Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The End of 2013....

It is New Year's Eve and I am home with my husband, and 4 kids, one of whom is sick. The fifth one is at a friend's house, beating her at Mancala. We have no plans as usual. Generally we just stay home, eat pizza, watch TV, and play games. Last year we went to an English Country Dance party, and that was fun. But we are low key this time.
As is the custom, I suppose I will make my list of goals for 2014...here goes...wait, my cake is done. Be right back!
Ok, had to make a glaze, too.
So here is my list.

1.Try to jog 3 days a week, and walk with kids 3 days a week, and have PE at the park 3 days a week.
2. Do a better job keeping up with grading and correcting kids schoolwork.
3. Make sure we focus ourselves each morning with the devo's we have done for years.
4. Keep the family eating mainly real food and as little processed and restaurant food as possible.
5. Focus more on my husband and our relationship.
6. Maintain a well rounded life, that reflects that I am a christian woman, wife, and also a mother.
7. Think on the Word daily, and post it more often on social media, and keep up my prayer life.

As of right now, that is about it. Simple and focused. This is a year to be content in the current season of life, and make the most of opportunities and relationships, while not losing sight of who I am.

So without any fanfare we will ring in the new year, probably watching Psych or laying in bed. And we will live life for God's glory to the best of our ability, trying to share the truth and His love. Here's wishing your family a wonderful New Year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's Been Such a Long Time.....

Had to start with a tribute to Boston (one of my all time favorite musical groups).

Well....it seems I am way behind on blogging since the last post was October 8th. But hey, Facebook is just too quick and convenient for posting about life, and let's face it, that is where almost all my family and friends are located. Internet is a great way to share life through pictures and posts.

So here is the lowdown on what life has held for us. October was the starting point for the busy activity season with the kids. Our homeschool co-op was in full swing and I was teaching a machine sewing class and working on the costuming for our dance studio production of Nutcracker. Needless to say, i did a ton of sewing this fall. Also, I had 4 kids in dance classes and all five in co-op classes and two in a radio drama. And the youngest boy had four birthday parties to attend and we had Nutcracker to prepare for. It was a wonderful season of activity that we all got involved in.

Schooling was going pretty well, but we are tweaking it over the holidays to be ready for spring. That always seems to happen. It is a good time to re-evaluate and see what needs to change. Speaking of which, we have got to get more PE in the mix each week, and we need to mix in more grading by me and more writing skill for everyone---including writing in math. We talked about signing some up for soccer, but they have changed their minds, so a step up in PE it will be. That is fine. I can easily manage to fit park time in, but precise weekly practice schedules?? Not so easy. And Sonlight for high school....it is a fabulous program, but super heavy on reading which its burning out my kids on reading for pleasure. Not a side effect I enjoy, so I think I am going to do some serious modifications (more than I already did). I am not the biggest fan of core 200 anyway. And especially when my NLD kid arrives in 9th grade, it will HAVE to be severely modified.

In other news, Christmas was yesterday. We had a small Christmas this year in terms of gifts, and it was great. We have the kids draw a sibling name and buy something for them for $15, then we get each kid something from us parents for about $30, and they each get a stocking of food and other small dollar store items and a couple of small gifts from Santa. Jacob got a camera lens coffee mug, a t-shirt, a Teavana insulated mug and 3 flavors of tea, a computer game (Half-Life) and a keychain that is a movie camera with house keys on it. Emily got a backpack, a t-shirt, a portal keychain with house keys, an antique teacup with fruit tea, a Teavana infuser mug and peach tea, and a daily bible. Elizabeth got a peacock pillow, peacock fetather lamp, a -t-shirt, a bible with cover and highlighter, and bath and body items. Jordan got a Halo game, a lava lamp, skateboard, and airsoft pistol and hot wheels pack. Kimberly got a 12 set of my little Pony figures, a stuffed my Little Pony- Cadence, earrings, ceramic tea set, and makeup set from Claire's. We were definitely blessed and had a Christmas Eve prayer before bedtime.

Today I am ready to get rid of all Christmas sweets, go for a run, finish the laundry, and take the kids shopping with the money from Grandma. I think they all got around $40 cash to spend--give or take.
So maybe next year I will have time or take time to post more....or maybe not. We'll see how it plays out. Hope your fall and winter were wonderful.

I will probably do a New year's Eve post next week to wrap it up :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day by Day with JOY!

Lately the house has been falling apart. It has been one thing after another, but thankfully it is all getting fixed. Dryer repair, oven repair, water leaks, flooring repair, braces, back pain, toilet leakage and breakage, drywall repair...we had all that this month. But it is ok. I probably seem to complain about it, because it can be frustrating, but I really am not complaining. It is an expected part of home ownership.
Kind of like encountering issues raising kids. Trouble comes. Not all humans are the same personality nor do they respond the same to discipline and correction. One thing I had to learn is that you can read the bible, all the best books, get the advice from older moms, and try everything, and your kids still will be who they are. Mine are not yours. Our family dynamic and goals are not yours. What I choose for my kids is not what you choose. And it is ok. Comparing us to others and constantly feeling the need to justify choices is exhausting, and a thief of daily joy. The times I find myself defending to myself why I choose certain things through no questioning from others, are times I find I am not so happy with the choices I made.  There will always be someone more conservative, more liberal, more "green", more diet conscious, more family oriented, more strict, more relaxed, more media oriented, less media oriented, more judgmental, farm loving, city loving, louder, quieter, more involved, less involved, more supervisory, less supervisory, more introverted, more extroverted, whatever. You name it.
Our family is fine and we are daily doing our best. I bet the same is true for you. I would also bet we are going about our life choices quite differently.  I could not, and would not want us to be much different than we are. I think we are a pretty fun loving bunch. I bet you like your family the way they are, too. If we don't, we are probably working on it. I know I am.
Our family is louder, rowdier, not always as conservative, or as disciplined, very active in outside activity as they get older, selective about certain things, lovers of media, socially out and about, creative, suburbanites. We have our individual struggles and we get lots of things wrong, but we try to do what is best for our family, for our kids, and we try very hard to center around God first. I think we are pretty family oriented, and as the kids grow, they get to be socially around lots of people. I love that they are as comfortable with peers as they are with adults...well, most of them are. We all have our socially awkward aspects I suppose. Even me. We all have our personality quirks. But daily we all try to live as lights.
My friends come from all walks and all religious groups and all kinds of differing choices. Some I am closer to than others. Naturally. We tend toward those who are most like us, behaviorally, goal wise, and with kids the same age. And that all changes through different stages of life. My close friends now are not the same ones I had 10 or 20 years ago, and I bet it looks much different 10  and 20 years down the road. I know it will, because my life will be different.
So I am enjoying daily life with the kids while they are young (not all are so young anymore). They grow quickly and start to become independent people ready to go into the world and make their mark. I want them to be ready for that, and I need grace and prayer to be ready for that, too. It is bittersweet to watch them grow up. But seeing them go out there, independent of us, thriving, making an impact on their own, well, that is a true JOY! It really is!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fifth Week of School --Autumn 2013

