Monday, August 25, 2014

A new treat...

Our neighborhood HOA hosted a back-to-school pizza party at the pool this past Friday.  They gave away free pizza and ice cream to the kids.  After eating their pizza, Elise and Isaac went up to get more and saw that the HOA folks were handing out ice cream sandwiches.  They returned to our table completely ecstatic.  Elise said, "They have pop tarts with ice cream in them!!!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Isaac's haircut!

Isaac and my dad grew their hair out over the spring and early summer.  A couple weeks ago, Steven decided it was time for Isaac to get a hair cut.  Here he is before...


And after...

He really does like the short hair even though his face doesn't show it! :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our backyard in Summer 2014!

Around the house this summer...

Some of our daily adventures this summer...
Isaac made a rocket out of our Sonlight curriculum box!
Elise also made a rocket out of construction paper...

The three amigos... (if you wonder what life in our house looks like, here is a taste of the everyday fun!)

Silly Gracie!

It's so fun to play in the rain!

Yes, this really happened.  Yogurt, in a bowl, overturned on top of Elise's head.  This is typical of Elise.  Things like this on a DAILY.BASIS.  We had the "You can't do that" talk, but I also took pictures and rejoiced in the fun she had.  I'm pretty sure this is a season that will pass very quickly.  She has such a fun personality!

Oh, the fun of childhood.  I am trying to embrace these messy and joyful moments and remember the wisdom from those who've gone before me... that they pass way too quickly.  I am blessed to share so many moments with these three miracles. 

As I read recently, may my house be clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy!

Indiana Trip 2014!

Here are some pictures from our Indiana trip...
Kati and the big kids in downtown Fort Wayne...

Kati and the big kids on the log ride at the Children's Zoo...

At the Zoo...

And on the way home when we were stopped for about 2 hours on the interstate in West Virginia due to a fatal motorcycle accident.  We were parked on the road right beside a big barn and a saw mill.  It was a great learning opportunity for Isaac, as my dad explained the saw mill to him.  And the big barn provided privacy for anyone who was in need of, ahem, relief.  Two hours is a long time for little bladders, you know!

We were so thankful to have been able to take this trip to see Kati and Ray!  What a great experience it was for us all. 

Fourth of July 2014!

Here are some pictures from our fun, family day on the 4th of July!  We were thankful to have Steven home with us and to be able to spend time in our community, with family, and with friends.  We made great memories and had lots of fun!


Sweet babes at the beach!

Here are a few pictures of the kids (and Kati too!) during the camping trip we took to Apache Campground in June 2014 with my parents and Kati.

First half of Summer 2014...

Summer 2014 for our family has been quite eventful so far!  The kids are growing so much and it's such a blessing to see them playing and enjoying life together.

Steven and I started the summer with a trip to the North Carolinians for Home Education conference in Winston-Salem on Memorial Day weekend.  We took Gracie with us since she was still nursing at the time.  Isaac and Elise had a blast with my mom and dad.  During the conference, Steven and I looked at curriculum, listened to motivating speakers, and just enjoyed being together.  Grace was learning to walk more, though, so we sat at the back of each session with the other families of toddlers.  It was during this trip that we decided to stay with Sonlight as our curriculum for the 2014-2015 schoolyear.  We got some good advice from the Sonlight consultants, and I left feeling excited about the upcoming year.

In early June, the kids, my parents, and I took our first trip to Indiana to see where Kati and Ray now live.  We drove all day on a Wednesday, stayed in Fort Wayne for Thursday - Saturday, and then drove all day on Sunday.  The kids did amazingly well on both of the 10 hour car rides!  When we arrived in Fort Wayne, my back went out and I had lots of pain walking and lifting Grace.  Thankfully my parents and Kati were a huge help, and I was able to enjoy the trip in spite of the pain.  On Wednesday, we visited the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.  We all loved it.  There was a LOT of walking involved, so I had to ride in a wheelchair.  That was so much better than sitting at the food court and waiting on everybody else to walk around!  Kati volunteered to push me, and she did great!  Towards the end, though, she might have regretted it. ;)  On Thursday, we went to the Amish community of Shipshewana, IN.  I loved seeing all the Amish people, visiting the cute shops, and admiring the amazing flowers that were part of the town landscaping.  It was a town that I could have spent an entire weekend exploring!  Next time, we might stay overnight so we can do even more sightseeing!  On Saturday, we were all pretty tired, so we stayed around town and took the kids to an outdoor YMCA waterpark.  They loved it!  Kati and Ray also took us to some of their favorite restaurants around their town, and they also each took us on tours of their workplaces.  It was such a blessing to get to see where they live and work now since they've moved to the Midwest.

