Our family

Our family

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Vacation Bible School, and More Vacation Bible School! Week #4 of Summer Break!

This was the craziest of weeks we've had in a while, and I don't even have very many pictures to show for the craziness!

We started off by spending Sunday afternoon with Roger's boss and his wife, Terri. They invited us to their cabin on a lake to spend time relaxing and swimming. It was such a good afternoon with them, and I am very thankful that we made the effort to get to know them better. The kids had a great time jumping off the dock, swimming with the dog, and trying to sink each other on floats. We enjoyed a late lunch at the cabin and headed home late afternoon. I am so thankful that God has blessed Roger with a boss that is not only a good employer but also a good friend. I enjoyed getting to know Terri better, and the kids came home ready for a good nights rest!


Monday started off with a bang or a scream rather! I walked into the kitchen to discover a big fat mouse crawling out from under the stove! (I hate mice!) I was not a happy momma, but the boys were more than happy to stick brooms and sticks under the stove, but we did not have success in catching that mouse. Next order of business was to go to Walmart for mouse traps! Actually the boys  attempted to make their own off of a you tube video, but as Wyatt said, "No mouse is going to be dumb enough to actually go in that trap!" Yeah, I think we will just stick with the store bought ones  for now! I spent the morning running to Walmart, helping the boys set traps, and getting them ready for the soccer camp they attended this week...oh, and getting ready for the four young men we were having stay overnight in our home!

Our church hosted a Mennonite choir on Monday night and 49 people needed beds for Monday night. That's a lot of people for a small church, but the church folks willingly opened up their homes for the  people. We moved the boys out to the tent for the night, and two men slept in the boys room, while  two more slept in our basement guest room.  We had already told our boys that they could attend a sports soccer camp (kinda like a Vacation Bible School, but with sports) in the evenings this week. Our church was also starting VBS this week but in the mornings. I knew it would be a crazy week, but the boys were so thrilled to be going to sports camp. Roger and I often feel like there are way more activities to say "no", so it's nice to have something they can attend and enjoy that we can say "Yes!". The sports VBS started on Monday evening about thirty minutes before the choir started at church. Roger was working, so I dropped the boys off at sports camp. Then Emma and I headed to church for the choir group. There was good turnout for the choir, and their music was a blessing to me. Sometimes acappella music can be very enjoyable. I had to leave before it was over to get the boys from soccer camp, so Roger brought the four men home that were staying overnight. We had a great evening of fellowship and food, although it was a late night!

Tuesday was also an early morning as the choir members had to be back at church by 7:00am. I made breakfast of fruit, blueberry muffins and breakfast casserole, and then Roger took them back to the airport. It was a short visit, but I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to welcome people into our home. We were certainly blessed! Those men left some very thoughtful thank you notes as well as a small gift of money and a music cd.  While Roger was dropping off the choir members, Chandler spotted a mouse in the living room! He managed to grab a tennis racket to pin the mouse down, while Wyatt grabbed a pot. Chandler hit the mouse on the head, and the mouse was dead! Hooray! It wasn't caught  by the trap, but we do have one less mouse!

The choir members had to be at church at seven, but rest of us all needed to be at church by 8:30am. Vacation Bible School started at 9:00am, and we needed to be ready to welcome all the children. I admit I was dragging a bit, but we made it. I taught the preschoolers this week, and we started out on Monday morning with 14 of them! They were such a fun group of kids though, and I truly enjoyed spending time with them. I was talking with Roger about some of our past ministries, and my first class of preschoolers. I think my first year of teaching at Vacation Bible school was when I was in 7th grade...I've put in quite a few years of teaching/helping at Vacation Bible school. Each class and year is so different, but each one brings new memories and challenges. I've learned so much by teaching them as in the following lessons: 1) When an activity seems to be falling apart, it is indeed! Move on to the next activity quickly and don't spent time trying to figure out why it didn't work! 2) It is always, always better to be over prepared than underprepared! 3) This age has very short attention spans and everything moves along quicker than you think it should! 4) Never ask this group of kids what they would like to do/play. You tell them what is going to happen! I've learned many more  things, but those are a few!

Roger had off on Tuesday, so he tried to help out at Vacation Bible school. It didn't work out very smoothly for too many reasons to list here. However, I'm thankful that he was willing to attempt to help out on his day off and to be there for our kids. We spent Tuesday afternoon hooking up our trailer and picking up some furniture! One of the teachers from our school is moving away, and they are in the process of getting rid of a few items. They kindly offered us two great chairs and a loveseat! One of the chairs is a very big chair, and Roger has been very grateful for it!

The boys returned to soccer camp for Tuesday evening, and Roger and I had a date...with Emma! It was nice to spend some time with Roger as this week has just been so crazy!

Wednesday we repeated the events of Vacation Bible school, and more Soccer camp in the evening. It was actually kind of warm today, so we went to the lake with the Philbrook's after morning VBS. Here's the shocker-I actually got in the lake today! Emma did too, and I have a feeling that she is now going to think that's a regular occurrence! Everyone is sleeping well this week with all the activities, but I've also had to pray for extra grace and patience.

Thursday was raining and chilly, which always switches up the dimensions of VBS! I was thankful to make it through the morning, and delighted to head home! We spent a relatively quiet afternoon, and the boys rested also. They've been enjoying soccer camp so very much, and it's exciting to see how much they learning.

Friday...last day of VBS, and I am so thankful that it's over! I am thrilled I had the opportunity to be involved, and I have been praying fervently for lives to be changed and impacted by this week. It was  an exhausting week, but Gods grace always proves sufficient! I had the opportunity to meet one of the moms of a preschooler after the closing program today. She's the mom to four boys, so we had no lack of things to talk about! Their family is just up here for the summer, and they live in New York City! God calls each of us to different things, and I'm thankful for where God has us!