Here i sit, eating my lunch of chips and salsa, deciding what to tell you.....Lots of things happen here everyday. We generally get up, take care of pets, and drink coffee. Breakfast is sometimes served before devo time, sometimes it is left on the table and grazed upon all morning. The oldest two start school and I work with the three youngest. I sometimes jog before devo, sometimes not. Around lunch we break for some tv and food, do some exercises, and do some cleaning up. Then the afternoon begins. Rotation skills for the younger three, the older ones do homework for co-op classes, and we prep for supper. Our afternoons also consist of various outside activities. Mondays we have ballet 3 and teen ballet, and an occasional cooking night for the youth group at evangelism. On Tuesday we have ballet 1. Wednesdays we have piano, voice (that may be short lived), sometimes regroup with the youth, and bible class. Thursdays we have tap 3 and tap 1 (though the tap 1 kid is thinking of dropping), and high school bible study. After that we load the van for Friday co-op classes...lots of chemistry stuff, sewing machines, fabric, irons, etc. Fridays we go to co-op at 8:30 and get home around 12:40 if we don't have extra radio drama practice. Then there is theater 2 class after supper. The weekends we spend with family, catching up on shopping, working on projects, visiting friends. We still haven't started driver's ed, partly because I forgot to enclose the check to the DMV. Maybe that will arrive soon and we can get the ball rolling. Still, with the cost of insurance, I doubt he will get to test for a license until he is employed next year. I hear it can run $100 per teen driver, per month. OUCH! You can drive when you can cover your insurance cost. I'd rather pay for your cell phone! We have some new favorite shows that we watch this year...Once Upon a time, Agents of SHIELD, and Sherlock is coming soon!
But alas, that is all I can write at this time. I have laundry to finish and some sewing to attend to, while Jacob works with our preacher to get Life Chain commercials finalized, before we swing into the afternoon activity rush.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Best of LateSummer 2013---Photos

 Summer passed too quickly. The kids grew too fast. But we had fun. Life with five is busy and wonderful. I would miss so much were it not for homeschooling.
 Go skating

 Life is fun. Enjoy family and friends.
 Have a party

 Take time to be still
 Have some fun.
 Enjoy the chaotic times--like when all the furniture is moved for flooring installs. Makes for good memories.

 Build stuff. Make films.
 Dress up.
 Play games.
 Pet the dogs.
 Be with family.
 Put God first, with excitement!

 Ride together

 Love one another.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One Down, 35 to go...

First week of school is complete. It went very well. It is amazing how much can get done by independent workers, and how much each one has grown over the summer. They are reading and writing better, working on math well, and getting along far better than normal.

Right before we began school, we had a sit down discussion of what was expected from them in their character traits. I think it has made a HUGE difference in the family dynamic. Kids are working together on radio drama and crochet projects and even helping out each other with schoolwork. We started doing some family evening walks a few nights each week. Sometimes it is just Clay and me, but last night we all went, and even ran races together for 2 miles. It was lots of fun. We have been ending our evenings with Once Upon a Time or Warehouse 13. Friday School co-op is planned and is going to be awesome! Dance classes are in full swing. Youth group activities are going strong.

But we have had our glitches....The wood laminate flooring did not get completely installed, so we are still waiting on 2 transition strips, and have yet to completely set up the main computer desk, though the computer is up and running. Everything we need is on a nearby shelf so that has not been an issue, really. One of the bookshelves is precarious due to missing an anchor bolt---it's broken and we need a new shelf soon. One of the laptops overheated and basically died. It has about 6 months of family pictures on it, 5th grade math, and my other email access. I have to get that info off the computer and ready to store elsewhere in the next 7 days. What I really need is a usable third laptop. One of the other laptops is missing the spacebar key...that's fun to work with. My oven is not working well. If the internal temp gets above 370F the whole thing locks us out. Cooking is quite the adventure when you cook, let the oven cool, cook, and repeat until done. Takes much longer, but hopefully that will be repaired by Friday.

But as far as actual schooling, we are in the middle of week 2, everyone is getting their work completed nicely, and choosing fun activities in the spare time.  I suppose chemistry is going well. i am leaving that one to co-op this year. Elementary physics math seems to be going well for Em. Kim is reading nicely, and Jordan and Elizabeth are coming along on their writing. I like to see the dancing, lego building, crocheting, video editing, and bike riding going on.