When we got back from the Indiana trip, Steven had started building a shed in our backyard that he'd designed.  He went on to work almost every night and weekend in June to finish it in a month.  Now we have a place for bikes, lawn equipment, and yard toys!  It looks fabulous, and I am so proud of Steven!

The rest of the month of June was filled with lots of fun mornings at the pool and afternoons resting in the AC at home.  We had several playdates with friends and lots of time just playing creatively at home.  At the end of the month, Kati came to Charlotte and we (my parents, the kids and me) took a trip to Myrtle Beach to stay a few days in Mom's new camper.  We stayed at Apache campground.  Overall it was a good trip.  We had some hurdles to jump since RV camping is new for us all.  The kids loved playing at the beach, and I was especially thankful for two evenings when Kati and I stayed up late sitting outside and catching up with one another.  That sister time was priceless to me. 

When we got back from the beach, July 4th was upon us!  For the holiday, we started out with the Annual Coulwood Parade.  The kids loved it.  Isaac and Elise weren't scared at all (Isaac has been scared of the loudness of firetrucks in the past.) and they LOVED getting candy, along with their friends Gabby and Jacob.  Grace, however, was a little scared of the firetrucks and she cried a little.  We comforted her, and she seemed to enjoy the rest of the parade.  Afterwards, we took our friends Jeff, Jennifer, Gabby, and cousin Lee to my parents' house to see their chickens.  Steven and my dad used that time to make some yummy caramels.  For lunch, we had a cookout at my Granny and Pawpaw's house.  We enjoyed the visit with some of my dad's family.  Then our family went up to the lake to spend time with our friends Allen, Marsha, Grace and Olivia at their family lake house.  Steven enjoyed water-skiing.  Elise and I went tubing for the first time.  Elise did GREAT!  She was right in the middle of me and our friend Donnie on the float.  Tubing requires a lot more arm strength than I anticipated!  I commented to Donnie during the ride that I need to go to the Y more often so I can do better at this thing! :)  Grace got in the water and enjoyed swimming for a little bit before she got tired.  Then she rode on the boat and fell asleep in Marsha's arms.  It was so sweet!  Isaac and Elise loved jumping off the dock and into the lake.  They couldn't believe it when Mommy got up on the rail of the dock and jumped too!  Later in the day, Isaac and Steven went fishing in the lake with live crickets.  They caught a few fish, too!  The night ended with a cookout and some fireworks with Allen's family.  We were blessed to have such a special family day as we celebrated America's independence!

Two weeks later, we had Michelle and Carly over for dinner.  Steven offered to show Carly our honeybees.  During the demonstration, Steven got stung by three bees (due to an oversight in securing his veil.)  One sting was on his upper lip and the other two were on his neck.  He seemed okay, but he took some Benadryl to help.  The next day, Steven and I did our practical exam to become Certified Beekeepers.  We both passed!  After that was over, Steven decided to make some caramels.  Before cooking them, he took 3 Benadryl tablets because the bee stings were bothering him.  He was standing at the stove, stirring the caramels when he called to me, "Honey I'm a little dizzy."  Then he moved away from the stove and slowly fell to the ground.  He didn't pass out completely, but he was so dizzy that he couldn't stay standing.  With a slurred voice, he asked, "Babe can you add a teaspoon of vanilla to the caramels and stir..."  I quickly added the vanilla, turned the stove off, and then helped Steven to the couch.  He looked really bad, so I called our neighbor Kristin, who is a nurse.  She came over and checked Steven's blood pressure, which was normal.  Then she asked him some questions and determined that he had a Benadryl high.  He had taken too much Benadryl and was having something akin to a near death experience.  He describes that it felt like his soul was lifting away from his body.  He felt like it might be the end of his life on earth.  He said he felt entirely peaceful.  Thankfully it was just due to the Benadryl, and he was much better after a two hour nap.  Whew!!

Three days after that, Steven's car was hit while he was backing out of a parking spot over his lunch break.  The lady who hit him was going too fast, and she did major damage to the car's back end, and also pushed Steven's car into the car beside him.  Due to the damage and the age of Steven's car, it ended up being totaled.  So, the past couple weeks have been spent working with insurance companies, searching for a new(er) car, and seeking wisdom during the entire process.  This past Saturday, we purchased Steven's new daily driver - a Hyundai Veloster.  It's a sweet little car that will be fun for Steven to drive back and forth to work while getting great gas mileage.  It also has a manual transmission, which was a treat for Steven since he loves to drive a stick shift.  The process to purchase this car was amazingly smooth and low stress for both of us.  We are so thankful for God's guidance the whole way.

So that brings us up to now... We are looking forward to a wonderful last half of summer with a family beach trip later this week, a Labor Day getaway for Steven and me, and lots of fun pool/park/just fun days at the house in between!
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