Monday, October 28, 2013

Trunk 'n Treat

We had a very successful trunk 'n treat at our church yesterday!  So thankful for the mild temps, no rain, and very little wind.  Each of our older children's small groups hosted a trunk, and daughter G was tasked with making the decorations for her trunk's theme ~ Candyland!

She and daughter H also agreed to be princesses so that little girls could have their picture taken with a princess (there was a whole organized set up for this!).  They both looked so lovely and handled themselves just wonderfully with the children.

Here are all the princesses together.

Little Man as "lego man."  He and I got to just walk around and trunk and treat!

Son L with his small group guys doing a tailgater theme for their trunk.

Son C (green face) and his small group did a toy story theme.  He was a toy soldier in case you can't tell. ;)

Some of the trunks were pretty funny!

One of my dear friends.  A single lady, doing what she can to bless others!

Daughter G's small group ended up spreading Candyland over four different trunks.  She has such a great group of girl friends in this group!

We had lots and lots of people from the community come through.  What a great time we had, introducing our community to our church and having fun at the same time!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday's Thankful Things

Today I am thankful for our music teachers, who are so much more than music teachers!  Miss Emma and Mr. Richie are mentors to our children, striving to pass on not only their musical expertise, but also their passion for worship, for service, and for God.  They make regular deposits into the spiritual lives of our children.  There is just no greater gift you can give a parent than investing in their children in a positive, godly way.  I am beyond grateful for these amazing people in our children's lives!

(the picture below is from their June 2012 recital ~ the boys look exponentially different now!!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Our Week in Review

Not gonna lie, last week was a trying week.  Exhausting in every way.  Life was overwhelming for one of our children, and helping that child cope was the focus of the week.  So we did not get a lot of schoolwork done.  We DID, however....

play in the leaves with friends.....

and then rake up all the leaves, again.  And again.  And again!

Son C took his preposition test and got an A!

We did school at the dentist's office one afternoon.  The high schoolers continued their reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, and the others read books of their own choosing.

(when they were not distracted by the TV in the waiting room!)

In history we learned about the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression.

We did our daily math and grammar, most of the time.  Prepared for co-op classes.  Learned that God is faithful.

I love the character of God.  He is good, period.  Even during weeks that do not go as planned.  Isn't a comfort to know that when "life" happens, God is already there?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday's Thankful Things AND Our Week in Review!

They are one and the same this week.  I'm thankful we made it through another week of school! ;)

Seriously, I am thankful for each one of these people and each one of these subjects, and each and every day that God's grace is revealed to us and lived out in us.  He is so very faithful.

We have been having AMAZING fall weather.  Just amazing.  Warm in the daytime, cool at night.  Just perfect.  I love fall!

As I said last week, I am thankful for Little Man's love of writing and grammar this year.  It warms the cockles of my heart every time I see him so diligently and happily working.  He wrote his second story (paragraph) today, putting in TWO dress-ups!  I will share the whole thing later.

I am thankful for the high school English class I am teaching at our co-op.  I can't even tell you how much I love this class, and the high schoolers in it.  This past week we finished reading, discussing, and writing about our first book, Beauty, and have just started reading our second book, To Kill a Mockingbird, which is a book every highschooler should read! 

I am thankful for this guy.... and his dog. :)

And thankful for this studiously working on her difficult physics homework.

I am thankful for the school routine we have finally, mostly found.  It's not the routine I had planned, nor the one I had wanted, but it is the one God has brought because it works for us right now.  He is good.

I am thankful for the wonderful three hours I got to spend this week with my dear friend, Sally!

I am thankful for consistently getting 7 hours of sleep at night.

I am thankful for a week off history and a week off co-op (lining up on the same week!  Who'd have thought that could happen??!), to get caught up on other subjects.

I am thankful for son L sharing his heart with me this week.

I am thankful for a good counseling session with daughter H.

I am thankful for our new savings account, opened at a separate bank from our checking account, without an ATM card and no online access.  (Not being facetious, really truly thankful for that!!)

I am thankful for God's tender mercies, new every morning.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Week in Review

Rather than tell you what we learned and what we did in school this past week, I'm going to tell you what I LOVED.

I LOVED doing IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) with Little Man.  He has heard his older siblings learn to write with this program for years and years, and now he is finally doing it for himself.  HE IS EXCITED!  And when any of my kids get excited about something related to school it just makes my heart sing.

Singing hearts are good. :)

He learned how to combine two sentences using the who/which clause, and all week he walked around the house randomly combining sentences with the who/which clause.  He feels smart and capable and stretched (in a good way) and that just makes me happy.

As I have mentioned before, he also LOVES grammar.   The cool thing is, we are no longer doing preposition bingo using chocolate chips, and he STILL loves it!  He will be looking at his grammar page, busily hunting down prepositional phrases to cross out, and subjects and verbs to underline, and he will look up at me and say, "This is so fun!"

Some of the older children are not so thrilled with school, and they let me know on a regular basis.  Some of that is normal, and some of that is character development.  But what a delight to have one who at this moment is totally and completely in love with the third grade.

