Last Day!

 The boys had their very last hour of school today. Silly to make everyone come for one hour! I guess they changed it for next year and the first and last days of school will be full days from now on.

Zakkai just loved his kindergarten teacher, Mrs Repsis! She was SO sweet and gentle and truly loved her students. She joked with me that she would have to hold Zakkai back next year just because she didn’t want him to leave! What a great year he had.

This was Samuel’s student teacher, who was in the classroom all spring. He really liked her! Her last day was a couple weeks ago (she came back today to say goodbye again) and all the girls in the class were crying and crying when they came out of school! Samuel was really sad, too. He made a sweet card for her.

This is Mrs Webster, Samuel’s teacher. She just had a baby a few weeks ago and came back to say goodbye to her students today! She was GREAT. She really worked with us this year, encouraging Samuel and doing everything she could to make him feel heard, cared for and confident. Some of his classmates had a ton of trouble listening this year, which was hard for Samuel but Mrs Webster really took the time to encourage him and was always available to us. So thankful for her!

Zakkai worked SO hard the past 2 months, especially this month, on staying dry at night (what a battle this has been!!!) and he earned a new bike! He has never had one of his very own and grew out of the small one from last year, which also got ruined.

Look at the joy on this face! Worth every penny and sacrifice! He only had 2 big spills off of it today. One minor and the other, a rude neighbor girl tripped him and he really got scraped up on his arm:( But other than that, he was SO happy today! He will probably be dreaming about his orange bike tonight:)

One of our other neighbors asked last minute if we could watch their son, who is Samuel’s age, today as they didn’t realize today was the last day of school! He played incredibly well with both boys today and was so polite and sweet. He’ll be coming back to play tomorrow which is great for keeping the boys entertained!

Summer has begun!

Last Full Day!

 Every Wednesday this entire year (sick days, not withstanding) I have been super busy. As in, zero time downtime period. Between MOPS or bible study (opposite weeks) in the mornings and volunteering at Z’s school in the afternoons plus early release day, it’s been crazy!

Until today. Last week, I did my last day of volunteering in the library and the teacher was so sweet and surprised me with a gift card for a foot massage! This week? E and I did absolutely nothing, except Skype with my sis and niece.

I felt really lazy. I was lazy. And only slightly ashamed:) I figured I maybe possibly could okay one completely lazy day before school gets out and I’m back to full-time duties, right?

This was Eliana’s look for the morning. She loves to dress herself, sometimes multiple times a day! She was really into wearing the boys’ things today like this ensemble and their baseball hats, too. (which she tried to claim as “hers” when they got home. Yeah, that flew with them!

Last full day of Kindergarten! Zakkai got an award for being a good role model this year! Isn’t he getting so big?? I will have to do some Zakkai journal quoting here soon. He brought home some good ones today:)

Last full day of second grade! He is planning on referring to himself as a third grader as of 9:20 tomorrow morning when school gets out. Ah! Not ready for that. I will continue to think of him as a second grader until the day before school starts. What a handsome kid! His book bag weighed about 15 pounds this afternoon, filled with leftover school supplies. No one has been allowed to peek inside it yet…

Missy Moo wanted to jump in on the picture taking with Baby Anna! I caught her in mid-giggle:) Such a happy girl!

A couple weeks ago, Zakkai and a neighbor friend decided it would be a great idea to decorate the front of the house with chalk. And so, today was installment #2 of “clean off the bricks!” Punishment fits the crime, I would say! He won’t be coloring on bricks anytime soon, I guarantee!!

Ben started his part-time job yesterday so the kiddos haven’t seen him in 2 days! The week was off because of Memorial day so he had to work two 11-12 hour days in a row but normally, hopefully, he won’t be working two in a row because no one gets to see him! He leaves by 6:30 and doesn’t get home til after 8:30pm.

Eliana hasn’t seen him since Monday and cried a lot for him yesterday. “I want to see my dada!!” Very sad:( We are very thankful for this work though and are praying for something else to come our way.

There was a terrible thunderstorm last night and Ben had to run through it from the train station home last night. He was absolutely dripping wet. His clothes still haven’t fully dried yet! The lightening and thunder scared Eliana and she kept crying for me and saying, “Mama, the lightening is in my woom! (room)” She talked about it a lot today and was very thankful that it was all gone!

And we had to clean up yet more water in the basement. Thankfully, not completely filled like the craziness last month but the usual water seepage that comes after a heavy rain. It is pretty annoying! A few days ago, someone left on the outside water spigot that is just outside our home, overnight and we woke up to half the basement covered in water. Ugh! So this is twice in 5 days that I’ve had to dirty several towels and sop up nasty brown dirt water.

