Thursday, July 28, 2011

Having an amazing time....

We are having a great time on our camping trip - a wonderful blend of hanging out at the campsite, sleeping in, reading, swimming, and having fun, historical outings. Yesterday we spent most of the day at the Gettysburg Museum and began a driving tour of the battlefield. Tomorrow we will finish the driving tour and do something special (it's a secret from the kids, so I can't say yet what it is). I finished the book "The Killer Angels" the day before we went to see Gettysburg. It is the book that the "Gettysburg" movie is based on. Amazing to have that history fresh in my mind, and then to see the places where it happened, and to walk the same soil where so many fought and died. Lots of emotions.

Earlier this week we toured the Hershey Chocolate Factory ~ a really well done, kid-friendly tour and yummy samples at the end. :-)

I can tell we were not fully engaged while prepping for our trip ~ we forgot several key things that are mainstays of our camping vacations, such as the canopy we put up to create an open-air, covered kitchen. It has rained a part of every day we've been here except for yesterday, so we have really missed our canopy! The tent is staying mostly dry. A couple of very small puddles after a downpour is acceptable, don't you think? Today my husband took the two younger boys on separate fishing dates while I swam with the others at the pool and did laundry. While we were swimming it began to rain pretty hard ~ I had forgotten how fun it is to swim in the rain!

So before I know it this week is going to be over. :-( In the meantime I am enjoying every moment with my family, and feeling grateful that we can experience such an important part of American history. See you next week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pool Fun!

I'm so thankful for our pool. It is a great way to cool off, have fun, and spend time with friends. The kids go in virtually every day, sometimes more than once.

This picture is blurry, but I love it because it shows them in action, playing typical pool type play. Little Man is blowing water through a noodle, and L is in the background leap frogging over C! I love watching them have so much fun.

Swimming with friends!

Who knew the pool could be a hair salon too?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Middle School Mission Trip, 2011

This is a guest post from my daughter G, about her mission trip:

Hi, I am Pam's daughter G. I am 14 and going into 9th grade. I recently had the opportunity to go on my first mission trip from July 10th through the 15th. We stayed in the state, staying overnight in a nearby church and going to a nearby town to work every day. Our team was divided into three families, and each family was further divided into smaller teams. Some teams worked at the homes of a few elderly people who went to our church, doing yard work, washing cars, and just visiting with them, but I worked in town every day. On Monday and Wednesday I worked at a shelter washing tables and serving meals, and on Tuesday and Thursday I worked at a large food bank warehouse, packing food and sorting donated books. I got to work with some good friends, and I made some new ones too. Because I homeschool, I don't get to spend a lot of time with other kids my age, so making new friends was one of the highlights for me!

It was really satisfying to work hard every day, knowing that what I was doing was helping others. Each evening our entire team had a time of worship and then a Bible study. We discussed the book Crazy Love (which we had all been required to read ahead of time) and studied passages from the Bible. We were all encouraged to study the bible on our own every day, and everyone was faithful in doing so. I spent a lot of time with God that week and I loved every minute of it! We also had a lot of time every evening before and after session to play and hang out. Twice we went swimming at two families houses who were gracious enough to let us use their pool. We had a blast! We also got to eat out for dinner one night and afterward walked to a nearby Dairy Queen for dessert. We made it a thing to play the game "Sardines" every night in the church. That was always fun.

The three family groups I mentioned earlier took turns making dinner the nights we didn't go out to eat. I helped by cutting up watermelon for fruit-ka-bobs. Trust me, they were delish! Every family worked hard making dinner for the other families and it paid off. One family even grilled! On Friday- the last day of the trip- we were split into teams to clean up the church. I had to scrub toilets ( I'm so proud of myself) :-)!

I had so much fun and also learned the importance of team work and communication. Instead of individually working, we should organize ourselves and work as a team, speaking to one another so that we don't misunderstand or get confused with one another and the project. I loved working along side old and new friends encouraging them and being encouraged. The whole team worked hard on the trip. I appreciate all that my youth group leaders have done these past three years and I will definitely miss being in the middle school youth group. I encourage any of you readers to go on a mission trip if you haven't already. It is so fun and refreshing and so many good memories are made! I am looking forward to next years mission trip!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tools, tools everywhere

With his very own tools, son C made his wooden bug box this past weekend (for observing and then releasing) which was another birthday present we had given him. Any chance he has to wield a tool, he is happy!

Half done...

Then my husband used his powerful new drill to hang a mesh stuffed animal holder in G and Little Man's room. Here you get a glimpse of the new color! (more pics of the finished room coming later). Two rooms down, two to go!

Friday, July 15, 2011

She's Home! She's Home!

My baby girl is home!!!

She seems taller. And older. Hasn't stopped talking since I picked her up! She had a FABULOUS week in every way. I am so, so, so, so, so thankful!

More later, off to watch her beautiful face as she tells me more!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Week So Far.....

Sponge chemical on wallpaper border, tear, scrape. Repeat multiple times.

Spackle. Apply painters tape while spackle dries. Wipe or sand spackle spots.

Paint trim.

Paint edges of walls and doorways with hand brush. Teach children how to paint with hand brush.

Rinse paint out of children's clothes.

Paint walls with roller brush. Teach children how to paint with roller brush.

Wipe numerous paint drips off the floor.

Play loud praise music and relish my boys singing along!

Bedroom #2 is nearly complete. Before and after pics coming soon!

Monday, July 11, 2011

And They're Off!

Our daughter left yesterday afternoon for her week long mission trip. Our whole family gathered around her to pray before dropping her off at the church parking lot, where a couple dozen other teens and their families were also gathered. They will be doing mostly work projects, so it will be hard, physical labor. Such a great opportunity for the kids to learn more about serving others!

