Day 9: After school snack

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It is always a happy afternoon when your after school snack spells your name.  Counting the days to Christmas Break!

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First week of summer

First week of Summer 2014 is in the books.  I think it could be called the “Woa–we have all this extra time on our hands, what do we with ourselves?!” week.

ImageWe enjoyed an early Father’s Day dinner at Sonic.  We only go here about once a year (though their milkshake menu tempts me to go more).  There is something fun about eating in the back of the van.  We had just come from Costco hence the giant bottles of detergent.

ImageGot to love the grilled cheese sandwiches.

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And the hot dogs too!

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On Saturday we had a small army of men from our church in our house.  Since we moved into our house I have despised the carpet in the eating area.  It seemed to get more disgusting with time.  The red velvet cake stain would not come out, the cat peed in the corner, the kids tracked mud in this winter–I hate the carpet.  If I were to give any advice to pastor wives out there living in parsonages I would say the following 1) Show love to your Building & Grounds 2)  Advocate for your families’ needs in a kind and gracious way.  Gentle reminders are good, but don’t be pushy.  3)  Be patient.

ImageAnd hooray–hardwood floor.  Someone asked, “Did you cry when they ripped out the carpet?”  I said, “No I cried when we had the carpet.”  The guys did an amazing job and we felt incredibly cared for as friends and a pastor’s family.

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We celebrated the start of summer by going to the drive-in with friends.  I LOVE drive-ins.  I have always had a thing for them.

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The kids love them too!

ImageYesterday we celebrated Father’s Day…

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I have to say that we are loving the down time.  I still cannot gauge if this one needs a nap or not.  I don’t think she can either.  I, myself, don’t take naps anymore except on Sundays…I can’t during the school year as I am working.  I think I took two naps last week mostly because I could.  My rule for when I take a nap–“Don’t wake me up unless–” The kids: “Someone is bleeding.”  The kids have been keeping busy playing baseball in the backyard, picking raspberries, playing Lego Friends and regular legos, coloring, and riding bikes.  We went to the library and the mall last week, but mostly we have enjoyed being home.

 

Kindergarten graduation

Today my little guy graduated from kindergarten.  The older I get the more emotional I get in public sentimental settings.  Don’t get me wrong–I am a VERY feelings oriented emotional person.  But I don’t cry at movies or church services or anything in a large public setting…rarely.  I did get very choked up when I heard all the little voices singing “In Christ Alone.”  Truly amazing.  The joy of the Lord in each of their little hearts is beautiful.

My son was one of six kindergarten graduates.  He learned and grew a significant amount in only one year.  He had perfect attendance which is amazing for kindergarten…and our first year doing in home child care.  We had several bugs and colds go through this house, but he steered clear.  He made new friends.  I can tell that his buddies will always be important to him.  He is my extroverted talkative little guy whose smile is contagious.  

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My husband had to be in St. Louis last week and this week to work on his doctoral studies.  Originally I was very bummed he would miss my son’s special day.  I asked Derek if there was another adult he wanted to invite to his graduation.  Both our parents live quite a ways away and we have no siblings close by either.  “Our second family” that goes to our church also happened to be away this week on vacation.  He asked our church secretary to come.  He often goes over there on Thursdays to get candy and sometimes deliver mail or pick up copies.  She has been like an adopted grandma to my kids.  So of course she came bearing gifts.  

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My son has been asking lately about my kindergarten graduation and when I was his age.  He even wanted me to pull out some of my elementary school yearbooks.  They are somewhere buried in the attic, but I told him I would look for them this weekend.  This is a picture of my kindergarten graduation in 1983.  I look quite similar to him!

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We celebrated the start of summer by picking strawberries.  For some reason that I don’t understand I don’t like strawberries and I never have…even as a child.  I love picking them.  I enjoy making things for the kids with them.  They were so sweet and juicy and I did eat a couple.  So maybe I finally breaking away from my strawberry distaste.

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It is an awesome feeling to know our schedule is SO much lighter now with no school or child care (I opted not to do summer child care).  It’s a little overwhelming.  I want to use our time wisely and ENJOY our summer together.  My kids are growing so fast before my eyes and we’re living in the times when we are all together–no one is running off to part time jobs, sports practices, or out with girlfriends or boyfriends on a Friday night yet.  

