Fridays

Elijah doesn’t have school on Fridays, so it’s a great opportunity for us to plan our own field trips. Last Friday we ventured out to a pumpkin patch that had a small petting zoo and an old combine tractor that had been transformed into a playground. We arrived right when the greenhouse opened so we were the only ones on the playground. It was a gorgeous morning, so we ended up spending a couple of hours there.

We didn’t go home with any pumpkins, but I did purchase a yellow mum- my favorite flowers! I hope to grab another color next week when we check out a new-to-us local apple orchard with The Mom’s Club.

Speaking of apple orchards, I can’t wait to get my hands on some Honeycrisp apples. How does dairy-free apple crisp taste? We’re going to find out!

Lately I’ve Been…

Planning: a few Fall double dates outdoors with friends. John and I have a few other couples we’re making plans with this month to keep relationships with friends growing while the weather is nice enough to do so outdoors. Wisconsin has a lot of beautiful wineries and orchards, so we hope to check a few of them out before they close for the season in November.

Trying: to bake a lot of our family favorites with a dairy-free spin. I’ve had success with our favorite Blueberry Breakfast Cake, vegan pumpkin bread, and banana bread. Elijah gave his stamp of approval on all three, and we couldn’t cut the banana bread fast enough for Josie. Banana bread might just be her favorite food.

Shopping: for clothes for Elijah. I think he outgrew every single item of clothing including shoes and coats over the summer. I thought we were set for school to start until I realized his pants are long enough but too big in the waist. I assumed elastic would work, but it turns out he’s just too skinny. I’m on the hunt for pants with elastic and drawstrings.

Reading: The Fountain of Silence by Ruta Sepetys. This book has received high reviews on Goodreads, and I’ve been making it a priority to get up an hour before my kids each morning to get some time in for myself. Most mornings this early hour means a book and a hot cup of coffee in silence. This book is almost 500 pages, so I’m determined to finish it before it’s due back to the library. At the halfway point I absolutely recommend it for anyone who likes historical fiction.

Loving: that Elijah’s school is doing in-person learning. I have no idea how long this option will be safe, but Elijah absolutely loves being with others kids his age. I’m doing my best not to take it personally that he gets upset when he sees me there to pick him up every afternoon.

Watching: Selling Sunset on Netflix. It’s a million-dollar real estate show with more drama than mansions. The houses are incredible but the elaborate LA lifestyle made my jaw drop more than once. You might find yourself more interested in the real estate agents’ wardrobes than the homes. Both are over the top!

Taking: a writing class online. I enrolled in a class with best selling author Bob Goff over the summer but time was so limited that I didn’t make it very far into the course. All of the lessons and coursework allow me to move at my own speed, so I’m anxious to get back to it now that Elijah is in school four days a week. The videos of Bob for each lesson are great because he’s a fabulous storyteller and is living an adventurous, joy-filled life.

What are you: Planning, Trying, Shopping, Reading, Loving, Watching, and/or Taking?

Elijah- Back to School

Elijah’s 4K program runs four days a week.

When I informed him that Thursday was his last day for the week his response was, “I have to stay home all weekend?!” He loves school and everything social it offers.

John and I met Elijah’s teacher earlier in the week and were able to see Elijah’s classroom. Now that school is in session, we drop him off at the door, a teacher takes his temperature, and he is escorted to his classroom. It is working, and I’m just thankful for Elijah’s independence that this procedure is completely fine with him. He has said, “When people aren’t sick anymore would you like to come to see my classroom again?” Definitely. Yes, please!

God bless all of those in education who are working harder than ever to embrace this “new normal” and give students a chance at social learning. We see you. We appreciate you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

As for a shortened school week for Elijah, this has nothing to do with the pandemic. The 4K calendar has always been four days a week. It feels like such a blessing to get to send him to school and still get a long weekend with him each week. I plan on lots of Fall Friday adventures in the months ahead including various apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and a greenhouse that has small barnyard animals.

It has only been a week and Elijah is sleeping better, eating better, and his spark is just that much brighter. I’m so, so thankful!

Josie’s Kitchen

Josie’s first birthday gift is one she’ll grow into, and I love the modern feel of the white cabinets and subway tile backsplash.

This gift was purchased for Josie, but I knew Elijah would love it just as much, if not more. Elijah loved playing with the play kitchen at our library in Marion, and he still plays with the one at my parents’ house when we visit. A few weeks with this new toy before Elijah starts back to school has been really great. We put it on the screened-in porch for now so it allows us to get fresh air while still playing in the shade.

Ashley and Tony sent a musical teapot and my parents gifted Josie with play pots and pans and a great shopping cart. She’s totally set for her own market and/or restaurant, and she’ll be walking behind the shopping cart on her own in no time.

 

 

 

 

Josie: ONE YEAR

God has used Josie to move a mountain already. That mountain is 5′ 6” and answers to the name Kellie.

I’m so thankful for her and how God has used Josie to propel me forward.

When John and I were deciding on names, “Josie” was one I kept coming back to. It wasn’t until I found out what Josie meant that I felt God’s blessing in her name. “God Shall Add”.

Joy.

Laughter.

Strength.

Patience.

Peace.

Gratitude.

God has certainly added by allowing us to welcome Josie into our family.

Happy birthday, beautiful!

First Time Fishing

Elijah should play the lottery. This kid has all the luck, and I love witnessing it.

Our neighbor boy, also four, has grandparents in our neighborhood who live right on the lake. They were generous enough to give Elijah a fishing education on Monday. He wasn’t so sure about the giant worms but loved reeling in the prize. Their first catch- a catfish! The boys couldn’t stop laughing about a fish with whiskers.

As much as they loved to see the catfish up close, it was a catch and release party.

Sunflowers

There is a sunflower field just minutes from Eau Claire, so the kids and I went looking for planted joy on Tuesday.

Babbette’s Seeds of Hope are fields planted in memorial to a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend to many who lost her battle to Myeloma in 2014. The fields are free to stop by and explore during daylight hours, but donations can be made online to help cancer victims and their families.

The fields were even more beautiful than I expected. I want to share this treasure with all of our friends here and encourage them to stop by for a photo opt and explore Babbette’s online donation page. Donors receive packets of their own sunflower seeds from Babbette’s.

“The Waves Can’t Stop Us”

Elijah and I spent Saturday afternoon on the lake.

As much as I thought the paddleboard would be a way for John and me to individually “escape” from shore sometimes (there is peace in the waves), Elijah loves swimming around in the lake while we paddle around him.

The water is remarkably warm, but Elijah worked hard not to tip us. Success!

He earned his place for another adventure again soon.

Hanging On

 

The last few months have been a wild ride for everyone.

We’re all hanging on.

Some days we have a better grip than others, and April felt like one giant speed bump. 

Now that August is approaching, I’m hanging on to summer.

Memories like this one in Iowa last weekend are what life is all about. These two absolutely adore each other at this stage, and I’m not taking it for granted. 

School is scheduled to begin for Elijah on September 1st. I know many of my teacher friends and their kids return to school much sooner. No matter what happens when school is back in session, I hope we all feel a little stronger after making it through the spring of 2020. I know we will all feel more thankful for any in-person opportunity for learning and socialization ahead, even if our smiles can’t be seen behind the masks. While all of this is certainly uncharted territory, I pray the months of summer filled my cup enough to help me make it through what might be ahead of for everyone. 

Buckle up, friends. Hang on.