She got to spend her special day with the two youngest Holland boys (parents are house hunting...) and they got an awesome treat of a tour of the Fire station in Southern Pines (an impromptu homeschooling field trip is always a good thing) by our friend Fire Marshall Stone. The kids got to climb on and in the firetrucks and got plastic fire chief hats...Nate was scared, after months of begging to "ride firetuk"...he said, "scair me" and took a long time to even let me walk near the big ladder truck while holding him.
The night ended with a couple more presents, family, and food...Chinese take out per the birthday girl's request...and a homemade Nate safe (egg & peanut free recipe) birthday cake.
Tuesday: Back to the books and hand bell choir practice...and laundry. We picked up our first of the season fresh from the field strawberries from the farm...we ate handfuls on the way home...sand and all...the smell of those big juicy strawberries was too much for all of us. As soon as we got home, Nate had his CBR (community based rehab...he's still being seen for play therapy for speech development)...his therapist is wonderful and beginning to feel like part of the family. Nate wanted to go home with her today.
I started my gardening...the raised bed that Joe built for me two years ago, may finally see a harvest. I planted onion sets, lettuce seeds, 3 crookneck squash plants, 3 pickling cucumber plants, marigold seeds (to keep critters away, we'll see if it works), and 1 Tommy toe tomato and one beefsteak tomato plant...I'll be checking every day for growth. A friend asked if I thought I'd be living in this house long enough to see the harvest. Today, I think I will...but, even if I'm not...I refuse to live in such a way as to constantly think that I'm leaving and then miss out on things because I might not be here.
Wednesday: MOPS meeting in the morning. Got there early (yee-ha) and even with some prepared school work for Emily to do during the meeting. Nate even did pretty well when I left his classroom, a sweet "bye-bye Mommy" with crocodile tears, but no gnashing of teeth or hanging onto my clothing. MOPS is always time well spent...great speaker, Debbie Brown...talked about handling conflict in marriage. I took lots of notes (hehe). Debbie is wonderful and gave us a lot of good advice when Jess was coming/had just come to live with us last year. Our table had a great discussion...my (before-we-had-kids) co-worker, friend and neighbor... Holly announced her pregnancy. This is her third pregnancy...and we are praying and waiting as she has miscarried early on twice before. She is already a wonderful mom to two adopted beautiful boys (God had an awesome plan and she often comments that she was "meant" to be an adoptive mom.) The oldest is only three weeks older than Nate. Her boys are 18 months apart...and well this baby will be about 18 months behind his/her older brother. I can hardly wait to see how this all turns out...anyway it was just a good morning!
We ate lunch after the meeting at Sonic (didn't see anyone familiar lingering around Chickfila...) and thought some moms might be headed to Sonic. Anyway, no sooner than we got our food settled at the picnic tables...the stump grinding guy called that he was on his way to the house.
We gathered up our stuff and jumped in the car as quickly as possible and met him there. Stump grinding...interesting work...cool machine. The kids, of course, stood on the deck and watched as the row of bush roots and stumps, that had lived bordering the old deck, were chewed up and spit out. Nate was practically salivating at the big dirt piles left behind...know where I'll find him for the next few days.
Stump grinding man motivated me to work some more in the yard while Nate napped...so I took a pick axe to some other dead stumps laying around, raked some more leaves, picked up some pine cones...then listened to Emily read a Cam Jansen book out loud and helped her with math facts while laying in the hammock on the new deck that David built. We woke Nate up from a sound sleep to go off to gymnastics, picking Peyton up along the way and then brought Peyton home with us to have dinner (Chicken Bruschetta Bake...my newest, most favorite recipe) and the girls played and giggled. Joe got home from his commute a few minutes after we did. The kids finished off the birthday cake (THANK YOU LORD...) I didn't need to be tempted by that monstrosity of chocolate heaven one more day. So, here's the dinner recipe...it's SO easy and for my family, several days of left overs for lunch...or enough to share with a starving nurse who had a horrible shift ; ) and the kids LOVE it
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
1 can diced tomatoes (14-1/2 oz) undrained
1 pkg Stove top (etc) chicken flavor
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 pound uncooked boneless skinless chikcken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 cup shredded mozarella cheese
Oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes w/their liquid in med bowl. Add stuffing mix, 1/2 cup hot water and the garlic; stir just until stuffing is moist. Set aside. Place chicken in 13x9 baking dish; sprinkle w/basil and cheese. Top w/stuffing mixture. Bake 30 min or until chicken is cooked through. (from the back of a stove top box!!)