Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rainbow Car Sorting Activity

color sorting and counting with toy cars

My son wanted to play cars together.  I wanted to do something somewhat educational.  This is what we came up with.

I got out a great striped placemat I'd gotten from Target on clearance.  I know its not a true rainbow but it worked well and its what we had on hand.

We search for his cars in the toy box and sorted them by color on the placemat. 

color sorting and counting activity using toy cars

As we worked, we made predictions about which colors would have the most and least cars.  We modified our predictions as we got further through his car collection.  Then we counted each color vehicle to see if we were right.  (For some reason he's short on pink and purple cars... hmmm).

He had so much fun that he started sorting his bugs, dinosaurs and plastic lizards.  He's already asked if we can do it again.  I'm guessing it will be a repeat activity here on the gravelly road.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chickens and Eggs

Its been an exciting start of the week on our gravelly road...
Morning search for fresh eggs
Our chickens have finally started laying eggs!

pictures of grown chickens
They've grown so much since my first post about them.  The names have stuck: the dark brown one is named Brownie, the light brown one is Miss Clucky, the black and white one is John Smith (yes my son knows its a girl), and the colorful one is Meanie Queenie.

As you might be able to tell in the pictures above, we found out one is a rooster, not a hen.  My son hasn't decided if he needs a new name... or if Meanie Queenie is just going to be Mr. Meanie.  For a while he waited until 8am to crow, but lately he's decided dawn is better.  Luckily he doesn't wake up my kiddo. 

It certainly has been interesting this summer observing the chickens, especially for this town-girl.  Yes they are "chicken" and afraid of most things.  They also routinely panic if they loose sight of the rest of the group.  One in particular apparently gets distracted and separated often, followed by a panicked noise, and then we usually see the rooster find the separated hen to bring her back to the group.  Sometimes when the rooster is trying to get the hens into the coop at night, one will be stubborn and fly to the top of the coop.  Other times a hen will find something tasty, make a happy cluck (which alerts the others), and then we see all the other chickens chasing that hen for her tasty find.  It always makes us laugh. 

We are thankful to be enjoying delicious eggs for breakfast from our chickens here on the gravelly road.  At the same time, the chickens are a reminder that our God is amazingly creative in designing all of creation with purpose and uniqueness.

(One of these days I'll write a post about the chicken coop that my husband designed.  My husband has made a number of improvements over the summer, adding wheels and a homemade feeder, as well as tweaking a few things.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fun with Friends

Last week, a good friend came to play for the whole day.  The boys had so much fun.  The biggest hits were the water gun games and our new pool noodle light sabers.
Kids having fun with water guns

Then Monday evening another friend was over.  Out came the gators for lots of driving around the yard.  Later they were driving a big ship (playset) and swimming to their island home.
Out for a drive on gators

Yesterday we had lots of fun with friends that we don't get to see often enough.  We met for a picnic and play time at a park that included a splash pad.
Park and Splash Pad Fun

Trying to soak up the last weeks of summer the best we can!

Past 200

I just realized yesterday's post was the 200th post on my blog.  Wow, I didn't realize I had that much to say :)  Thanks for sticking around and reading about life on our gravelly road.  It means a lot to me to know there are friends who are following, reading, praying for us and journeying with us on this adventure.

Blessings Friends!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dragon or Dino?

This is when I admit I need to take drawing class featuring more boy-themed items.  My sidewalk chalk flowers, houses, suns and rainbows just don't cut it with this boy.  And this dragon turned out to look a bit more like a fire-breathing dinosaur-like creature.  That's ok.  We had fun working on it together.

He asked if I thought the dragon was so scary that Dad would run away from it when he got home.  Then he asked "Mom, do you think it is a million quarters scary?"  I guess if you measure scary in money then a million quarters would be a lot of scary.  What units do you use to measure scary anyway?  Screams? 

Glad that this colorful dragon/dino creature generated many more giggles than screams on our gravelly road.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Garden Update - vegetables everywhere :)

Tuesday night I was worried that this next garden update might not be a good one.  Thankfully the hail that went through our area was not as bad by our gravelly road.  Not even 10 miles away there were so many ruined gardens.  So sad.

Gardening - sweet corn, zucchini, pumpkin

We are still picking snap peas, most of our green beans are picked, there are quite a few zucchini, most of the tomatoes are just starting to turn red, and there are plenty of small peppers.  My cucumbers are growing quite slowly this year, though our neighbor has shared some of hers.  She also shared quite a few green beans again this year.  We've dug up a few of the red onions and will likely dig the rest up soon.  The sweet corn my husband planted is tasseling and you can see the beginnings of the ears of corn which is exciting. 

My kiddo is very excited about how big the pumpkin is already, a little smaller than a cantaloupe.  I guess I'll have to take a pic of him next to it for the next post. 

I know I mentioned before that we had birds making a home in the birdhouse on our garden gate.  For the last few weeks (maybe even a month), we've been able to hear the little birds when we go to the garden.  The momma bird always flies to a nearby tree and makes a lot of noise.  I'm hoping we'll get to see the little birds soon.

Its a growing garden and its such a blessing to have so many fresh veggies to add to our menu.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five Minute Fridays: Lonely

Five Minute Fridays is hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  This weeks prompt is Lonely.


