Friday, February 24, 2017

It's the Little Things.....

I got this plate on sale at JoAnn's for $2.50.  It has become my "sugar fast" plate, and I use it every day at breakfast and lunch.  It is a little bit of happy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, almost wordless!  Haha.  Hubby and I took Little Man out a couple weeks ago.  We saw a movie, went to dinner, and even indulged in this delicious dessert, split three ways.  It was a very fun evening!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New Year's Puzzle

Every year between Christmas and New Year we begin working on a new puzzle.

This year's version?   A puzzle of National Park signs!  We picked it up last summer while on our vacation to Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore.  It was actually pretty challenging!

A few others worked on it here and there, but all the men in the family did the bulk of the puzzle.

Great job, guys!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Long Overdue Update

Well, I have terribly and sadly neglected my blog.  So much to say.  So little time.  So few good words.  This school year is actually going quite well for us at home.  But in some ways it is just plain hard.  I am a glass half full kind of girl, so I try to focus on the positives, which makes it difficult for me to adequately articulate the negatives without feeling like I'm being whiny.

We have two seniors this year.  One is graduating from our home school, one from a public charter school.  One is graduating with honors.  One is not.  One is headed to college right away.  One is probably not.  These two children get along very well, which is so great and I am thankful for that.  But there is often a lot of tension surrounding all the senior year stuff with the one who is perhaps not yet college ready.  I feel it beneath the surface all the time, waiting to gush unexpectedly like a geyser at Yellowstone.   Every morning I wonder what kind of a day it will be....a geyser gushing day?  Or a geyser quiet day?

You may have already guessed that one of our seniors is daughter H.  Her senior year stuff is layered on top of the already emotionally charged relationship that she and I have.  I live in constant comparison to her bio mom, my motives, words, tone and facial expressions weighed and judged.  No conversation is easy.  Her perceptions continue to skew all that I say so that what she hears and what I mean are almost never the same thing.  It is exhausting.  For both of us!

But we keep trying.  We keep going.  We wake up every morning and start again.  And every day God gives grace and strength and wisdom.

Here are a few highlights of the past two months:

Little Man turned TWELVE!  I asked him if he wanted a different nickname than "Little Man," and he said no!  He told me that when he is a grown man he will still want me to call him Little Man.  Ha!

For his party he and four friends went to see Rogue One.  We have it made for his December birthday, as I believe a new movie in the Star Wars franchise is scheduled for release every December for the next few years!

New Year's Eve at our house with the relatives.

And even though these pictures are always blurry every year, I can't help posting them.  Our annual "Just Dance" party is such a hoot!

Last month my wonderful husband and I got to celebrate 25 years of married bliss together!  I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone, and to have reached it with HIM.  He is such a perfect match for me, and makes my life so much richer, deeper, and more fun.  He surprised me with a night out at the Symphony Orchestra (which I LOVE).  Here is a little story that shows how sweet and tender hearted he is.  The week before our anniversary I found him one evening wiping tears from his eyes. When I asked him why, he said he felt so bad he couldn't take me on a fabulous trip for this milestone anniversary, that it wouldn't be a "big" celebration.  I told him that reaching 25 was it's own reward. :) How I love that man!

In other news:

The indoor soccer schedule is kicking my behind.  Mostly 7:00 a.m. games on Saturday morning!  But son C gets up at 6:15 with no problem, eager to go play.

Hubby's job is going well.  He loves the work, the location, the people (though he is slow to know very many well).

I got one of these for Christmas and I love it!  Made the most delicious pork loin for dinner tonight.

Son G is still working at a fast food restaurant, slowly but steadily saving up for a car.  We opened a checking account for him so he is learning the joys and responsibilities of using a debit card.

It is rather fun and sometimes awe inspiring to be the mother of several young men.  I have tall, handsome boys!  They attract girls.  They are handling this well.  Sometimes when I drop them off places and watch them walk away from the car, I marvel that these tall good looking young men came out of my body.

I started another sugar fast today.  Day one and no cheating!

I am considering registering for another 5k, just so it will force me to train, but have not yet done it.  Probably too chicken, but I blame my hesitation on my knees.

Daughter G is having a great sophomore year at college.  She got to go to Florida for a class during J term and had a great class during the day and fun sticking her toes in the sand at night.

