Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cousin time

Amazingly, Joel and I were able to spend five days with his brother and wife riding motorcycles up the west coast.  It was a beautiful ride and an unbelievable experience.  I am so thankful for all the family that cared for the kids and to Josh and Amanda for planning the trip and making it possible for us to go!

My parents had Simeon and Lucas.  Josiah went to Joel's parents and Joel's sister, Julie kept Ezra and Evelyn.  Julie sent periodic updates throughout the week and I wanted to paste them here to remember the fun of cousin time! 

"Seriously, we've had a great day.  We mowed lawns before breakfast and after dinner; took a lengthy trip to the library and breezed through HyVee with Johanna and Ezra pushing the race car cart with Evelyn and Micaela in it; read our library books during break time and had a blast at the pool.
 Ezra ate 3 helpings of Grandma Hoffman's cucumber salad and both mowed down their black-eyed pea burgers.  Evelyn was regaling us with Joy to the World while riding on the lazy river, to the amusement of the teenagers near by, and with silly songs tonight (accompanied with giggles).  Micaela finally seems to have rounded the corner on her sickness. 
 Ezra picked out four different books on tape and wants to make sure I document his reading for the summer reading program.  One was called the Heart of a Shepherd--looks like a really neat book.  He also chose a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. Evelyn picked out Dora books and Dora movies, perhaps influenced by her cousins.  There has been lots of doctoring of babies and caring for baby dolls today. 
 Going up to put the girls back in bed again!  They have been wound up tonight.  Scary to think of them as teenagers . . . .
 Much love,

"We're loving having Ezra and Evelyn here.  They have been a joy, and full of joy.  Ezra has been an eager beaver, jumping in and mowing the lawn here and begging to mow other people's lawns.  So, we took him over to a neighbor's today and recruited two other people who'd be up for it.  He's using our reel mower. 
 Evelyn has been happy to be the center of attention--both Johanna and Micaela are enjoying her company.  Johanna is the doting older cousin, playing with her hair and laughing at her antics. Micaela is glad for a friend her age and claims her as "her" cousin.  She's been easy going, but also has her strong mind about what she wants to do.
 All four of them have been building their imaginary stories together that involve different ones being a mother or grand mother or daughter or fireman or who knows what.  They had an animal rescue station going, complete with dance studio earlier today. 
 We hit the pool this afternoon. It was cool, but they were not deterred in the least.  Evelyn was off and running, going down the slide many, many times.  Likewise, Ezra was confidently doing everything. They all did the lazy river together, and Johanna and Ezra went down the slide with the inner tube.  Evelyn would have--but she needs another inch before she's legal.  .  .
 Much love,

I am so grateful for family that loves my children and is willing to provide a secure, fun place for them!

Happy Birthday Evelyn!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little girl! 

You are now five and ready to charge into the world with all the joy that you possess.  You really engage life with so much joy and excitement.  You greet each day with a bright smile and I am so thankful for your cheerfulness. In general, you are very even-keeled, although you have struggled a bit more with all the kids home for the summer. It has been hard for you not to have my focused attention for most of the day and you have started asking me if I can do something with you.  We like to jump on the trampoline together and you love have mini tea parties when we can fit them in.  You also like me to paint your nails, but never only one color. . .always 2 or 3!  You like wearing jewelry and have started being particular about what you wear, always disappointed when I say we can't wear nice clothes to play and work here at the acreage.   You tell me I look pretty.   You can spend hours coloring and love to give your pages to anyone who visits.  You also love to play pretend and use your dolls or horses to talk to each other.  And, you like to tell others what to do!  You still love music.  Your favorite foods are quesadillas and chocolate anything!

We still visit Sioux Falls to visit the doctor there and try to get your digestive system working properly.  You are a trooper and never complain about hardly anything.  In the midst of appointments getting you ready for kindergarten, we discovered that you have one eye that has not fully developed its vision.  We are praying it will develop fully as there is no correction for that deficiency.  I have never noticed you favor one side for vision, so it will be interesting to see if that effects you at school.  The dentist also said that one side of your mouth is more crowded than the other.  It seems like this is a continuing of your development issues as a toddler and has me wondering if it is effecting your digestive system as well.  I hope to ask the doctor at your next visit.

You are a big help to me around the house.  I'm not sure if it is just your personality, or because you are a girl. . .probably a bit of both, but I can give you a job and you will get it done almost as well as I would.  You are particularly good at putting toys away -- you know their designated spots, and tidying the mudroom.  You often tell me you are helping so that I don't have to do all the work!  If I had to guess, your love language is encouraging words.  You light up whenever someone praises and you are constantly telling others "good job" or encouraging them in what they are doing.

Dear Evelyn, I pray this year, as you go out into the world, that God will protect your sweetness, that you will hold fast to the joy within you and you will grow into a young girl, full of grace and kindess towards all.  I feel so priviledged to be your mom and grateful for the sunshine you bring into our home.