The boys also had a closing program at their soccer camp. Roger was able to get off in time to go, so the boys were thrilled about that! They are very understanding about Roger's job, but it delights their hearts in ways that I can't do when he is able to come to their events. The mom that I had met earlier at our church's VBS was there with her family at the soccer camp closing program. It was good to visit with their family, and we are praying for the opportunity to have them over for dinner soon.
 


Saturday was an uneventful morning at home followed by a birthday party at a campground for the boys. Roger was working today, and I wasn't exactly excited about going. However, this family is one that attends our school, but the boys don't see them much in the summer. I know the kids really were looking forward to this day, and I had said two week ago that we would go to the party. So, I gathered my energy, and we went. It was a great time for all. I enjoyed the opportunity just to relax and visit, and the boys spent time in the lake, chasing friends, and playing for several hours. When we left to go home, it was a quiet ride! Saturday was an early bedtime for all of us.

God has brought us safely through another week. I'm thankful that not every week is like this one, but I can rejoice in the mercies and goodness of my Heavenly Father. We enjoyed attending church together this morning, although we had to leave a bit early. Roger was needed to fly a flight at one pm., so we went to the airport with him. While he flew the airplane, I unpacked our picnic lunch. Today was a gorgeous day, so it was a good day to enjoy lunch at the airport. We spent a great afternoon at home....doing nothing! We came back for the evening church service, and I had the opportunity to play the piano for the church service. It truly refreshed my heart and my soul, and it was a great moment to end the week on.

Tomorrow I'm off to Boston with our tribe. My sister is flying in for a visit, and we are excited about that! However, I'm not a huge fan of big city driving, so prayers would be appreciated!

We received a special gift in the mail this week from some dear Alaskan friends. They are the type of friends that no matter how much time passes between phone calls or emails, we can pick up our conversations right where we left off. Those are truly great friendships! God has used them to bless our family many times, and I am so very thankful for them. God continues to confirm that we are making the right choices in endeavoring to keep the boys enrolled in the Christian school. We have been blessed by the prayers and gifts of so many;  and although my faith is often quite weak  , I'm thankful that God continues to be at work!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Berries, Swimming, and Week Three!

  

   

  

Crazy news for you- another week has passed! And it's been both short and long at the same time! Roger has worked six out of the last seven days, so I'm looking forward to seeing him for a few extra days next week. The boys and Emma have done very well this past week, but it's a bit challenging on all of us when Roger is gone from 5:00 am to 7:30pm. However, we are coming to the end of this stretch.

Roger worked last Sunday, which meant it was solo mama bear and five cubs for church and the days events. We arrived to church on time after Garett treated us to donuts (for the kids) and coffee (for mom) at Dunkin Donuts. He had spent the day at the airport the day before and had worked hard. He helped load airplanes, unload airplanes, wash airplanes, and spent the day with Roger. He also received a handsome tip, and being the sweet boy that he is, he treated us before church on Sunday morning. Love that boy!

Sunday afternoon we were invited over to the pastors house for a graduation get together for his daughter, Bailey. I certainly don't mind attending, but it somehow always seems like these events are in the days when Roger is working! We went as the kids are good friends with Austin, but we didn't stay too long. I wanted to make sure that I would be home when Roger did get home from work. All it all, it was a good day!

Monday's adventure included strawberry picking, not having enough cash, child throwing up in the car, and child needed to pee after walking all the way out to the patch! (I think I'd like a re-do on this day!) Oh well, we made some memories! This was our first time doing pick-your-own berries in Maine, so it took some effort to figure out if any places were available and how far away. We discovered a place about 25 minutes from our house, and I decided to check it out with the boys on Monday morning. It was a cute little farm with several acres of strawberries. We walked out to the    field and started picking. About ten minutes into picking, Emma needed to go to the bathroom. We were close to the woods, which I would've gladly taken her there, except there were quite a few people around. I left the four boys to keep picking and took Emma back up to the farm to the outhouse. Then back we trotted back to the field. An older couple was picking a few rows over and when I got back they told me that my children were well-behaved. It's always such a good feeling when someone encourages something you are working at so hard! It didn't take us too long to fill two flats with berries, and we headed back to pay. I knew from looking online that the berries were $2.00 a pound, but it hadn't said that they only take cash! I had forty-four dollars in cash and the berries came to $52.00. I told the man that I was sorry, but I didn't have enough money to pay for all the berries. It was also an extremely awkward and embarrassing position for me to be in as all my children are gathered around also. The man graciously just told me to go ahead and take the berries. I was blessed by his kindness to us. We headed home, and about 10 minutes into the ride, Travis announced that his tummy hurt. I figured it was because of all the berries he had eaten, and some of them had been quite smushy due to all the rain. He told me that one of the berries he had eaten was "nasty", but he kept eating it! I, of course, asked him why he would keep eating something nasty! He replied, "I don't know. It was food!" I told him we were almost home, but about five minutes later, gagging and coughing came from the back seat. Chandler was hugging the window in an attempt to get away from his brother, Travis is gagging, Emma is proclaiming that she's thirsty, and I was driving...yup, a three ring circus! We did make it home, and I discovered that Travis had thrown up all over the quart of berries that he had picked. They were not salvageable! Perhaps God allowed that man to give us free berries since they would be wasted anyways! Oh well, we survived! We made cake and took some out to the pilots along with fresh berries, and we managed to freeze about 10 quarts. All in all, it was a productive day.