I’m beginning to think I’d like to have a house without a basement someday! Actually, I think I’d just be happy to have a home of my own, basement or no basement. Maybe someday.

Zakkai might have something fun to show you tomorrow!!

This Year

I know I haven’t been as good with blogging lately. Sometimes, I’m just plain worn out at the end of the day and my brain is empty. And a lot of times I have no pictures to share, as I have been camera-lazy lately and I feel bad posting wordy blog posts! But here’s one anyways:)

I have been thinking over the past couple of days of how much has happened since last May, a year ago. Here are some things I can remember:

*Zakkai learned to ride a two wheeler

*Samuel turned 7 and celebrated with an Angry Birds party

*We went camping for the first time!

*And the 2nd time

*We went to Colorado to celebrate my grandparent’s 60th with a family reunion! So much fun! (except for the mountain sickness…)

*The boys started kindergarten and 2nd grade!

*We went on our 3rd camping trip, this time with Mugga and Papa!

*Samuel lost his first tooth

*Eliana turned TWO! And learned to run, climb, talk, tell jokes and throw tantrums!

*We were disappointed over not getting a job near our family (Nov/Dec)

*We spent Christmas in Ohio with my sister and her family and nearly flooded their house.

*We started out the new year with fresh beginnings, when God gave us a miracle.

*We found a church and Ben became a member!

*We celebrated Zakkai’s 6th birthday

*Zakkai has learned to read! (really well these days!!)

*We went on a vacation to Florida

*Perhaps the most exciting thing, Ben defended!!!

*And now we are about to finish up the school year, graduate and many other little milestones. Can’t wait to recap after the school year next year and see what has happened, things we expected and things we didn’t!

Quiet Weekend.

We’re having a pretty quiet weekend over here. Right now, the boys and Ben are playing Mario on Wii to relax after playing outside for a long time:)

 
Last summer, our former neighbors gave Eliana all these plastic barrettes and she recently rediscovered them and insisted on having 9 or 10 in her hair! She talked me into putting some in my own hair and the funny part is I forgot they were in there and greeted my friend on Friday all decorated:)
 

Eliana all beautified:)

Samuel ran his heart out in running club this spring and he added several more foot charms to his necklace. He’s now up to 29!!

His goal was 30 by the end of this year but they missed two running clubs due to all the rain. So proud of him! Zakkai, as you can see in the backround, has been really into coloring lately with markers. He fills up whole pages with decorations and works for such a long time. The only time I don’t like it is when he used the scented markers. Oh, how I loathe those!!! Those are a nightmare for someone with such a sensitive nose and they instantly give me a headache. I may have to ban them from my home:)

Today at lunchtime, Eliana dumped all her spaghetti noodles on the ground. I made her get down and pick them up (fair punishment, no?) and after she had picked up most and we had walked away, she ran over and grabbed the broom and finished her cleaning:)

She has been a big helper lately: putting away silverware and their plastic dishes, cleaning up after herself or helping when I ask for it. I hope this continues!

She is upstairs picking out her 3rd outfit for the day, a new favorite pastime. I’d better go supervise. Who knows what she’ll come down with!!

Friday Fun

I have been avoiding doing some summer planning but this morning I got down to work! I wrote down over 40 fun simple activities on little pieces of paper and put them in a plastic jar so throughout the summer, the boys can reach in and pull out a paper and we’ll have something fun to do!

The activities were compiled of ideas my friend and I came up with last summer plus some lists I have been sent home with from my MOPS groups and the school. There are all sorts of ideas like, “Paint rocks for a rock garden” or “Strap sponges to their feet to clean the floor” to “Think of something nice to do for someone today” or “find a new library.” I was actually feeling pretty hopeful about the summer after doing it! There are some fun things in there I think the boys will really like and the best part is, most of it is free or requires very little in the way of supplies! It will be fun to share them as we do them this summer:)

I also went online and did some research for free museum days and free events we can attend throughout the summer. There are lots of things you can do for very little money! Thankfully:)

Then, Eliana and I were blessed with the company of a good friend and her new little baby for the rest of the day! I don’t get very much quality time with friends and so I always feel like I talk their ears off when I do get time. All I know is that I was very blessed and encouraged by my friend’s words, listening ear and sweet spirit. I am very blessed to know such wonderful people!

Plus, I got to hold her wee little man during one of his afternoon naps which was awfully wonderful! How I miss the soft little noises and funny little faces little ones make! I am hoping to talk them into some babysitting soon so I can get my baby fix:)

The kiddos and I finished up a busy day with a rousing round of Candy Land while eating our Friday night pizza. It was Eliana’s first time playing! No clue whatsoever what was going on but she was pretty tickled over the whole thing!

