16 March 2014

Last post from the old side of a new year.

Didn't realize we're already at the half way point of the first quarter schools. It's been over a month since I've been back in New Zealand. I've been busier than ever running our child care program and Friday night Outreaches. Quicker than ever I'm walking through my last day as a 28 year old.

It's an odd anxiousness this year. 29 is big to me because it ushers in the next year..... The years go by faster and faster the older I am. This has been a year of high highs and sometimes life altering lows. I wrote in my journal today, "as anxious as I am to turn another year old, I will be glad to turn the page on what has felt like a "Job" year.  But in the spirit of perspective and in honor of the ones fighting for me I'm choosing to recount the top ten moments of my 28th year before an update on the last month.

In no particular order the "highest highs" of the last year:
1. Surprising my family by flying back to Minnesota for 2 weeks in May. Keeping that secret for as long as I did and pulling off that surprise was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
2. Finally finding a medical reason behind my health crisis in April-May of 2013 and seeing really quick reversal of damage.
3. Onething 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri.
4. God through generous supporters providing the finances to get back to Minnesota and family for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years' 2013.
5. Meeting Judy and Natalie Lomax and Steph Carmack (3 of the 4 most amazing roommates), getting to spend the bulk of this last year living with them and my best friend.
6. Along with my Mom taking BOTH nieces to Disney On Ice. (A fourth trip for Izze and I and a first for Mom and Faith).
7. "Angels and Mortals" during the 2013 Snowboarder Discipleship Training School.
8. 40 Day Daniel Fast through the month of August and September. The lessons I learned through that journey with God changed the course of my year.
9.  Watching my amazing little sister decide to live a sober life.
10. Being in Minnesota during the Polar Vortex and 5 SNOW DAYS! (Which means lots of sleepovers with my niece and LATE night t.v. binging with Mom).

Photo's of some of the things I've been doing for the last month.
3 yr old Miss Mira (my only full time girl) and her "Mandi Hair Do" Apparently I can rock a messy bun. 

How you can find me most days: crayons, stickers and glue in hand.

Our converted garage classroom. We love having our own special space. 

Reading animated stories on the iPad. (Our favorite apps? Endless Alphabet, Duplo Trains and Circus, Reading Rainbow, Max and Ruby Science and Wheels on the Bus piano player)

During "Color Week." We had a "color of the day" that we would wear and look for. Each day the kids would cut, paste and color in books I made them that said "God's Colorful World." Here is almost two year old Sparrow using glue and scissors for the first time on "yellow day." 

We've had a rainy few weeks so here's the kids with our "indoor sidewalk." I collapsed our snack table and covered it with butcher paper. The rain can't keep us from having fun with chalk.

Jonathan's portion of the sidewalk. (He is so proud of the rock he broke while we were working on David and Goliath).

One year old Benejah's first time with Play-doh. (Mostly successful in keeping it out of his mouth).

A last minute DIY painting smock for Sparrow. (I cut a scrap of fabric into a baby sized poncho to use over her diaper)

Finger paints. One of the lessons I've learned is that although the prep takes a long time and the messes seem endless, these are special memories that kids will have forever and little moments to help them remember big lessons are always worth it.

Finger painting during Color Week.

Three in my lap, sharing my snack and reading Toy Story.

What a typical "To-Do" list looks like for me. (Reminding myself to shower and  eat. With some last minute add-on's by my best friend who found it. Reminding me to spend time with God and her ;) 

Ice cubes dyed with food coloring for non-toxic messy fun.

Getting a 6, 3, and 1 year old on a schedule that's successful for all of us has been a challenge but we've finally found our niche. One of my little world changers during his morning nap. 

Messy fun with ice cube paints. 

A messy art activity even the youngest can enjoy.

Benejah is an outside boy. There is nothing wrong in the world if he is in his pouch and we're headed out. I spend a lot of my mornings with him strapped to my chest or back. (And you won't catch me complaining). 

Our treasures during "Creation' week. We were finding new art supplies that God created that we could use to create something new. The sticks became mobiles along with the leaves and pine cones were painted.

"My Little Book of God's Big Creation" A new page for each day of creation, a week long project.

Reading time, cuddled around the heater.

My blue eyed boy. Not so impressed with my chicken noises.

Mira's creation mobile.

Our signs to help cheer on Xavier's basketball game. (There is a family here with three school aged boys I watch occasionally).

Our classroom rules.

Zack and I cheering on his younger brother Xavier at last Friday's basketball game.

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