Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Mr. Independent

I went deep into the blog archives to confirm that the first year I took Aliza to Bible School was in 2008. That makes this year the 11th and final year that I will have a child in the preschool class at this little community Bible School at the Methodist Church. For the most part, parents stay with their children and I've been there with a child for 11 years. So I was already feeling a bit nostalgic with Isaiah on the first night when he joined his class and informed that I didn't need to stay...he was fine. NONE of my other children said that! ALL of them hung on me even dropping them off to the kindergarten class and beyond.

Last night I hung around and sat back and watched while he sang songs, got help with his craft from one of the teenage boys, told his teacher that he was a good listener, and answered questions...
...ate his bear cupcake and then did all kinds of water bottle flipping maneuvers. Honestly, I was very proud of him. I just keep on getting confirmation that he is indeed ready for kindergarten.
Tonight I decided that I would come home for a little while. What a novel idea! I came home for an hour, caught up with Jeremy and then went back when I knew Isaiah would be outside playing and I could chat with the other moms. Isaiah was running up the plastic slides and jumping off the platform like a crazy kid. All of a sudden Isaiah was running to me crying that he had been stung. Sure enough--he was stung through his sock by a wasp. And I was glad that I had come back in time to be there when he was actually still a 4 year old who needed his Mommy. He got ice and all kinds of attention and it wasn't very long until he was saying he was ok and that it only hurt a tiny bit. And it all made my heart ache in the way that it does when the youngest child grows up.

Friday, June 21, 2019


I had my first opportunity to work at a homeschool convention in the BJU Press booth. I arrived in Richmond late Wednesday evening and at 7am Thursday morning all the consultants meet at the booth to start set up. Everything we needed was in these 2 wooden crates.
I had watched all the set up training videos and read the manual. I worked with another gal to run all the electric and set up the distance learning end of the booth.
On each side of the booth (pictured below) there were 2 ordering stations.
 The book displays were in a circle in the middle of the booth.

 We had 7 consultants working. There were also 2 people from Homeworks By Precept which is the marketing company that the consultants work for. It was fun to meet a couple people that I have only known through facebook and email.
 At these big conventions BJU sends a distance learning teacher to meet students and talk to parents. Anna was super jealous that I got to work with one of her teachers, Dr. Jarrell. I always learn new things by talking to the teachers and listening to them answer questions.
 While I was away the children had days with Grandma and Laura and evenings and Saturday with Daddy. They went to a Shorebirds game one evening and had so much fun.
 The Shorebirds won the game and there were fireworks after the game.
 It was Faith and Family night so Christian music was playing during the fireworks. Aliza loved that.
 Also while I was away, Isaiah decided he could not wait to start kindergarten. He started asking when his book would come. Aliza showed him the catalog where he could see pictures of his teachers. He looked at that catalog over and over after I came home. Then we showed him samples of his lessons and he LOVED that. He watched those lessons over and over too.
All I can think is "How can he be so big and so little all at the same time!?"

Saturday, June 15, 2019

WWII Exhibit

A friend of mine told me that our little local airport was going to host an exhibit of two aircraft used in WWII. It took some thinking for me to decide if I would take the children given the nonresistant, peace theology that I hold, but in the end, I decided to go. History is history, Josiah was interested and how many chances are there to tour an aircraft from the mid 1900s?
I convinced Jeremy to join us. I just had the feeling that at some point one of the children was going to get scared and I wouldn't be enough for everyone. I think it may have been Aliza that finally convinced him that everything is so much more fun when he comes along.
Our tour guide told us that this cockpit was the original inspiration for the Star Wars ship.
Climbing up the ladder was no problem, but when Anna realized she had to go down the ladder it was a completely different story. This was why Jeremy came along! Everyone had gone down and Anna declared she wasn't doing it. When she realized that I was going down and she really didn't have a choice, she did get herself down the ladder.
This first aircraft was a bomber. There was a hatch on the bottom of the plane where the bombs were dropped. There were empty cases, like in the picture below, lined up inside the plane.
The second plane was a plane used for shooting.

This tunnel is how the soldiers moved between gun posts. I don't like this picture of Josiah! After leaving this plane, I put my arm around his soldier. I said, you know this plane was really used in WWII? And it dropped real bombs and shot real bullets? Do you understand that those bombs and bullets were pointed at real people? And those people died? Yes. He understands.
This panel had signatures on it. Most were very faded. I'm assuming they are signatures of soldiers who flew in this plane.
After the tours of these planes, I took the children to the terminal of our little airport. They have not flown in a plane yet so I showed them the ticket counter. It was busy for our 2 gate airport. A person happened to be checking luggage which helped them understand my explanations. I showed them the gates and then from the baggage area we could see the runway. No planes were coming or going but they at least got a bit of the idea. It was a good little summer field trip!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Speaking Up

I don't know what is happening, but in the last week or so I have been speaking up in places where I would not have before. I'm going to blame it on having growing up children and a new decade of life coming. Here's a couple examples:

