Saturday, October 22, 2016

What We Are Reading

When I look at what we have read recently, it doesn't look like much - though it seems like we have read more. But, I guess I have not really taken as much time to read as I wish I had. I try to read most days to the kids, but sometimes it is hard - so much going on. 

We read The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner and also The Boxcar Children, Surprise Island. We had already read both of these books but several kids wanted to read them again so why not? Then we read James Herriot's Treasury for Children. Bethany and Andrew and Caroline really seemed to like this book. I enjoyed it, too. It was full of animal stories that were really sweet. Next we read The Railway Children by E. Nesbit. I really liked this book but for some reason I didn't enjoy reading it aloud. I think the chapters were too long for me and several of the chapters just didn't hold my interest. This was not a favorite with my kids. I think they were all glad when we finished it. The last few chapters of the book were definitely enjoyed by everyone and it had a very nice ending. I think it was just too difficult for Piper and Tess to understand as it seems they can only listen to very easy books and even those are hard for them to understand. I have a hard time keeping their attention most of the time when we read aloud. 

We are now reading Tumtum and Nutmeg, Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn. Actually, we finished it today and we loved this book. I didn't really think I would like it, but several of the kids were pushing me to read it so I did, and it was such a hit. It is about two mice -- Tumtum and Nutmeg -- that live in Nutmouse Hall and their adventures. It may sound rather boring but it really was a good book. I actually looked forward to reading it daily and we finished it in record time. The kids are asking for more books about Tumtum and Nutmeg now.

Our next door neighbor gave Andrew a tent and everybody loves it. It has given the kids hours of fun this week. On this day Bethany and Piper went out together and I just love seeing the two of them playing and having a snack together. They set the tent up right in front of the fire pit and pretended that they were cooking over it. Andrew actually set up the tent but I think they helped a little. The days are getting slightly cooler and I am looking forward to our fall traditions -- one of them being a pumpkin carving that we will have tomorrow. Tess hasn't stopped talking about it since the kids told her about it a month ago. Hope it lives up to her expectations. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Keeping the Grandkids

We are watching Joshua and Madelyn for a few days while Joey and Shannon have some time together. I know that this will be good for them even though they had a very difficult time leaving the kids -- since they have never left them before. They were able to take a few days and go to Bald Head Island. It is an amazing place and I know they will really enjoy their time there. This is not something they could have done if not for the generosity of a very exceptional math tutor. We have had the same math tutor for over 20 years and she is wonderful. She also happens to own a home at Bald Head Island. She gave Joey and Shannon the gift of spending some time there-- 5 nights to be exact. This was such a blessing. 

I have to say that I have been amazed at the kindness of so many people since Joey was diagnosed with his brain tumor. I don't think a Sunday goes by that someone doesn't give him and Shannon a card or just offer kind words. It really makes such a difference to us and them. To realize that friends and neighbors take the time to care means more than you can imagine. This is something I have never even thought much about before. I guess now I realize how much an act of kindness can mean to someone that is going through a difficult time. 

Today was our first day keeping Joshua and Madelyn. Joey and Shannon left this morning. Zola went to their house as Madelyn was still asleep. I took our other kids to church and later that afternoon went over to the house and on the porch was a beautiful gift basket. In it was a truck for Joshua and little bath toys for Madelyn -- among other things. It was perfect timing since it was their first day without mom and dad. Joshua could not wait to open the truck and Madelyn loved the little animals. I texted Joey immediately and let him know about the gift basket, because I knew he was worrying about the kids. I also included a picture of them playing with the toys. He texted back immediately. It really made him happy to see the kids so excited about their new things. I knew then that he could enjoy the rest of his evening. 

If I have learned anything from this experience, I guess it is that you never know how much something you do for someone can mean -- no matter how big or small it is. It is the fact that someone cares. So, the next time you think that a card or note you give just won't mean that much - think again.

I thank everyone for their prayers for my son. He is feeling pretty good right now. Just really tired. He has another MRI scheduled the end of November and we pray for good news. Please continue to pray for him. 

I actually took these pictures of Joshua and Madelyn last week when they visited us. Not today.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Baby Shower

We had a shower for Kasia last Saturday which I stressed a little -- trying to get things picked out, bought and then decorate. I usually have my daugher, Emily, to help me decorate but she was busy so I was pretty much on my own. I am not great at picking out all the decorations and prizes and food and then getting it all put together. But, I think I pretty much got everything done and it was nice.

Unfortunately, it was raining and raining. I didn't let that bother me too much as I realized most people would come in the rain. And I figured that the lights and candles would look better if the house wasn't so bright from lots of sunshine. What I wasn't thinking was how hard it would be to get nice pictures. It was so dark in my house and I don't ever use a flash -- can't even remember where it is. So, I was setting my ISO up higher and higher and my pictures were still so dark. I did manage to get some nice ones but it is definiely easier to get pretty pictures with some light coming in the windows - the kitchen was easier than the family room. 

I think just about everybody came and everyone was so nice. Kasia got so many nice things and lots of clothes for the baby -- which is a boy. He is due the week before Thanksgiving so they will have a little baby this Christmas -- I love a little baby at Christmas. 

We played the game where you guess how big her stomach is and Bethany won. I think she cut her string almost the exact right length. Kasia is so small to be due in only a month. I thought Bethany might be a little disappointed in her prize - a Starbucks gift card - but, she was thrilled because now she can go out and get something to eat and drink. 

So, this November we will have 8 grandchildren - 3 girls and 5 boys. And to think that only 4 years ago we had none.