Tuesday, June 21, 2016

JL turns 3!

Happy 3rd birthday to JL! She's been counting down for at least a week, and anxiously awaiting her birthday since JT's birthday in April!

For her birthday, we had samoa donuts (caramel & coconut) for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and birthday pancakes for dinner. She brought birthday napkins to Sunday School for her friends to use at snack time. There was even a mango filled birthday cake in the afternoon. Grandma and Grandpa joined us for the day, and after they left, we spent an hour at the pool. What a fun-filled day!

JA singing one of her choir songs to Grandma.

Trying to hide behind the shade umbrella stand

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Aunt Mary! It's been a beautiful day today. Not too hot in the morning, and a nice relaxing day for the family during the heat of the afternoon. I made a yummy coffee cake for breakfast, but it wasn't ready when we had to get out the door for church, so we ate it for afternoon snack instead. JT said he thought it was just okay, and then he did eat 2 full pieces. :) Everyone else enjoyed it, too. Papi's making dinner, and the kids are watching a movie. I'm here, thinking of you, and wishing you were here to enjoy my family and celebrate with us.

We used to enjoy sharing our birthday month, didn't we? I had forgotten about that. When JMC was born early, and I suddenly shared by special month, after years of having it all to myself, I was just a bit disappointed. And then, God sent us JL, just 3 days after my birthday, and I was let down a bit more. But today, I remember sharing the month of June with you, and I am grateful to share my month with 2 of my children now. It's been fun planning with them, choosing what we'll do on who's birthday, spreading the celebration throughout the second half of the month. Making sure to include all of our favorite activities and meals, without taking away from anyone's special day.

Leading up to today, I kept thinking that I had plans for the 12th. Then, I'd check the calendar and it was empty. Strange. Why did I think I had plans? Oh, yeah, because for the first 18 years of my life, I did have plans on June 12th. If we didn't get together, we at least talked on the phone. It wasn't just some other day, but the birthday of one of my most favorite people. Even though I don't get to see you today, nor talk to you on the phone, I still remember and celebrate your birthday on the 12th.

You would love my family, and they would love you, too. I talk to them about you. Did you know that? I tell them how special you were to me, and I pray that they have someone in their life they can always trust, always turn to. Part of me wishes to be that for them, but I also know there comes a time in adolescence that trusting the parents completely becomes a bit of a stretch. When and if that happens, I pray each one has someone like you.

How did you ever manage to write to me every.single.week. while I was at Dordt? Those letters were so meaningful to me, at a time I felt out of place. I got the last one after returning to school from your funeral. I still have that letter in my drawer. Anyway, I tried to write regularly to my nieces this past year. One went to college, and the other joined the military. I knew they were each going to have to adjust, and may have times of feeling out of place. I tried to write to them, to encourage them, but I didn't manage it nearly as well, nor as often, as you did for me. It's a result of my phase of life, I suppose, but I was disappointed in myself for it. I'll try again this fall, with about the same lackluster rate of success, but maybe trying despite failure is part of the blessing.

How old would you be this year? It's been bugging me that I can't remember. I'm going to be 38 this week. Can you imagine?! The last birthday you celebrated with me, I turned 18. You gave me bath towels to take to school with me; white towels so I could bleach them and keep them looking new. :)

We didn't have birthday cake, nor sing "Happy Birthday," but I celebrated you today. I remembered so many special memories: going to the mall together, watching the deer out your window, roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, joking about bra sizes. Thank you. And, happy birthday!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Creation to the Greeks

For the 2015-2016 school year, we studied history from Creation to Ancient Greece. JMC & JL even joined us for most of the science experiments and some of the art projects. Music appreciation was normally during lunch, and now JL has a particular fondness for Vivaldi & Bach, though she never quite took to Handel. :)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the year.

Everyone busy working on something!!

During one of the Biblical feasts we studied & celebrated this year.

still life drawing

the green soccer ball represents the sun, then the planets in order, somewhat to scale

Learning about bird feathers, and how they are similar to velcro

basket weaving with construction paper (note the Steelers' colors JT chose.)

JA went for a natural look with 2 shades of brown.

Next year we will continue with history in chronological order, studying Ancient Rome through the Reformation. The science book we used this year was amazing, so we'll be continuing with the next in the series, which teaches scientific concepts in the order they were discovered, along with biographies of the scientists of the time. So fun!