Now I am going to enjoy one of those delicious little desserts I shared with you the other night…..Happy Friday!

Pics!

 I don’t always have my camera nearby to capture the day to day pictures of our life but I do often have my phone handy! Here a some pictures I’ve taken in the past few days.

Samuel made this clay frog in art class! I absolutely love it!! He came out from school in tears because one of his friends had accidently bumped the tongue and broken it off and it had to be re-glued. He has such a sensitive, sweet heart!

 Eliana has been so busy getting into things lately! Along with her diaper changing obsession for Baby Anna, comes a new found love of opening packs of wipes and pulling out as many as she can. Woohoo! Back in the corner behind her rocking chair is a pile of about 20 wipes that I discovered right when I confiscated the 4th pack of wipes. This little tantrum was the result of mean old mommy hiding all the wipes:)

The funny thing is, the second I snapped the pictures, she jumped up and ran to me saying, “Can I see the picture of Missy cwying?” ha!

It wasn’t too hot today, although quite humid, so we spent some time outside before dinner. Eliana jumped in her Cozy Coupe and took a little ride:)

My Gma and Mom found this at a garage sale for really cheap when they came to visit last year! She just loves it so much.

And of course, Baby Anna was bummin’ a ride in the back:) Thought my Gma would enjoy this pic!

And lastly, I leave you with a picture of this scrumptious treat. Mmm, mmm! This is homemade copycat “Oreo Madness” from TGIF’s. We had lunch there on Mother’s Day, when I discovered a forgotten gift card, and this was on their menu. We never get dessert at a restaurant since it’s so ridiculously expensive and can usually be made at home!

This is absolutely a keeper recipe!! You can go here for the recipe if you, too, would like to delight your taste buds:)

I am now bringing forth all of my willpower not to go down and eat one….Aren’t you proud?!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

One of the best and worst things about living here and doing what we’ve done is meeting some really great people.

It’s the best because these are seriously some of the greatest people you could ever know! We have been incredibly blessed in our friendships here.

But it’s the worst because time and time again, we have had to grieve the loss of friends who have moved away. It’s the kind of place where people usually move here for a little while, for school usually or work, and then they move on. And it stinks! Esp when you’re the one staying behind.

And then we meet some more really great people and the cycle continues.

Last night, we had dinner with some of our very best friends here. They moved here when Ben was still in Turkey and I clearly remember telling him, you will LOVE this couple!! They are so down to earth and funny and love the Lord and they are so great! Well, I was right (that happens occasionally!) and Ben did love them, just as I did. They have supported us, cheered us on and loved us time and time again in the past 5 years. And we have really valued their friendship.

But, they are about to move on and my heart is breaking. I am SO incredibly happy for them because they have some really great things in store for them this year and we are just thrilled and excited. But of course, we are sad, too, because they won’t be close by anymore.

I am so thankful for all the times we’ve gotten to spend with them and know it is a friendship that will last forever, even if we don’t get to see each other very often.

Our kiddos just adore Mr. J and Ms. D. On Sunday, I said to the boys, “Hey, boys! Guess what? Some of our very favorite people are coming over for dinner tomorrow night!” And they immediately knew who it was:)

They will be missed.
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On Saturday night, we were invited over for dinner with a couple we have met in the church. They are older and wiser (!) and were chosen as Ben’s mentor couple when he went through a growth/membership class at the church in February. They are SO nice and we had a really good time. Of course, they are looking to move soon, too, (see?) but we will be thankful for all of the time we can get with them for now!

When we left their house, it was late (almost 9) and the moon was out. Our kiddos rarely get to see the night and moon, much to their chagrin, because we are slave drivers and force them to get good rest. I know, I know, our poor children!

Eliana immediately look up at the moon and said excitedly, “Samuel, do you see??! It’s the cow jumping over the moon!!” haha;)
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Eliana goes through cycles with Baby Anna. She might go through a short period where she still loves her and knows where she is at all times but Baby Anna might want to stay home instead of going out with us.

And then she has times like the past few days, where she will play with Baby Anna for hours! Today Baby Anna has received about 7 diaper changes because according to Eliana, “she is so stinky!”

I found an old newborn sized diaper that I kept and I pulled it out for Baby Anna so she could have one that fits.

But sometimes she still insists that Baby Anna where one of her diapers:) Right now, E is in her room, with her baby strapped into her old highchair seat and she is reading her a book:) I really love this little mommy side of her!!