So, that is just a quick recap. I would post pictures, but the laptop with photos is dead, as I said before, and the desktop won't support my HDSD card, so I have a month of photos still on the camera that I can't unload until the laptop issue is resolved. Maybe soon....if cash allows.
Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Countdown....

And so it begins....today is Wednesday, August 21 and just yesterday the last of the new flooring (from the April water leak) was installed. We bought a plush rug off the discount rug table at Home depot, rearranged the furniture and got the school bokks all ready. Then I made my final to-do list. AAAARRRGHHHHH!!! How could I forget so much!!!!
So in short, I have to go apply for the parent taught driver's ed pack at the DMV, time out all the history of the church books for my oldest (because I didn't want to use the Sonlight choices), time out the math, driver's ed and Spanish for him, make lesson plans for the other children--all 4 of them, solidify our schedule of extra activities--no easy task, and probably some other things I fogot.

This year we have lots of extras, in addition to driver's ed. Mondays we have 2 ballet classes and a once a month physical science lab group, Tuesdays we have a ballet class, Wednesdays we have weekly voice lessons, piano twice a month, and regroup once a month, and bible classes. Thursdays we have two tap classes and high school bible study, and Fridays we have 10 weeks of morning co-op plus extra radio drama practices, theater class, and an occasional English country dance. So we will have Nutcracker through the dance studio, a community live radio drama performance and a piano voice recital. In spring we can add LTC work, too. Haircolor will be as essential as coffee this year, especially with the oldest boy learning to drive and becoming our chauffeur.

But today I am going to hang my new clothesline, water the yard, make some laundry soap, yogurt and bread, do a little planning and laundry folding, and some minor sewing, and go have a friend visit before making supper and heading off to teach bible class.

I think I'll have just one more cup of coffee first, though.
Have a blessed day!
Pictures to come later...I've been storing them up!

Friday, August 9, 2013


I woke up last night with a troubled soul. I firmly believe that when I am awakened with spiritual matters on my mind, it is the work of the Holy Spirit, directing me. Last night was one of those convicting nights. It is time for a change for the good of the family. Now, if you know us, you might never see anything out of order, but I see the whole picture. We can all present well for a few hours a week in public. God was gently reminding me to get things right, to get back to our first love.

How did we get off track? I will be honest. I was deeply hurt last year by someone who  believed we were feeding evil into our kids, and wouldn't allow socializing for fear it might corrupt their kids.  Really harsh, but apparently "no judgment intended".....whatever. SO a weak part of me decided I would just live how I wanted. I am a Christian, and this woke me up to the harsh legalism and judgmental attitudes that divide Christians and makes us look unpalatable to the world. We bite and devour each other over such junk that was never laid out as rules in NT scripture--though men sure like to make the NT into a list of rules. It made me sick. I began to really see the seclusionary nature of some Christians, based on not wanting to pollute or corrupt their kids, as another form of evil and punishment to those they are supposed to be loving and shining with. Because being on the receiving end of the harsh judgement was an eye opener,  it made me realize how unrealistic it is, to be so seclusionary. And I was very angry, in addition to the hurt.
It manifested itself in my mind. Poisoned my thoughts and drove me to be more engrossed in the world than in the Word. It also made me see why God repeatedly tells us to love one another and bear with one another and not to bite and devour one another over trivials. It changed me. But now I am recovering from the sins of the mind and realizing I have lost ground with my kids.

So I began our morning with the daily devo. I apologized to my kids with all the specifics of my sins. I told them my plan for getting back to our first love. God, and those we love, come first. "Stuff" is in last place. This may sound surprising but we are going to get back on track with our media, and bible study and prayer lives and walking daily for God's glory. Not that we haven't been living that way, but it hasn't been as consistent as it should be. Bad examples have been set here and there, but like I told the kids, you guys didn't come with instructions, just some vague teachings in the bible, and you are being raised by a couple of sinners. Our sins are washed, but we still sin, and will never be perfect. As far as I am concerned, everyone who obeys the gospel, who has salvation right (acts 2:38-believers repentant baptism for forgiveness), they are covered by grace as long as they daily try to do as the bible teaches. If grace doesn't cover them, it covers none of us, because all of our life walks are vastly different. And they are daily struggling just like I am to make the best decisions for their family, and they are sinners in a fallen world just like me. They shouldn't be punished for trying to live right and falling short. Not punished by me anyway. My job is to keep myself in the Word and show love to all people so they can see Jesus and WANT to know Him. I want people to see our life and WANT to have a family like ours. I never want them to see us being so secluded or judgmental that they say, "No thanks! I do NOT want to be like that." I want my kids to be able to be completely social in any situation, showing love for others because of their love for Christ. How else will they make friends and find spouses and influence the world for good? For God? And it all starts here, at home. Not because home is a place where we live in our little bubble commune, keeping only with family members, but because home is where we learn God's Word, to love others, and are given many, varied opportunities to get out in the world and interact with people, with supervision available, so that we are not shocked at what is really out there and what people are really like when we grow up. It is a balancing act though. It is easy to go a bit too far each direction...and how far is too far? You have to decide that for yourself.  Just be careful not to judge others for drawing their lines in a different place... be really careful to recognize when people are trying to live right and be aware of how hurtful exclusion for being less than your personal brand of "holy", can be.
We started today with our turnaround. And Lord willing, we will be a blessing to all who we come in contact with. Our lives will hopefully shine so people will be curious how they can be like us. They will hopefully want to get to know all the kids, and their parents, because of the things they see...love and goodness and friendliness and good choices.
Here's to new beginnings.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