Tuesday: Fourth of July! The weather dawned sunny and bright but not overly hot! Roger had off   today, so I was thankful that he was able to join in the festivities. One of the local towns hosts a Childrens one mile fun run, a 5k run, a parade, and lots of other activities. The children's fun run was at 8:00am, and three of the boys decided to run in it. Garett ran last year in it, but running isn't his thing, so he decided not to go this year. Since Emma was still sleeping, I stayed home with those two. I ran in the 5k last year, and I originally planned to run again this year. But it's not free like the kids fun run is, so I decided not to do it this year. Our boys came home very excited to tell me all about the race. It was so fun hearing them tell me all about it. Chandler place fourth overall with a time of 6:05 for the mile run, so he may have running in his future. Travis place fourteenth overall with a time of 7:15, which is good for a 6 year old. Wyatt was a bit bummed as Travis beat him, but he did very well  also with a time of 7:48 and coming in sixteenth place. I think there were about 50-60 runners, so they were pleased with their efforts. And we now have three t-shirts that were free! 😜



We went to the parade at 11:00am., and I have to admit that I didn't think it was that awesome this year. It seemed a bit dull and boring, but that's the way some years are going to be. I was completely appalled by the representation of the Democratic Party in the parade. They were a huge group of  people that displayed signs that were a disgrace to unity and patriotism in our country! It's a bit disheartening to see signs that are so unpatriotic on America's birthday, but it was an opportunity to talk with our kids about who we are as Americans and what we stand for in both our country and our world.

We spent some of the afternoon down at the lake. The Philbrook's invited us down to their cabin on the lake, and the kids enjoyed the afternoon of swimming and playing. And no, it wasn't warm enough for me to get in! Emma did not even bother to ask to put on her swimsuit this time! It was a good afternoon of visiting and spending time with friends. We went home in the early evening as Roger was heading back to work early in Wednesday morning.

Wednesday was a great day of unwinding at home. The boys puttered around in the yard creating a slip and slide with an old tarp. After that novelty wore off, they built a pool using the tarp and about every piece of anything they could find in the yard! The did manage to get the tarp pool to hold about ten inches of water, so they played happily in that for most of the day. After everyone was beginning to look very red, we took some time to head to the library. The kids were able to sign up for the reading program, so I'm hoping that will help motivate those who need motivation in that area!

Roger came home early in Wednesday...hooray! It was about 5:30pm., so we were able to enjoy supper all together. He asked if I would help him with some lunch for the pilots on Thursday. Apparently someone had given the company some money to get lunch for the pilots, but it wasn't enough to have food ordered in. So Roger said that his wife would be able to figure out something to make for everyone with the fifty dollars. Oh yes! This is something I actually enjoy....having a budget, seeing how far I can make it go, and feeding everyone good healthy food with plenty of it! So Roger and I came up with the menu which included chicken ceasar wraps, pepperoni pasta salad, and a cheesecake for dessert. We bought everything we needed for $46.72, and I cooked up chicken, whipped together a pasta salad, and made a dessert. Did you know that pudding mix, a block of cream cheese, a tub of cool whip, and some berries turns into a beautiful no-bake cheesecake?! It was fun!

So  on Thursday we took the lunch out to the airport around 10:00, then we headed to the farmers  market, and then spent some of the  afternoon with our friends, the Smiths. The boys have been anxious to play at their friends house, and they spent the entire time shooting nerf guns, yelling, climbing trees, eating, and biking. (My children sleep very well at night!πŸ˜€)  I should've taken a picture when all six boys were in the same tree ranging in ages from 6-10 years old...now that's quite a few boys in a tree! I enjoyed the visit with Bethany, and it was a good afternoon for us. I'm thankful for developing friendships and deeper relationships as we continue on with life here  in Maine.

Friday was spent cleaning and puttering around the house. We did go to the airport to see Daddy for a bit, but since the weather has been so nice lately, he's been super busy! We did a few errands, and stopped a few stores. And it never fails..."are all these yours?" "Only one girl?" And etc.etc.,etc., It used to annoy me somewhat, but I'm so used to my "tribe" that I don't even think twice about how it might appear to someone else to see five kids in tow! Oh well!

Today was another beautiful day in Maine. I will admit though that I would like some hot weather soon! Since it is summer, I feel like I should at least be able to go places without bringing a jacket along for everyone! But the sunshine is good, and the crops are growing. The strawberry season is almost over, and we are all looking forward to the start of blueberry season! Yum! We took Roger lunch after we finished yard saling. The boys found a treasure trove of guns (not real ones!) but make lots of noise for $5.00. Garett bought a sleeping bag for $3.00 that is selling for $129.00 on Amazon. Wyatt was bummed as he didn't find anything particularly special, but I said "I didn't either"!" We did find a pair of nice  cowboy boots, a few books, and the boys found some odd and end treasures. I didn't have success in obtaining anything I needed/wanted for our house,  but that's the way yard sailing goes! It was a fun morning spent with the kids. We also received a very special blessing in our mail box this afternoon. I have been praying about how we are going to pay the school bill needed next month, and I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and discouraged. However, God showed me once again that He is always faithful. We received a check that will cover almost two months of the school bill! Oh, how my heart is rejoicing! I was talking to myself while walking up the drive way just praising Jesus, and Emma announced "Praise Jesus!" She didn't know what I was referring to, but she was excited to praise Jesus also! God is faithful!

I'm about to wrap this up for this week, but I do have a funny story about Emma. While out grocery shopping this evening, she was observing a woman whose top was showing her belly. As Emma walked along behind me, she announced (quite loudly!) "That lady's top is too small!" Chandler was absolutely mortified as he tried to hid behind the cart, and I was honestly trying not to laugh at his mortification! Needless to say, we quickly moved on to the next aisle!

We appreciate your prayers, and we love you all. We pray that you will have a wonderful Lord's day worshipping with other believers tomorrow!
Love, Sarah


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Aviation Life...and Week two of Summer Break

Week two of summer break is over already! We had a good weekend with my grandma and Aunt Geri  coming from Wisconsin. I know it was a tiring trip for my grandma, but I was thankful for the opportunity to spend time with both of them. They came with us to church on Sunday, and my sister also came down for church and lunch. We had a good afternoon enjoying the sunshine, eating, and relaxing. Hannah and Aunt Geri joined our family for the evening service, while Grandma enjoyed some peace and quiet. πŸ˜€ We had a special service in the evening as it was a singspiration service and several other churches joined together to worship the Lord. It was a good time of singing and then followed by a picnic on the grounds. I was asked to play the two opening songs, and I was thankful for the opportunity to play the piano. The children's choir also sang, and they did a great job.
 



