Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas travelings

It's the holidays, so our family has hit the road. First stop was my parent's house in OH for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and the day after.

Our next stop was H1's brother's home in NY. He and his wife have 3 boys, ages 12, 10, and 8. H3 enjoyed playing with her cousins, both inside the house and out sledding. She had never been sledding before and really seemed to enjoy it, taking turns going down the hill with everyone.

Tomorrow we will be heading back to VA. Our New Year's Eve is being spent quietly. My father-in-law took us to Texas Roadhouse earlier today for lunch to celebrate H1's 28th birthday. This evening, he fried pork chops for us for dinner and then H1 blew out the candle on his yummy cake--a yellow cake with peanut butter frosting.

H3 is now in bed and H1 and I plan to take an evening stroll for a cup of coffee before settling in for a game and waiting for the countdown to midnight. To keep with one of my few holiday traditions, I will call my dad right after midnight to wish him a happy birthday as well. So H1 is a New Year's Eve baby, and my dad is a New Year's Day baby.

In brief reflection, 2010 had been a hard year for us. We've lost a lot no matter what area you look in. We've lost friends and family, though we look forward to greeting them in heaven one day. Financially it's been a rough year, and though H1's job has gone pretty well, it's been a struggle with family time and trying to get things taken care of medically. What I've learned though has been worth so much more. I've seen God's grace firsthand. I've experienced His healing. I've witnessed how He provides. It's still been hard. There are still days that I fall apart, but I'm learning how to keep walking forward with my focus in the right place. Walking with God doesn't mean that I won't stumble or have a meltdown once in a while. What it does mean is that when I do, I acknowledge what's happened, accept His grace, mercy, and His complete control, and keep moving forward. Sometimes it's only a millimeter. God is interested in my response to my circumstances. Choosing to trust Him no matter what is the only answer. So here's to saying goodbye to a tough year and looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2011.


Friday, December 3, 2010

December: cold weather, learning, walks, cookies, and Advent

Ahhh, December. It’s finally getting colder, evidenced by the fact that there are pictures now with long sleeves and real coats, as opposed to the short sleeves of my last post! Life is still in full swing as basketball season has kicked off for H1. He’s coaching middle school basketball for the 3rd year and their first game will be on Tuesday. I’m planning to take H3. She’s been to most of the games and loves to watch, but isn’t so keen on the fact I keep her on a leash the whole time (literally, since she has a backpack leash). If I didn’t, she would be on that court in a heartbeat, trying to get the ball. This child loves anything to do with balls and cars. Given the occupations of her dad and grandfather, it’s no wonder!

I’ve noticed that H3 is easy to teach. I don’t have a lot of “school”-type things around the house, but that doesn’t seem to matter. H3 has a knack for noticing details. One of our favorite daily activities is taking a walk to the Post Office. They don’t allow mailboxes on our street, so we have a P.O. box that I have to visit frequently. While we are there, H3 will read off all the numbers and letters on each box. She’s gotten quite good and now can count up to 30 (with a little help after 20) and knows all the letters in the alphabet, both by singing them and picking them out individually from words or off the magnets on the refrigerator. When we go to the parks, she will spend some time looking at the credits for who donated money to the park, such as the sign below. On this particular sign, she loves to point out the diamond shapes as well as the letters. Not that she knows what the sign means, but for her, anything with numbers or letters is just as good as any other toy!

I’ve been experimenting with a few newer dishes. Some turn out well; others won’t be repeated until I can find a way to improve them. This particular night I tried out three new things and all of them were yummy! Herb meatballs with a mushroom sauce on the left, bubble cheese bread in the back, and a spinach Italian pasta on the right.

We have been taking family walks in the afternoons/evenings when H1 gets off of school. Most of the time we try for 2 miles. H3 can walk a mile on her own now, though she does get a little distracted and it takes a little effort to keep her from wandering up the ramp to the bank or checking out the bushes in front of the pharmacy. After the first mile, we put her back in her stroller so H1 and I can walk at a brisker pace. Since Thanksgiving, more people are putting Christmas decorations up and it makes for a lovely stroll.

H3 looking talking about her “fingers”, as she calls her mittens.