 

Looking ahead to summer

I am not really a working mom, but I am not a stay-at-home mom either.  I stay at home with my children, but I watch four children on a part time basis close to forty hours a week.  This year I feel like I identify more with working moms in terms of my schedule and availability.  But what I do now as a working mom versus what I did as a stay at home mom is not much different.  I stay home more, but I think I would have done that anyway this year.  The last two years being involved in morning Bible studies, preschool co-ops, daytime mom’s groups plus play dates got to be a little much. The house showed for it too.  

But this summer it’s just us.  I decided not to do summer daycare because I have quite a bit going on at church including directing VBS.  As much as I enjoy child care and our whole family is committed to it, we do need a break too.

We also talked about last night about activities and came to a conclusion we need a break from those too.  Aside from one or two weeks of swim lessons in June or July, VBS in late June, and my oldest does a one week theatre week in August–that might be it.  It will be very strange not having evening Bible Study, youth group, swim team, mom’s group, not to mention child care kids here every weekday.  However, I am craving the down time.  

My kids are at the age where we can all go running together at the track, bike on the cycling paths together, go swimming together at the pool, go for day hikes, and beach comb at the coast.  We need opportunities for that.  Summer is our prime time.  I tend to gravitate towards “the soccer mom” role wanting to put my kids in everything because I tend to try to do everything too, but the Lord has putting it on my heart the need to rest.  To slow down.  To stop.  I am greatly looking forward to Summer 2014.

 

Spring Break Plus A Bonus Week

So we had Spring Break plus “a bonus Spring Break” because my sister and her family ventured out to Oregon the week after our break. Since I had to dig my flip flops and shorts out of the attic for my trip to California and I am not about to put everything back, I feel like summer is on its way.  Especially with the warm sunny weather we are soaking up.  Yet I know well enough about the rain that sometimes invades in May and the June gloom here in Oregon so I am leaving a couple long sleeves and hoodies in the closet.

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So back in March we told the kids we were going to Washington because my husband had an all day meeting at a church. This was all made up.  There was no meeting. We told them they had to spend a full day entertaining themselves in the church nursery.  I hate holding the truth from my kids so I told them we’d stay in a motel with a pool.  Our plan was to surprise them and take them to Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington.  And yes, they were surprised.

ImageOne of the best things about Great Wolf Lodge with a 8,6, & 4 year old (we have gone when they were younger) is we could do almost everything including all ride on a tube slide together.  There was just one slide my younger two did not meet the height requirement on.  It was refreshing and fun to not have to spend the whole time in the little kid’s area. However, it was nice they still wanted to play there at times giving us a little break too.

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It was a great time for our family.  I am in this new phase of parenting where I am doing more with the kids versus for them.  It really makes events like this enjoyable.

ImageAfter Great Wolf, my family dropped me off at PDX where I flew to LA to visit my friend Linda.  Linda was in the youth group I lead back in Michigan, and somehow she got all grown up on me and is now a graduate student at USC.  I love seeing my youth group “kids” all grown up finding their place in the world.

My first full day in LA I drove in my rental car braving the crazy six lane highways I am not used to.  I headed to Santa Monica where I enjoyed the festivities on the pier and a run along the beach.

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And an amazing sunset!

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 Linda gave me an “inside” view of LA.  We ate at several ethnic restaurants, drove to the Hollywood sign, I went to her Ultimate Frisbee tournament, and we even got to visit the LA opera.

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I could not get enough of the warm, sunny, LA weather.  I am not sure I could live the pace of LA, but the weather and the beaches are pretty amazing.

After four days of being home and trying to revert back into some kind of routine, we were thrilled to have my sister, her husband, and kids come visit us in Oregon.  They live back in Michigan where we used to live so we don’t get to see one another often.

While they were here, my brother-in-law did the Beaver Freezer Triathlon on the campus of Oregon State.  It was my second sprint triathlon.  He has done more and even completed an Ironman Triathlon.  It was fun to do one with a family member.

Amy runningMy time was very similar (only a thirty second difference) from my first triathlon last spring in Stayton, Oregon.  But the swimming went so much better.  Last spring I felt nauseous swimming and could not get into a good swimming pattern.  I felt like I could have increased my speed on the bike, but I am still not totally comfortable “bike racing.”  This is something I hope to work on this summer.  The run for me was by far the best and my run time was only about 1 minute and half more than my normal 5K time.

