Thursday, October 17, 2019

On Neighboring

Hey Kids,
When you have neighbors of your own, here is your Mom's story of how to get along. Jesus taught us that the second most important thing after loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Here's the thing--the first step is to know your neighbor. Don't live beside someone and not know their name. When they are outside, talk to them. When they invite you to their kids' birthday parties, go! When you see their posts on social media, write a comment. Get their phone number and send a text once in a while. Because those little acts of creating relationship will go a long way when something happens that could cause conflict.

But if there is something that just isn't going to work for you, don't sit quietly by stewing. Talk to them! They might just be willing to change to accommodate your wishes even though it only effects their property. At that moment all of those small relationship efforts will pay off exponentially.

You see, one weekend, I looked out the living room window and this very nice shed was being parked right outside our living room window. I did not want to look at the back of even a very nice looking shed every time I looked out the living room window. I was upset actually! At this point you have 2 choices, you can speak up or you can leave well enough alone. I decided to speak up. There is nothing wrong with speaking up! I walked right over and talked to my neighbor's dad and after the conversation with him, I texted my neighbor. Yes, they knew I was unhappy, even very annoyed! But I was not unkind, threatening or disrespectful. After all, it is their property and the shed was off the trailer. 
You know what? A few minutes later, that shed was back on the trailer and being moved parallel to the old shed.
And then the dad came over to make sure I was ok with the new location (of course I was more than happy) and we chatted and introduced ourselves officially. You see, we had seen each other at birthday parties. We weren't complete strangers. And next time I see him, I won't have to hang my head or avoid him over how I acted.

So, kids, love your neighbor and don't be afraid to speak to people. It might just make your world a better place in more than one way.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Aliza's First Tea

I promised Aliza that when she was 13 I would take her to the Main Street Enchanted Tea Room in Berlin. She and I decided that it would be most fun if both of Aliza's Grandmas would join us. With both Grandmas working weekends it became quite a puzzle to figure out. My Mom still ended up taking the day off work, but we made it happen last weekend before Isaiah's birthday party.

Aliza loved it. I had no doubt about that. She loves trying all kinds of food and she loved everything she tried this time.
Part of the charm of this tea room is the owner who shares all of kinds of information with her customers. This time we learned about Nippon china. We also had a detailed description of three female Hindu goddesses. The funny story is that this week my Mom pulled out a piece of china from Gramma and happened to turn it over and it was Nippon china. She was planning to put a candle on the plate. After she saw that it was Nippon, she put parchment paper under the candle. 
One special girls who has two very special Grandmas.

After tea we walked around and browsed in a couple of my favorite shops. When I saw this picture I was reminded again how grown up Aliza is.
We got home with an hour to get ready for Isaiah's birthday party. Thankfully Janell arrived at the same time and helped me because Isaiah's cake wasn't even decorated.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Celebrating Isaiah

Celebrating Isaiah was so much fun! Isaiah has been telling me a list of things that he has been wanting and so he opened up those 3 things first thing in the morning. Thankfully his birthday weekend was warm enough for water guns!

Isaiah would love to eat McDonald's every day so it was no surprise that he REALLY wanted McDonald's for lunch. Grandad took him to McDonald's and then to Tractor Supply. Grandad was looking for work gloves for Isaiah and instead came home with a remote control truck. He was SO excited! (I was SO shocked! This isn't the normal for my Dad.) But they had the best time together. That truck was beside his bed that night. 

When he came home from his outing with Grandad, Grandma and Grandpa were at our house!
And a little later Uncle Joel arrived! Joel stayed in the girls room and Isaiah insisted on sleeping in the same room as him.

Minecraft is the game of choice these days. Jeremy has a server that the kids and Joel and other friends play together on. Honestly, they have had more fun playing Minecraft together. It's a game I can't complain about. So it was a Minecraft inspired birthday party.

