Sunday, January 29, 2023

Actual Teaching

 Aliza and I started a new adventure this year--helping in an adult ESL class. We are in the Beginner 1 class. Our students speak no English. We have really enjoyed watching them learn. Our students are from Mexico, Guatemala, Hondorus, Nicaragua, China, Vietnam, Brazil and Haiti. 

This semester the Beginner 1 teacher needed to move to teach the Beginner 2 class and, by default, I became the lead teacher for the Beginner 1 class. I didn't think I needed a new responsibility this semester, but I'm doing it! I've taught three lessons so far and each week I have felt more confident and haven't mentally obsessed over the lesson quite as much.

We've covered days of the week including "yesterday," "today," and "tomorrow." Teaching time concepts in English was more challenging than I expected. And last week we covered the parts of an address which was also more challenging then I thought it would be. 

At the beginning of the semester we had 5 new students and have added new students each week. It's especially challenging in the Beginner 1 class to have students who have not had any lessons in the book and other students who have had half of the book. It's a big skill difference at the beginner level.


During the class, we pass out Bibles in each student's first language and the teacher presents a Bible verse. (I'm laughing at my white board writing. You know if I *tried* to write in waves, I wouldn't be able to!) We read the verse in English, I explain or Aliza acts out words to portray the meaning, one students representing each language reads the verse in their language out loud, we read it together in English again and then I pray.


Each week I don't really look forward to going out in the evening to have class, but by the end, I'm so glad I did. I come home all wound up. It takes me so long to fall asleep on Thursday nights! I'm glad Aliza thought that volunteering at ESL class was a good idea and dragged me into it with her.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Some Little Things From This Week

My sister, Linda, is really into diamond art projects. Since she was visiting for almost 2 weeks, we all got together one afternoon to do a diamond art project. I only took a picture of one completed coaster. It happens to be the one Josiah did. There were coasters, bookmarks and bracelets to choose from for an afternoon project.

It was fun to spend an afternoon just sitting around the table together.
Isaiah gave it a try for approximately 7.2 seconds. It was far too detailed and tedious for his liking! He preferred to spend the afternoon outside with Ezra and Sean.

 It was a cloudy, gray week and I hope that is what contributed to the overarching feeling of heaviness and frustration that seemed to mark our week. School wasn't great. Isaiah was even moaning about doing math which is easy for him and he never complains about. One day I had to tell Aliza and Josiah both to put away their math for the day and sleep on it. That proved to be a successful tactic this time. The next day it went much better. Maybe it's about this time every year that I worry daily that I am not doing great in the education realm. 

Added to that are big feelings and lots of thinking about a decision that we are making as a family, and also individually. There were tears and conversations and underneath the knowing that we are moving in the right direction as unlikely as it seems. I'm sure I'll talk more about this over time. 

It's going to be another full week of school and activities and friends. Joy will continue to surprise me in the most unexpected ways and I won't wish away these winter weeks because there are lessons to learn, memories to make and family time to absorb.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Celebrating Dad

 I never mean for 10 days to go by between blog writings. These days I just turn around and 10 days have passed!

Last weekend we celebrated my Dad's 70th birthday. Linda and Phil were able to be here and two of Dad's cousins from Pennsylvania came. It was a really nice evening of being together--eating and visiting.

Crabcakes, shrimp and Smith Island cakes were on the menu.
I made sure we got allll the family pictures, but completely failed to get Dad's cousins together for a picture. 

Linda got the 5 of us Crater Lake shirts for Christmas and, now that we were all together, we got a picture.
I believe this Janell and Brian tradition started at Brian's wedding--18 years ago! Every once in a while it gets re-enacted!
I'm sure thankful for all of these that are my family.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Joy Dare::December