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My brother-in-law is the guy in the back with the blue shirt and sunglasses.  I thought this picture was funny with the “happy runner” in the front.

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One of the greatest things about having my sister and her family here is seeing all the cousins playing together.  They are ages 12,10,8.6,4–there was a baby every two years.  My brother continued that pattern with an almost two year old and a baby due next month.

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The weather cooperated and we were able to spend most of Monday at Silver Falls State Park.  We have been there many times.  We appreciate it more going with people who have never gone before.

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My sister, her husband, my niece, my nephew, and my oldest two hiked to Double Falls which was about a four mile hike round trip.  My youngest and I made it just past the lower South Falls and took a breather while the rest went on.  We were able to hike back together.

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And then return home to a wonderful dinner cooked by my husband.

After my sister’s family left I cannot believe how tired everyone was.  It has taken us a few days to get our energy back.  My sister made the comment that there is something relaxing about getting back into your normal routine.  I have found that to be true.  The house is slowly getting put back together and everyone is returning back to work, school & regular activities.

Love those Kids Quotes

Before we read our Bible Story as part of our preschool homeschool routine:

Youngest Child:  “Mom, my favorite Bible Story is John the Baptized.”

Me:  “Oh yay because that’s the one I was going to read to you this morning.”

Youngest Child:  “I love John the Baptized because he baptized Jesus.”

Middle Son Holding an 8 1/2 x 11 dry erase board:

Mom this is my ipad.  I am going to go in the family room and play Diner Dash.”

Middle Son in the Library…

Little kid in the library to my son:  “My name is Collin.  I am six years old.  How many are you?”

My son:  “99 dollars.”

As I was cleaning up…

Middle Son:  Mom, you aren’t supposed to hold scissors that way.  You would not get a scissors safety certificate.

After my son colored in my oldest’s notebook…

8 year old:  “Don’t color in my book!  I don’t want all scratches in it when I send it to the publisher.”

Doing Saturday chores with my oldest

8 year old:  How do I get the bucket ready to mop the floor?

Me:  Put a little bit of Pine Sol in the bucket and add water.  You know how to do that, right?

8 year old:  I’m too afraid to add the Pine Sol.

Me:  Why?

8 year old:  What if I drink it?

Me:  Well then don’t drink it.

Toddler & Preschool Cars Crafts

02-DSC09067 Last week at my in home child care we did a cars week.  We started with a toddler friendly activity.  My youngest and I cut open a box so it would lay flat.  We used crayons, stickers, and markers and created a road.  We put cars and boats on it for the toddler to play with.  He did some of the coloring too.

05-DSC09070 Then when the older kids arrived I had a large box (large enough that they can sit in it) and told them to make a car.  I didn’t give them a lot of rules or suggestions…just let their creativity run wild.  I did paint a bunch of paper plates I hot glued as wheels.  They came up with their own ideas–car doors, steering wheels, headlights, floor mats etc.  We quickly ran out of glue…and tape.

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It made a big papered mess all over my eating area, but I was happy to see so many little hands hard at work.08-DSC09073The next day we made a car wash.  I simply put 1/4 water and a few squirts of liquid dish detergent in a food processor.  Half the fun is watching the foam form together.  I poured all the foam of separate cookie sheets and gave the kids cars, road signs, and cups.

 

11-DSC09076The following day we used plastic cars and dipped them in paint.  The kids rolled the cars along pieces of construction paper to make designs.  Again I did not give them a whole of rules, but let them make their own creations.

13-DSC09078All of them looked quite different! I cut out some car a truck stencils and let them glue it on a few of their paintings.

15-DSC09080On Friday we began the day with a toddler friendly school bus for a certain toddler who loves to say the word “bus” whenever we pass one.  I used a granola bar box and cut out the front.  Then I let my youngest with help from the toddler color it and design yellow pieces of pre-cut paper. We added wheels as well.

 

25-DSC09090Then we added an egg carton cut in half and glued it inside.  Perfect fit for Little People.

    26-DSC09091 Then when the older kids arrived we set up an indoor drive-in and they watched the movie Cars.

 

31-DSC09096It was a busy jam packed week.  Besides the day to day caring for kids, I had something almost every single night.  But we made it through and had some fun along the way.  My most favorite thing is seeing the kids use their hands to make their own special creations…and take much pride in their hard work.