H3 walking with Mommy.

In preparation for a cookie day yesterday, I spent a few minutes on Wednesday making sugar cookie dough to put in the fridge. As I was patting it into a glass pan, I noticed the house had gotten quiet. H3 had been playing behind me a few minutes before, so I turned around and looked for her. It took a moment, but then I noticed the sight below in the corner of my kitchen. A few seconds later my table cloth began giggling!

I didn’t take any pictures of our cooking baking day yesterday, and I should have. Nicole and I had cookie dough everywhere! I’d made a double batch of sugar cookies, and Nicole brought dough for Ghirardelli chocolate chip and also for a molasses-ginger cookie. All turned out amazing! We baked the sugar cookies first and her 5 year old daughter helped us paint them. H3 wanted in on the action too, but mostly for eating the frosting. I gave her a frosted cookie and she licked all the frosting off before handing me the cookie and asking for more! We spent 5 lovely hours in the kitchen, building friendship, laughing at our kids playing, and me swiping the occasional nibble of cookie dough. The Christmas season holds memories like this for me, and that must be why I enjoy it so much, other than the obvious reason of celebrating the birth of our Savior.
I’d like to share a few lines that Shauna Niequist wrote in her book Bittersweet that have really touched me over these last few months, and maybe they will strike a note with you too.

“When things fall apart, the broken places allow all sorts of things to enter, and one of them is the presence of God….I believe deeply that God does His best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over….Let yourself fall open to the season of Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.”

Blessings to you during this season of Advent, remembering that the whole reason for celebration is the fulfillment of God’s promises in the birth of His Son, His gift of salvation, our reason for hope.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November misc

It's baking time! I love the fall season and it inspires me to bake. I've been attending a women's group that meets once a month and this time, it was my turn to contribute snacks. Since I was in the mood for sugar cookies and pumpkin bread, this is what I brought!

Yes, I have cookie cutters shaped like squirrels, acorns, and apples. I also have Noah's Ark themed cookie cutters and pretty much anything else you could imagine. My mom has been collecting them for me for years!

It's been very warm lately, with most days in the mid 60s to mid 70s. All of that is supposed to end this week, but before it did, H1, H3 and I took advantage of the beautiful weather by taking a stroll through Colonial Williamsburg. The trees were gorgeous with their fall foliage. Most of the animals were out too, and H3 took delight in petting the sheep and horses. I'm going to have to teach her that horses don't say "moo" though! She really does know better, but for some reason was rather insistent that horses and cows make the same sound. Silly girl!

Now that cold weather is finally arriving, I'm looking forward to snuggling up next to our fireplace. H1's dad bought us several truckfuls of wood to use--we don't own a truck, so it's really hard to try to get the free stuff around here, and most of it isn't offered in the nearby area. I really enjoy the smell of the house when the fire is crackling away!

Fall cleaning and organizing is slowly beginning. I have a lot more to go, but I'm slowly chipping away at my to-do list. Tackling my craft room is next on the agenda. There's a walkway through there, but not much more right now since we've just been throwing stuff in there while cleaning out the rest of the house--mostly the closets and the attic! I have three huge trash bags to put in the dumpster so far, and I've donated more to church. I'm amazed at how much stuff has ccumulated in the last 5 years!

Before ending this post, I want to take a minute to reflect and commit to "paper" my gratitude for what God has given me. 'Tis the season, you know! My beautiful baby girl is 2 years old. She is strong and healthy, smart and strong willed (which is both a blessing and a difficulty). I have a home, granted not one I own, but it has been a wonderful house for us to rent and my landlord has been kind to us. We even have new floors! H1 still has a job. This year has been a challenge for many of our friends who work at local plants and the shipyards. There have been massive lay-offs and thousands have lost their jobs and their homes. God has been good. We certainly aren't overflowing with extra, but He has provided exactly what we've needed and will continue to do so. When we moved here two years ago, I believe He guided us to the little contemporary church we belong to. This church has become more than I ever imagined. They are our family here. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we have received from them. The calls, the prayers, the get-togethers. During our greatest times of need, these people have surrounded us with God's love, even in light of this past week. Men have stepped forward to stand alongside H1 in prayer. Women have come forward with love, patience, and words of hope and encouragement during my losses. Friendships that have been slowly cultivated over these last couple years have bloomed. God is good. This Thanksgiving season holds a lot of pain for me. It does take a bit of effort to remind myself of everything beautiful. A book a read recently by Shauna Niequist focused on seeing the beauty and joy that God brings during the darkest times in our lives. Bittersweet. That was such a good title for a book, but also a really good title for life. Without the pain, without the sorrow, you can't understand the fullness of God's love and grace. Not that I believe we can ever grasp it fully, but the experience is amazing all the same.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."
Despite everything going on, that's my reality right now. I'm listening for that quiet whisper. There is great comfort in the stillness, kneeling in awe before a mighty God in recognition of who He is.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hanging out

