Before I blog about the past two days, I've got to put in a word about today. John offered to take the kids (all three of them) out of the house for the day so that I could have a day to myself - resting, reading, praying, or anything else enjoyable that I normally couldn't do with the kids around. Believe it or not, I was a little reluctant to let them all leave without me. I thought maybe they could drop me off somewhere in the park to read and then get me later or maybe it would be ok if John left Hannah with me since she still takes 2 naps a day. But John was firm in his decision to take all three and to leave me at home to make sure I truly got a break. For those of you with small children, you know this is no small thing! My 3 kids are ages 5, 3 and 1 and more than a handful!
So after they left, wouldn't you know I ended up cleaning the powder room and the kitchen, sweeping and mopping the floor, changing the bed sheets, doing laundry, and picking up toys? My rationale for all of this work was that it is something I can do SO much more efficiently when the kids are not around (and all of it was desperately needed), plus I have an easier time unwinding and relaxing when all of those things are done.
After I finished all of that, I took a folding chair, my Bible, my journal, and a glass of water outside to sit, read, pray and journal amidst chirping birds, trees rustling in the wind and absolutely perfect weather. What a treat to be able to do all of that without any interruptions! It was true nourishment for my soul (also desperately needed). It was such a luxury to be able to stop, meditate, soak in, and journal about what I was reading rather than just rushing through a passage trying to glean some ounce of wisdom for the day. I found myself dwelling on the excellencies of Christ, the glorious riches of our salvation, and the eternal comfort and hope that we have in Christ - rather than hurriedly blurting out my repetitive requests for patience and wisdom or simply running down the list of prayer requests for other people. I know my prayers for others are better when I have spent time focusing on who the Lord is, what He has accomplished, and His power that is at work within us.
So for those of you who heard John or me ask you to pray that our vacation time would be a time of spiritual refreshment and renewal, first, thank-you! and second, know that your prayers are being answered!
Ok, on to the previous two days...
Tuesday evening we went over to my sister's house for dinner and family time. Our kids got to play with their cousins, whom they only see once a year. I find this pretty sad since a BIG part of my growing up years was spent playing and spending time with most of my cousins (my American cousins, that is). Now we all live so far apart, which is a shame especially since my kids are approximately the same age as their cousins. Ah well, we do enjoy the time we have together and we are definitely thankful that we can spend a whole month together every year. Pictures of our time together can be seen below.
Since we couldn't get all 5 cousins to sit still for a picture together, Melanie and John had to step in and corral the 3-year-olds. Melanie and Tim have a nice, big and beautiful backyard for the kids to run around as well as a playground set, so they had a great time.
They also have a big, screened-in porch as a play area for the kids (no, I'm not jealous at all...). Here are Elijah and Christopher posing for a picture.
Here are the 1-year olds, Hannah and Elijah playing together.
Elijah and Hannah got to go for a wagon ride around the backyard after supper.
Christopher and Sarah were more than eager to scarf down their lemon slush cake (mmmmm) while Luke patiently waited for his piece.
Last night we took the kids to the Phoenixville Dogwood Fair, which is held annually in May. I haven't been to the Dogwood fair since I was a teenager and I must say it was a much different experience going as a parent! I felt eons apart from all the teenagers who crowded the place.
Here are Christopher and Sarah posing with Paw Paw (my mom) before entering the fairgrounds.
While we were standing in a LONG line for a giant jungle gym, Sarah exclaimed that she wanted to go in the bumper cars after observing them for a good while. So John took her and she had a BLAST, as you can see by the picture above. They made it in and out of the bumper cars before we got through the first line.
My mom refused and John didn't think he could, so I took my pregnant self up into the jungle gym with Christopher and Sarah. It had a spider man net to climb, a bounce house, slides, suspension bridges, punching bags to push through, and a long, long slide at the end (pictured above). The kids loved it! It was the only 'ride' that Christopher was eager to try since it was familiar. He is definitely not my dare devil. Sarah, on the other hand, wanted to try out every ride at the fair and would say, "Let's do it again!" at the end of each one. She didn't realize that we had to go back to the end of the line in order to do that.
Here is Sarah "driving" the car that just went around in circles.
We finally coaxed Christopher to try out the bumper cars. He would only do it if I went with him, so again, I got my pregnant self into this thing and drove around like a maniac. Thankfully, he enjoyed himself.