Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Goal Achieved

For almost a year, Josiah has been saving to buy a Nintendo Switch. He started with some already saved money, saved every dollar he was given and did some work for his parents. For Christmas, he asked Grandma and Grandpa to give him money as his gift. He didn't know how much he would be given, but he was pretty sure he would be close. Josiah had also decided on an amount he was willing to take out of his savings account.

Josiah opened his gift, did some mental math and burst into tears. Aliza almost immediately had tears streaming down her face. He got it out that he would just need to take $20 out of his savings account to get the Switch. And then more tears.

Uncle Joel pulled $20 out of his wallet and handed it to Josiah. More tears.
Josiah savored his accomplishment for 24 hours and then was ready to go to Best Buy to buy his Nintendo Switch....with his Daddy and Uncle Joel.
I asked for a picture! I may have been the mushy hearted Mom feeling like I was missing a big moment, but knowing that this one was only for Josiah and his Dad.
And a Tropical Smoothie to celebrate!
I'll tell you being at home with Josiah's sisters was pretty sweet too. They were both on pins and needles waiting for him to get home. Anna was crying--she was SO happy for her brother. Aliza stayed up late with Josiah watching him play--with a big grin on her face. I heard lots of happy talking and laughing between those two while I tucked Anna and Isaiah in bed.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Afternoon Outing

Just because I particularly like this picture of Aliza and I...
 In a spontaneous turn of events, Christie, Karen the children and I toured Belle Grove Plantation near Winchester, VA. It was a most beautiful afternoon to be out and about.
 The home was built in the late 1700s by the brother-in-law and sister of President James Madison.
 Before we found out that we couldn't take pictures in the house...we took a few! Everything was elaborately decorated for Christmas.

 This was a guided tour through the house. Our docent was an older gentleman. He was clearly a historian and very knowledgeable. The only issue was that his knowledge came out slowly and wasn't adaptable for large tour groups or groups with children. So it was very long.
 I have been bragging at every opportunity because my children--every single one of them--behaved in the most admirable way. They listened and were quiet. There was no running around, excessive wiggling or loud talking. I was seriously amazed and very very proud.
 As soon as we were finished I told them how proud I was of them. And Christie bought them bags of potato chips.

Our docent referred to slaves as "enslaved workers." That term didn't sit quite right with us. It felt like it was a politically correct term, but we felt like he was trying to soften the effect of what slavery actually was. I never heard "enslaved workers" used before and I won't be adopting it into my vocabulary!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Christmas Highlights

During our Christmas Eve supper with my Dad and Grandad, Anna was so worried that her Daddy was going to sleep in so late Christmas morning. We gave her a hard time about alllll the things Daddy would have to do before we opened presents. As I suspected would be the case, Anna was the last to wake up (besides Jeremy) around 8:00 Christmas morning. But when she woke up she was ready to get the ball rolling.
 The three oldest gave gifts to each other. They were each very excited to give their gifts. I loved watching them love each other. Here Aliza is watching Josiah open his gift from her.
 Anna carefully chose a gift for Aliza.
 Josiah gave Aliza naked juice which she was exceptionally excited about.
 This is Anna's excited face every single year!
 Josiah was sure we wouldn't give this to him--and we did!
 I was hoping that Minecraft pajamas and bedding would make Isaiah sleep in HIS bed all night. (The jury is still out on that!)
 I love when Christmas Day weather allows for a walk.
Anna wasn't quite dressed appropriately for the weather. She didn't care because she got to skateboard.
 Sheats Family Christmas! All the cousins!

 While the cousins got their soccer game started, the adults exchanged gifts and talked. Janell remembered that one time Dad said that all 5 of his children would always fit on his lap so....that happened. I'm behind that orange hat making a lot of noise!
 The children played soccer for hours and then they came in and decorated gingerbread men.
 Isaiah was dirty, sweaty and tired but that didn't interrupt his concentration.
 Anna's cookie...
 The next morning we were off to West Virginia for Christmas with Jeremy's family. Well, they are my family too, but for ease of communication...Jeremy's family.
 This was quite possibly the cutest rendition of "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas".
 Josiah's moment here was a huge highlight that will require it's own story.

 That is a lot of fun and a lot of memories wrapped up into three Christmas days!

Friday, December 20, 2019

2 Things

1. On Tuesday I had just returned from walking when Isaiah came downstairs half asleep. He crawled up on my lap and promptly fell back to sleep. Be. Still. My. Heart. I sat and snuggled and soaked up every single second of it. This picture was about 40 minutes in and a couple of position changes later. I had forgotten how tired it makes me feel to watch a little one sleep. I did doze off for a few minutes. It was a full hour before Isaiah woke up.

2. For the past few months the Share food has been delivering to the church on Friday. That means that the children and I, along with my Dad, meet the truck, unload and organize the food for pickup on Saturday. With the holiday boxes in Nov and Dec it has a been a bit more involved. We spent 3 hours at the church this afternoon and the children were the best helpers. This was an assembly line to pass the vegetables to me to put in the freezer.
There are some advantages to having big kiddos! I'm also thankful that we have such a natural way to incorporate service into our life. A service project is a pretty great way to start Christmas break.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

A Magical Learning Moment

Isaiah had the most magical moment of learning yesterday and I just want to remember it forever. I don't know if I will be able to portray it in writing.

I hear Isaiah and Josiah say in play every so often, "FBI! Open Up!"