H3 came home Friday after spending most of the past week with my dear friend, Robyn. From all the fun pictures that Robyn texted me, I can tell that she had a wonderful time and I'm so thankful! I did miss her though! Yesterday and today, I was finally feeling well enough to go out for a bit, and H3 is sufficiently recovering from strep, thanks to antibiotics. Yesterday I had a doctor appointment, and there was a park conveniently located nearby, so I took H3 afterward. Then today, I had to run to Walmart and stopped by yet another park on the way home! I wish we had parks closer to our home, but everything is about half an hour away. Our neighbordhood is okay for playing, but since we have no out-door toys, munchkin gets bored pretty quickly. We go for lots of walks and wagon rides, which help!

Checking out the disc-golf course at the park. We played on the slides for a bit, but she was very interested in all the leaves and acorns!

This park is located near my doctor's office, and also next to another Walmart. We frequent this one, since it has a large play area. They just added the tree house that she's checking out. It's in a small area designated for toddlers. The rest of the park is great for her age too, but this area requires a little less running around for me!

Checking out the new flag that my mom sent for the front of our house.

These pictures are a bit more blurry than usual, since I took them on my cell phone, so I'm sorry! We did have fun over the last couple days though, despite the fact that all three of us are on antibiotics at the moment! H1 also has a muscle relaxer now for a knot-ish thing in his shoulder that has been bothering him. It was getting hard to lift his arm and our family doc wanted to try this before exploring other options. He wasn't thinking though and took it this morning! Oops! He called and said about halfway through his 2nd class, he got really sleepy! I think he'll just be taking it at night from now on.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall Pictures

Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of our church. After the service, there was a potluck luncheon and hayrides for the kids, along with candy--not trick-or-treat style though. H1 and H3 stayed inside to help me work on a bulletin board for my Sunday school classroom, since H3 was tired from her morning in the nursery and fully occupied playing with the bright colored game pieces from my class that morning. It was the first board I've ever done and I should have gotten a picture. It's a yellow background with an orange border and 8 large pumpkins in the middle. Each pumpkin has a clue on it, and the kids have to match the right Bible character to the clue on the pumpkin. Bible character names are on large brown pumpkins seeds (made out of paper) that can be inserted into a slit on the pumpkin. Yes, very simple, I know, but for someone who is not creative, I'm just happy that I got something on the board, even if it had to be inspired by a book on bulletin boards!

Afterwards, we all went outside to let H3 play. Our church doesn't have outdoor play equipment, except for one old slide, which H3 found and had to play on. She loves slides! It helped, of course, that a couple other kids were there too, namely our friends' twin boys who are around a year older and H3 plays with them frequently.

At home we attempted a few more pictures! I'm so glad we had a couple that turned out.

Cooler weather has finally set it, and I think it may be for good this time. We spent last week near 90 again, which I find rather miserable in October. I've learned in Virgina that one can never put away summer clothes. Without fail, we always have really warm days when you least expect it!

H3 is still recovering from croup. Poor child. Her fever stayed around 101 every day for a week, and though that part is gone, she still has a nasty cough that refuses to leave and a runny nose. Sleep times are the most miserable, since laying down seems to irritate the coughing. At this point, the humidifier seems to be 0 help, though I'm still using it. The claritin she'd been taking before the croup for allergies seems to help a little, but she's still up coughing a good part of the night. I'm looking forward to this being over, and I know she is too. She's still been such a sweetie though, snuggly and mostly happy. I love my precious baby!

