Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thirteen Tidbits

Breaking news: this evening, I reached 100,000 hits on my blog.
100,000?? That's unbelievable. I'm honored and humbled and flabbergasted that during the past 3+ years, family and friends and people I don't even know have spent so much time here on Sylvan Drive with me.

Thank you.


One of the special activities of this summer for Josiah was a week of soccer camp through our local parks and rec department. He ended up with a great coach and had a really wonderful experience with it. Throughout the week, I was reminded of how much I enjoy watching him play and how proud I am of him. I was especially proud when I was talking with his coach on the last day, and he was telling me how Josiah did so well, not only with playing, but with his behavior: how he was respectful and listened well, etc. The coach said something to the effect of "some of the other boys have a lot of energy," with the implication that the boys didn't always use that energy in appropriate ways. But he was full of compliments for Josiah...which made me beam. :)


Back in the spring, as we started receiving information about possible activities for Josiah and David for the summer, we had to carefully consider what would be the best ones to choose. Josiah, being the go-getter that he is, wanted to do ALL of the options; and David did, too. More activities=more social contact=more friends=happy David. But we knew we couldn't do all of them--not just because we financially couldn't afford it--but also because it would make the summer too busy and we wanted the boys to have plenty of time to just kick back and be kids.

So far, I've been VERY pleased by the pace of life this summer. May was super relaxing, a perfect change after our rush to finish school by the end of April (Josiah's choice, not mine, for those who are reading and think I'm too pushy of a mom). :) Then June came, and Josiah was able to take some summer violin lessons and finish those before soccer camp started. Soccer is over now, and we are looking forward to our upcoming vacation to this conference. When we return from that, Josiah and David will each take a class at our local community college. So, all these special things are spread out nicely, and it hasn't felt too overwhelming. True, by the end of the week of soccer camp, I was worn out and ready to have some time where we stayed home and I didn't have to make several trips a day to drop kids off and pick them up (this also happened to be the week in which David had three mornings of VBS which made for lots of running around town to make sure everyone was in the right place at the right time). But overall, the schedule has seemed to work really well for us.

August doesn't have much on the calendar yet, and I'm looking forward to having that month to finish gearing up for school and even ease our way into it, maybe by having the boys do a math lesson every day or something like that. They like math, by the way, so it wouldn't be much of a hardship to ask them to do this. :)

It's really nice when things turn out the way you think they will; and when it comes to this summer and the pace of life, it's turning out beautifully--just the way I wanted it to be!


Jeff named him...
...Squeaks. (You can guess what his early "meows" sounded like.)
To me, he looks like a tiny gray tiger, stalking his prey in the jungle. Squeaks is growing and doing well. He won't stay little for long!

Update: just this evening, while we were relaxing outside, Jeff told me that both he and Josiah thought we should change the kitten's name to Tiger. I about fell out of my swing. I wondered if he had been reading the drafts in my blog and had seen what I had written (because I wrote this section of this post several days ago), but he said no. I guess if Jeff and Josiah and I all think of him as Tiger, that's what we should call him!! :)


Like I just mentioned, I actually started this particular post days ago; and when I wrote this particular segment, I had no idea that before I ever got around to posting this, I would make it to 100,000 hits. That's why there are two tidbits related to blog hits and counters. Just in case you were wondering... :)

For this blog and my Manna one, I keep track of unique hits through Amazing Counters, a free site. I could say a lot about blog stats, and maybe someday I will. But the reason I mention it here is because of something that is sentimental to me. My highest ever week of hits (1609) occurred during July last year, when Shav was born. That's no surprise since bloggers love little more than the announcement of a new baby; we love to share in each other's joy! :) All year, I have watched that spike in the bottom graph move to the left, bit by bit, week by week, ever so gradually. I knew that when that disappeared, Shav would be one year old.
It's almost gone.

He's almost one.

As much as I rejoice in his growth and development, it is bittersweet to have his first year behind us already. That graph has been such a vivid, visual reminder to me all year long, so I wanted to capture it here for my own memory's sake.


At our town's 4th of July parade, some of the participants were Tea Party Patriots, a group about which I had only heard a little bit. One of them handed us a brochure with some basic tenets of the Tea Party movement; and later, at home, I read through it. As I read each point, I thought, "Wow, I agree with this. And yes, I agree with this one, too. And absolutely, yes, this is right on!" I still don't know very much about them...or it...or whatever. But what I read, I liked very much.


Several weeks ago, I wrote a post in which I asked for input about one adjective for each season. I really enjoyed reading the comments that were left, and I fully intended to write a follow-up post to that one very soon thereafter, in which I revealed the adjectives I had been thinking about. But oh dear, I never got around to it. Not very nice of me, was it? I apologize.

