Wednesday, June 13, 2018

First baseball game

Tuesday was our oldest's first baseball game.  Previous years summer baseball was lots of practice, fundamentals, fun and scrimmages within the group.

But this year, there are teams, games against other towns and uniforms.  Umpires, real pitching, and lawn chairs of spectators cheering.  So much new.  So much fun.

Our player #8 had some hits, got on base and rotated between playing outfield and second base.

And at the end of the evening, after the last "good game", we decided this was a pretty great new thing to add to our summer evenings and life on the gravelly road.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Photo walk in the yard

It really was not a planed activity this afternoon, just like so much of our summer fun.  I had seen these beauties mowing the day before at the edge of our grove and wanted to take a few pics before they were done blooming.

When I mentioned that I was going out to take some pics, the kids asked if they could take pics too, especially since I had just charged one of our old digital cameras in attempt to get two working for the boys to take on their special trips later this month.

So out we all went to walk through the yard.  Looking for interesting things, bits of beauty, in the yard.  Me with my big camera and my macro lens. All three kids taking turns on an old digital camera (which actually went better than I  thought).

I got several more flower pics...

 plus some fun ones of our kiddos taking pics.

And here are some of their fun shots.
photo credit: Ike

photo credit: Peaches

Photo credit: Zman

Just some simple hobby sharing fun here on the gravelly road.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Last day of school 2018

Summer break has officially begun!  Yesterday was the last day of school for our kids.  After all the countless field trips, outside science days, special events and end of year classroom fun (often each with a required thing to bring from home), we made it to the end.  I even got to be part of their last day, helping in the cafeteria as I normally do on Fridays and then volunteering in Peaches' classroom for the afternoon.

So as tradition dictates, here are their last day of school pics with their first day of school pics....

Ike finished a great year of third grade, working hard and having fun.  His enjoyed having so many good friends in his classroom, enjoyed his classroom teacher, and having a separate math class with a cool math teacher (who solved rubix cubes for them).  He is looking forward to more lego and Minecraft time.

Zman finished a stellar year of first grade this year.  He worked so hard, learned so much, and gained confidence.  He is excited for more playtime this summer, no homework or spelling tests (his least favorite parts of first grade) and giving gymnastics a try.

Peaches is all done with kindergarten and I can barely believe.  She thrived this year with a great teacher, so many new friends, and excitement about all things school.  She is excited about gymnastics this summer  and playing outside.

We are so thankful that they each had wonderful teachers who poured into them all year.  Each kid grew and learned and rose to new challenges.  We are so proud. I can barely believe we'll have a fourth grader, second grader and first grader in the fall. 

All three together ready for summer adventures on the gravelly road!

Monday, May 14, 2018

First Camping Trip of 2018

We spent Mother's Day weekend camping at our favorite state park, not far from our gravelly road.

The first night was a bit chilly and rain almost cancelled  our campfire but it all worked out.  Other than that, the weather was nearly perfect with very few bugs which is one of the advantages of spring camping I guess.

Of  course kids got to stay up later than usual which they love and they still didn't sleep in which I don't love but such is life.  Saturday night there was even a "S'mores Challenge" between Jason and the boys with some crazy s'more combos, including s'mores with pickes??? Overall though it was a weekend of bike rides, sunshine, hikes, eating outside and enjoying time as a family. 

A perfect way to treasure our family time, the blessing of being their mom and life on the gravelly road.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Elementary Field Days

This year both boys had spring track and field days.  This was the first time for Zman and third time for Ike.  Peaches will get to join in the fun next year.

Zman was pretty excited.  He signed up for two races, the long jump and the hippy hop.  He gave it his all and had a pretty amazing jump on the long jump.  He had a lot of fun.

Ike signed up for only one running event and several throwing events.  He enjoyed hanging out with his friends and collecting ribbons.

Another year of spring elementary school memories!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Book Review: Raising World Changers in a Changing World

Raising World Changers in a Changing World: How One Family Discovered the Beauty of Sacrifice and the Joy of GivingRaising World Changers in a Changing World: How One Family Discovered the Beauty of Sacrifice and the Joy of Giving by Kristen Welch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book inspirationally shares the story of a family parenting while following a call to ministry that turned it all upside down. As the reader walks through their story it is clear that by devoting their family to ministry, they were giving their kids so much more than they missed out on, sharing a broader view of the diverse world and the joy from sharing God's call to change the world.

