Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Surprise of the Summer

These pictures are terrible, but you'll get the idea! My biggest surprise of the summer is that the children decided that they like the ocean.
If he isn't playing in the surf, Isaiah likes to go out "deep" with Aliza or Aunt Meghan. He will put the puddle jumper on, but only where he thinks no one can see him. It's so funny! I think he must be embarrassed about having to wear it, but he knows that it gives him more freedom.
Aliza and Anna are together a lot in the water. Josiah runs around with Gideon boogie boarding or sitting up on the sand with a group of boys.

I don't think I'll ever consider myself a great beach mom. It is definitely easier to be an enjoyable mom when the children are having fun!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Morning Mommy/Son Dates

While Aliza, Josiah and Anna are at Bible School with week, I have had mornings alone with Isaiah. I have been loving the opportunity to have one one one time with him. I was given a box of chocolate salted caramel biscotti and Isaiah learned that he LOVED biscotti. So every morning (until we emptied the box) I made a cup of tea and we sit on the couch and eat our biscotti. Yesterday Grandma joined us and we had a tea party. Now we have moved on to Milano cookies which he approved of.

On the way to pick up groceries on Tuesday, I mentioned that I had forgotten to take the chairs out of the trunk of the car. I hadn't thought of moving the chairs into the backseat, but Isaiah did. As I helped load groceries, he was pulling the chairs into the backseat. The delivery lady gave him the highest praise. She told him how thoughtful he was and that he was going to be such a good husband one day. Isaiah just beamed. When we got home Isaiah helped carry in the groceries. He carried as many bags as he possibly could to show me how strong he was. He was just the best helper!

Isaiah plays with his trucks for a little while I get some things done around the house and then we've been watching a show or two on right now media--Super Book, Boz and Bibleman. Isaiah sits right beside me and snuggles in. I've gotten spontaneous hugs and constant chatter or conversation.

Such special time that I am treasuring in my heart.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

One of Our Most Memorable 24 Hours

I'm not sure how to neatly tuck this 24 hour getaway into a blog post. Since we used our anniversary as the excuse and today is our anniversary, it seems like a good time to try!

Jeremy and I have followed Michael W. Smith since we were kids/teenagers. Michael W. Smith was one of my first cassette tape purchases. Contemporary Christian music was so new to my family that my parents had to read the lyrics page before it was approved. It was his Change Your World album which was not worship music and that made it suspect. That seems so funny to look back on now! In a nostalgic moment in mid June I looked up Michael W. Smith's instagram page and saw that he was going to be in concert on July 1 in DC. I sent it to Jeremy and suggested it would be a fun anniversary date.

Jeremy looked at it more closely. Michael W. Smith was playing the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts with full choir and full orchestra. It was a one time concert titled Honoring Freedom. I needed to change up some scheduling with Janell and figure out who would love to have the children for a night. I did that within a couple hours and then Jeremy had the tickets purchased and hotel booked almost instantly.

I was not involved with the tickets or hotel. Jeremy casually tells me that we are staying at the hotel adjacent to the Kennedy Center for ease of walking and, oh by the way, it's a 5 star hotel called The Watergate. 
When we arrive, valet and bellhop pull you from the car before you can even get your head together. The bellhop says, "Oh! You must be having a night away from the kids." That being said after he opens the back door where there is all kinds of kid evidence strewn on the floor. Clearly our car was the oldest van the poor valet guy would have to drive that night.
The shower was like a whole room. Pretty amazing--I could get used to that!
And there were snacks in the room--which I thought was pretty amazing until I figured out that they cost $9 for each little tin. By then we were laughing and determining not to touch anything.
We ate supper at a Mediterranean restaurant. It was a beautiful afternoon and no one was around. It was actually almost eerily quiet for knowing we were in DC. And then we walked over to the Kennedy Center. 
We arrived early so had plenty of time to look around the building, the gift shop and walk around the balcony overlooking the river and city.
By the time we got into the concert hall I couldn't believe I was there. Everything in DC feels historical and this was no different.
And then Michael W. Smith! He played some really old songs. We knew all of them. Performing here with a choir and orchestra was a dream for him and knowing it was special for the artist made it even more special to be a part of the audience.
Photo from @mwsmithofficial
At the end of intermission people started randomly standing up and looking back and clapping. I had no idea what was going on until I realized the Vice President Mike Pence and his wife had just entered and were waving to the audience. Later, I learned that Secretary of State Pompeo was in attendance also. That was a pretty amazing moment.
The second half of the concert was even better than the first. He played so many of his best worship music. And, of course, Friends for the encore.
Photo credit: @mwsmithofficial
We walked back to the hotel behind the building and along the river. CVS was our romantic snack stop. Ice cream and plastic spoons for the win!
In the morning we had an excellent breakfast buffet and listened to Michael W. Smith music in the car on the way back to pick up the children. (They spent the night with Jeremy's parents and we met them half way.) 