More Challenges

So, in addition to figuring out new school strategies for the middle kid (yesterday's post), I am now confronted with figuring out Driver's Ed in a Box for the oldest kid. The kit is labeled horribly, and seems very unclear to me. Quite confusing. I am sure once I understand the sequence of events, where all the materials a re located,  and why things are labeled textbook when there isn't a textbook, we will be fine. But i hate u8nlcear directions. Maybe I am NLD too. Abstracts and inconsistencies are not my strong points. It took my son figuring out that I first had to print and mail a copy of form DL-92 to get started, something NEVER stated in the parent manual or in the online site. Seems that would have been useful information... I also think they may be referring to the textbook as some videos and mini chapters that can be accessed online? Not sure yet, but if they would just call them what they are and be consistent, it would help SO MUCH! This program is rough starting. It is not developmentally appropriate.
In addition to this, we are awaiting a vinyl install for the kitchen/dining area today, so the house is in disarray. I love order, not chaos. And to further complicate matters, we have to move all the couches, computers, bookshelves, piano, tables, chairs, and our large tv out of the main living/formal areas on Sunday so we can have all the wood laminate torn out on Monday so the subfloor can dry out for a few days before the new laminate install. Yes, this is from the water leak in April. Chaos for days on end. So......Yeah.
This year will have its challenges. 10th grade, 8th grade, 5th/6th heavily modified grade, 4th grade, 2nd grade. I might need meds before it is over. Plus I am teaching a machine sewing class for our co-op that I am heading up in a couple of weeks, and the oldest is tackling chemistry and advanced algebra--2 things I have never taken and probably couldn't have passed at my peak educational time. The joy! And I do believe there will be prep for Nutcracker ballet, piano/voice recital, live radio drama performances, youth group activity, and some actual driving instruction. And that is all before Christmas.
So as I sit here breathing deeply to calm myself, I am reminded that He is with me through it all, and life has a way of working itself out. Today it just seems so overwhelming. But this too shall pass. Schooling will begin in about 3 weeks and the structure of a daily schedule will be such a relief. I think. Maybe I am wrong. We shall see.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Preparing For the Challenges This Year Might Bring

The birthdays are over and the summer is coming to a close. It is almost time for the co-op registration day, which I always head up, as director. And after that, we begin our school year. I just met with our co-op chemistry teacher and I am intimidated by high school chemistry/physics/math. WOW> I just love her dedication to teaching with us, though. She is smart in her area. So glad to have her on board. otherwise we might have major issues this year. Well, that is likely anyway.
After talking to her, and finding she also has a smart kid with an LD (see earlier post on NLD), we shared ideas. It really reinforced my belief that we all have areas where we are strong and areas where we are weak, and none of us is better than the other because of these. I am a good cook, and excel at hands-on, visual projects. She is great at seeing and understanding mathematical things. We are polar opposites.Our kids are different, but have some of the same challenges. This discussion prompted me to do some more research on how best to meet the needs of the NLD learner, while teaching and working with my other kids....like the right brainer taking chem and algebra--OY!
Here is an excerpt from an article on helping NLD kids:
The typical school campus offers a complex, constantly changing and often unpredictable milieu. Students are required to cope with multiple stimuli, varying behavioral expectations, and complex social interactions, as well as the academic tasks presented to them on any given day. They are expected to know how to behave appropriately in a myriad of situations. Such exacting conditions can pose a challenge for any student, but for the child with nonverbal learning disorders (NLD) these demands can prove to be totally overwhelming and may appear insurmountable at times.
 The child's individualized educational program should not merely focus on academic growth, but should also stress compensatory strategies which will assist her future academic progress by enlarging her repertoire of coping mechanisms. 
 This child's behaviors are usually prompted by his desire to survive in a setting which is confusing, disorienting and frightening to him, given his neurological deficits. 
 The student with NLD has difficulty with internal and external organization, visual- spatial orientation, directional concepts and coordination. Rehearsing getting from place to place, with significant markers pointed out verbally.Prepare him ahead of time for all changes in routine and transitions, such as: field trips, assemblies, substitute teachers and modified days. Use a written and numbered schedule to help prepare him for changes. Panic sets in when this child feels "ambushed" or does not know what to expect. 
 Generalization is the transfer and application of previous learning to new situations and contexts. We are constantly making spontaneous connections, realizing that a particular concept applies to a wide range of topics and/or recognizing that a particular strategy might apply to a number of situations. The student with NLD is stymied when confronted with a situation which she has not previously encountered, even if the new situation is only slightly different from one for which she has previously developed a successful strategy. This child is often unable to understand what is expected of her because she is unable to apply rules and principles learned at other times and in other situations to a situation she currently faces. Present learning is not connected to other previous learning. Cause-and-effect relationships are lost. It becomes necessary to discuss individual situations in depth with this student, as they arise.
 Confusion over what needs to be done can be at the heart of a student's failure to complete class assignments or follow class directions. Most students remember a series of instructions by visualizing themselves performing each step in the series. They don't try to remember each word (verbatim) in a long string of directives. However, because the student with NLD is unable to pass this information to the right hemisphere and visualize the sequence, he attempts to memorize every word as it is said to him.
 The student with NLD tends to make very literal translations of speech and text. Her images are concrete and her ability to make sense of abstract connotations and inferences is poor. She will, in all instances, use and interpret speech literally. This child lacks the capacity to decipher colloquialisms or metaphorical expressions. She will not know when she is being teased or duped. Avoid making nebulous directives, such as "You need to mind!" or asking vague questions such as, "Are you ready?"
  • Starting with concrete concepts and images and slowly moving to abstract concepts and images, at a pace set by the student;
  • Understanding that metaphors, emotional nuances, multiple levels of meanings, and relationship issues as presented in novels will not be understood unless explained;
  • Teaching the student to say "I'm not sure what you mean" or "That doesn't make sense to me" to give her a specific vocabulary to help her decipher your intent. 
 Imagine having to "think" every time you do anything, even routine chores you perform everyday like eating, dressing, and sitting at a desk. You can then start to appreciate why this child is so easily overwhelmed by any variance of routine, by new and unfamiliar situations (or information), and by extraneous environmental stimuli. 
The student with NLD is missing at least 65% of the intent of others communications. Slow processing speed and severe organizational deficits make it necessary to lessen the homework/class work load for this child.  The whole ordeal of attending school full-time, on a daily basis, often proves to be too much for the student with NLD, especially as she enters the upper grades. The student with NLD must receive academic support as soon as difficulties in any particular area are noted. Because this child is quickly overwhelmed, she is likely to react much more severely to failure than her peers will.Even a highly intelligent student with NLD, who has an incredible memory for rote information, will experience trouble with comprehension and organizational skills. He may be capable of memorizing extensive statistical information, while at the same time he forgets the due-date for an assignment or to bring a pencil to class. Decision making and problem-solving skills are other areas of deficiency.