Orthodontist office: Aliza is still in treatment and we are ready to start Josiah's treatment. I inquire about the down payment and am told that the office has just started new payment options. A Gold, Platinum and Family Plan. The Gold Plan saves us a little money. The Platinum Plan costs more than the quote and the Family Plan covers up to 4 family members, includes lifetime warranties and would save us several thousand dollars over the course of 4 Gold Plans. The problem is that we have already paid for one child's treatment. We have 3 children to go and would have had 4 (which the family plan covers) had Aliza been included. So I asked if what we already paid for Aliza could be applied to the Family Plan since we do have 4 children. I have not received an answer since the question had not be asked or considered as it was the first couple days of releasing the new plan.

Library: There was a time when I would not go to the library alone because I didn't trust the children to cross the street carefully at a busy intersection. Those days have passed. I take the children alone, but I'm still very vigilant as we cross that intersection. Last week we went to the library and I was surprised to see that the traffic light was replaced by stop signs and the cross walk signals had been removed. I understand that all cars stop at a 4 way stop and should yield to pedestrians but this new set up did not feel safer than the old one with cross walk signals. I approached the children's librarian and told her that I missed the cross walk signals. That a lot of children cross that intersection and with the summer reading program starting soon even more children will be using that intersection cross walk. She wrote down my complaint and before I left told me that it would be posted on an internal forum where the Director would see it.

Pediatric Dentist: I take the children to a large resident pediatric dental office. I make the same appointment for all 4 of them and we are in and out of there in an hour and I only make a trip to the dentist twice a year instead of up to 8 times a year if they had separate appointments. Isaiah was a dream this time. He did not make a peep and totally cooperated. His dentist asked him if his Mom helps him brush his teeth. Isaiah said no and I got the lecture about helping my kid brush their teeth. The dentist asked Isaiah what he likes to drink and he said milk. The dentist told me that Isaiah should only have milk to drink with meals and he went on to say that I shouldn't give Isaiah anything to eat between meals because it introduces sugar to the teeth and increases the risk of cavities. I get that. But that isn't reality in practical parenting. So I asked that young dentist if he had children. He said no. With a smile and a laugh I wished him the best of luck in following his own advice when he has children.

As long as it stay respectful and in good humor this trend may continue! Now I need to call that orthodontist office back to see if they reached a decision on family plans.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Joy Dare::May

6364. Front seat riders
6365. Isaiah's car music choices: Elements, It's Raining Tacos
6366. Aliza's maturity
6367. "Life's interruptions are divine interventions." Priscilla Shirer
6368. Super helpers for spreading mulch
6369. Nothing showed up
6370. All the dance rehearsal excitement
6371. Grandma and Grandpa here
6372. Josiah so excited for Joel to come
6373. Daughters dance
6374. A dance studio where my girls thrive
6375. Anna brought me an early Mother's Day card and M&Ms
6376. Communion
6377. Joel's stories from his time with the boys
6378. Laura brought my brownies
6379. Basketball at the park
6380. Choir songs coming together
6381. Standardized testing finished without tears
6382. Jeremy.
6383. Josiah finished 5th grade
6384. Riding in a brand new car was pretty fun
6385. So many good things in our conversation
6386. Paper phones
6387. Picking strawberries
6388. Sharing my burden
6389. Aliza, Josiah and Anna did great in the choir program
6390. Jeremy didn't mind doing the videoing
6391. Not setting the alarm on Friday night
6392. The rain held off and the boys played outside all afternoon
6393. Fund day celebrating Renee and my Mom
6394. Fire pit materials purchased
6395. Yummy brunch
6396. Making plans and changing them
6397. After church treat
6398. Anna finished 2nd grade
6399. Mom came over for a Mother's Day leftovers lunch
6400. Rainy morning, slow morning
6401. Anna loved gymnastics
6402. End of school year sorting and organizing
6403. Outside laughter that sounds like 12 kids not 3
6404. Aliza finished 7th grade!
6405. Aliza received the sweetest compliment
6406. Great test scores
6407. Beautiful day for yard work
6408. Girls playing with dolls
6409. Whiffs of honeysuckle
6410. Visiting with friends
6411. Found a little waterfall
6412. The kids decided they like Popeyes chicken
6413. Reading outside
6414. Easy bedtime
6415. Beautiful day for the Garden Tour
6416. A gift for Aliza
6417. It worked to drive home late
6418. Person record number of steps
6419. Loved the fruit box
6420. American Idol finale and a late night
6421. Josiah's Nintendo was found
6422. Windows open
6423. Rosebush planted
6424. Going somewhere new
6425. Lots of turtles
6426. Day at home
6427. Growth
6428. Bike ride talks
6429. Good morning run
6430. 1 Chronicles 4:10
6431. Doing some things I enjoy
6432. Isaiah caught his first fish
6433. Aliza and I spent the afternoon with Mom
6434. Soaking up spring
6435. Goals: finish scrapbook page, take a nap
6436. The children had so much fun in the pool
6437. Isaiah trying so hard to swim
6438. Grilling for supper
6439. All the summer feels
6440. Picking up groceries is amazing
6441. Speaking up
6442. Nice zoo outing with friends
6443. A very good finish for club
6444. Shopping and chatting with Aliza
6445. Isaiah and Anna crossed all the hurdles at the dentist
6446. Isaiah and Anna loving their stuffed dogs
6447. Isaiah adding on to my bedtime prayer
6448. Having big kids is really great!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center