Isaiah learned the letter F yesterday and as we worked on his papers we were talking about F and he says, "F! Like FBI!" His eyes sparkle and I can see the wheels turning and he says, "I can spell FBI. F...B...I !!!!!!" And he laughs his high pitched squeal that he uses when he is extra pleased with himself. A second later he says, "I can write FBI. I know all the letters!"
He does and he is SO SO SO proud of himself.

The greatest part is that when we said, "Hey Buddy, can you spell CIA?" He had no idea. And when the UPS truck drove up today, I stopped Josiah from asking Isaiah to spell UPS. Josiah and I just had a good laugh together.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Every Tree Has a Story

I had tree decorating night planned all week. On Friday I used the winter plates for supper and had the tree decorating snacks prepared. At 6:00 Jeremy told me he was helping one of his team members trouble shoot an issue. At 7:00 he was stuck working on a computer and was deciding if he should just bring it home or not. At 7:30 I decided that I was just going to have to bring the tree in and set it up myself. Aliza helped me bring the box in and together we set up it. While I fluffed, Aliza and Anna tested the lights and untangled them.
It was about when the lights looked like this that Jeremy got home! Actually we had started stringing them on the tree, but decided we would stop and let Jeremy get settled and then let him do the lights. That was a very good decision.

When it was *finally* time to get the decorations out there was the usual chaos of who is going to get to hang which decorations. And promptly one decoration slipped out of someone's hand and shattered. I just cleaned it up. Thankfully I didn't let it ruin the evening.

My favorite is the new decorations from our adventures during the year.
Strasburg Train
New Orleans
Put-In-Bay, Ohio
Spangler Candy Factory
That's the story of this year's tree. I enjoy it now that it is up and decorated!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Joy Dare::November

6636. It's fall weather this morning and it literally changed seasons overnight
6637. Orange sunset behind the mountains
6638. Heslop cousins reunited
6639. My in-law family
6640. Jeremiah 29:7
6641. Tea with Christie
6642. Sitting around the table chatting
6643. Cousins didn't want to say good bye
6644. In the Annapolis mall for 3 hours and we didn't buy anything except lunch
6645. Showing up
6646. Prioritizing
6647. Taking the big kids on a field trip
6648. Enjoying the city
6649. Coming home to the country
6650. Aliza and Josiah had their own conversation the whole way home
6651. On a scale of 1-10, Isaiah rated his day a 20
6652. Pumpkin scones with maple clotted cream
6653. Car conversations with Josiah
6654. Fall yard cleanup
6655. Quiet weekend
6656. Jeremy's car is fixed
6657. I got to play with a one year old little guy
6658. Made chicken wings that were actually good
6659. Sunset after the storm
6660. Autumn snow
6661. Anna praying and singing with Isaiah at bedtime
6662. Long morning conversation and snuggles with Isaiah
6663. An hour at Starbucks with Jeremy
6664. Fresh air in the morning
6665. School finished earlier than usual
6666. Celebrating Grandad on his 92nd birthday
6667. "Meekness isn't weakness. It's power under control." Ruth Chou Simons
6668. Massive cleaning out morning
6669. Pulled out my cross-stitch and taught Anna
6670. Movie evening
6671. Shopping time with Janell
6672. Smelling wood smoke this morning
6673. Ice cream and pretzels
6674. "Fear God or you will fear everything else."
6675. Driving home with Anna
6676. Aliza's school perseverance
6677. Bright stars on cold evenings
6678. Hearing baby voices on old videos
6679. Hot tea
6680. Aliza's creative writing
6681. Celebrating Anna
6682. Swimming
6683. The friendly man who delivered the food boxes
6684. Played hard and worked hard
6685. Watching Frozen 2 in the theater with the girls and a couple aunts (Brandi came just to watch the movie with her nieces!)
6686. All the sprinkles...
6687. Joel and Brandi's visit
6688. Sunday afternoon nap
6689. Talking with my Sunday School girls
6690. That holiday week feeling
6691. 15 years post radioactive iodine
6692. Texting conversation with a long time friend
6693. When the oldest 3 decide to do nostalgic things "from their childhood"
6694. Aliza and Anna playing in their room all evening
6695. Blue sky on cold mornings
6696. Grateful. Thankful. Joyful.
6697. Family around the table
6698. Christmas sales
6699. Jeremy's family around the Thanksgiving table
6700. Hearing the story
6701. Isaiah coming home with 51 cents change and so proud of it
6702. Anna on the scooter first thing in the morning
6703. Walking the mall
6704. Relaxing weekend
6705. Loving enough to ask and pray

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Celebrating Anna

For more than a year, Anna has wanted a Fin Fun Mermaid Tail. I have tried to convince her that she won't get to use it very often, but she has stayed steadfast in wanting one. So we got her a mermaid tail for her birthday. And she was thrilled. Of course that meant that we needed to go swimming on her birthday. The pool we went to doesn't exactly allow mermaid tails. They let her use the fin without the skirt in the deeper pool and then an hour later when the shallow pool opened they let her use the skirt. She was disappointed, but she kept a good attitude and had fun.
On Saturday, Joel and Brandi came to celebrate Anna's birthday and to keep Brandi's promise to watch Frozen 2 with the girls in the theater. This has been a highly anticipated event as the girls had never watched a movie in the theater. I'm glad I waited for just the right movie. They loved the experience....and the popcorn!
Everything for Anna's birthday party was unicorns and sprinkles. It's been a few years since she has had a family birthday party at home and she loved it.

She opened her gifts and played with her cousins and ate lots of food. Not much can beat that!