  • Never assuming this child understands something just because he can parrot back what you have just said;
  • Never assuming this child understands what he has read, just because he is a "proficient" reader
These are very interesting and I post them for my benefit and reference. Maybe they will help someone else out there. Now, i have to get back to the final preps for the school year. Have a
 great day!

Friday, July 19, 2013


What happens before lunch....

I think I edited this post 3 or 4 times now! LOL! But seriously I keep thinking of more I want to say! In regard to the above video, I feel I should say that after bible mania, the cabin groups have about 15 minutes to trickle into the meeting hall so we can go over KP duties, cabin inspection results, announcements, and pray for the meal. this is when the music is on and the kids get to kind of cut loose without much structure. Sometimes they sit along the edge of the stage and do acapella We Will Rock You, sometimes it is the crazy dances, sometimes it is just hanging out giggling while enjoying the tunes. This is not a glimpse of the majority of our day, just a tiny window.(They also did the Interlude and Harlem Shake. Good clean fun. Teach kids to have that kind of fun and they won't crave the sinful kinds of fun.)
And great lessons from the scriptures. The theme was Heroes. We studied Noah, Josiah, David and Jonathan, Joseph, and how they do the unexpected and help people.
Camp days are pretty much morning blast with action songs, breakfast, cleaning of cabins, bible class, sport playtime, bible mania drills, lunch, afternoon activities (swim, blob, zipline, canteen, cabin time, archery/bb's, crafts), supper, experience the bible story, evening worship time, canteen, and cabin time with bible review. Evening worship is always beautiful singing and a great bible lesson. It is busy, busy, busy, and the teen counselors work hard, keeping the kids with them at all times and taking care of them all day and night for the week. We had some excellent counselors. But this year there was lots of rain and the kids didn't get to do all their activities, so we had a night swim and a late movie night. Those were HUGE hits.
These kids and counselors bonded and made lifelong friends and lifelong impressions.

My youngest will be old enough to go next year and that makes me want to cry. She is so ready to go, though. I think about the impressions all these activities make on the kids ...from camp, to youth rallies, to mission trips, to bake and serve, to LTC, to T3, to VBS, and I see them all WANT to do these things over all the other options in their lives. It is wonderful to learn and serve and grow up this way.

It was a great week, very hot and humid, pretty messy and sweaty, and very active. All my muscles ache after coaching kickball all week, running back and forth where needed, helping in crafts, and helping run the zipline Thursday.  I find it very amusing that my coaching helpers thought I was "athletic" after seeing how well I could outrun the bumblebee every day! I hope I get to do kickball again, but I kind of want to try bible lesson. Due to time constraints I can't do both, though.

I am going to miss the late night mom talks in our cabin, and the silly songs....  little rabbit in the woods,  purple soup,  boom chicka boom, coconut, baby shark, Give me a "J" (with Quinn of course), and the conductor of the stroganoff!

No worries though. The kids do not cease to bring up camp and sing camp songs ALL YEAR LONG. It is just that awesome. They wait for this with more anticipation than Christmas or birthdays.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Inconvenient Truth

Inconvenient. Yes. That is the real issue, isn't it? We are selfish, self-centered, and want no one telling us what to do. But make no mistake, we are all under authority of some kind, and at times we are all inconvenient to someone. It is the natural order of things.

This post is not up for debate. It is my belief, and I am not approaching it from a biblical perspective, though God's natural law is where the roots lie. The stand for life group got the abortion restrictions passed in Texas this week. It was a great victory for life, in some respects. But the ugly truth is, killing unborn children because they are inconvenient is still very legal. Being wanted and loved is the difference. Parents who want kids will pay everything to keep their children alive and healthy. Those who have sex and become unexpectedly pregnant and find it inconvenient, will pay big bucks to dismember and kill the human within.  Make no mistake, if you choose to have sex, or just engage in sex willingly or even unwillingly, and have a uterus and ovaries, the risk is pregnancy.

But here is the puzzling thing. Pro choice advocates want to say that women have a right to do what they choose with their bodies. Ok, fine. Get tattoos, piercings, carve yourself, get plastic surgery, cut your fingers off, whatever. But do NOT be so naive as to fool yourself into thinking the human growing within is a part of your body. It is a completely individual human being. It is not an extra finger, toe, hernia, or a mole that popped up unexpectedly. It is a person, a separate human being, that just happens to need your body to survive. It is a person with rights, just like you. It is a human, as individual as you are, just like your cousin, or neighbor, or postman, or best friend. Do you want to kill the innocent in cold blood just like those who receive the death penalty for murder, but without consequences?