Football season is almost over for H1 now. It looks like 2 more games, one for each of the following Fridays. At this point they won't be in the district play-offs, unless they win both games. I'm not saying they won't win, and it would certainly be nice if they did, but this past Friday was the first win of the season so I'm not holding my breath. I wish I could elaborate on our frustrations with the football situation, but that's a road I can't go down. Suffice it to say, none are satisfied and H1 isn't the head coach, so decisions aren't his.

Praying that this week goes better than the last ones, and confident that Christ is my refuge and strength.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Learning to understand

Sometimes there aren't answers to the questions we ask God. Sometimes He gives us that "yes" or "no" or asks us to wait on Him. Other itmes I've discovered that the answers may not come for years, if ever in this life, and it's that last part I'm struggling with. God is good and God is sovreign, but sometimes I just don't get what He's doing in my life and why, and not knowing can be painful. He gives and He takes away, that I know. It's the trusting after He's taken away that is hard at first, even after years of walking with Him. Maybe it's not so much of questioning that He is trustworthy or that He is good, but rather what is His definition of good? This world is full of sin and often sucks, and it's not what He intended, yes, I remember that, but still He allows things to happen that don't make sense.

I know where I'm spending my night, digging back into the pages of His Word, but I can't hide my struggle right now. There's a song with the following lyrics:

Find my in the river
Find me there
Find me on my knees with my soul laid bare
Even though you're gone and I'm cracked and dry
Find me in the river, I'm waiting here

I feel like that fits me right now. Pain lays my soul bare before my God. I need His healing, so I'm waiting.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Learning more about being mommy

Doctors must love first time moms. Everything is new and everything is a question. This time it's been my turn. As far as first time moms go, I think I've had it pretty easy for the most part. Other than a double ear infection at 5 months old, H3 hasn't been sick at all. Sure, her nose dripped a bit when she cut her teeth, but that's normal from what I understand and that information was readily available online for my research. Tantrums and pickiness with food have been the worst battles, and my cousins, in-laws, and friends have been wonderful with their words of advice1 This last weekend has been a new challenge.

H3 woke up on Saturday morning with a hoarseness in her voice and a cough that sounded like a seal. When I checked her temperature, it was about 100.7. By the time her nap was done in the afternoon, it was 102.9. Even with Tylenol, her temp hovered around 102, and finally hit 103.3 at 10:30 that night, which is when she threw up twice too. Warm baths and steam helped, but she was still miserable and the coughing sounded awful. She just lay there limply while H1 or I held her, which is a foreign behavior for my very active 25 month old!

Listening to her cough, I did figure out that my little seal was probably dealing with croup, or something like it. My problem was figuring out how to deal with it. A few websites offered suggestions, but my biggest help has come from my dear cousin and a friend from church who has 5 kids. Thanks to them, I feel more at ease while trying to help my little one cope with this. We did take H3 into an urgent care center on Sunday, just to make sure there wasn't a bacterial infection complicating things. Her pediatrician's office wanted her to be seen within 24hours and not wait until Monday (today) because her fever had been so high and she was pretty dehydrated on Saturday. Sunday H3 drank a lot more water, so her temp stayed a bit lower than Saturday. She even played a little, as opposed to laying on the couch and staring into space.

Today she seems a lot better for the most part. Her temperature is hanging around 100 degrees, and she is still coughing and hoarse, but she is more active and eating better. Unfortunately the diarrhea kicked in. Gross, I know, and poor child has been through 7 of those diapers this morning before her nap. I feel a bit more prepared for that though, since she's had a sensitive digestive system since day 1!

Bascially I'm assuming stories like this sound familiar to those who have been moms for a while, but as a mom of just one, this has been a new challenge for me! Now I know what to look for if this happens again, and maybe it will be a little less scary.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Apple Picking!