9704. Somehow everyone finished school
9705. Prayers answered
9706. Pretzel treats made
9707. Walking around in a store alone
9708. Josiah knew how to set up the Christmas tree
9709. Christmas lights and snacks
9710. Taking Anna to watch Nutcracker Ballet
9711. Jeremy did the cooking
9712. Delivering supper
9713. Taking Melinda coffee during Sunday School
9714. Christmas shopping with Anna
9715. Anna loved wrapping presents and wanted me to be with her
9716. Aliza comes home happy from her activities
9717. Isaiah's story
9718. Advent readings
9719. Spontaneously watching the end of the Fixer Upper series
9720. Making Anna's birthday party special
9721. The after party
9722. Chocolate fondue was a hit
9723. Warm enough to send the boys outside
9724. Talking to my moms
9725. Sunshine this morning
9726. Even when we are all moody, we are together
9727. Jeremy had a really encouraging work day
9728. Christmas tea

9729. Hearing all about the soccer game
9730. Wrapping gifts
9731. Walking through Cheryl's Christmas-lit yard
9732. Isaiah is enjoying the Narnia books
9733. Smiling because my fingernails match my pen
9734. A little time with my mom and Janell
9735. A sneak peak in theater and driving Aliza home
9736. 4 children that fold their own laundry
9737. Introduced Janell to The Chosen
9738. Anna handled herself with maturity
9739. Christmas shopping with Josiah
9740. Filling Melinda's house with noise
9741. Apple pie and vanilla ice cream
9742. Bright stars on cold nights
9743. Driving Aliza to dance
9744. Crackling candle on a rainy morning
9745. When my Mommy instinct is correct
9746. Hanging out after Bible class
9747. These at-home December evenings
9748. 1st semester finished
9749. Trains and cookies with Mom and Dad
9750. Today it was good news
9751. Delivering a mocha to Aliza
9752. Grades finished
9753. Doing some things I've wanted to do
9754. Christmas carols
9755. Aliza's choir concert
9756. Listening to Isaiah and Ezra play over the phone
9757. Doing some shopping I've wanted to do
9758. Karen is feeling better
9759. Spending some time with Anna
9760. Making slime with friends
9761. Gingerbread men decorating
9762. A quick house cleaning
9763. Shopping with Aliza
9764. The kids had a fun Christmas party
9765. An hour with Janell
9766. Cookie baking day
9767. Remembering my Grandma
9768. Finished a really long, really interesting book
9769. Isaiah picking out gifts to give
9770. The sweetest words from a friend
9771. Christmas roses
9772. Christmas with my family
9773. Quiet morning before all the excitement begins
9774. Isaiah opening the Switch he's been saving for
9775. Christmas morning worship
9776. Children giving gifts to each other
9777. Watching Sight and Sound's "Jesus" on TV
9778. After Christmas recovery day
9779. Working on a puzzle and I forgot to start supper
9780. Anna's video of pictures
9781. Treadmill walking on cold mornings
9782. Showing Mom pictures of our Christmas
9783. So much relaxing this week
9784. Talking to Chrissy
9785. How big the room feels after Christmas is put away
9786. Meal project completed
9787. Having Ezra here--Isaiah was so excited
9788. Anna excited about playing ukulele
9789. Hearing that the girls didn't stop talking
9790. Aliza took a turn driving
9791. Heslop Christmas evening
9792. Business growth happening for Jeremy
9793. Family meal
9794. Reading, relaxing, listening to the kids play
9795. Staying up until midnight together


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

New Years Weekend

 It was a Heslop Family Christmas Weekend!

We open gifts on Friday evening after we arrive. Isaiah was the first (for the last time!) to open his gifts and he patiently waited to be able to play outdoor ping pong in the dark.

I do find it necessary to take a picture of Isaiah reading by his own choice. He's been enjoying this Heroes and Villains book. It's an expansion book with The Action Bible.

We must have looked like tourists in Shepherdstown. A gentleman offered to take our picture.

The highly anticipated Oreo Espresso Milkshakes.

This is what we look like "doing a Pokemon raid".  We didn't plan ahead and were a device short so Isaiah was using my phone. Maybe next time I'll play--or maybe I'll hold a baby while Amanda plays. Actually now that I'm thinking about it, Pokemon times may be my best chance to hold a baby because all of the children will be occupied!

We ended the weekend with a fire. Isaiah got a set of roasting sticks and smore supplies so, of course, he had to try them out!