And now back to the point. Inconvenient. That is how the unwanted unborn human is viewed. But let's explore that, shall we? Let' take a look at other "inconvenient" humans. Newborns rely on people to meet their needs, or they die. The elderly require some care, sometimes total care, or they die. The disabled, both physically and mentally, can require moderate to complete care, or they die. The sick and diseased and comatose require much care, often total care, or they die. All these people require someones sacrifice to stay alive, someone to love and care for their needs until such time as they naturally die or recover. Yet no one is lobbying for them to be killed when they become inconvenient, for a short time, or for a lifetime. What about the kid who is going through a tough time and causing all kinds of havoc, be they teens or toddlers or in between? They can be inconvenient. Your parents who suddenly have a stroke or accident or get old, and need your constant care right when you are at the pinnacle of career success or starting a new relationship or raising your own family, can be inconvenient. These are all individual humans with rights, just like the unborn individuals carried in women's bodies for survival. What makes these worthy of living, and the unborn children worthy of dying/being mutilated/killed?  An honest assessment is that there is no difference. Individuals are individuals...innocent humans with a right to live, just like you and everyone you know or will ever meet. You are one step away from killing anyone who is inconvenient in your opinion, if you are willing to kill the unborn. And one day, that inconvenient person just might be you, or your spouse, or mother, or child, or best friend. Let that sink in. You are not exempt because you are young and vibrant and healthy today. We all age. Tragedy strikes everyone without exception. It is a matter of time.

 And that is the inconvenient truth that people want to ignore and push away. They want to ignore it because it is terribly inhuman and ugly and brutal. To be honest about the situation would mean admitting they are guilty of approving murder of the innocent and inconvenient in this world. And they probably do not want to face that truth, because it makes them into a monster. No one wants to be called a monster, right? 

It doesn't take much to make the jump to legalized killing of the inconvenient, if you kill the innocent unborn humans of the world. It is an absence of respect for human life.
 It's not? Go to the library and read The Giver. Tell me then that you are not this close to that kind of society.

Friday, July 12, 2013

To stress, or not to stress.....

That  is the question....

Let's see. I leave for camp in 2 days, and have to get packed (me and 2 kids). Monthly funds are running very low as is savings. Water leak we found in April is still unresolved. Had to buy a new fridge (those are expensive! never bought a new one before) and thought that was the leak source. Even had a plumber tell me so, though I kind of doubted it. Now that new flooring for 90% of the downstairs is ordered, we find the leak reappearing. Seems to be a shifting house that causes intermittent water to come up from under the vinyl in the kitchen. Don't ya just love Texas dirt??? Not a fridge problem. Not a consistent problem. Random and weird. Here's hoping the new plumbers (arriving shortly) can find, and more importantly, get to it and fix it without tearing out walls or foundation or cabinetry. If they can't we have a HUGE problem, folks. I don't even want to entertain ideas about what that will cost. Let is be fixable. Let it be fixable.
Other than that we are adjusting to the new kitty. But I tell you, litter boxes are nauseating. UGH! Nasty. Her cage may have to start staying outside once she is older. That smell is awful, even with daily cleanings. But kitty Lily Potter is very, very sweet. Couldn't ask for a sweeter, more good natured kitten.
And there is a small issue of sophomore curriculum. Chemistry, and Geometry or Algebra 2. We are a couple of months from needing to purchase those, but will need the Chem book and lab supplies for co-op classes in September. The math is up in the air. Poor kid takes after mom, and math doesn't come easily, so wondering if we should just keep going in algebra while it is fresh, instead of geometry, and if we should keep on with Teaching Textbooks or switch to Life of Fred....How much math do you really need for a career in film? I wonder....
And of course, we do have to pack for camp. One kid informs me today that they only have 3 pair of shorts that fit, and all underwear is too small. Good timing, kiddo. You will definitely need underwear for camp! So I suppose we will head to the store for those items soon...well, I saw a new thrift store near our church so the shorts may come from there. Play clothes for kids at full price? I don't think so. If you want full price  (meaning sale rack) clothing, you have to be about finished growing. Don't know if they noticed, but there are five of them and 2 adults to clothe here. But they will have more than enough for camp I am sure...:) The travel size items are the big thing to get--including air freshener and clorox wipes. Oh so necessary. So necessary! I might even spring for a glade plug-in.
Honestly if all this plumbing stuff works out without a HUGE expense I will be beyond thrilled. That is the major stress...the not knowing. But since it is out of my control I guess I can't get too worked up, right? Right. The other stuff is basically inconsequential.
Ok, so off I go to bake bread and work on packing and finish washing laundry, while the oldest two get out with friends to see Pacific Rim, and younger kids help me clean and play with Lily. Later this evening I am taking the kids and we are all playing in the pool (yes, me too!--It's fun!). Ahhh the sweet life of a homemaker.
Have a great summer day.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What Our Summer Homeschooling Looks Like.....