This past Saturday, our family (minus the dog) drove a couple hours away into the mountains in search of apples. There are no you-pick orchards in our area, and I have heard good reviews about one in the Blue Ridge Mtns, so off we went! I would have to say our trip was a success and very worth the drive. H3 enjoyed herself immensely, running around the trees and picking up apples off the ground for inspection. We let her pick a few from the trees as well, but left most of that to H1 and myself, since we actually plan on using the apples we bought! H3 prefers to carry them around and eventually throw them. While she loves apple sauce, she’s unfortunately not interested in trying to eat a real apple. Too bad, since I think she’s missing out! This is a very large orchard that has a picking season from July through the end of October, depending on the variety of apple you’re looking for. I specifically wanted Fuji and Granny Smith, since those are what we like to eat and bake (H1 loves eating Granny Smith with his lunches, but I prefer the Fuji and use both for apple pies, dumplings, muffins, etc). The trees were very healthy and laden with the fruit. It was wonderful and didn’t take us long to pick the 55lbs that we brought home.

A few of those are going to some friends of ours, but the rest I’m planning to either dehydrate or freeze (I’ll make up the filling for apple pies and then freeze them in gallon bags, and then freeze some plain slices). At this point, I don’t have all the necessities for making and canning apple sauce. I know I’ll get there eventually, but for the time being we simply don’t have the storage space for the equipment, much less any place to put the cans if I did them. There’s no pantry in this house or even space for one! It’s a great house for everything but that!

I think a good part of the trip was just for some fun family memories. Granted, H3 won’t remember all that, but I have pictures to show her and it was fun for H1 and I to watch her joy and excitement over something so simple as an apple.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


October is here and with it came the cooler weather, finally. We've had constant mid-90's since our return from NY this summer, and now it's cool enough (70's and 60's) to get out a little more!

H3 and I have been enjoying daily walks and playing for hours outside. Well, more like her playing and me cleaning up the yard. Although I don't usually mind yardwork, it's not very high on my priority list when it's warm out. We have a huge tree out front that drops twigs and small branches whenever the wind blows, so there's a constant pile to pick up. In a few weeks, I'll be raking up leaves! My mom gave H3 some sidewalk chalk earlier this spring, and now she is putting it to use. She'll make little marks everywhere, then hand it to me for drawing shapes. She recognizes squares, circles, triangles, hearts, stars, and diamonds and can name them. Usually, she also wants me to "draw" a few numbers and the alphabet. At this point, she does know her numbers 1-10 on sight, and can pick out 12 or so letters in the alphabet. She can sing the "ABC" song, but just doesn't recognize all of them on paper yet. Once in a while she'll make an attempt at writing one, but of course I can't make out what it is unless she tells me! Haha!

A week of rain last week caused two football games to be rescheduled. One hasn't been put on the calendar yet, but the other was rescheduled to this past Saturday night. It was an away game, 3 hours away to be exact, and poor H1 didn't get home until 2am Sunday! We had to turn around and leave for church at 8:30 too. He was quite tired that day. The season hasn't been going too well for the team, but H1 says that the kids are learning, so there's a positive side to things. It's been amazing what God has been doing in his life this year, both with football and in school. Two moms requested that their sons be put into his class this past month. Both families were going through separation/divorce and both moms specifically said they wanted their boys to be in H1's class because the boys needed a male role model in their lives. Quite the compliment, yes, but the best part is that it's a tangible piece of evidence that God has him here for a purpose right now! Sometimes that's easy to forget.

The move here was a necessary one for our family because of job situations, but it was hard because we knew no one in this area and have no family anywhere close. Still, this has been a good school system, we have a wonderful church family, and God has brought some wonderful friends into our lives here. It's been just over 2 years since we came here, and it's good to look back and see what He's been up to!

Tonight's agenda is getting dinner together and going to our church home group. We are hoping to go apple picking this Saturday. Granted, we'll have to drive a couple hours since there isn't an orchard close, but I found one that offers you-pick for 50 cents/pound, which isn't bad at all. I'm hoping to get some fuji and granny smith apples. My dad always made the apple pie filling, put it into gallon zip-lock bags, and froze it to use at a later time. I want to do the same thing! Not to mention all the apple recipes I'm hoping to try out!

Now, let's see how long of a nap H3 takes this afternoon...