Kristen reminds us that our children are watching how we interact with the world, in our own backyard and across the ocean, and how they notice if our real life priorities (time, money, passion) are in sync with our faith. She challenges readers to ask "Is our extra a Blessing or a Test?" and explores the true joy in giving.

She shares how to make changes, even small ones, to adjust your family culture and priorities to help live out faith and God's call to share our blessings while parenting. Her advice is grounded in her real life experience and passionate faith with accessible examples and great family discussion questions (with answers from her own kids included). This is a great book for parents of all ages of kids who hope to raise kids with a Biblical world view and generous hearts.

**I received a free copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own. **

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spring is Here and the Trampoline is Up

We're celebrating the long awaited arrival of Spring here on the Gravelly Road.  One of the kids' favorite things about spring is that it means its time to put the trampoline back up.

The first days after the trampoline returns to the yard means lots of jumping, flips and tricks.  Oh so many calls of "watch this Mom!" or "Did you see that?"  I love the pride on their face when they do something amazing and as they encourage each other after whatever twist/flip/jump/kick they just completed.

Treasuring their excitement and the warm spring sunshine here on the gravelly road.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

All about perspective

I'm part of an online photography group that has a weekly theme to challenge us to keep taking pics and working on our photography skills.  Well this weeks theme is SPRING.

With 10 inches of fresh snow in the last week, frost covering everything this morning and only 10 degrees out when I took the kids to school, spring was the last thing on my mind.  I pondered trying to do the theme indoors with some decor or something but decided not.  I really wanted something with spring colors...

So I took this.  Yes its last year's cone flower but I thought the fresh snow flakes and pretty yellow background, while not spring, seemed hopeful of spring.

But the more I pondered the picture while I edited it, the more I realized how important our perspective really is.  In photography I'm always thinking about it...what am I focusing on?  how much light, color, movement am I factoring in?  how close am I to the subject? is there a better way to compose this shot? to include/exclude something to make it stronger?

I knew I really wanted a spring color instead of the white and browns of winter... and this is how I pulled it off -- yellow file folder and super close to the subject.

And it reminds me that often I need a change of perspective in the thick of my day, generally more than once.

What should I really be focusing on?  How much am I letting HIS LIGHT and movement of the SPIRIT factor into my day? Am I leaving enough white space to be effective in loving Him and loving others well?  Am I too close to my problems or worries that I'm missing the bigger picture?  Or is there something I really want (like seeing the spring colors in my picture) that is changing what I'm seeing/noticing and I'm completely missing what He's doing?

Or instead am I letting myself stay on AUTO, not thinking about it all?

And just as photographer is adjusting composition, focus, angle, light, plus a host of other camera settings over and over again during a single photo shoot, I need to keep working to stay in sync with my Creator and what He has for my day, to keep my perspective and focus where they should be.

Yet like an amateur photographer who might take dozens and dozens of photos until one is close (I took 30 of my snowy cone flower), my God gives much grace and does not expect perfectly focused days.  In walking with Him, I'm practicing setting my mind on Him, using His Word to adjust my focus, and listening to His voice to work on my perspective. And I so just keep practicing for His Mercies are new every morning...

Just some random ramblings for Life on the Gravelly Road.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter 2018

Happy Easter from our family on the gravelly road to yours!

I know the blog has been very quiet lately.  But Easter means a family picture all dressed up that I wanted to share with you (we tell the kids they must smile their best before they get their Easter baskets).  While our Easter Sunday family picture tradition has little to do with the actual holiday, its a tradition my parents started when I was little and it slows up down to be in front of the camera together.  Slowing us down as we get ready to go to church to celebrate the glory and hope of the resurrection.  Something worth slowing down for in my book.

And maybe getting a little of our crazies out before we have to sit in church??

Treasuring the moments of blessing of holiday traditions together here on the gravelly road.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Team Wrestling Together

Each year our wrestling club hosts a K-3 Team Tournament.  Its a great chance for young wrestlers to get a feel for what its like wrestling on a team, instead only as an individual.  This year both our boys wrestled on the same team (our club puts together more than one squad for the tournament) and it was so great to watch them cheering for their teammates, giving high fives, and encouraging each other.  As I edited pics from yesterday, it was fun to see one brother in the background watching the other wrestle...

Figuring out what it means to be team, here on the gravelly road.
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