The snacks were based on minecraft building supplies: sticks-pretzels, fish-goldfish, TNT-twizzlers, diamonds-hershey kisses, gold nuggets-gold wrapped candy, redstone-strawberries

Jeremy and I gave Isaiah a fold up shovel that he has had his eye on and his Grandad and Grandma gave him a pick ax. Isaiah continues to dig his huge hole in the sandbox. He could not be prouder of that pick ax.
I was so excited to be able to have a birthday gathering outside. It got a little chilly by evening, but it was a gorgeous day. These 6 cousins played soccer until it was time for everyone to leave. Isaiah joins right in.
So many happy birthday memories for one very happy 5 year old!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Happy 5th Birthday Isaiah!
We are so excited to celebrate you! It's so fun watching you grow up!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Joy Dare::September

6691. Sunday breakfast
6692. One more summer vacation day
6693. Pool time
6694. Fire pit and s'mores until it was dark
6695. A full day of school went pretty well
6696. Books that make me think
6697. Isaiah wanted to be held
6698. Josiah did pretty great with school
6699. Aliza is really applying herself
6700. Isaiah's video to Joel
6701. Caffeine
6702. Expanding our Bible study
6703. Friday.
6704. Josiah facing his fear of heights
6705. A little time on the beach
6706. Ice cream with Grandad
6707. Double teaming with Jeremy to get a bunch of stuff done this evening
6708. Planning
6709. Hard conversations
6710. First dance classes
6711. Dinner I didn't cook
6712. Persevering
6713. Pre ordered book that arrives
6714. Josiah sat down and finished his math assignment on his own without me telling him to
6715. The orthodontist could expose Aliza's tooth
6716. Kid size smoothies
6717. Aliza and her fried pickles
6718. Red Robin burgers
6719. Grandma and Grandpa's house
6720. My mother in law all out spoiling me
6721. Visiting with Brandi
6722. Adult conversation with Aliza
6723. BBQ lunch with the Smith's
6724. Homeschool Mom solidarity text
6725. Kindergarten snacks
6726. First cool morning
6727. The moment the car get silent and I realize the children are playing the quiet game
6728. Little Things t-shirt
6729. Josiah and Anna had so much fun with friends
6730. Windows open
6731. Excitement of possiibility
6732. Fall cleaning the yard
6733. Time with Jeremy
6734. An afternoon with friends
6735. And still home in time for church
6736. Anna made a batch of slime that actually worked
6737. We had internet all day
6738. Jeremy was home to help Josiah with math
6739. Josiah did some essay writing on his own
6740. Good conversation
6741. Podcasts
6742. At least Isaiah is still excited about math
6743. Even on days when I don't think it's possible, all the things get done
6744. My far away friends
6745. Anna so excited about her shorter hair
6746. Butterflies on the mexican sunflower
6747. Serving with the children
6748. Visiting Grandad
6749. Starting a weekend project
6750. Jeremy working with me
6751. Everyone picked up their food boxes early
6752. Slumber party
6753. Dining room painted!
6754. Movie with a message (I Can Only Imagine)
6755. Tea in the painted dining room
6756. The way Isaiah's eyebrow raises when he slurps tea
6757. Leftovers for lunch and supper

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Dining Room Update

Painting the dining room was on my list of summer projects. That didn't happen, but I finally bought paint last week. And then that paint called my name all week and last weekend I dove into the project.

First step was to pain the trim white. I thought I was going to take this project slowly, but once I had that white paint on and realized that the bottom half of the wall looked like we had been smoking in the house for the last 18 years, I knew I wasn't going to take anything slowly!
I tried using a sponge brush to cut in without taping, but I quickly learned that I cannot paint a straight line. So I taped. Coloring in the lines is much easier for me!
I learned a new thing--color can be added to primer. Isaiah wanted so badly to help. I gave him a little brush and a blank wall and let him go. He painted for a few minutes, was thrilled, and then the was done. And he didn't ask to paint again. I'd call that a win for both of us!
Jeremy was really my hero. He did the rolling. Primer finished.
One coat of paint and then room was finished! When I started the paint I was not at all sure one coat would do it, but when it dried, it looked great.
Naturally the dining room is much brighter and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkins

When Grandad dug for sweet potatoes last year, there were none. This year, though, there were lots and some were HUGE! On Facebook, someone commented that the name on the side of the wheelbarrow is fitting. "He is a 'craftsman' of the soil." I like that! It is true!
We had a couple sweet potatoes for supper tonight and they are yummy! I'm pretty sure the one below would feel a family of four!
It was hot and I was sweating while I worked outside today, but it was time to bring in the fall feeling anyway. I liked this hashtag #fallingforfall that I saw this week. It happens every year. I don't want summer to end, but then fall comes and we have some very gorgeous days and cooler evenings and I fall for fall every year.
This time #fallingforfall looks like me sitting on the porch with a cup of hot tea reading my book or one of Aliza's textbooks that I'm trying to stay ahead of her in! It's taken forever, but I have come to really enjoy the porch. The little table is waiting for paint...some day.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Chincoteague Afternoon

September 7, last Saturday, was 2 years since Gramma died and we made plans with some of my family to have ice cream together. Jeremy and I decided to make an afternoon of it and take the children to the beach. We arrived at the beach only to find out that most of the parking area was washed out by the tropical storm conditions the day before. People were parking way down the road. 

It was about the time of day when a lot of people leave the beach so we decided to do the lighthouse trail and then go back to see if we could find a parking space.
That day the lighthouse was open for tours. I had never been to the top. Anna did NOT want to go to the top so we split up and went in shifts. Jeremy took Aliza and Isaiah first. It's 175 steps in a spiral and going up you can see through the stairs. Isaiah got scared and Jeremy carried him all the way up and all the way down.

While we were waiting, Josiah decided that even though he is scared of heights he was going to go to the top. He did! And Aliza decided to go to the top again with us. Josiah's hands were cold and he held on to the rail for dear life, but he made it to the top and back down.
That's Aliza at the rail! And, oh yes, I was the one with very sore legs the next day. Going down was harder on my legs than going up.
There was a parking space when we went back to the beach! We had less than an hour and there were WAY more people than I am comfortable around on the beach. But we were at the beach with Daddy and the children loved every second of him being there. The beach just isn't what we often choose to do on weekends.
A quick clean up was required and then we met Janell's family, my Dad and my Grandad at Island Creamery for ice cream. I love that Grandad lives here and we can surround him on days like today.
My current favorite at Island Creamery is Snickers Cheesecake in a waffle cone.
This dude chose a chocolate milkshake. How does anyone, even a 4 year old, get a milkshake--with a straw--ALL over their shirt, face, hands and ear??!!
These simple outings and times together and ones that I hold close to my heart.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The First Week of School

Wow. What a week. That was hard. These days are long. Those are the thoughts that I had pretty much all week last week. On the second day of school I was texting Jeremy saying "this homeschooling gig is not for the faint of heart." By Friday evening I had my head on the table telling Jeremy how discouraged I was at the length of our school days and different antics I dealt with and how tired I was. Later that evening, I talked to one of my customers, with children similar ages to my oldest ones, and her days had been going about the same. I felt more encouraged after I talked to her. I think it's just all of us settling back into the routine and work load. There were some tears the first day but none after that. The challenges are pretty much what I expected. I'm being stricter about some things to develop character--in me and the children as it turns out!

Let's talk about kindergarten for a minute. My youngest child is in kindergarten! It didn't really hit me until he did the first Snack of the Week that all of the children did. Cupcakes. (Next week is the most memorable snack of the week.) He got his first reading book on Friday. Granted, it didn't have any words in it, but still!

Isaiah is a super willing learner. I have to remind him to get back to work and stick with it just like the others, but he hasn't fought me about going back to his table. Isaiah is really good about following his teacher's directions and he worked SO hard to make his "t"s. Since he is a young kindergartner, I  can see that he has to work extra in fine motor skills. But, then again, he holds his pencil correctly! He's ready, he's doing great and I'm cheering him on with a smile on my face and maybe a twinge in my heart here and there!