Monday started out with a bang! After I got back from a morning walk with my aunt, I noticed a text from my friend, Allison, on my phone. The text said that she had heard the news, and was Roger okay? I was standing in the kitchen talking to Roger so yes, he was fine. But what was the news?! Well, there had been an airplane crash on one of the islands that morning...as in about fourteen minutes ago! Roger called into work to get a few details and then headed into work to see if he could help in any way. Penobscot Island air lost an airplane on Monday morning in a crash, but God was  gracious the pilot walked away with a small scratch on his face! However, the plane is a total mess! Roger walked around in a bit of a depression for a few days this week, as that particular Cessna 207 was his "baby". He took immaculate care of it, and he enjoyed flying it. This incident has put a damper on the week, but God is still good. However, the company could use your prayers as these incidents tend to be logistical nightmares. I'm thankful for the texts I received throughout the day from various friends checking on us as they heard the news. There will be more news and posts on this at a later date.

  


We went up to Hannah and Josh's house on Monday evening for supper and so that Grandma and  Aunt Geri could see the house and stay overnight. Roger had taken the kids home in the afternoon, and  Aunt Geri and I spent some time walking around the little shops in Rockland. It was a fun afternoon for me, but a busy day! It was a bit of a later evening, but it was an enjoyable time. Roger was back to work on Tuesday, but not flying the 207. The kids and I enjoyed a morning with some friends from school, and Bethany brought me coffee! πŸ˜€ We've been really working on areas to cut our budget, so I was excited about Dunkin Donuts coffee! It was a fun morning for the kids and myself. The kids also attended a local Vacation Bible school at a local Baptist church. Emma was  unwilling to go on Tuesday night; but when the boys came back expressing all their fun experiences, she announced that she was going next time!

Wednesday was a low key day for us...I like those kind too! We packed a picnic lunch and headed to the airport around late morning. We had a few errands to run also, and then came out the airport to eat  lunch. The boys enjoy visiting Roger at work, and we are thankful that he has a job that the boys can  come and visit him at his work place.

Thursday was spent with a day of Roger's company! He had the day off so we went to the farmers market, walked to the park, did a few errands, and spent some time around the house. The kids had another night of Vacation Bible school in the evening. I had a book party that I had been asked to come to, so I went to that with a few other friends. Roger picked up the kids from Bible school, and he put everyone to bed...hooray! It was a day well spent with family time and togetherness.


Friday...the last day of our ladies Bible study until the fall. It's just too crazy with summer schedules and lots of kiddos. I did nursery again...something I don't mind doing, but I also enjoy going to the  Bible study. I think I'm ready for a break also! I spent the afternoon taking the kids to the park, splashing in the water...well, they did! The kids had their finally night of Vacation Bible school tonight, and it was parent night. It was exciting to see all that the kids had learned, and I am thankful that they had the opportunity to attend.

It's been a long week as far as stresses in work are concerned, but God is merciful. We are very thankful for Penobscot Island Air,  and we stand behind the company one hundred  percent. It was a week to reflect on trials and challenges and know that God is going to be there every step of the way. The pilots are working hard at flying with the other available planes, and although the days are longer than ever, I am thankful.  I am sure the company would appreciate your prayers as we continue forward.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week One of Summer Break!!

We've been out of school for a week now...Hooray! I took a day last week and spent it with my sister, Hannah. We took Emma with us and went to Augusta. We shopped at all the exciting places like Target, Sams Club, and a few others that we don't have near us. It was a good afternoon spent with Emma and Hannah. Emma enjoys shopping, but the girl needs to learn what a budget is about! πŸ˜‹


On Friday Roger went to work, and we had some friends from school over for a visit. The boys have enjoyed making many new friends at school.  I had a coffee  with Allison while ten children played in and out of the house. Somehow riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, and building forts is WAY more fun with friends (but I get it...I'd rather drink coffee with a friend than by myself!) We also had a ladies get together in the evening. Some of the ladies from our Bible study got together for supper and then dessert and a devotional at the home of an older lady in the church. I wasn't sure if I would be able to go since Roger would not be off of work in time for me to go to the supper. However, our pastor graciously offered to have the children over to his house to play with their son, Austin. The boys were delighted to go over to a friends house to play, and Emma went along too. 😏Roger picked them up when he was done with work, and I'm thankful that it worked out for me to go to the ladies meeting. Supper was a good time of fellowship and laughter both of which I needed. When we got ready to leave the restaurant one of the ladies realized that her car battery was dead. I am so thankful that my dad taught me how to use jumper cables and jumpstart a car! Thankfully, one of the other  ladies had jumper cables (although she didn't realize that's what they were!), and we managed to get  the car started. It was quite the sight with all these ladies gathered around the car in nice clothes discussing what to do. An older gentleman came over to check and see if we needed help, but he said we had it figured out.πŸ™‚ It was a good evening, and I'm thankful for the Bible study which has encouraged me to grow in the Word and to get to know these ladies better.

We celebrated Father's Day on Saturday as Roger had the day off. We took a family day and drove down to Portland. The boys voted to go to Cabelas, and we agreed. They all enjoyed shooting targets at the target range, and we enjoyed walking around Portland as a family discovering new things.





Sunday was Father's Day, and it was good to be reminded about the importance of fathers. Roger has done a great job being involved in the boys lives, teaching them how to treat women, trying to build character and intergrity, and spending time with Emma also. I am so blessed by his faithfulness and consistency with our children. I was also reminded of how thankful I am for my own dad and how he taught me to work hard, be committed, love people, and show the love of Christ to others. We went home, ate lunch, and found our tennis rackets. The boys took some tennis lessons through the school, and it's something that Roger and I enjoy. We found a park with tennis courts and a place to play-everyone was happy! πŸ™‚ We had time to play for a while, and then some friends from church showed up. Allison brought her girls to the park too (apparently, great minds think alike!) 😜 I enjoyed conversation while the boys and their friends ran around getting all hot and sweaty. Then we headed to church to sit in a pew with sweaty boys! (Oh well!) Roger had a good day, and it was a good day spent together as a family.