I sure enjoyed this break and tonight I think I'm ready to get back into the school routine. Not everyone in my household agrees with that sentiment.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Christmas Day

 If I had any doubt that our children are growing up, Christmas Day confirmed it again. Since Christmas was on Sunday, we decided to go to church and wait to open presents until after church. The oldest three were excited to see friends on Christmas and Isaiah thought it was super exciting to be able to wear his jammies to church. It was a shorter service, but, as per usual, our family was just about the last to leave.

As soon as we got home, I got brunch/lunch started and the children opened their gifts from Matt and Chrissy. It was really fun for them to open a gift to hold them over until after lunch.

This year Isaiah picked out gifts for his brother and sisters. He wanted to be the first to GIVE his gifts and Isaiah could hardly contain his excitement. He stood right beside Josiah--with his arm around his shoulder.
There were lots of hugs.

Jeremy likes to make milkshakes and Aliza gave him a "milkshake cup" and his favorite candy additions for his milkshakes.
Josiah hugged Aliza and Anna after opening their gifts--which just needed to be documented.

This gift for Anna was a bit silly. She is ALWAYS stealing my water cup. So I gave her 2 glass water cups with metal straws and wooden lids. She has been faithfully using her own this week!
We've been joking that Anna is creating an instrument collection. This year she really wanted a ukelele. She found an app that she has been using a lot this week. She's been really excited about what she's learning and her progress.

We surprised Aliza...
...twice. The second one was triple wrapped and put in a bigger box. A really great Black Friday sale made her gift possible!
I always forget how overwhelming the post Christmas mess is. I got the worst of it cleaned up and by then I had hit the "Christmas wall" and my "Christmas spirit" was gone. A nap helped a bit. I got up in time to clean up the kitchen, bake dinner rolls, and head to Mom and Dad's house for Christmas dinner. 

After dinner we watching Sight and Sound's production "Jesus" on TV. I had not seen on of their productions on TV. It was really good. The boys said it was good, but Aliza and Anna truly loved it. Now they want nothing more than to watch a Sight and Sound play live. 

Now, a few days later, I've forgotten how bad the mess was and am cherishing the memories of our family together at this stage in the children's lives.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Christmas Eve

 My family gathered on Christmas Eve to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is much more relaxed with older children! The children were talking and playing and eventually they decided it was time to open presents. Christmas is much more relaxed with older children!

Lydia had a present for each of her cousins. She was so excited to give her gifts--it was the sweetest. The boys got key chains that said, "when you forget that you are awesome, this is your reminder" and the girls got key chains that said, "Not sisters by blood, but sisters by heart."

Grandma and Grandad with the grandchildren.

Isaiah was the last grandchild to open his gift from Grandma and Grandad (they opened oldest to youngest this time) and he was the one who stopped to read his card out loud.
Mom finished the cross stitch quilt blocks that Linda started in high school. She added butterfly buttons. Linda was surprised! She didn't even know that the quilt blocks were still at Mom's house.
Mom was pretty surprised by a book by her current favorite author, Charles Martin. (I was equally surprised when I was in Barnes and Noble and saw the book on the shelf and was pretty sure it was one she hadn't read.)
I gave Dad this piece that one of his cousins made. It was a cousin on his Dad's side of the family and this was the first Christmas that Dad had Christmas without his Dad.
Grandma and Grandad got to do a video call with Sean. Sean said he will give them "the biggest Christmas hug ever" when he sees them. So sweet.
We had the traditional pizza, shrimp, crab dip and cookies for supper.
Christmas Eve wasn't quite over when we got home. Isaiah reached his goal of saving for a Nintendo Switch between his Christmas gift from Grandma and Grandad and the $5 Janell handed to him. That night he bought the Switch from his Mom and Dad. 

Isaiah and I had agreed that Jeremy and I would buy it so that when he had the money, he could get have the Switch right away--not have to wait for stores to be open.

Isaiah was pretty proud that he had saved that much money over the last almost 2 years. His Dad helped him get it all set up and then, of course, he had to play the Pokemon game that Uncle Joel gave him for his birthday in October. (Don't worry...Isaiah asked for that game in October in preparation for getting the Switch.)
All 4 of the the kids have successfully saved for a switch. The girls have the Lite and the boys have the full size. 

I don't remember if it actually was, but it seemed like it was very late when we made it to bed!