Sunday, September 22, 2013


We had a big weekend!

Friday started out with a field trip to Cranes Orchard with Ruby's class.  I love going to school with my kids!  We picked some extra apples while we were there and Ruby was so proud of the apples she picked.  I think one of her primary love languages (at this time) is in gifts.  She just treasures things!  Her nightstand is just full of little items that each have a special meaning behind them.  So when we got home, she got a big glass container from the pantry, polished her apples, and neatly stacked them into the jar and made room for it on her nightstand!

That night, we went to downtown Holland. Natalie participated in the Live Mannequin event taking place... her second year to do so.  Last year she was a Joker (the theme being 'card games') and this year she was a mouse turning into a coachman for the Cinderella story (the theme being 'books').  What a blast!  She loves to act, mostly as an animal but even when she's replaying a movie.  She is very detailed and animated!

Saturday morning, we had Natalie's second soccer game.  We didn't know how this was going to go!!  She was all geared up and ready to start playing when they checked the girls' ears for earrings that would need to come out!  NO!  Natalie does not like her earrings to be changed.  There is always one ear that gives us trouble.  So of all things, she starts panicking over it.  Jordan's mom quickly stepped in and got them out (once again, the game was waiting on Natalie!!).  And she got out there and played!  She went after that ball and did great the entire game!!!  I think the other parents were even cheering her on!  We were so relieved and excited!

Saturday night, Heidi, Crystal, and I crafted!  Such a great time!  I always have an agenda, it seems.  I grabbed some stuff before heading over there and it was delightful to sit and chat and craft!  I started making a garland for some autumn decor, and then moved onto a headband for Emmy.  I need to schedule craft nights in more often!

And today, Sunday, we attended our very last service in the 'old' Engedi Church building.  I love this church of ours!  I look forward to worshiping there and coming back home with something to think about that carries me through the week.  There are so many amazing women that I have met through this church.  Many have become great friends.  In the afternoon, we helped transfer stuff to 'Newgedi'.  And my prayer is that God would fill that space with His grace and goodness, that it would be a lighthouse in the dark, and create even more stories of hope.  That it would 'advance the kingdom revolution of Jesus worldwide.'  So blessed to be a part of such a loving community.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

school and soccer...success

We are two weeks into the school year.  And just as I predicted, I miss the girls.  But I am so happy for them to be going, too!  They just LOVE school!

Going to school for Ruby is the most natural thing in the world for her.  She is excited everyday but she just walks in those doors and hardly ever looks back at us.  On the bus ride home, she doesn't need Natalie to sit with her, she sits with her friends.  She rolls her eyes at me every afternoon when my enthusiasm suffocates her.  She's a lot more chill than I thought she would be about this school stuff.  She's even letting me dress her!  She hasn't let me pick out her outfits since she was in diapers (and I wish I were joking!). She. is. wearing. pants.  We haven't seen her in pants, well, since she was in diapers!  She still insists on accessorizing all on her own, though, with the occasional barrette in the smack-dab-middle-of-her-head, two headbands at once, or the fake glasses that she sneaks into school (that required the teacher to call me about since Ruby told her, 'yes they're real, they help my eyes to see better', which she cried about when she came home that day!)  And as if she needed any kind of boost to her confidence... Ruby's teacher shared with me that when her students were settled down, a little boy held up his hand and announced to the class that he had told Ruby that he thinks 'she's the most beautiful girl he's ever seen'!  No joke!  When I asked Ruby about this later, she smiled and then teased that after he told her that, she kissed him on the mouth!  Oh boy, we thought we had our hands full before she went to school....