This week has been a busy week around our house. Since Roger had off on Tuesday and Wednesday we managed to clean out the basement, get rid of a bunch of trash, clean and wash the vehicles, cut grass, and cleaned up around the yard. It's not always the fun things we get to do as a family that make memories,  but sometimes it's the time spent  just working and being  together. The boys spent a morning taking apart our old coffee machine. It was broken beyond repair and heading for the dump, so the boys took it apart. Chandler found the motor to the thing, and hooked it up to something else and managed to make a pump...don't ask me how! Wyatt and Garett clipped off a bunch of wires, and Travis collected all the screws to save for his next project (and he saves EVERYTHING!).  I don't  like the mess it made on the back porch, but it can be cleaned up. They are learning by hands on experiences and I'm thankful for that. Chandler has always enjoyed taking things apart. I remember buying him a toaster at a garage sale for $1.00 a couple of years ago, and it was a dollar well spent! Of course, Wyatt also likes to take apart things...he's the boy that took the hinges off the door when he was four!! 😜

On Wednesday afternoon we went to the lake to play. Our friends from church have a small cottage on a lake, and they invited the kids to come swimming at the lake. The boys all got right in, Emma never even got her swimsuit wet, and I have no intent of going swimming until it is much warmer! It was a fun afternoon for them, and everyone slept so well that night!

Today Wyatt had a dentist appointment at 8:20am. Since the dentist place is about 1 hour away, it was an early morning for us! Garett asked to go to the airport with Roger, and it's just another sign he is growing up. He chose going to the airport over traveling to the dentist appointment and spending time at the McDonald's playland. He did ask, of course, if I could bring him back some food!! However, on the way to the dentist appointment, Chandler became sick. I'm not sure if it was car sickness or a bug, but he was one uncomfortable kid! We arrived at the appointment and Wyatt went in right away. Chandler ended up throwing up in the bathroom and laying down across the chairs in the receptionist lobby. I felt bad for him, but since I didn't have any options, I just let him lay there. Wyatt's appointment took a REALLY long time!! Apparently the little cavity wasn't so little, and it needed a bit of attention. We were all ready to go long before Wyatt was done, but we made it. I had brought along some books and coloring pages so that helped, but 1 1/2 hours is long for me, much less the three other children waiting! But it's behind us now, and all the children are currently caught up on teeth cleanings! Hooray!

We were supposed to have some friends over this afternoon, but I had to cancel. As soon as we came home from the dentist, Chandler crawled into bed and slept for several hours. A person has to be really tired to sleep through all the noise and commotion at this house! He seems to be feeling a bit better now that it's later afternoon, but we will see how things progress.

Friday...Chandler is feeling much better. We had ladies Bible study today, and the we had the pastors son, Austin, over to play for a bit. It was a good day and not too crazy! 😜I spent some time getting ready for guests this weekend as my grandma and Aunt Geri are flying in from Wisconsin tomorrow!! My friend, Allison, has offered to keep the boys while I drive to Portland to pick them up. It should be a great weekend. Hope you all have a great time in church on Sunday!
Love, Sarah

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Year?! Already!!

A year ago on June 15, 2016, we turned on to a dirt road leading to a house at the end of a dead end street. We had arrived in Maine! So many things have happened in a year, and God has been faithful every step of the way. I remember trying to comfort my children in a hotel room somewhere in Indiana on that first night after leaving Wisconsin on June 13. Little did my children realize that mom didn't sleep well that night either as she also cried herself to sleep. We were moving 21 hours away from all that was familiar and dear to our hearts to begin life together as a family complete again in Maine. Roger had already been in Maine since the end of February so we were ready to be together as a family again, I just wasn't prepared for the long summer ahead of me. But all that is behind us now, and we've been together as a family in Maine for a whole year. We have learned so many things in a year, and it would be impossible to share them all. However, I thought some of you might want to have a glimpse of some of the new things we've learned and experienced.

1) Moxie- a Maine made soda. It was first marketed as a health elixir, but then began to be sold as a soft drink. Everyone has a different opinion of what it tastes like ranging from sasparilla flavor, to tasting like bubble gum, to tasting like an over done cola! Personally, it's not my favorite drink, but my kids don't seem to mind it.

2) Pink hot dogs...yes, they are really pink! Emma likes these hotdogs, but I think it's strictly because they are pink! It's a hotdog in a natural casing and the casing is pink. The boys don't care for them, but maybe it's because they are PINK!

3) Trash- a pain in the back side to get rid of! Recycling is HUGE around here, and you actually have to pay to get rid of trash. It's 2.00 for a large trash bag, and it has to be taken to the "transfer station" of the town you live in. I can see why people have huge piles of trash in their yards as it's an inconvenient hassle to try to get rid of stuff! At our particular transfer station all recyclables must be sorted according to the number in the little triangle on the bottom of the container. Since recyclables are numbered 1-10 this can end of taking far more time than you want to spend on trash!

4) Mainers- a term given to people that have lived their entire life up here. As a general rule, Mainers are conservative liberals. I say that because they want gun rights and free speech, but they also have no problems with accepting marijuana, same sex marriages, transgender or whatever else might seem acceptable. This is certainly not true of all Mainers, just so you know!

5) Traditionalism- so much history is in New England, and Maine is not any different. I'm referring mostly to traditionalism in churches in this particular setting. When we visited so many churches back when we first moved here, this was something that Roger and I both caught a glimpse of. Many of these churches meet in old, old buildings, and along with the buildings sometimes comes the traditionalism of the way they've done things for 200 years or more! I'm pretty sure some of these organs in these church buildings are well over 100 years old! (Organ music is not my favorite by the way!)