I'm pretty sure this 24 hours will go down as one of our favorite memories together.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

My New Decade

In the past year leading up to this day that I officially turn 40 and start a new decade, I've thought a lot about life and passing of time and how like Solomon says in Ecclesiastes life is like a vapor in the wind. It passes quickly and then is gone and whatever legacy one leaves here is only felt for a short period of time. So I've developed this bittersweet relationship with Time. Bitter in the sense that it is short and passes quickly bringing lots of changes. Sweet because I can enjoy every moment of it. I will live gratefully and joyfully while I watch my children grow and flourish. I will cherish this miracle of marriage that I have with Jeremy as we grew up and grow old together. I will love my family of parents, parents in law, grandparents, brother, sisters, brothers in law, sisters in law, nieces and nephews. I will cherish friendships near and far, old and new. And I will keep growing and learning and pursuing God so that I am the person He created me to be.

(Now the fun stuff!)
On the 4th, Mom, my sisters, my girls and a friend took me out for breakfast to celebrate my birthday. We had a lovely breakfast together chatting and me drinking chai to be conversational in the morning.
After we finished eating Janell and Mom began clearing off the table before they gave me the gift bags sitting behind me. I thought it was pretty dramatic to need so much space cleared and I made a comment to that effect. And then they handed me this bag:
Which lead to 40 little things being laid out on the table in numerical order.
The inspiration for this was my blog and I do love "little things." I chose the name for this blog back in 2008 completely out of thin air and now, 11 years later, the saying "Enjoy the Little Things" can be found quite frequently.

So each of them (Mom and Aliza, Janell, Meghan, Laura) bought 10 gifts and wrapped them without consulting with each other. There was only one duplicate and it was a bracelet from Mercy House. On the card it says "Fabulous Forty. Happy Birthday, World Changer. I'm going to wear that bracelet regularly for a while as a reminder that Forty is fabulous.
Aliza helped Mom chose things for me. She so loved being a part of the surprise. Anna was planning to go fishing with the boys, but wasn't feeling well and so ended up having to come with me and Aliza. She was glad that she came. Her eyes were sparkling and it was her job to hand me the gifts. This is what 40 little things looks like unwrapped.
The 6th:
Last night I had 3 children awake during the 4:00 hour. I was awake for a good long while and was glad that I could sleep in this morning. Jeremy made breakfast and we all just did things we enjoy doing at home. This evening we went to Panera for supper. Anna and Isaiah were sitting across from each other and were the goofiest, squirmiest pair you've ever seen. Isaiah was out of his seat every other second, on the floor, under the table. It was ridiculous. Between the night and supper I had a good chuckle--not much has changed between 30 and 40!
We spent some time browsing in Barnes and Noble after supper which actually showed how much HAS changed between 30 and 40! Superman was with us. Superman was with us at Panera too.
It's been a good day.
(And now it's thundering so the day probably isn't over quite yet!)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Joy Dare::June

6450. Kindof a Michael's shopping spree
6451. Inaugural fire pit s'mores
6452. Aliza says it was the best investment
6453. Sunshine and backyard swimming pool
6454. After swimming sleep
6455. Safe driving when I was really tired
6456. Profitable day
6457. Talking to Chrissy on the way home
6458. Seeing some historical airplanes
6459. Anna spent a couple hours with a friend
6460. Freeze pops and lollipops from our grocery pickup person
6461. Soaking up all the snuggles today
6462. Sunset from the Bay Bridge
6463. Valet parking
6464. Learning a lot
6465. Making an Eastern Shore connection with a customer
6466. Sleeping soundly all night
6467. Talking home school curriculum all day
6468. Aliza telling me all about her day
6469. Starbucks breakfasts
6470. Strength for the day
6471. All the welcome home hugs
6472. Note on my desk
6473. All the things Anna has to tell me
6474. Talking to Grandad
6475. Sunlight through the trees
6476. Evenings outside
6477. Watermelon
6478. Friends
6479. Aliza represented herself so well
6480. The children heard an amazing story
6481. Emotion releasing tears
6482. God-incidence this morning
6483. K-Love fan awards on TV
6484. Isaiah wrote his name for the first time
6485. Jeremy powerwashed the house
6486. Having my family here to celebrate Father's Day for our Dad
6487. Clean deck
6488. A wonderful father of my children to celebrate
6489. Steak and ice cream brownie dessert
6490. Dad save me by sharing his computer
6491. A day with Maria
6492. The girls praying together during the storm
6493. First day of having summer sisters went well
6494. Catching up
6495. Studying with Aliza
6496. A couple hours at the pool
6497. First zinnia bouquet of the season
6498. Children played outside for hours
6499. Josiah loved spending some time with the Sheats boys
6500. Evening light
6501. Aliza is pure joy
6502. Anna makes friends wherever she goes
6503. Isaiah got his Kung Fu Penguin shirt
6504. Word for the day: nostalgic
6505. Our little church
6506. Country drive to get ice cream
6507. Assateague on a whim
6508. All the children had so much fun in the water
6509. Isaiah loved Bible school
6510. Summer magazines
6511. Come home during Bible school tonight
6512. Reading Pete the Cat to Isaiah
6513. "Marriage is never an accomplishment to be proud of but a miracle to give thanks for." Ann Voskamp
6514. A special shirt pillow for Aliza
6515. A fun library program
6516. Dresses for Aliza
6517. Donuts and a movie
6518. Making an appearance
6519. Isaiah sang his Bible School song for the program
6520. Black raspberry ice cream
6521. Church singing
6522. Pool with a mountain view
6523. Deck lights, reading and talking
6524. Being outside all day kind of tired
6525. Aliza stayed up late to read on the deck