Sunday, August 21, 2016

Wrapping Up the First Half of August

I think I like these twice a month wrap-ups . . . so we'll go with that for now.  Starting off with a cut picture of Little Bit and Tracy.  Just because, it's a cute picture. Tracy, other than having an obsession with peeing places other than the litter boxes (which I sincerely hope will be "cured" when we get her spayed next month . . . according to the almighty google, some intact cats, even females, "mark" by peeing. And since most of her peeing has been on piles of dirty clothes, I am hoping that's what this is about. . . Incidentally, "rustic" wood floors, with cracks between some planks, are not so great when a cat pees (or a kid spills water) upstairs . . . just sayin . . . ) BUT . . . other than the peeing, she's a super loving cat! She lets Little Bit "love on her" nonstop. And the thing that can make dog-sitting challenging is that, unlike our other cats, she's not willing to just disappear for the week, she insists on being where people are! She also randomly will decide she needs to sleep on my chest at night. 

So, the first couple of weeks were pretty quiet. Music lessons, playdates, park days, Mama and Papa were here doing some more stuff on our old house, that is under contract, but the buyer is using an FHA loan so we're jumping through hoops, sigh . . . hopefully the hoBops are all jumped through and closing will go as scheduled in a couple of weeks! 

This past week has been busier again. . . a local water garden store does a live butterfly exhibit in the summers, so we decided to check it out.  It's all butterflies native to PA so much less variety than the one in Maryland that we first went to when  Lexie and Ashlyn were itty bitty babies (2 or 3 months old), and have gone to many times since. BUT for a close to home, less expensive, option this one was nice!
This place had "feeding sticks" that you could buy for $1, which is a great money maker for them, since it was literally a cotton swab (the long, wooden stick kind) dipped in colored sugar water. So it probably costs them about $0.01 LOL. BUT it was so worth it, because you could "pick up" the butterflies that way and carry them around. The kids, even the big kids, loved it!  We met friends there, and played on a little playground there after we were done at the butterflies. 

For bedtime we're reading the Little House books. I'm so excited to finally be able to read books to all the kids at once :) One night this week, after reading about Pa playing some specific song on his fiddle, Lexie brought out her violin and played the song for us :) 
Also, the big girls and I have been fighting a cold all week. Conveniently we were all "staggered" by at least a day or two, so we at least had different symptoms at any given time. Which meant that, the nights where I had no voice to read, at least one of the big girls felt up to reading. They weren't willing to read as long as I usually do, but we could at least keep moving forward with Little House on the Prairie, despite me being sick. 

AND we're dog sitting again :) Jakey is here for a long weekend.  I am always amazed at how much he reminds me of Precious :) Plus he's my favorite because he climbs up on MY lap instead of just snuggling with the girls :)  He's also, apparently, learning Algebra with Lexie!
Also this week, we tried out an idea I read about in Sally and Sarah Clarkson's book The Life Giving Home. The idea is to take one day each year to think about and talk about how we've seen God working in our life over the past year. The Clarksons start their discussion by reading Joshua 4 (when Joshua tells the leaders of the tribes to each pick up a rock from the Jordan as they cross over, and pile them on the shore as a memorial of what God has done for them) so my PLAN was that we would have our first "Family Day" on Monday, when we read Joshua 4 for Bible anyway. BUT I was too sick to get everything together for it, so we postponed it until Wednesday.  We started our day with cinnamon rolls for breakfast (which is, of course, a wonderful thing to eat when we're all fighting colds, sigh . . . but I'd already talked to them about the idea BEFORE we were fighting colds). . . then we talked about God's leading in our life over the past year and started our notebook to collect these memories each year.
I was trying to think of a fun, easy, lunch that was something out of the ordinary and remembered the raw veggie pizza that was one of our foods at our wedding. So hunted down a recipe, bought crescent rolls, and that's what we had. It was a hit! AND it occurred to me that we could do the same thing with homemade, whole wheat, biscuit dough as the crust instead of crescent rolls and it would then be a healthy lunch too :) So . . . Lexie tried that yesterday and it worked great. Meaning that, as an added bonus from it all, we added a new lunch to our menus. The Clarksons include going hiking in the mountains in their Family day, but we don't have mountains to hike in and it was horrendously hot all week, so doing ANYTHING outside was pretty much out of the question, even if we hadn't been sick. Instead, we decided that since it was so hot, going for ice cream was a better option. YUM!!! Overall it was definitely a hit. And a fun way to remind ourselves of God's working in our lives.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, Tracy the cat is not willing to hide when we have a dog visiting. Thankfully, now that her kittens are gone, she at least doesn't ATTACK dogs that visit (poor Maggie). But she does hold her ground. Jake is so funny. He's smart enough to stay out of her reach, but he's soo intrigued by her. . . Stare-downs like this are pretty common. The other thing he does that is SO funny, is he either thinks she's going to hurt "his people" (and yes, for this week, we are "his people") OR he's jealous that "his people" are giving her attention. So if she's sitting with one of us, or we're holding her, he barks at her and looks at us like "why aren't you worried about this?!?!?" Even more amusing, Lexie said that when I was gone one afternoon, Tracy was sleeping in "my recliner" and Jake was VERY disturbed about that. Apparently he was sure that was MY chair and Tracy shouldn't be there.

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