There's a hundred and four days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it. So the annual problem of our generation is finding a good way to spend it! Yeah, I know that if you know that cartoon you just sang the intro! I love that cartoon. It ranks up there with Justice League and the original Scooby-Doo.
So ....every now and then I do a post on what our day looks like. Every time I do this it looks different, and I always wonder what other HS days look like. I figure I am not alone in my wondering, so I share.
It is July, unseasonably cool. The kids took on a new kitten this week so we are integrating her into the household and acclimating her to the dogs...slowly. The oldest two were at a youth devo last night, quite far away, so they got in late, we all waited up, and consequently we all woke up late today. By late I mean after 8am. I set an alarm to go walking/jogging, but promptly shushed it when it rang. I got up, let the dogs out, made sure kitty was secure, and emptied the dishwasher while coffee brewed. Kids were watching Netflix and playing games. After coffee, I checked my email and list for the day, then walked the dogs with 2 biking kids. When I arrived home it was after 9am and I asked what they wanted to eat, if anything. I am a breakfast skipper. Food is just gross in the morning to me, and is for a couple of the kids too. But three finally settled on granola and one wanted eggs (double yuck), and I ate a piece of whole wheat toast which I am currently regretting. Two didn't eat.
Now I blog, and they eat. here is how I predict the rest of the day will go....
I will tell them to clean rooms, brush teeth and clean up their food, then come to devo in my room . After devo, one will bring dirty laundry for me to wash, four will work on math, and one will work on a research paper. I will do laundry, help care for pets, help with math, pick up the house, clean my bathroom, and hopefully take calls from the orthodontist and insurance company concerning our water leak and flooring replacements. I will try to remember to feed them lunch around noon, and have them do some cleaning. Then around 12:30 the film crew will arrive and head to their location for today's shoot. I will get dressed properly and take the others, to get some groceries and take them to McDonalds as I promised, for some indoor playtime, and a shake or soda. I avoid their food if I can. Later we will head back home to let K change for ballet class, which we will attend. After ballet I should have all kids back with me, and we will have an easy dinner if I remember to get the crock pot of beans going this morning. Otherwise it will be baked potatoes. Following supper cleanup, and room cleanup, we will head to the pool for a couple of hours, and then come home and go for a walk. By then it should be close to 9:30pm. We will watch some tv, fold the laundry mountain, set up another filming date, maybe play card games or something, talk about the day, and drop off to sleep around 11pm.
And that is a day in the life of summer homeschooling here...this summer, this week.
It is changing almost daily, but this is pretty close to average.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Man! Where did June go???? Oh yeah...it flew by, definitely exceeding the speed limit...by a lot! Camp and VBS and birthdays....mine included (6/22/70). And here we are in July! And it is cool (and by cool I mean only 90F).  Highly suspect.

But it is here, and Sandblade is in full film mode. The crew is about to arrive for day 2 of shooting. Some of the kids are working on some leftover schoolwork. We are getting ready to help out with a 5K tomorrow for the 4th, and then go visiting, hopefully ending the day with fireworks. And I just heard that we will FINALLY be getting the kitchen flooring on the 17th, hopefully followed by the wood laminate. And we should be getting Jordan's ortho appliances put in within a week. And then there is camp, part 2. But I heard there is a shortage of staff, and that greatly concerns me considering this is the younger kids' camp. Not good. You really, really need plenty of supervising staff for the younger kids. Not sure how that situation will play out.

So, here is the future summer forecast: I am going to keep jogging even though I broke my toe 2 weeks ago. I am just gonna suck it up and do it. Jacob will keep working on Sandblade, Spanish, and math, before starting driver's ed, piano, and theater/ballet. Emily will complete her research paper and start jogging with me, and then continue with tap, ballet and maybe voice. Elizabeth will continue math and language while beginning to jog with me and Emily, then  go back to ballet and jazz. Jordan will just keep collecting knives, riding bikes, and working on math skills, while fitting in some camping and shooting. Kimberly will practice reading and swim often, then go back to ballet and maybe contemporary, if her chiro says it's ok. School and co-op start late August, as do all music, dance and voice lessons. It promises to be ultra busy. Gonna swim all we can while summer lasts. And read lots of books.

Some of you know I majored in English and Children's Lit in college so I got a stack of books at the library last night from the junior section, of course. Here is my reading list:
The Mysterious Benedict Society
The London Eye Mystery
The People of Sparks (city of ember sequel)
The Watsons Go To Birmingham
The Grey King
The Annotated Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit

And that is all I have to say about that. I have to go feed people now. Happy summering!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June Random Ramblings

June is such a whirlwind month for us here. It is packed beyond reason with activity, so blogging is not normal. However, my afternoon just opened up so i am going to take a moment to say hello and tell about our month. First, i began the monthat a 5K obstacle course in Fair Park with some friends. I loved it and got to know Valerie much better. We could be sisters! After that I went to my nephews 4th birthday party. Doesn't seem possible he is already 4. Then we continued schooling for 2 weeks, while running errands and such. Those weeks ended witha  double birthday extravaganza for Jacob and Elizabeth. there were movies, tv, tons of food, swimming, sleepovers and much laughter. A day later my oldest two left for camp with the youth group. I thought I would have lots of time to just hang out with the younger kids but the van decided to get a flat tire and the brakes decided they needed replacing, and Jordan got his ortho consult and has to get work done on 2 consecutive days, and the house needed touch up paint and rooms needed a cleaning overhaul and there were some character issues to deal with, too. So the week was super busy. As soon as the big kids returned, we had some good family time and then husband left for a week of six sigma blackbelt training and the rest of us got immersed in VBS. VBS week also included, a youth rally, two friends coming over, church, a sandwich supper, a trip to Sam's club and helping out at the self defense class (which got cancelled and is why i am blogging). And when this week ends, so does June. Vaporized. poof. gone.

We have made very good use of the swimming membership so far. I know we have been there 3 or 4 times every week and plan to go today and tomorrow. We have done some much needed shopping. And i got most of the core 200 ready for Jacob. I even read over the driver's ed manual so I can plan it out. I got some worldview books to add to our reading lists, too. Now if I can ever find time to sew that dress I cut out over Christmas break, I will be amazed. I guess sewing just isn't a big priority for me at this time. It is a great skil,l but the time it takes to make something factored in with the cost when using some really great fabric, makes it really not worth the effort for me right now. And if I can't use amazing fabric to make an amazing garment, i know I won't want to wear it, so why bother. The kids are trucking along and growing and changing. Each year is just so different from the last, and when they morph from kids to teens it is such a ride. I still have a lot of work to do with the youngest ones before they hit the teen years, and contrary to some folk's belief, teens take a lot of work. Navigating them into the adult world means you cover lots of ground in many areas. It is a very important and time consuming season, but so important!
So life keeps me busy, busy, busy.
But no matter what, we still keep the most important things first. God, bible study time, prayer, fellowship, worship, serving, character, family. Those things are the things we drop the other stuff to do. First things first.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dance Recital 2013 Videos...I think.

