Tuesday, September 6, 2011


We had such a great time on our camping trips this spring (other than KG screaming all night long.) We decided we would go camping once a month. Well right after we decided to camp once a month James left for Army work for the summer- most of it in Fort Lewis, WA. I do lots of things with the kids by myself but camping isn't one! During our crazy weather week last week (earthquake followed by hurricane) one of the boys suggested camping in the basement. But the weather was so nice so we decided to camp in the back yard.

We got into the camping mood with a trip to Seneca State Park for Park Quest #10- we're invited to the Park Quest Finale now! We played some rainy disc golf- which was a blast! Played in the park for a little while and then headed over to Larriland Farms for apple picking. We picked 80 lbs of apples- Gala, Smokehouse, and Honey Crisp. I think the boys' favorite part was climbing up the ladder to pick the Smokehouse apples or maybe picking from on Daddy's shoulder.

Zipline was the favorite and we had 3 super sharers!

He loves monkey bars- we should get some in the basement!

one of our apple pickers up high!
When we got home we set up tent. By we, I mean James and the kids while I tried to find somewhere in the kitchen to put 80 lbs of apples, a peck of peaches, and the other assortment of fruits and veggies from the farm. We grilled hotdogs for dinner and then the real fun began: campfire songs, stories, s'mores, singing apples, and sparklers. KG was sure she was ready for sleeping in the tent this time. She set up her blankies and pillows, practiced napping, and after a few games of Uno, she was ready to stay up all night. So KG and I went inside. The worn-out boys went right to sleep and James and I got to sit by the fire with a yummy drink picking out recipes for all our apples!
Daddy's set-up helpers

learning to build a fire

The next morning the kids enjoyed some camping cereal (any junk food cereal.) This time they had Captain Crunch- because we were making the Blue Moon Cafe's (from DDD) special: Captain Crunch French Toast . It was super yummy- if i do say so myself. The fun didn't stop there- after breakfast, we went to our terrific church and then to Bay Day United. The church picnic was great- good food, beautiful weather and spot, fun people, lots of bouncies for the kids, great worship music... All the kids fell asleep in the car on the way home. We woke them up for a yummy dinner of popcorn, peanuts, and peaches, a family movie night- Torchlighter's William Tyndale- and then to bed.  Praise God for a terrific weekend!

Happy 4th Birthday!

How did our little man turn 4 already? seems like just yesterday we were out in Kansas driving to Overland Park Hospital for our resort baby to arrive. (It was a super nice hospital and did seem pretty resort-like!) How he's grown? Little T has a terrific laugh, he's our first true lefty, he throws a mean fast-ball, he's super cuddly, crazy about his baby sister, and just a terrific kid!
I asked what kind of cake he wanted and he wanted a red bear cupcake cake. We planned to have a dinner he like and his cake but no power made that a little harder. So we went to Ikea for fun playtime. We got there and the kids play area was full so we went to get my free cup of coffee (thanks Ikea Family) and found out Monday was free breakfast day so we ate another breakfast. Then playtime. KG and I did some shopping and then picked up our free yogurt (thanks Ikea Family again). Who knew hot dogs there are only 50 cents so we got 5 hotdogs and 2 yogurts for $3.50- that's a celebration!

After naps, per T's birthday request we went swimming at the Y and then picked up shrimp and sausage to grill for dinner. For his birthday dessert, T helped me make soy milk rice pudding which was a great idea for using up milk (no power) and cooking on gas stove-top instead of baking. T was also super excited about his birthday presents- a leftie glove from us and clothes and preschool books from Grandma. A wonderful day for a special boy.

Rice Pudding Birthday!

Summer School complete, back to school

We were lacking one very important thing this summer- James (Daddy) was away all summer for work. We are so happy he is back!  Of course, when given lemons, you make lemonade! so besides missing James we had a great summer filled with park quests, Tuesdays at Days Cove, visits from friends and family, Bible Bee, and chess.