Natalie is loving first grade!  She's an old pro at school now, of course!  Whereas last year we learned that she would 'stand in line' during recess (a line consisting of only herself to which I bribed her with $2 to make a new friend on the playground - and she did!), this year I can spy on her when I'm dropping Ruby off.  And guess what?!  She plays!  Today she told us that she gets chased by boys.  And she also shared who her secret crush is and that she chases him and pulls his shirt (which is a big deal... it's common ground with holding hands when you're 6!)  Natalie is also playing soccer, her very first go at a sport.  It's been going well... it had been going well.  She's been improving at practices but then we had her first game.  We were encouraging her to warm up before the game but she wouldn't have anything to do with it.  And then it was time for the game to start and she started crying.  I ended up carrying her across the field to her team so the game could start.  I didn't know what to do!!  Jordan was telling me to just pack up the fam and go home.  But I really felt like she had to do this.  I don't want to live vicariously through my kids but I never did sports when I was young because I was too insecure.  This is a commitment and she's going to follow through with it.  But I was fighting tears myself.  There she stood not knowing what to do and what made matters much worse is that all the other kids have been playing for a year or two already. I'm already absolutely dreading the next game.  So for the first quarter, she stood in one place, sometimes surrounded by kids kicking the ball around her, sometimes completely alone.  Sad, sad, sad!  The second quarter, she sat out by us.  I was gentle with her and reassuring.  She said she'd get out there again if we'd buy her a horse!  Once again, I walked with her to the coach and she finished out the game.  (So happy the coach didn't make her sit out the game even though at the time I was wondering if that would be best.) Her tears were gone by the end of the game and she began to turn her body toward the direction of the ball but without leaving her exact place.  Success anyway!  It was so hard for me to let her be out there so vulnerable :(  But I was more proud that she stayed out there when that was the hardest thing for her to do than if she would have been the most aggressive player on the team.  Courageous, she was!  And I was so proud!!  And I know that she was too because she wasn't bothered by her 'performance' but happy to be done and was actually looking forward to the next game!  Wha...?

Charlie has been enjoying some more one-on-one time with me in the afternoons.  He doesn't miss his sisters at all.  He is such a momma's boy lately.  He helps me in the garden, keeps me company wherever I am, we read books, and yesterday we napped together while Emmy slept.  Then the girls come home and he has to compete for my attention again.  Emmy requires extra attention these days, too.  She is fast and into everything!  She loves music and loves to dance.  She throws her head back to laugh, fake cry, or to initiate 'hit the ditch'. She gets me up once a night for an unnecessary feeding but then we cuddle til the alarm goes off.

These last couple of weeks have flown by!  But such FUN times again.  I love to hear about the girls' days and to have some structure and routine again.  I just absolutely love everything about this time of year!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

back to school

A bittersweet time for me.  Natalie is a first grader and Ruby is in Young 5s.  They are both ready and anxious but I am going to miss them like crazy.  There have been a few moments of chaos with the kids that I have caught myself getting eager for this day but as soon as I think it, I take it back.  They're so young yet!  Thankfully, Ruby is only gone for the afternoon but she still has to ride the bus.  She's only FOUR, though!  Where did the time go?!  I've been very weepy this past week.  And yet it is such a riot for us, too!  The girls have been counting down the days, they are just so excited.  The girls and I had a great time shopping for school clothes and supplies one afternoon (now I understand how much fun my mom used to have when we'd do this!) and they have been double-checking that they have everything packed in their backpacks for the day.  Jordan and I rode the bus with Ruby since she will be taking it home everyday.  She loved it and loved meeting her teacher.  She is so ready.  Natalie loved her teacher as well and the structure of the school year is going to be great for all of us.  Natalie has started up soccer practice as well.  This is all so new to us!  But such a blast. 

The girls each had a great day, they told us.  Natalie was up bright and early and got on the bus like a pro this morning.  She was excited to see some former classmates in her new class and loved her teacher.  I held Charlie close on the walk back to our house and he assured me that he won't grow up as fast!  I gave Ruby two options of what she could wear for the day and when she came out of her room, she had put them both on... sleeveless shirt with a skirt over and under a smock and sparkle leggings!  When I dropped her off at school, she slipped into the classroom behind the teacher and went directly to the whiteboard we had drawn on at the orientation and she got to work!  Charlie played hard all afternoon with the neighbor girls just as he and his sisters have done all summer.  I think he really enjoyed not having his sisters around!!  Ruby squeezed me tight when she got off the bus and I learned that her and Natalie had sat together along with their good friend/babysitter, Molly.  Natalie locked me out of the house while Ruby was squeezing me... our of love, of course :)  So glad that this first day went smoothly and hoping that there's not as rough of a transition as there was last year with exhaustion induced attitude!

Jordan especially loves the 'back to school' scene since he was home-schooled.  He is very impressed with the school and I am too.  I just love our city!!  And even though I'm sad to let them go, it is equally as exciting to watch them learn and grow.  We are so priveledged to live in this country where we can receive an education and so blessed that our kids are healthy and have grown up to this school-age.  So proud of my girls!!