The past two weeks have been really busy but it has been a fun kind of busy. Two weeks ago, Jeff's brother David's family came to visit. We had a really nice time. We stayed up late chatting with David and Kandie. Kandie and I managed to make a Starbucks run one evening. And I love watching my children and their cousins spend time together and establish close friendships. This is something I did not have with my cousins and I am thankful that my children and their cousins will probably be life-long friends. We enjoyed going to Ankeny Baptist that Sunday night and hearing David's presentation.
The Thursday before Jennifer's birthday we had visitors. Christine Scott and her three JEMS (Jacob, Elijah and Moses Scott) came to visit us for the afternoon and evening. I enjoyed the time with Christine so much. She is a kindred spirit. She brought me the neatest book/journal for those who are grieving over the loss of a loved one. It has been very helpful. (Christine is all too familiar with grief herself because her husband died in a car crash a little over three years ago.) Sometimes I feel guilty about how much I am grieving for Barb because she was "only" a friend and not a spouse or child or parent of mine. This book has been very helpful as I work through my sadness and draw closer to the Lord because of it
The next weekend Jennifer had a sleepover for her birthday. She invited four of her little friends. There was a lot of giggling and fun going on. They decorated cupcakes, played dress up, had a scavenger hunt, watched a movie (Gus). Jennifer enjoyed opening her gifts...stuffed animals and dolls...right up her alley. The minor hitch was that the meal was not "little girl friendly" since Jennifer had chosen shepherd pie so we had tons of left overs. They filled up on popcorn while watching the movie so I don't think anyone went to bed hungry. They also actually did some sleeping. I admit I bribed them. I told them if I didn't hear any noise after 11:00pm I would give them all a candybar. Unbelievably, it worked! :-) They were all sound asleep by then.
The next day (May 9) our church had a Mother/Daughter Brunch which was really nice. (Yes, I managed to get six little girls ready!!) The teenage girls modeled wedding dresses that had been worn by some of the ladies in the church.
Mother's Day was extra special this year because it was also Jennifer's eighth birthday. We shared a fun day together. Jeff had the day off so he was able to go to church with us on Sunday morning. We stopped on the way home and picked fried chicken at Walmart so we could accomplish the double goal of me not cooking but also not waiting for ever to be seated at a crowded restaurant. At lunch Jennifer and I opened our gifts and enjoyed the afternoon with the family.
The next Friday (May 15) was Joshua's birthday. (It is always a bit traumatic for me when my firstborn and my "baby" each get a year older, only five days apart from each other.) Josh invited six of his friends. The original plan was that they would go to a nearby park and play Capture the Flag and then come back here for the meal and a movie. However, it rained all day so they ended up staying here and playing Axis and Allies. It was loud and it was funny. This group of boys really "connect" and they feed off each other's jokes and comments. (I kept cracking up in the kitchen as their jokes and funny comments drifted up the stairs from the basement.) After they played A&A, they ate the meal while they watched Flyboys. Josh didn't want to do the singing and opening gifts in front of everything thing (which was Jennifer's favorite part of her party... I guess that is the difference between an extroverted eight year old girl and an introverted seventeen year old boy). He opened his gifts after his friends left and was delighted with what they had chosen. They all obviously know Josh well and know what he likes, which is one step ahead of his mother because I never know what to get him! :-) I should add that at Josh's party we did NOT have leftovers. :-) He chose lasagna and cheesecake for dessert.
Today was the Niche homeschool graduation. We received several invitations and it was special to go see these kids graduate. There were 100 graduates and we probably knew about 1/4 of them (more by name). I admit to tearing up when they marched in. I remember when some of these kids were born!! Tim Newman and Zachary Thompson were two of the graduates that some of you might know. It was also really fun to see old friends after the graduation. I met up with one friend that I had not seen in probably 15+ years (Sara Norris Thompson). It was fun to meet her two little boys, too.
Softball is going fine. It has not been the greatest season as far as winning. Well, Jennifer has won all her games but the other four kids have not won since the first day. But everyone is having a great time. Jeff enjoys coaching, the kids enjoy seeing their friend and I enjoy the adult conversation.
I am including some of you that I do not normally include in my family letters. If you would like to receive them or continue receiving them, let me know. I am making a new list. If you are family or close friends, don't worry about getting back to me. I will assume, rightly or wrongly, :-) that you still want to get these.
I thought some of you might be interested in the blog addresses of Jeff's family members. It is interesting/fun to follow their lives as missionaries in Peru. I compiled them for a friend today and I thought I would paste it here as well. Sarah, I have my in-laws link now.
Steve and Evelyn-- www.paandmastilwell.blogspot.com.
David and Kandie-- http://stilwellsinperu.blogspot.com/
Jon and Julie-- http://www.jonjuliestilwell.blogspot.com/
Steve and Molly-- http://www.stilwellschimbote.blogspot.com/
My heart is heavy tonight for a man that attends Jeff's brothers families sending church. His wife and two young children died in a fire last night. Please pray for him as the Lord brings him to your mind.
I hope all of you are doing well. Have a good Sunday.
Jeff, Kim, Joshua (17), Joseph (13), Josiah (11), Jessica (10) and Jennifer (8) Stilwell
"Failure is not final; it is merely the opportunity to start over again wiser than before."
Family blog : http://thestilwellgang.blogspot.com/ Updated last on April 27, 2009
Joshua's website on Godly Young Manhood: http://mightymenofvalor.webs.com/