This is G's "mom" for the week. The team has been divided into three "families" with a "mom" (female leader) and "dad" (male leader) for each one. God bless these leaders and give them grace, patience, and wisdom!

There was quite an air of excitement as the bus pulled out!

"Lord, thank you for loving my children so much more than I do. Thank you for this opportunity for all these young people to grow in grace and the knowledge of You. Work in their hearts this week, and accomplish what you desire. Use them to bless others and to spread Your love. Amen."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chore Buddies

Years ago when Little Man graduated from the crib, we felt he no longer needed his own room (the nursery) and moved our oldest son in with him. This left the two middle sons sharing a room together. These pairings have worked out very well because the roommates' personalities mesh well together. I am reluctant to switch things up because they are working so well! But we wanted the non-roommates to have more opportunities to learn to mesh well too, so we came up with the idea of chore buddies.

Chore buddies are the non-roommates tasked with a "big" chore ~ in order to accomplish it they have to communicate and work it out together. Sons G and C worked on laying mulch and re-setting paver stones by our front porch. They did a great job!

Doesn't it look fantastic? It would seem even more fantastic if I'd remembered to take a "before" picture! (it was pretty bad, and had been on my to-do list for a long time)

Meanwhile, son L and Little Man worked on cleaning all the panes in our french doors. This is not a job that anyone really wants to do. Not as fun as laying mulch. They had good attitudes, however, and worked well together.

"Here I am stuck with an inside chore on a really nice day!"

"How many panes are there, anyway?"

Ta-da! A job well done!

I think chore buddies are here to stay!


Son C to a neighbor boy he knows well: "You know what I love about you? You're not embarrassed to call yourself fat."

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I have so much to do for each child, heading into this next school year, I hardly know where to start. Little Man will be learning how to read, the 4th grader will be starting IEW for the first time (writing), the 6th grader will be adjusting to middle school and being prepared each week for virtual co-op, the 7th grader will be adding in daily science (Apologia General Science), and the 9th grader will be adjusting to high school, two online classes, and the rhetoric level in history and virtual co-op! There are still a few subjects we can do all together, but this year in particular they will each be at very different levels. Is there enough of me to go around? I feel very discombobulated and somewhat overwhelmed right now. Need to pray and make a list, and just START preparing, I guess. Maybe take it one child at a time? Or one subject at a time?

I scheduled 4 painting projects for this summer. It may have been too much. But each of the children was promised a "new" bedroom and I just want to paint the family room. Summer is the only time I have to do projects like that. We have one down, three to go. In fact, I am supposed to be scraping wall paper border off G and Little Man's walls right now, but instead I am blogging about it! ;-)

Daughter G will be leaving Sunday afternoon for her first ever mission trip. It is to a nearby town, doing work projects. She is really excited, and I am excited FOR her! We are doing laundry today, and shopping for a few odds and ends she needs. She doesn't have many clothes, because homeschoolers don't need many. So we have needed to buy a few more so she'd have an entire week's worth without doing any laundry. For the past year we have been giving her a $15/month clothing allowance, and requiring her to purchase all her own clothes (we buy coats and shoes). $15 a month is not very much, so she has become a very savvy shopper. It is tricky to find appropriate choices at times, since she is very modest and doesn't care for bling. It's amusing, gratifying, and fun for me to see the clothing decisions she makes!

There is so much I could do in the kitchen. Maybe I should do that instead of scrape wallpaper border today?

We worked yesterday to help prepare a new home for a mother of four children who recently left her abusive husband and has never lived on her own before. It was hard, gratifying work. I felt so humbled, and so, so, so very grateful. It led to some good conversations with the children about God's best plan for families, His plan for the roles husbands and wives have in the marriage relationship, and how to be the man/woman God intends for them to be. Very, very sobering.

I am very tired today. Maybe I should take a nap instead of scraping wallpaper border?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wonderful Weekend!

We spent a wonderful fourth of July weekend up at the cottage. The kids played with their cousins, the adults visited and supervised swimming, and we all enjoyed the glorious weather. I got to read one whole book on my Kindle!! (which I am already in love with)

Picnic lunch on the dock.

Six year old cousins.

Little Man and Son C. They were dreaming of riding in this picture, but later they got to actually ride!

Sunset after a storm blew through. Beautiful!

All snuggled in, listening to daddy read.

Son L.

Daughter G and one of her few girl cousins!

This is Little Man jumping off the end of the dock without a life jacket for the very first time. The water is way over his head at this point, but he managed to dog paddle safely back to where he could touch. He did this several times, and then we made him put the life jacket back on, so his tired body wouldn't have to work so hard (and mommy wouldn't have to worry so much). :-)

Uncle Brian and son G.

Cousin K driving!

My hubby and son L, thumbs up! After this picture was taken, I swallowed my personal water fear and took a longish jet ski ride with my husband. And you know what? It was fun!

Happy Birthday to my mother in law!!

Son C hugging our dear Aunt Lois, who would go in for major surgery the very next day.

Handsome, debonair boys.

I'm so thankful for a fun, relaxing time, thankful for family, and thankful for my own bed to come home to!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Random Pics

Here is one use for shin guards once soccer season is over. Who knew?!

I worked in the preschool department during Vacation Bible School at our church. SO MUCH FUN. SO MUCH WORK!

Pool fun with our friend Benjamin!

Sons G and L with their head soccer coach. It was a bittersweet ending to our soccer season, as G has now aged out of this league. We have loved playing in this league SO much! The gentleman pictured here has been G's coach for three straight years (and before that, daughter G's coach), is currently coaching L, and Lord willing, will be coaching son C for the next three years! He is such a quiet, generous, godly man. I have loved knowing a man such as this was influencing our boys.

At the mall I saw these mannequins that looked remarkably like my boys.....