This was our first summer doing Bible Bee. The final contest was canceled bc of Hurricane Irene but we had our own Bee at home which was probably better for our ages. We all learned tons from 1 Peter and  lots of Bible verses. It's so cool when we read a verse and they get excited because they know it. I think Bible Bee is something our family will continue.  here's a link to a great website where someone uploaded the Bible Bee verses to help memorize.

We also played a lot of chess- again I was amazed how quickly K and C learned. I thought we'd spend a lot longer on learning how the pieces moved. But I had to find a chess book to teach them- we learned strategies for opening and practiced different checkmates. Watch out Bobby Fischer.

We celebrated back to school with fun school boxes from Ikea that are really handy for holding the kids' books. They loved having their favorite color notebooks and a new puzzle each. We met friends at        B and O Railroad Museum  last week and had such a good time that we went back Wednesday to celebrate the last day of August. (B and O and lots other museums were free for military over the summer thanks to Blue Star Museums)
B and O railroad museum
Loving homeschool when we can go learn all over! The kids are super excited about history (especially K) so all the 150th anniversary of Civil War exhibits are super interesting.

New School boxes
Even with all these great places to go to learn, we are actually squeezing in some school at home :) we're using Ambleside Online Year One which covers history, literature, and more.  We're loving the books so far- today we read about the 300 Spartans which is pretty exciting and some from Little House in the Big Woods which the kids are loving. They're ready to get a pig so they can make a bladder balloon! We're also using Math-U-See, Rosetta Stone Spanish, and lots of time out in nature. We went to the fair today and the kids knew tons about the animals in the Maryland Park service exhibit from our park visits. We're continuing our Bible verse memory using this easy system, reading Leading Little Ones to God and  Missionary Stories with the Millers, and spending lots more time outdoors.

I just uploaded our booklist to scribd- check it out here

And one of the things I'm most excited about is our new Lewcrew Sports Team. We were thinking about signing up for soccer, karate, swimming, something, ... but nothing seemed the right time, distance, price, ... so James suggested Lewcrew sports. He got cones for practicing soccer or baseball, a pink Dora tennis racquet for Kayleigh, and a tee for some tee ball. Our first practice was a great success Wednesday! Right time (whenever we want), right distance (at home or wherever we want), right price (free except equipment which we'd need anyway), and most important time with Daddy teaching kids. Yeay!!!

our leftie

Armor of God

Big Armor of God!

More of God's Armor

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun with Friends

Our super week with Nana & Papa was followed by a super weekend with friends. Some of our closest friends in Fayetteville moved away 2 years ago and we'd been wanting to get together but hadn't- until this weekend! It came together at the last minute and was terrific. C and her oldest were like peas in a pod- they played and giggled and made kites and just had a blast.  (But don't worry, C still knows who he's going to marry!)

KG was pretty excited about Kelly's daughter's Dora tennis racquet. I was amazed at how Kelly's son plays- at 3 he's pretty amazing! It did get us excited about tennis so we've been playing lots of backyard tennis since their visit.

So awesome that even though we've been separated by time and miles, when we were back together it was like we'd never been apart- well except for new stories.  Great friend, great weekend! 


We've been having a good summer but some days I've given myself a little pity party for being in a new big city where we don't know many people and James was gone pretty much the whole summer. So even though we are so blessed I was thinking about my lemons. I was even ready to write down my "lemons" just to add to one of my lonely days, but thankfully a good friend suggested I think of all the "lemonade" so here's some:

Lemon                                                                                          Lemonade
Left the church we'd gone to for a long time             We found a new church where we still feel God's presence
We don't have many friends here yet                           We've had a lot of good family time
James has been gone a lot                                               Not as much laundry or cooking :) (but I'd much rather have him here)
Arthritis in my knees                                                      My reason excuse for not getting up early to run
4 flights of stairs in house                                             Feel less bad about not getting up to exercise

I started this a while back and never finished so now I have more lemons and lemonade to add
Lost power for 3 days from Irene                                 We had a a gas stove so we could still cook, we had James' frig at work so we didn't lose much food, we had no damage, we had 4 kids who had a blast racing plasma cars in the basement by lantern light and said how glad they were to have no power so they'd have that much fun. (Oh and no computer/ TV was an added bonus!)