Surrounded by my messy house and the constant chatter of our 4 year old, it hits me... loneliness.  Like a rock sinking in the pond.  Husband out of town for most of the week.  A schedule mostly empty of plans.  I enjoy the time of just the two of us, my son and I, the simple rhythm of being home.  But sometimes the day gets long... and lonely.  For some reason so often I hesitate to reach out, to call a friend, to make more plans.

We've been here in this place long enough, I know this feeling isn't so deep.  New friendships are going stronger.  Wonderful conversations over iced coffees or over the sounds of loud children playing or both.  We know the community better, connections being made, slowly roots are growing deeper. 

I take a deep breath and find our shoes.  We grab the extra loaf of banana bread on the counter and walk over to the neighbor's.  Warm smiles, catching up, chocolate, friendship across generations, and often a bag of garden fresh green beans.


Take a minute to visit Lisa-Jo's site and read some of the amazing posts others have put together on the prompt.  Or take 5 minutes and join in!

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Ups and Downs of Waiting

During the last month, the waiting has been more difficult, more on my mind.  One reason is that we had several profile showings that started my "what if engine" a-going -- including a mom who's due date was just days after she was going to look at our profile and another for out-of-state preemie twins. 

In both cases, we were not chosen.  That's OK.  God knows what He's doing. 

I struggle though with finding His peace while we're waiting to hear from our social worker when I know our profile is being looked at.  So I pray.  I journal.  This time I even used some of my nervous energy to start tackling things I could accomplish -- since I couldn't do anything about the waiting.  So now I have a nicely organized medicine cabinet :)

It also reminds me to not waste a day.  Its hard not knowing when a new baby brother or sister will rock my son's world.  Its hard to prepare him for that.  Its hard to prepare myself.  I was pondering recently, what if this month is the last month with just my son at home?  What would I have wished I'd done if our family schedule is suddenly changed by the arrival of a baby?  Not the deep clean the house, organize the nursery type stuff.  But the spend the day at the pool, go out for ice cream, day trip to the zoo, play kickball sort of things.  Yes, I know those things can and will still happen with a new baby, just with much more planning...  That line of thinking has helped me prioritize some extra fun into this last month of summer.

We recently took family pictures for our church directory.  It reminded me of a prayer thought I used pray a lot and its been on my mind again since.  God knows what our family portrait will look like in 5 years, in 10 years.  As much as I try to guess, struggle to figure out and would love to have a preview, I trust that He has it completely under control.  I need to leave it firmly and securely in His Hands.

Trusting God with Building our Family

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Five Minute Fridays: Story

I am late writing for Friday's prompt again but decided to join in anyway.

Five Minute Fridays is hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  This weeks prompt is Story.


There is something special that happens when a friendship reaches the point of sharing the deeper stories.  When your conversations are more than just what you did last week, how your family is doing, and what's going on in the near future.  When you are comfortable enough with someone to share those stories that shape you. 

Sometimes it takes a long time to reach that point with someone.  But other times situation and personalities click such that it happens quite quickly.  Nearly fifteen years ago, I sat in an ice cream shop with a young man when such a "click" happened.  We had spent a long weekend serving others together a few weeks prior but really hadn't known each other long.  We ended up sharing stories and our hearts for over two hours without ever getting around to ordering ice cream (and we both LOVE ice cream).    Afterwards he asked for my number and wrote it on the back of my senior picture and put it in his wallet (that's how it worked before cell phones).  Long story short, this winter will be 12th wedding anniversary (and the 15th anniversary of our first date a few days after that ice cream shop conversation).

I consider myself immensely blessed that God choose to interweave our two stories, that from the beginning serving together has been part of our story, and that 15 years ago we were brave enough to share our heart stories with each other.  While we don't know all God has in store for our family's story or how it fits into God's larger story, we find comfort in the fact that God's big redemptive story has a known and triumphant ending.

In embracing my story and our family story, following the lead of the Story Writer, I can walk forward into the unknown tomorrow.


Five Minute Friday

Friday, August 2, 2013

The summer fun keeps going

We've been busy and having lots of summer fun.  The weather has been beautiful lately as well, so lots of time outside and no time writing, but that's fine by me :)

Tball is over and he just finished up his second week of swimming lessons (he passed!).
summer swimming lessons

We've been to the beach at a local lake, playdates with two different friends involving sprinklers, water balloons and other water fun.  Even celebrated a friend's birthday party at the movie theater.  We also walked in a parade with our MOPS friends.

Tuesday we used a kit he'd gotten earlier this summer to make a stepping stone.  I think it turned out great!
kids stepping stone kit

Plus Wednesday we were blessed by a wonderful visit from my sister (Is he being camera shy or telling secrets?)

At home, we've been just playing more than attempting projects.  To keep things interesting, we've tried a few different things --
  • Bowls of ice and water in the sandbox
  • Water balloon target practice on the driveway
  • Playdoh outside
  • Set up a toy truck and car wash
  • Stopping to play at parks that are new to us
  • Exploring all sorts of new toys inside and outside (really Dad's old toys from Grandma's but new to our kiddo)

As August begins, we are going to keep treasuring each day of summer as it comes.  In fact we still have a few more things on our "Summer Bucket" list to complete.

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