Tap 3 seen here (I Will Wait) http://vimeo.com/67328581  Emily

 Teen Ballet here (Batman Variation)  http://vimeo.com/67337589  Jacob

Theater 3 here  (The Farmer and the Cowmen) https://vimeo.com/67955103  Jacob

Ballet 3 here  (Who Am I)   https://vimeo.com/67953075   Lizzy

Jazz 3 here  (Down by the Riverside)  http://vimeo.com/67328583   Lizzy

Hoping this works for everyone. I have a weekly upload limit and still have one from Mayfest (Levi Jackson Rag) to upload!  It will be up next week.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer schooling??? Really????

Yes, really. I get that a lot from PS families.
When are your kids out for summer?  Well, when they are finished with all the work, of course. And then they can do some supplemental things to keep sharp. I see no reason to school all summer at full speed unless absolutely necessary, but I also see no good reason to be a slug. 

It is a great time to do things that got pushed aside during the "regular" school year, or to focus more on special interest, or to find fun reinforcement activities.

So yes, we are schooling. The kids go full force until the basics are completed, then do exactly what I described above. Summer will be computer and video learning (including movie watching) and library trips with lots of reading, swimming, skating, bike rides, church camp,  filming, movie parties with friends, dance classes now and then, a bit of piano work, art time, Spanish fun stuff, and prepping for fall.

It is still summer and we are much more flexible...besides, we still have to get 90% of the downstairs flooring replaced due to water damage...after I convince the insurance company that sheet vinyl flooring really is rather expensive. They seem to be under the impression that it is quite cheap. I think they need to go shopping and update their databases.

But I digress. So, what are your summer plans?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer yet???

It feels like summer has arrived even though it is the final week of May. Recital is over, so I suppose that is the reason for the feeling...oh, and the warmth and humidity are rearing their heads, and swim season is here.
But it really isn't quite summer...but hey, let's just keep pretending,ok? I like it.
We joined a local country club for the use of the swimming pool, and will probably use it 3 times a week or more. We visited the library today and had frozen yogurt. We are attending Mayfest on Friday, an English Country Dance formal to end the school year. Then on Saturday I am running (and I use that term loosely) the Urban Dash Obstacle Course in Dallas. I paid for summer camps for the four oldest, and myself to go as a counselor. Dance camp starts next week for Kim. And finally, we are planning for VBS. I teach, and Jacob makes videos, and Emily helps with puppets and small kids.
Amid it all we are still schooling and planning all the June birthday parties and the filming of Sandblade. I really hope they get it filmed by late August so we can plan the premiere.
OH! And I am getting a new camera this week. A Canon power shot. Can't wait to play with that! I want to do a great shoot with all the kids!
So where, you may ask, are those recital videos??? Wellllll....I need a large chunk of time to upload them so they will wait a bit longer...but they are coming!  Upload is so slow, even with broadband.
Ahem...now that I have been on a run, played UNO with Kim, and bathed, it is time to relax and watch Holes with the other kids before bedtime.
Tomorrow I will tackle other matters.
Hope your day is blessed!!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Recital 2013

Well, this year at Timbrel School of Dance, I only had three dancers. Kim dropped in February or she would have danced jazz and ballet. I took my camera to dress rehearsal and took the shots of each kid, but decided to wait until performance night to get shots of all their friends. That was a mistake. The camera died. the lens won't even come out or focus or anything. At least I got these shots and a video of each dance. I will post the dances next time...but not today.
 This is Emily ready to dance in tap 3 to I Will Wait for You by Mumford and Sons. She spent the week hanging out with David, Hope, Amelia, Katy, Lily, Annalie, Abby, Bradley.
 Lizzy ready for ballet 3 to Who Am I? by Casting Crowns. She also dancesd to Down By The Riverside by Louis Armstrong for jazz 3. She had a blast with her friends, Jhanna, Bianca, Katy, but mostly holding baby Boaz. I think she adopted him as a third brother.
And here is Jacob ready to dance teen ballet to Batman theme from Batman Begins. He also danced in The farmer aand the Cowmen for theater 3, a piece from the musical Oklahoma. he hung out with dakota (pictured above), Isaac, Bradley, David, lLly, Annalie, Abby, and tohers.

Below is a group of awesomeness in the teen years. Good kids that love Jesus and seek to do what is right. Dakota, Jacob, Bradley, Daniel, Emily, and David. Now it is over and we will miss our times at dance class.

Vacation ...part three

Heading to shop at Ruskin. That first shop on the right corner was so amazing. Had tons of Turkish scarves and scents and unique sculptures.
Waiting on the boys....that is a change!
In the town of Seeaside, doing some shopping before heading to the shops of Ruskin.

Walking the beach is a favorite pasttime.
The surf was cold the first day.
Walking by the front of the house. love it there.
first day at the beach. Gorgeous!
These posts are in the wrong  order. This is the entrance to the beach house.
These are the three youngest sleeping on the way...like fallen dominoes.

vacation ...part two

Still going in reverse order...it's me at Rosemary beach about to visit the Sugar Shack. i bought nothing. I do NOT pay almost $3 for a candy bar. Crazy! But the town was interesting.
hanging out on the front porch
at the beach access, a five minute walk from the house. About to play in the surf and sand.

Yep, that is me...half of me, actually. That white sand is pure relaxation.
and seashells...I personally found those!

Vacation...part one

The final sunset. beautiful. But honestly the best sunsets were the second night. Unfortunately my camera was dying and deided to delete all the Tuesday pics. I was just sick about it.
This was still very pretty.

crabs were all over the place that day. It was very warm in the water by then.
Last day.

Me on the walk to the Watercolor cattail bridge.
In the local gardens