But better late than never, so here are my choices:

Spring = blossoming (everything comes to life after winter's chill, so this is a season of blossoming trees and flowers and all kinds of plants, but also people who begin to blossom and uncurl and open themselves to vibrant life again)
Summer = lazy (this is the one I couldn't decide on for the longest time...I debated between "lazy" and "fresh"...I guess fresh had to do with summertime eating: fresh tomatoes from the garden, fresh corn on the cob, fresh peaches and cherries, etc...but in the end, I think "lazy" is a better descriptor since in summer, our schedule is relaxed, dressing is so easy with just shorts and a t-shirt for the boys, preparing meals is easy with abundant fresh produce, evenings are spent outdoors as we lazily swing or watch the lightning bugs come out, etc.)
Fall = crisp (think about the delicious feel of the air in the fall, the crispness of juicy apples from the orchard on the next hill over, and also the crispness of new schoolbooks and notebooks as we excitedly start school again)
Winter = cozy (my dad, in his comment on the original post, was pretty negative about winter! :)...but I have to disagree with him...last winter was my favorite winter in recent memory because of all the wonderful snow...if it's going to be cold, we might as well have some white stuff to look at and to cover the brown ground...meanwhile, whether there's snow or not, winter is cozy...thick sweaters, steaming hot chocolate with marshmallows melting in it, the crackle of the fire in our woodstove, snuggle time on the couch with good books to read, Christmas and all the joy of that holiday, and of course, our cherished electric blanket!)


I've completely forgotten to mention when I've posted recipes on The Foodie Spot; but for my own memory's sake in times to come, I want to keep track of that here. So, to catch up, here is my recipe for Meatloaf and here is one for Chicken Korma.


At this season of the year, it's common for a chorus of birds to be heard outside our windows just before dawn. Somewhere in the 4:00-5:00 AM range, I often awake and hear their cheerful chirpings. But for the last little while, we have had a very strange bird around. He (she?) sings all night long. I go to bed at midnight, and the bird is singing. I wake up to the sound of Shav stirring at 2:37, and he's still singing. I can't figure it out. So I just enjoy it. :)


Another thing that's common at this season of the year is allergies, but I declare! My allergies are worse this summer than they've been for a long time! I'm a little surprised by that because it's been so very hot and dry here that there's really not much blooming. But something has been irritating my system because on a daily basis, I have to deal with allergy symptoms. It's not bad though--more of a nuisance than a serious problem. When it's really bothering me, I take a little allergy medicine; but it doesn't usually get that bad.


Speaking of hot and dry, it's been hot and dry here. So hot. So dry. The hottest and driest summer in recent memory. Did I mention it's been hot and dry?

The grass is brown, but the bright side is that we haven't had to worry much about mowing the lawn! The garden has needed to be watered consistently or we wouldn't have much of a harvest at all, but the bright side is that it's fun to see the sprinkler waving back and forth! The farmers' crops look pitiful, but the bright side is...well, even I can't find a bright side to that one. It's one thing to wish for rain so that the grass would green up again and be soft on our feet when we go outside barefoot; it's quite another to be a farmer and wish for rain so that we could actually make a little money to support the family rather than go into debt this year. More than once, I've been grateful that Jeff is a barber, not a farmer; at least people still need haircuts when it's dry! My heart really goes out to the farmers who are suffering because of this drought.


For any locals that are reading this, there are two upcoming events that I want to draw your attention to.

First, on Saturday, July 31, Robin Mark will be coming to Grace Covenant Church for an all-day seminar and then an evening of worship. This is an incredible opportunity to hear a musician who has led untold numbers of hearts to the throne of God through the music that he has written. Details about the event are here.

Second, there will be a choir camp at JMU for early elementary students the week of July 19. It is organized by Joy Anderson of SVCC fame. :) She is HIGHLY respected, not only in my own household but by everyone else who knows her, it seems. I've written about her before; but since then, my admiration for her has only grown. We are going to be gone on vacation during the week of choral camp; but if any of you are interested in the details about this, let me know and I'll get you more information. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I believe wholeheartedly that being taught by Mrs. Anderson made the difference for Josiah between being a boy who "couldn't carry a tune in a bucket" (that was him a few years ago) and being a proud member of the Prep Choir of SVCC (that's him NOW--can you tell I'm excited for him??). :)


In another Tidbits post, I wrote that Tobin now says Shav's name as "Odd." That' But wait! It gets better!

We often call Shav "Shavi." We also, for unknown reasons, call Shav "Shavi Pavi." So, of course, Tobin tries to do the same...except, when he says it, it comes out as "Oddy Poddy"...and in his sweet little voice, it's impossible to tell much of a difference between "Poddy" and "Potty" when he calls Shav that, it really sounds like he's saying "Oddy Potty." Such a tender way for him to address his little brother! :)


Mike and Katie said...

Is Shav's name pronounced with an "a" like father? Where does the name originate?

There were so many interesting things in this post but I'm like a two year old and can only remember that last thing you said. :)

Davene said...

Katie, yes, the "a" in Shav is "ah" as in "father." For a short answer about the name's origin, I'll say that it's Hebrew and it means "return, restore." For a longer answer, here's a post that details the full story of his unusual name.

You made me laugh with your comment about being like a two year old. :)

Kristy said...

Loved reading this post! Happy 100,000th to ya! :)

Margie said...

This post has so many things to love. The pronunciations, the soccer, the pace of your summer. And thanks for sharing about Amazing Counters. I might look into that!