6) Family ties- these ties run deep and run strong out here in Maine. So many people are related to each other and their family tree has been seeded, planted, watered, and flourished right here in the same 60 mile radius. It's not a bad thing at all, it's just hard to figure out sometimes who is connected to whom!


7) Grocery bags- bring them with you! Along with recycling, I've learned to bring my own grocery sacks when shopping! Many places down by Portland charge a .05 fee for a plastic bag. There is a petition out to outlaw styrofoam as well across the state. These people take environmental responsibility to a whole new level!

8) Organic- huge deal out here! While I love our local farmers market, I simply cannot afford the prices for our family! Everything is organic and expensive! While I love organic food, how about just keeping the pesticides to a minimum and reducing the price?!

9) "Down East" - this one took me a bit to figure out! When a person says that they are from "Down East" they aren't referring to Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, etc., They are actually referring to a geographical location in Maine known as "Down East". Because of where Maine is located the shoreline does not always run North to South. The shoreline can actually be due east. "Down East"  refers to a shoreline section in Maine which is more East than North. A bit confusing to me at first, but I think I've got it now!

10) Rolls- this does not refer to a dinner roll as my mind would tend to think of a roll. Instead this generally refers to a hot dog or hamburger bun, but they're always called "rolls".

11) Fiddleheads- a vegetable that I had certainly never heard of before moving to Maine! It's part of the ostrich fern family, and it grows in wetter areas. We actually found a few on our property and might have better success next year as we will know what we are looking to find! It's a green vegetable that is kinda a cross between broccoli and asparagus. It is delicious!

 

We've learned many more things, but I must close for now. We love and appreciate each one of you.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Almost...Almost Done!!!

Last full week of school has almost been completed!! Hooray-we are on the home stretch!! This last week has been quite insane. Since we have kids in four different classes, I've been going in about four different directions!

We started off on Monday with a sense of drag, as everyone wants to be done. However, we aren't "done" yet, so we must keep on going! We made it to school on time, and I talked with several of the teachers about plans throughout the week. In the oldest class at school, we have a long term sub finishing out the rest of the year. The former teacher is moving away from the area, and the position needed to be filled. It was exciting to see God work to bring the perfect person along. It's actually a lady from our Bible study group! She's been a school teacher, already fingerprinted and has a background check complete, and is qualified for this group of students. We serve an amazing God! Since I knew her from our Bible study group, I stopped in her classroom to tell her I was praying for her. I could tell she was a bit frazzled with the newness of it all, and right then I asked God to give me a way to encourage her if possible.


 I left the school with Emma in tow to head home to our house which was happy to have my undivided attention for a bit! While I was giving our home my attention, Emma was giving her play horse a bath in the sink up stairs. Suddenly I heard her hollering for help and that she was all wet! Oh my! Sink was overflowing on the floor, child was soaked, soap was everywhere, and water covering the floor! We managed to get most of the mess cleaned up and then I realized that I was going to be late to pick up Travis! It's when you are in a hurry that every slow vehicle is out for a Sunday drive! We were only a few minutes late, and the office was very understanding of our tardiness. We took  Roger lunch at the airport and headed home. I realized that perhaps I could encourage the new   teacher by making a meal. Now, what did I have at home that I could make without stopping at the grocery store?! We had been given leftover spaghetti from a church event, so I had that to start  with. I added sauce, cheese ( that makes everything better), sausage, and the noodles. There I had a baked spaghetti dish! I also put together a salad and some no bake cheesecake dip. It was a simple meal, but I really felt like it was what God would have me to do. When we arrived back at school in the afternoon, I gave the meal to the teacher. She had tears in her eyes as she said, "Sarah, this is a God thing! We arrived home from New York last night, and I need to go grocery shopping. I'm exhausted,  and I didn't want to go. God used you to bless our family today!" Yes!! How exciting is that?!

     


Tuesday was the big "tye dying" activity for Garett and Chandlers class! They were so excited about the afternoon activity and I was a little bit nervous about pulling it all together. To start off the morning, my phone decided it would no longer function. It refused to charge, wouldn't turn on, and was just a thorn in my side! I dropped off kids at school, ran to Walmart as I developed a sudden fear of running out of tye dye, and ran home to rinse the shirts so that they would be damp. By the time I arrived home, I knew I would be tight on time to get the shirts rinsed in the wash for the activity. But I figured I'd just wash them on the rinse and spin cycle and be done with it. Oh no....that's not what happened! The washer "froze" mid cycle and refused to do anything. By now I was officially late to  pick up my kids (for the second day in a row!)  my phone was dead, the washer was mal-functioning, and I was a mess! I realized at that moment, as I sat in the floor and cried out to my Heavenly Father that I needed a nap and some serious down time! But...what was I to do?! I found the emergency trac phone that we purchased a while back and managed to find the number for the school to tell them I  would be late. I turned off the washer, and had to wait for the whole cycle to run again...yes, it about   killed me! πŸ˜‹ Finally...everything was ready to go. Thankfully, I have some good friends at school who kept an eye on my kids until I could get there. I managed to arrive for the last half of my lunch duty commitment, and then we prepared for the activity. I squeezed in about ten minutes at a Vacation Bible School planning meeting, and I just said I'd do whatever needed doing. So, I guess I'll find out what I'll be doing soon! πŸ˜€

The activity was so much fun for the kids! Half of the key to a successful activity is being prepared. We had more than enough tye dye colors, the kids managed to stay mostly clean, and they had so much fun. It was rewarding to see how excited they were about it, and I was thankful that God  calmed my heart and my mind to enjoy the time spent with this class. I didn't get any pictures as I was too busy with twelve kids with tye dye colors, asking for help, and provide supervision!   Thankfully, another mom, Charlie, helped out with this activity also so that made everything progress a bit more smoothly and clean up was a bit faster! It was a tiring day, but God ended up reminding me of so many of His promises...He is faithful, He loves me, He will supply my needs, and He will  direct my steps.