Joy Dare::August

6615. Morning bike ride before a day in the car
6616. Safe trip
6617. Motel excitement
6618. Totally different kind of adventure
6619. Golf cart transportation
6620. Arriving at Grandma's house
6621. Double teaming with Janell
6622. Changing plans on the fly
6623. Grandma's chocolate chip cookies
6624. All of the children enjoyed everything we did
6625. The home we have to stay at in Ohio
6626. Really enjoyed our day at Sauder's Village
6627. Visiting with Grandma
6628. Life is so much better with grace
6629. A great waitress at Eat n Park
6630. Hotel slumber party with my children
6631. Grandma Karen could meet us for lunch
6632. Home
6633. Jeremy
6634. Slept 10.5 hours
6635. Grocery shopping alone
6636. A new winning supper recipe
6637. Spruced up yard
6638. Menno Tea on the porch
6639. Listening to Aliza and Josiah by the fire pit
6640. YouTube plug in to block recommended videos
6641. The feeling that maybe we did something right
6642. All the new textbooks
6643. New favorite Starbucks drink--Blueberry Black Tea Lemonade
6644. School shopping with the girls
6645. Isaiah truly thrilled with his school supplies
6646. Made Lydia talk to me on the drive home
6647. Finally saw Andy and Judy again
6648. Crafting time
6649. Teaching the teen girls again
6650. Trampoline fun
6651. Anna's Dutch Blitz winning streak
6652. Mostly unplugged weekend
6653. Tubing in the stream
6654. Little League World Series
6655. Time with my aunt
6656. Just watching my children
6657. Late night drive home = quiet car
6658. Mexican sunflower
6659. So. Many. Hummingbirds.
6660. Catching up with Mom
6661. Favorite mugs
6662. Advanced copies of books
6663. Daytime thunderstorm
6664. Renee told me how much she loves coming to my house
6665. Josiah made cookies
6666. A little bit of schoolwork
6667. Choosing not to worry
6668. Chincoteague date
6669. Pool party and fellowship
6670. Flexible enough schedule to pick up food boxes
6671. Connecting with Betsy
6672. Birthday party fun
6673. Sabbath rest
6674. Sunday porch sitting
6675. Watched LLWS Championship game
6676. Good test results
6677. Aliza's amazing attitude
6678. Slumber party
6679. Dance shoes ordered = excited girls
6680. Nice time at a new beach with friends
6681. Jeremy can pick up forgotten supper ingredients
6682. Overheard Isaiah: "Me and you are brothers. That means we stay close together."
6683. Picking pumpkins was so much fun
6684. Jeremy bailed me out on supper making for the 2nd time this week
6685. My mighty Grandad
6686. A new park with new friends
6687. End of summer ice cream
6688. An afternoon with Aliza
6689. When the last section of weeks pulls out in one big clump
6690. Evening shopping with the girls

Friday, August 30, 2019

First Ever Pumpkin Harvest

This spring I bought a packet of seeds from Floret Flowers and gave them to Grandad to plant since he has plenty of room. I promptly forgot about them until last week when he told me that I had a lot of pumpkins growing. Then this week Grandad and Mom told me it was time to pick them. 

Yesterday the children and I headed down to pick pumpkins. I had no idea how fun it would be to discover pumpkins hidden among vines.
 I had enthusiastic helpers!

 Josiah and I found this one. The biggest one in the field.

 Mom had to keep going back to the shop to find more wheelbarrows!
 And then we realized how heavy the wheelbarrows were!
 This was not my wheelbarrow (lol) but one did tip over. It was really hard to balance the weight.
 Grandad declared he had a lot more experience balancing wheelbarrows than me and so he pushed that wheelbarrow out of the field. He is mighty! He did admit that his heart was pumping pretty hard at the end.

 I love all the colors. I'm sure some could have kept on growing, but this time we decided to just pick them all. It hasn't rained in a few days so all the pumpkins were dry and not rotting. 48 pumpkins!

 We wiped off the bugs and loose dirt and I brought them home. Now they are on the porch waiting to be given away.