12 more books that focus on the topic.
January's theme was teamwork and the focus book was Swimmy. We've read this one before, but it's a great story.
The Junkyard Wonders was one of the other selections and a new one to us. Such a good book! It's not that often that I am really moved by a picture book, but this one moved me. It's the true story of a very special special education class.
The dinner was vegetable soup, of course, based on the story of Stone Soup. The discussion questions focused more on the topic of teamwork then on a particular book. I try not to talk too much and let the children discuss together and this time there was good discussion.
5050. Aliza, Josiah and Anna stayed up until midnight with us
5051. Lunch with Matt and Chrissy
5052. Talking through a misunderstanding with Aliza
5054. Here's My Heart by Lauren Daigle
5055. Dessert with Aliza
5056. Groceries I needed were still on the shelf
5057. Without planning, Mom stayed with the children while I got groceries
5058. A story of healing and surrender
5059. Snow day school goes quite smoothly
5060. Our bird feeders were very busy
5061. After I was awake with a sick child many hours during the night, Jeremy was snowed in and sent me to bed for a nap
5062. To do list crossed off
5063. To do list included reading a magazine
5064. Plenty of hot tea
5065. Aliza thinks I make the best peppermint hot tea
5066. Working with Jeremy shoveling snow
5067. Shoveling snow for a neighbor
5068. Children old enough to stay home so we can do an act of kindness
5069. Total snow hibernation
5070. Cut out cookies
5071. Our pipes were frozen but they didn't burst
5072. Peppermint hot chocolate when there is no water
5073. Perfect afternoon for sledding
5074. The kids and I all on an old fashioned wood tobaggon
5075. Anna has had a great attitude about school this week
5076. Sharing my scrapbook
5077. Found some neat books at the library
5078. Wednesday activities cancelled
5079. Anna was not sick all day
5080. The sweetest thank you note
5081. The succulent illustration for waiting
5082. Car ride with Josiah
5083. Some time with Mom and Dad
5084. 64 degrees
5085. Winter warm up to take care of recycling
5086. Birthday supper for Dad
5087. Talking curriculum with my teacher friend
5088. Aliza is a grocery shopping helper
5089. The children have so much fun when Daddy plays Minecraft with them
5090. My family doesn't complain about eating leftovers all weekend
5091. It takes a lot of self control to be less emotional than my pre teen
5092. Dinner and evening visiting with friends
5093. Josiah processed and came to me with a question
5094. Seeds in the mail
5095. Helping a very talented preschool teacher
5096. Snow flurries are pretty
5097. Jeremy pumped gas for me (It was freezing!)
5098. Hot wheel tracks for racing cars
5099. Being kept accountable
5100. Learning to reach out and show love in difficult, uncomfortable situations
5101. The times when social media post speaks truth--"Don't fight against your husband. Fight for him (in prayer)."
5102. When the children are happy it's an "at home" day
5103. Seeing ways that Anna is growing up
5104. Errands alone today
5105. Experiencing Josiah's fort
5106. Walking around the yard, cleaning up, getting some fresh air
5107. Aliza and Josiah enjoying the football game
5108. Gingerbread whoopie pies
5109. A friend holding me accountable
5110.Children who sleep in after a late night
5111. A really good picture book
5112. Josiah came running out of club exclaiming how much fun he had
5113. An impulse sale purchase
5114. Isaiah's hugs, kisses and I love yous
5115. Anna's excitement about cleaning
5116. Aliza's continuing love for the orthodontist office
5117. A friend to talk to
5118. Car time with Josiah
5119. Visiting with Grandad
5120. The girls had so much fun with friends
5121. Encouragement I needed
5122. The no pressure kind of Saturday I needed
5123. Hearing all about Aliza's Daddy date
5124. isaiah's supper prayers--usually include thanks for Grandma's house and candy
5125. Shower time thinking
5126. Feeling more refreshed
5127. A feel good homeschool day
5128. Yummy doughnuts
5129. Learning about sculptures and meeting the artist
5130. Beautiful pink sunset
5131. Jeremy can help Aliza with math--calmly
5132. A book Josiah and Aliza don't want me to stop reading (The Vanderbeeker's)
5133. Anna wanted to be held and rocked
5134. New hoodie that I love
5135. Jeremy could drive to club with us