Wednesday was a PBA (parents group meeting)  and a beach activity with Wyatt's class. Of course the tye dye  shirts were waiting for me when I woke up! Now they needed to be rinsed out! I was up before 5:00am to start rinsing them out in the bathtub. Garett came to help about 5:30,  and he cut off the rubber bands while I rinsed the shirts. We had lots of color all over the bathroom when it was done, but we finished the job before we needed to head to school! The class was excited to see the results of their imaginations and creativity, and I'm glad I was able to assist in that project.

The parent group had their last meeting of the year. It's been a good year in the sense that we've helped to provide volunteer hours, fund field trips, make and serve hot lunches, coordinate several fundraising events  encourage the staff with gifts. I'm not sure how God will continue to direct my involvement in this particular group, but I am praying for His clear direction.

After the meeting, Emma and I ran a few errands and came back to pick up Travis. It was time to head to the beach for Wyatts class activity! I didn't even bother to pack flip flops as I knew I wouldn't even want my toes wet! The weather was sunny, but only about 60 something degrees. Since it has not been very warm lately, I knew the water would be freezing! Apparently another local school had also planned their trip to the beach for that day, but there was plenty of fun for all. It was fun to see the kids dig in the sand, play and laugh with each other, and enjoy the sunshine. Travis and Wyatt both did get in the ocean water, and then promptly wrapped themselves in towels! For me, I enjoyed sitting in a chair watching my three youngest children play, visit with other moms, and reflect on the blessings God had provided through the school. I always have fun visiting with Allison, and since one of her children is in Wyatt's class, it's another opportunity to visit with her. Another mom,  Bethany, also has a son in Wyatt's class, and I was happy to have the opportunity to just visit informally and casually with them. It was relaxing to me  as the  week has been so crazy!

Late in the day, when I checked my Facebook messages, I discovered that we had received one from some old friends of ours (the friends aren't old, we've just been friends for a long time!). Josh and Joanna had felt inclined to give the boys a gift  of money towards a dirt bike. It was such an unexpected gift that I was taken by complete surprise! A dirt bike is something that the boys have talked about for a while, but it's not even been on the radar for interests to pursue! We are praying that God will direct us to the right one as the boys would certainly enjoy that during these summer days! Sometimes I just am stopped in my tracks at God's goodness to me. I mean, I shouldn't be  surprised as He IS God, but yet He sometimes outpours His love at the most unexpected times,  and it completely strengthens my faith and encourages my heart.

Thursday was Roger's day off this week. Due to the company being a pilot short this month, Roger has had only one day off this week instead of the normal average of three! Thursday is also Emma's morning at school, and it was so nice to have the morning together. We did so many fun things, like put together a shed, pick up trash, wash vehicles, and other awesome activities! (Okay, I might be a bit sarcastic, but there is a feeling of satisfaction in hard work!) I was able to get my hair cut this morning as well since Roger was able to pick up Travis and Emma. I was asked to help with a water balloon activity for one of the classes, which meant filling water balloons. If you've ever filled water  balloons, you will remember that this is a job that takes forever and the fun is over so quickly! I had been given water balloons to use, but they were a bit old. While trying to fill them with the kids last night, we realized that this was taking forever! However, we did come up with a solution! Someone very smart invented a way to fill 100 water balloons in 60 seconds! You can buy theses packages of water balloons that come ready to fill with a garden hose. Although they are more expensive than  regular-fill-yourself water balloons, this method saved us so much time that it was a very, very worthwhile investment! You might not believe this, but when I went to the store to buy water balloons (and I was going to get the fill-yourself kind) God directed us to a different store than Walmart. Here we found these easy fill water balloons on sale!! (God has been very merciful to a tired and busy mama this week!) The boys thought this was the coolest invention ever, and they were almost disappointed it was done so quickly as they made it to bed on time! πŸ˜‹

Friday was the final chapel for the school year, and also it was the awards chapel. The whole school sang a few songs, and it brought tears to my eyes to hear them worship the Lord through song. I am so very thankful for this school! The boys each received some type of character award, and I am so thankful for the young men they are becoming. We have much work to do yet in the few short years they are under our roof, but I am so thankful for the challenges as well as the victories!


Travis' class was going bowling after school was  over at 11:30 am. I knew that I already had way too  much to do to be able to go bowling. Our church is having a Bible conference for the next three nights and Roger and I are doing the children's program. I still had some things I needed to pick up for that, and to be  honest, I was just tired  from everything else that had already occurred this week. Another of the kindergarten moms offered to take Travis to bowling with her child, so that worked out perfectly. Travis was happy to go, and I was thankful for the opportunity to prepare for the missionary story. Emma and I ran a few errands to finish up the preparation for the evening, and I felt much better about being prepared. When we came back to pick up everyone from school, the excitement over it being the last Friday of the school year was contagious! The kids were happy to head home and play outside for a while! We are looking forward to taking advantage of any warm weather that might come our way!

Roger ended up meeting us at church as he wasn't able to get away earlier than 6:30. The boys were not very excited about coming back to church for special meetings, but God was at work in their  hearts. After the service, Garett commented on how much he enjoyed the music. A family came to sing during the Bible conference and the music was very good with a guitar, violin, and voices singing praises to God. I was thankful that Roger and I did the Childrens program even though we didn't have very many kids. While I think it is important for kids to sit in church and through special meetings, I also think it's important to remember where they are at in life and how we can best reach them for Jesus. I have been teaching the "Sunday School Charlie" story, and the kids have been  enjoying that story. As I dug it out of the box in the basement, I was reminded of when I  taught it in Alaska. I didn't have any flannel to back the pieces with so I ended up cutting up one of Garett's flannel shirts. That flannel is still sticking to the back. πŸ˜€
  

  

It's been a busy  but good week. I'm thankful for only a few more days of school. πŸ˜€

A few moments to remember from this week:
*While at the pastors house for a get together on last  Sunday afternoon, Chandler found a pocket knife in the woods. He knew it wasn't his, and he took it into the house to return to the pastor. One the way home.  he told me, "Mom, I really wanted to put that knife in my pocket. But I knew it wouldn't be right, so I took it in the house!" Moments like that make my heart so happy! It's hard to make the right decisions sometimes, but I was thrilled that he made a good choice.