The end.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016!

A friend asked me what one thing she could pray for me during the Christmas holiday season, and my answer was "peace."  God answered so abundantly on Christmas Eve.  Our family celebration was peaceful and loving and everyone had good attitudes.  I am so very thankful! It was exactly what my mama's heart longed for.

Reading the Christmas story from my Grandpa's Bible.

The siblings drew names this year and only purchased a present for one sibling.  We called it "secret sibling" and all of them really liked it.  Daughter G loved her sweater and socks from son L!

Little Man had son G.

Daughter G had daughter H!

Daughter H had son L.

Son G had son C (wearing his two new hats).

And son C had Little Man.

A new scarf and CD from my oldest.

Yes, those are storm troopers with santa hats on.

I love this series of's this reaction that lets parents know they got the perfect gift!

My hubby and I wanted to be very intentional with giving daughter H a memory this year.  Something that communicated both love and truth.  So we gave her her own set of board books, and then read them to her while daughter G videotaped it.  We did not have the opportunity to read books to her when she was little, so now, Lord willing, when she looks at those books in her room she will remember the love she felt from us when we read them to her.

Christmas morning....stockings on mom and dad's bed!  (daughter H was already gone to her bio mom's house)

 Holidays are still somewhat treacherous for us, because they are for daughter H, but I am so thankful that God gave us a wonderful, peaceful, love-filled family celebration of Jesus' birth.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Our Week In Review

 I so love our history curriculum, Tapestry of Grace!   It is designed to be a four year cycle, and each year covers a specified amount of time beginning at creation and going all the way up to modern times.  In the fall of 2015 we began Year 2, which is the most packed year plan of the four.  It covers history from the fall of the Roman Empire (around 400 A.D.) to the presidency of John Adams (around 1800).  A LOT happened in the world during those 1400 years!  We got bogged down about halfway through the year last year and never finished.  So, as I have previously mentioned, we just picked up this fall where we had left off and kept going.

My high school boys have a very full plate of other classes this year, and we have done history as the "spine" of our school for many years, so my husband and I felt that they just did not need to do history as "full" as Tapestry is designed to do.  It is an amazing curriculum, but we moms need to be careful to control it, and not let it control us.  So this year I have essentially been cutting and changing each week's reading to make it a big lighter and more manageable for my kids.  I have been looking at the week's scheduled reading and accompanying questions, and separating out the various threads or themes and giving one to each of the boys.  They each have less work to do, but when we have our history discussion all together, each of them ends up learning from the others and I usually add a few comments to help them see how it all fits together.

This past week two of our boys worked on this:

(I changed the title, the reading, and the questions, so I am not sharing proprietary information from Tapestry of Grace by posting this photo!)  :)

Another of our boys read about the colonies that were chartered after the monarchy was re-established in England (hence they are called the "Restoration Colonies"), while Little Man worked on a comparison chart of four different Indian tribes.

I have found our discussions to be richer this year because each boy has in depth information on a single topic to share with the rest of us, rather than coming to discussion with several questions not answered because the workload was overwhelming.

This flexibility is one of the many things I love about Tapestry!

We did our usual math, grammar, science, and homework for various co-op classes (logic, economics, Latin).  I am so blessed to have our three high school boys in the English class I teach at our co-op. We are currently reading and annotating the novel My Name is Asher Lev, about an Orthodox Jewish boy who has an extraordinary artistic talent, and how his exercise of that talent creates conflict within his family and within his Jewish community.  It is fascinating and I am really enjoying the discussions we are having in class.

The highlight of my week was the fun date my husband and I went on to his new company's Christmas dinner/party.  It was super classy, at a beautiful venue, with amazingly delicious food.  SO THANKFUL he has a job!!

Christmas Tree!

When daughter G was home for Thanksgiving last weekend we took that opportunity to get and decorate our tree.  I always love this!

Each of the children now have quite a collection of their own personal ornaments to put on the tree.

Daughter H...

Daughter G...

Son G...

Son L....

Son C....

And Little Man.

One of my treasured ornaments from a dear friend!

This picture freaks me out a little bit....look how tall Little Man is getting!

I didn't want ALL the lights to be in the family room, so put some in our dining room, too.

The finished tree!