Books galore and projects!

Eliana and I have actually had a fairly quiet day today, which is rare for us! She is always coming along with me to clean houses or running errands, going to preschool, etc. We weren’t intending to stay home today but plans changed because Ben was sick this morning (he is better now) and Eliana agreed that it was nice to just “be” today!

We played some Legos. She is getting quite a nice little collection of Disney princess Legos and Lego Friends. We have them set up on top of her low bookshelf. She has Frozen legos (of course!), Rapunzel’s tower, a lemonade stand and a farmer’s market. Pretty cute!

We also weeded through all of our kid’s books this morning. I did that before we moved but the boys especially are moving into harder series and leaving behind easy chapter books like “Magic Tree House,” which were the series to jumpstart Samuel into loving to read! The boys got a huge collection of Roald Dahl books for Christmas that they just love. Samuel found a series that he is really into these days so he often looks a lot like this:

He definitely comes by it honestly!! Give me a good series and I will be happy to ignore cooking, cleaning, talking to people, etc. And we got that from my mom!

Zakkai is an eclectic reader. He flits from one thing to the next and can often be found reading 4 books at the same time, sometimes finishing none of them. We are working on that!

Samuel giving Eliana a ride on the recycling bin train the other day:)

You can often find Zakkai and Eliana looking like this these days! When he isn’t annoyed with her and being a complete police man (grr!), he is the sweetest thing ever with her and will play for hours! She loves to ask him to play because 9/10 times he will say “yes!”

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I am undertaking a huge organizational project. I finally (to Ben’s relief!) am cutting down on my cooking magazines. I started getting “Quick Cooking” (which later became “Simple and Delicious”)in 2003 right before we got married. My all time favorite cooking magazines ever! Then I switched to Taste of Home (by the same company) because I got a good deal. You get 6 magazines per year so you can imagine….I have probably close to 100 magazines. I attempted to file and organize them years ago and got through 2010 before giving up:) Now, I am ready to admit that I don’t even use all of them because there are so many!

So, I am going through them, cutting out my favorite recipes or ones I really think I will try, and tossing the magazine. It was hard to make that first cut! I don’t like cutting up my magazines! But it has gotten easier with time and now I have gone through about 60 of them. I am going to glue/tape them to paper, put them in plastic sheet protectors and file them in a binder, with tabs. I think I will use them a lot more often then! It’s been so interested going through them and finding forgotten oldies but goodies and realizing that these magazines really taught me how to cook! I knew a few things when we got married but these magazines really got me off to a good start (with a few memorable boo-boo’s in between!) with creating new, tasty meals for our growing family. Ah, to wax nostalgic…

I squeeze in some cutting time while dinner is cooking each night or during E’s rest time in the afternoons. Sometimes Eliana sits beside me and cuts through the mags I have already weeded through and saves her own recipes:) She loves to tell me about the delicious recipes she is cutting out! I am really looking forward to having this done, although I think it will take several more days.

Call me a nerd but I do love a good organizing project!

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Closing summer and making plans.

 Our boys survived their first week at a brand-new school! This week didn’t look anything like we originally thought it would, a couple months ago. I told the boys we would probably be settled in our new place long before school started and have time to scope out the area and meet some kids at the parks, etc.

Instead, we chewed our fingernails to bits (figuratively speaking, of course!), waiting and waiting for the answer to prayer that was sure to come before school started…..only to have the answer not be the one we hoped for. I am SO proud of my boys for doing as well as they did this week. They did a whole lot better than their mama, that’s for sure.

The 2nd and 3rd days of school went a lot smoother than the first (the drop-off was frustratingly chaotic) and the boys had some really good things to say. Samuel even got rewarded for good listening at school on a behavior chart all the classes have. He felt really good about that!

My grandma has been hauling us all over town for the past month since Ben started his jobs. The kiddos are in a tight squeeze in the back of her little Taurus, which makes for many repeated reminders that we are in a small space together and need to keep our voices DOWN. But they are happy kiddos, even if ornery:)

Last Saturday, we got to spend some much-needed time with Grandma and the boys cousins! We had a very full day, starting with brunch! We ate, then played at a cute park, went to Target, had frozen yogurt and ended up at the river to throw rocks:)

4 boys and one little princess:) (one boy is missing from the picture!)

That’s Eliana carrying her brother’s pirate sword around. She’s pretty ferocious, isn’t she?!

They had so much fun it was hard to tear them away!! We had such a nice day:)

On Tuesday, my trio and I decided to have one last little hurrah before the busy school season started. We headed over to the pool and were one of the first to arrive! It was a pretty low-crowd kind of day, for which we were very thankful.

The boys had SUCH a good time and actually spent time swimming (finally!) and did not want to leave. I feel like they finally got the hang of swimming and relaxing at the pool, only to have the season end!