Thursday, September 16, 2010


I said I’d try to update everything that happened post-camp, but that’s so hard to do! We’ve been constantly busy. H1 hit the road the moment we got back with 4 hr/day football practices. Fortunately, those were held in the morning so we had some family time in the afternoons for the first couple weeks. It took a week to get completely unpacked and resettled back in our house. I had to make several grocery shopping trips, since I made sure we used up pretty much everything before we left, including flour and sugar. We don’t leave the air on at all in our house while we’re gone, so it reaches over 100 inside. I try not to leave anything but canned goods in the house for those couple months!

H3 settled back in quickly, though she let me know almost hourly for the first couple weeks how much she missed being outside. Up in the Adirondacks, it stayed in the 70s and 80s during the day, sometimes colder, and in the 40s at night. It was in the high 90s and low 100s when we got back to VA and since H3 overheats very easily, I’ve had to monitor her time outside. Through the end of August, she could only be out for 10 -15 minutes at a time without turning into a cherry from the heat. There were a couple days that we could get out in the early evening and escape to a park, pictures of which are below with everything else.

Warning: whining ahead!
At the end of August, we bought a van. We’d been saving up to get one, since we’ve needed the space for all of our trips. We bought it from a used car dealership several hours away, since they seemed to offer the best price and the test drive and Carfax showed no issues. Well, so far it’s turned into a nightmare. I’ve had to make two trips back already and need to make yet another. On our trip home from buying the thing, the check engine and TCS (traction control) lights turned on. To try and summarize this, we discovered the map sensor was disconnected and then resent the lights and hoped that might have fixed the problem. Nope, they turn on in the middle of the night on our way to OH on Labor Day weekend to visit my parents. Turns out, the transmission needs to be replaced and of course the dealer doesn’t want to take care of it. At this point I told him that I will only pay half the cost of parts, according to the terms of the warranty on the vehicle. H1 and I are debating about taking him to court. I don’t like the idea because it’s costly, but I have pretty definitive proof that this dealer knew about the problem before we bought the van and reset the check engine and TCS lights so it wouldn’t be noticeable at first. This has been really difficult for us, especially with H3 having to endure the trips, and right now the van is sitting in the carport as it has been for over a week, un-drivable. Being in the middle of nowhere with only one vehicle is difficult, especially when H3 has needed it for work! Ok, enough venting on my annoyance!

God is still so good though. Despite the serious problems with this vehicle, it did not break down on us or cause us to get in an accident and we are all safe. At this point, the new transmission is on it’s way and should be here by Monday, for me and H3 to take our last drive and get it installed.

Now for the fun stuff! Pictures and short stories ahead!

H1’s dad came down with us from NY. He was driving our car and we were driving his van, which we had borrowed for the summer to haul all of our stuff. He was able to stay for a couple days, which was wonderful. H3 loves her Pop-pop!

Swinging on the “big girl” swings on a slightly cooler day

Hanging out in the water at Busch Gardens. We went there a couple times right after getting back, since our season passes were still good. There are a lot of rides that H3 can enjoy and the water sure helps in the heat!

H1 and H3 at Busche Gardens

Riding a little roller coaster

I added butterfly decals above H3’s crib and she loves them. She talks about “a-flies” every morning!

My birthday present from H1! So pretty!

H3’s cake. I normally would have made her one, but with our whirlwind trip to OH, it was going to be too much to try and get that together. Sam’s Club makes pretty good cakes!

My family surprised me with an ice cream cake!

H1 and H3 walking in my parents’ backyard

My dad watching H3 go down a slide at a park in OH. My parents were so kind as to drive around both days we were there and search out parks for H3 to run around on. She’s trying hard to say “Grandpa and Grandma”, but it comes out “Paw- paw and Maw-maw” (distinctly different from the “Pop-pop she calls H1’s dad)

H3 getting a look at her birthday present early in the morning. We found this kitchen marked 50% off just after Christmas last year, and I put it aside for her.

Playing at the park with Mommy later in the day. H1 had to work and had a football game that night, so it was Mommy-daughter day, and then Daddy-daughter time the next morning.