In the process of reading a book about Harriet Tubman aloud to the children, I learned that she was from Cambridge, MD which is only an hour drive from our house. So much history is tucked away in this super rural town. This little field trip has been on my list for the last year and I finally made it happen. I didn't really make a well researched plan. We went to a museum in downtown Cambridge, but it was closed on Wednesdays and I knew I wanted to find this mural. I asked a local business owner and she pointed us to the wall behind her store.
The mural was finished just the week before we visited. I had seen a viral picture of it almost finished with a little girl putting her hand on Harriet Tubman's hand. I knew I wanted to find it. It's an amazing, beautiful piece of art.
The business owner also directed us to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. It's 9 miles off the highway and you feel like you are in the middle of the nowhere, but it's so worth the drive. I expected something small and outdated, I guess. This presentation far exceeded my expectations.
The displays were multi media, engaging, poignant and sobering. There was no way that I could take in all the information, but even reading at children speed I was impacted.

There were a couple school field trips so we had an early lunch in the very nice picnic pavilion to beat the rush. Actually we were a school field trip too, but no one really knew that! Grandma and Renee were with us and that always makes the adventure extra fun! We walked around the grounds a bit and then headed over to Blackwater Nature Refuge.
We started on a hiking trail and soon realized we were going to be either eaten alive or carried off by mosquitoes so we turned around and did the driving trail. That was a much better decision.
We saw lots of turtles, a snake, and an osprey feeding her babies.
The day ended with Cook Out milkshakes which made my children very happy and maybe we convinced Renee that Cook Out milkshakes are ok. =)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Garden Touring

We started with a family letterboxing adventure so that Grandma could sleep after working Friday night. These little falls were a fun find. Lunch was at Popeyes which a couple children thought was the end of the world, but by the end of lunch Isaiah declared the fries the best ever and he could eat them every day.
It was a perfect afternoon and evening to be outside. I sat outside and read for quite a while and we had a bonfire in the evening.

Sunday and ready for the Garden Tour! It was HOT! I'm sure this was our hottest walk. I preferred the heat over rain. There was a breeze that reminded me it was still spring.
This time we had tea first. Chrissy brought a friend and it was nice to get to know her a bit over tea before walking. Anna chose the November teacup since her birthday is in November. All of the food was served on plates for the table. We got to try everything and ate a lot more with this style of service. I think we all liked it!
Anna wanted to take umbrellas. Both previous years that she has been with us it has rained so umbrellas and garden tour go together in her mind. She and Aliza were glad to have the umbrellas for shade.
Peonies were blooming!

Anna was so so hot she didn't think she could make it to the end. When we crossed the Town Run I told her to take her shoes off and put her feet in the water. Aliza joined her too. That revived them for a bit!
We were ready for some ice cream after the tour! I don't think Dairy Queen has ever tasted quite so good!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

For the Love of Dance

Dance recital always catches me off guard with how much emotion and energy is wrapped up in this weekend and performance. This was was no different and even heightened because Aliza's class danced the opening dance to Daughters by Sleeping at Last with their Dads and it was a top secret surprise.

The Dads were on stage and walked through the dance a couple times before the show and their teacher had one of the Dads pray before the recital started. She took this picture and sent it to all the Moms later.

It was beautiful...
...and special...
...and a tear jerker.

Literally the next number was Anna's tap dance.
She was awesome and right on beat.
She loved this dance. Tappin' in the USA.
A few numbers later Anna did her ballet dance.
She's not as crazy about ballet, but this dance was super fun because one of the teenagers joined them as Statue of Liberty. She wore her Pointe ballet shoes and Anna loved that!
After intermission there was a series of songs from the Annie movie. Aliza's class did Hard Knock Life.
Aliza was amazing. She played the part of the mad orphan perfectly.

Thankfully all the attitude was for the stage and not how she acts at home! She really was great!

Aliza got a medal for 6 years of dance.
Grandma and Grandpa go to attend recital with us this year. They usually come for dress rehearsal and have to leave before recital. This year recital was on Saturday so they could come to the performance.

Meanwhile, Joel came for the weekend to stay with Josiah and Isaiah during recital. These boys ADORE their Uncle Joel. They both had the best afternoon and it's quite possible, from the stories I heard, that Joel had a pretty amazing afternoon too.