*Travis was traveling with me this week, and he needed to use the bathroom. We weren't anywhere near a bathroom place, so I stopped on the side of the road. It was not a busy road! He opens the door,  and announces "Wow, what a view! This is a good spot to pee!" It was the view of a swampy area, and all I could think of was "Hurry up, mosquitoes are coming in!" It made me chuckle as I thought about his unhurried approach to life! 😜

*While helping in the kitchen last week for a spaghetti supper, I was asked to help move a nesco filled with sauce to the table. It wasn't that heavy, so I picked it up. However, the steam escaping was quickly burned  my hand! By the grace of God, I managed to set the nesco down in the counter before it spilled to the floor. My hand is still quite sore, but it is getting better every  day.

*Travis asked Jesus to come into his heart tonight...Saturday night. We came home from the Bible conference, and we were talking about the evening. In the missionary story during children's church, I've been stressing the importance of salvation as well as being a missionary. Travis announced that Jesus had died for him too...yes, He has! I asked him if he knew what he needed to do to be saved. He said, "Yes, I know I'm a sinner. I know Jesus died and rose for me. I need to ask him to come into my heart." And there at our dinning room table with a few tears in his eyes, he asked Jesus to come into his heart. I know that the angels in heaven are rejoicing with us tonight!



Saturday, June 3, 2017

June? Already?!

In case you haven't realized it, school gets out late around here! Our last day will be on June 14th, and I am looking forward to it! Don't get me wrong, the school year has been great. I'm just ready for a break! πŸ˜€ In Wisconsin we were generally done around the middle of May,  so it's been like having a whole extra month of school. However, it's just the way the school calendar is around here. I do like having breaks during the school year, and now we are ready to clean out backpacks and throw away lunch boxes! (I never understood why a kid would need a new lunch box every year, but now I do! Those things get nasty...even with disinfectant and putting them in the dishwasher!)

Last Tuesday when I attended the Bible study down in Tenants Harbor, I was blessed by an outpouring of love for my birthday. One of the ladies, Shelia, had put together a cake and snacks in celebration of my birthday. These ladies have blessed me so much. I don't attend church there, but this Bible study has encouraged and challenged me. These ladies have taught me so much about faithfulness in the Lord. I am so blessed!

With the end of the school year coming to a close also begins the mad rush of fun activities for the kids, class trips, and extra activities! I've discovered that I cannot depend on my brain to keep track of everything, and I must but it in my calendar on my phone with an alarm to remind me! I'm going to be helping Garett and Chandler's teacher with some year end projects including a trip to the beach, tie dying activity, and a play. Wyatts class is also taking a trip to the beach, but it's a different beach on a different day! And we have a host of upcoming church activities, Bible study, the parent group meeting, and one more hot lunch...yes, I need to use my calendar! I'm not complaining at all as I look back across the school year at all that the kids have learned, friendships made, their Biblical foundation made stronger through their teachers and influences. It's been a great year, and Lord willing, the kids will be returning to the school for the next school year. I've been blessed to be able to be involved in the school, and working alongside these teachers that have poured their lives into my children. (At times, I get over involved! I'm working on balance!)

I've decided that spring is not going to happen in Maine! We've had a few warm days where it was actually about 70 degrees, but for the most part I still walk around with a jacket! The kids have put their rubber boots to good use, but I am praying that we will see some warmth occur soon! I'm behind on getting our garden together, and Chandler is anxious to start "growing stuff". I asked him what kind of "stuff", and he replied, "stuff we can eat, of course!) He wants to plant lettuce, beans, cucumbers, and a few other vegetables. We did put our blueberry bushes in the ground, and the boys have been faithful at watering them as they definitely want those to survive! πŸ˜€

Last Thursday I was able to get away with my friend, Allison. We took a field trip to the big city of Augusta...just the two of us! It was such a good time of fellowship and fun, and although it took us most of the school year to find a date, we did it! Roger had off that day, and he agreed to do lunch duty for Allison. I'm blessed to be married to a man that doesn't mind working with the kids at the school either, and willingly heated up food, supervised lunch break, and helped make a fun day for me. The day passed by all together too quickly, but it was a good day.

Roger was called off of work last Friday so we had an unexpected day with him home. His flying is due largely on the weather, so if the weather is good, he flies all.day.long. But if it's rainy or too foggy to fly, then sometimes he gets an extra day off. It all comes out in the wash as he switches days to make sure he's getting enough hours in at work. And I'm thankful for the opportunities to spend time with him when the weather is not cooperating. I played the piano for chapel services and did nursery duty for the Bible study group. I'm thankful for this group of ladies, and I pray for them often.

To summarize the rest of this week as it's already Friday again, we hosted people in our home for dinner, had an overnight guest, enjoyed some family time at Sams club, hosted a pilot pizza get together, and attended the school talent show! If I write down all the details in between those events, we will be reading for a looooong time!

We hosted Sunday dinner at our house with some friends of ours from South Carolina, as well as our pastor and family. The Faulde family is from South Carolina, but also the pastor and his wife that I went to Haiti with in January. We had a good visit, but the afternoon passed too quickly!

Roger had a pilot friend from Arizona come for a visit this week also. Jon flew in for just an overnight trip, but we squeezed in a walk to the lighthouse, eating lobsters and crabs, and flying with Roger. Interestingly enough we ate crab legs this week because they were given to us for free! Crab legs are normally rather expensive, so we've never had them before. It's interesting to me that in Maine, we eat crab or lobster as it's sometimes given to Roger. Yet in Wisconsin, we were often given pork or beef. The kids really liked the crab and almost all of them preferred the crab over the lobster. It was cheap, and it was good. πŸ˜€

To summarize...it was a good week! πŸ˜€
Memories!  

Friendships 

Our boys