So that brings just about everything up to date through Sept 10th. School started back for H1 on the 7th and so far it’s gone well. The middle school called and asked me to substitute tomorrow, so I’ll be heading in for the day. Hopefully I’ll get lots of calls from both the m.s. and the h.s. this fall, but we’ll see! In the meantime, I’m enjoying cooler mornings by getting up a little earlier to walk the dog and make real breakfasts instead of the usual cereal! I’m working the sound board at church now too, and am moving from the 4-7 age Sunday school class to the 8-12 year olds later this month. The sound board has been fun and hopefully my new class will be too! That’s all the updates for now!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer catch-up

I know, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted and I’m very overdue in my updates. Let’s talk summer! Wow. Where to even start? The nutshell version would be that camp was absolutely wonderful, but that doesn’t quite cover it. There were a lot of challenges at our respective jobs this summer, and the camp itself dealt with some unusual situations that I can’t go into detail on. A lot of our friends from previous years returned and it was wonderful to see them. H3 didn’t remember camp from her first year obviously a little too young), so everything was brand new for her. She absolutely adored her bedroom. I put little foam squares down to cover the old linoleum.

We had a larger cabin this year, so that was nice too! It was located right next to the Health Lodge, where I worked, so I could leave H3 in the cabin for her naps and just have the baby monitor in the lodge with me.

The Sports field is a fantastic place for running around!

A couple of the waterfront guys found a huge blow-up dragon for H3 to play with in the lake…it took them a while to get it puffed up.

One afternoon, H1 and I took H3 out in the kayaks. She sat in front of H1 and just lounged. It looked like she wanted to take a nap! She seemed to enjoy the view from the water and kept babbling about the trees and clouds.

I climbed the climbing wall and took a picture of our archery range from the top.

H3 got to eat her first powdered sugar donut while up at camp. Her shirt started out green, and was pretty much completely white by the end.

H3 sat and watched while Daddy and Mommy went cliff jumping one afternoon. I was swimming the mile (across the lake and back) while H1 rowed alongside me, H3 and another friend, Christie, in the boat. A couple other guys swam with me, and others who were in boats all joined us at the far side of the lake to jump off the rocks before we headed back.

H3 loved all the mud puddles! This particular afternoon I just let her run through them for about an hour. She giggled the whole time, running from puddle to puddle and stomping in the middle of each one.

She liked to try and help me sweep the Health Lodge floor. I’ll give her an A for effort, but she missed quite a bit of dirt.

One of the hardest parts of the summer was when I got a call from my dad that my grandfather passed away. Grandpa was a very good friend, not just family. I really enjoyed talking with him and hearing all his stories. This fall I will be 25, so I have been very blessed to have him as part of my growing up years. He will be missed. I flew to SC to help pack up the house and be present at the memorial service. My dad, and my uncle and aunt from WA also came. It was quite the packing process, and it was a good time getting to know my WA family better.

I flew back into PA, where my father-in-law picked me up and drove me to meet H1 and H3 in NY, a few hours from camp. H1 took us to a mall in Syracuse so H3 could ride the carousel—a nice break after hours in the car for her. The carousel there is hand carved, hand painted, and really old. Beautiful though!

H3 loved to ride around camp on the golf carts with Mommy and Daddy!

She was really excited when Pop-pop came to visit.

On the way home from camp, I looked in the backseat and H3 had grabbed my sweatshirt from the other side of the seat and wrapped it around her! So funny.

Camp is always a good family time for us. H1 gets to spend a lot of time with H3 and I that normally doesn’t happen during the year because of his busy work schedule. The Adirondacks are exceptionally beautiful, I think, and I revel in the peace that I find there. We have jobs there, true, but it’s the most relaxing time of the year for me. The temperatures are ideal (in the mid 70’s – mid 80’s during the day, 40’s at night on average) so we get to spend a lot more time outside than back here in VA, where heat stroke is a frequent problem. Our boss at camp is an awesome guy—the best I’ve ever worked for, and he makes camp a good place to be for all of us. I’m so thankful God has left that door open for us to be there these last 3 years. H1 and I are looking forward to going back next year and so is H3, judging by how frequently she asks about her friends at camp!

Our arrival back in VA has been a busy one, so I’ll probably save that for this weekend. Suffice it to say I’m mostly caught up with everything, or will be as soon as this weekend is done!