Buddies:) (Well, okay, let’s be honest here. This came after some screaming on Eliana’s part and a refusal to scoot over on Z’s part. But finally the law won and peace was made.)

Chillin’ in his own chair:) He has begged to go back to the pool every day this week!

And something fun! Guess whose book is out?! That’s right. Check out that name at the top!

And it’s a doozy, too, coming in at 508 pages. Yes, sirree Bob, that’s a whole lotta work that went into that book. 4 years to be exact….Oh, well, 5 if you count the painful process of editing!

Don’t be asking for a copy anytime soon, though. A) You probably won’t understand very much of it:) and B) It costs a whopping $160 a book. Wow.

Ben likes to say that it also doubles as a fly-swatter, a cure for insomnia or a great window-holder upper. His joking aside, I am super proud of him! He accomplished what few people can with his studies and even though we can’t exactly see how God will use his knowledge and giftings, we are trusting that someday we will!
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And as for other updates, Eliana got into preschool! It’s been very difficult to sign up for anything at all since our whole life has been up in the air but we found a place for her 2 days a week and she is SOOO excited! She was bringing her book bag to her brothers’ school open house and wanting to put her supplies inside their desks (break my heart!) so we kept assuring her we would find something soon! This just fell into place a few days ago, very easily. And as I am needing to count all of my blessings right now, however big and small, I am very thankful for this! She starts in just over a week.

Also, we are trying to learn not to be stressed out by deadlines because we are learning that our timelines and God’s are apparently not the same. Boo. We only have until September 1st here before we absolutely have to leave. The only way we could get a really brief extension would be if we could tell them a specific date we were moving into a new place. The board has been gracious enough to allow us to stay here all summer but the time has come for us to move on.

Not that we haven’t been trying. I admit, I have been incredibly discouraged and frustrated this week by all of the dead-ends and bizarre experiences we have had with trying to find a place to live. We have never ever had trouble like this. Some days I really want to give up and move to England. Please pray, of course, that this would be the week God would open up something for us, but most of all, for me to fix my eyes on Him and not on things that I think would make things easier. Like, I don’t know…..having a place to live and being able to settle and make plans. Things like that. I’m having a hard time letting that go and keeping my eyes upwards and I really need some prayer for grace.

After all, drawing close to our Father, in the midst of trials and pain, shows us that nothing here on earth can really ever satisfy us or give us true peace. I need to learn where my true source of Peace is and draw from it (Him), instead of assuming I’ll feel peace once my prayers are answered. Tough lesson to learn.

And I think I’d rather learn my lesson asap instead of feeling the way I have this past week or two….

Catching up!

Just look at the little guy. All tuckered out….. (Name that movie!)

I don’t think we had a particularly exciting weekend (unless you count washing/vaccuming the car, running small errands, going to church and playing exciting!), but whatever the reason, Zakkai didn’t last through even one story last night:)
We are getting ready to start planning our big/little guy’s SIXTH birthday at the end of next month! Wow. It was a little hard for me to believe that he was turning 5 last year but he grew into five so nicely and it seemed like he would be five forever so I just enjoyed it. But six??? He was always my little buddy, ornery, up to mischief, saying adorable things and driving his race cars all around the house. How in the world can my little guy be growing up? 
It’s just so amazing to me how fast they grow. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being in awe. And a little sad, too.
The other night, I was showing the boys some old pictures and when Samuel saw some of Missy as a tiny baby, he got really upset and couldn’t look anymore. Minutes later, he uncovered his face, threw himself into my lap and burst into tears. He was SO sad that she isn’t a baby anymore and he misses those sweet days. What a tender heart!!
Eliana got some books today from a friend, who was cleaning out her kid’s closets, and has thoroughly enjoyed reading them today! She’s been carrying around one under each arm and hoisting them into our laps all day:) I was inspired to weed through our book collection, which is quiet large! Most of our books are in the boys’ room on their dresser and Eliana has a couple of baskets in her room. I was able to weed out a small stack but it’s hard to get rid of books! We love books around here!
One book we haven’t read in awhile is called, “Children Around The World.” It’s a book featuring real children from all around the whole world (go figure:) and telling you what that child eats, how they dress, what they call their parents, what school is like, etc.
The boys LOVED it!! We used to love reading it and I was a little surprised at how enthusiastic they were tonight! They opted out of reading another story, just so we could read another couple pages of this book.
They started imagining what the book would say if our family was featured in it. I’m not sure that our life compares in any way to a Tembe Indian from Brazil or a girl from China!
One good thing that has happened since we came back from Christmas vacation is that we’ve settled on a church! This was due to some amazing things that happened over break and we are excited to just settle in somewhere for the remainder of whatever time we may be here. Now, if only Eliana would stop crying hysterically in her class so I could hear a complete service….
Now I am off to finish a movie with my wonderful husband!