Thank you, God.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Here is the longer version of life right now... mostly for my mom, who has undoubtedly been worrying about me! (love you, mom!)

I am insanely busy this fall.  Insanely.  Life is a constant juggling act of school, planning, correcting, remembering who has worship band practice when (3 different kids), who has soccer practice when (4 different kids), who needs to eat dinner early in order to go to aforementioned practices (5 different kids), who needs what in order to be ready for co-op classes on Tuesday (6 different kids), what I need to do to be ready to teach my classes on Tuesday (fortunately there is only 1 of me!), how to get 3 children to soccer games in different places at the same time.... with the usual grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry thrown in there.  And maybe some cleaning when I can't stand the house anymore.  Oh yes, and occasionally seeing my husband.

We are working diligently on daughter G's phase 2 driving hours, but for now I am still the only day-time driver in the family, so much of my afternoons and early evenings are spent chauffeuring.

Many moms go through this.  I know it is not unique to me.  And it is a temporary stage.

But this level of busy-ness is layered with the emotional work of helping daughter H through the loss of her first family and her bonding with us.  It is this emotional work and the lack of margin in my life that just overwhelmed me the last couple weeks.  There are many things we cannot change about our present circumstances, but there are a few things we can change.  We are working to create more margin in my life.  More down time.  More time for fun and relaxation.  More exercise.  More rest.  I am learning to let some things go.  Even more things than when my kids were little and I was physically exhausted all the time.

But the emotional work is just going to be hard work.  There's no getting around that.  I struggle with knowing how much to share here, on a public blog, about a very private matter.  How to communicate the delicate balance I am living... being the mom who daily loves and invests and cherishes and protects and works to learn the likes and dislikes and needs of my girl... while my girl continues to fruitlessly yearn for the love of her first mom.  The delicate balance between what my head knows and what my heart feels.

Sometimes the pain is so great I cry myself to sleep.  Yet it is nearly always mixed with joy.  Learning to live with this.... the way things are and are likely to be... accepting that daughter H's journey is her journey, and she will grow and change and wrestle and struggle and accept and grieve and blame and forgive in her own way and in her own time.... it's just hard.  Worthwhile, God planned, beautiful, mysterious, and hard.

That God is all over this I have no doubt.  And that gives me great hope.

In other news....

Daughter G and I went to our first college fair last week.  We visited the booths of about 7 colleges and had some great conversations with the representatives.  Daughter G felt a bit overwhelmed.  I felt like it was a great information gathering evening.  I have no idea how we will even begin to pay for college, but we are planning some college visits anyway, and dreaming and trusting.  Daughter G is very focused on trying to get art and academic scholarships.  She is highly motivated and very driven.  She has a pretty good idea of what she wants to study (art education) and can see how God could use her in a variety of ways in the future.  Such a great girl we have!

The recreational soccer teams that sons G and L are on have not done well this season with their win-loss records.  It is interesting for me to see how each son has responded to this.  Son G doesn't really care how many wins his team has.  He plays his best each time and just has fun.  Son L is very disappointed.  He had high hopes for his team (as did his coach) and now that they have no chance at the championship it is tempting for him to "give up".  We have told him over and over that his mind is the most powerful part of his body, but he is having a hard time winning the mental part of the game.  Both boys look amazingly handsome in their uniforms!  I hope that doesn't sound creepy for their mom to say that.

Son C and Little Man have discovered what we think is an abandoned homeless person's shelter in the woods near our house (yes, it is truly abandoned).  They are working on it nearly every day and fixing it up.  If either of them decides to run away from home, that is the first place I am looking. ;)

I bought myself new pajamas at Costco recently.  They are soft and warm and cuddly and make me feel pretty.  Win, win, win, and win!  (and they were inexpensive!  Win again!)

Several weeks ago my husband volunteered to move to another project at work.  He officially began it yesterday, and was a tad disappointed to learn that he would not be doing what he thought he would be doing (something new and different).  He is committed to it now, but is hoping he will not regret volunteering.  There is an opportunity in this new project for more of a leadership role, which would be very stretching for him.  I am praying God makes things clear, and that my husband would continue to find favor in the eyes of his supervisors.  I may be biased, but he is such a great software developer!  I am so very thankful for his job.

We have a whole bunch of new babies and pregnant moms at church.  I mean, a whole bunch!  So fun to see their beautiful round bellies, and then later to hold their perfect, tiny babies!!  God sure knew what He was doing when He planned for humans to start as babies.  (I approve!  haha)

This is long, so it is all for now.  If you are not my mom and you read this far, you deserve an award!

Thursday's Thankful Things

I have decided I need to reprise my "Thursday's Thankful Things."  The last couple of weeks have been very hard, emotionally.  Life with a new one...learning to bond and the midst of an already busy family life... just overwhelmed me for a while there.  And it probably will again.  So to help me develop a greater heart of gratitude, I am going to bring back my list of thankful things on Thursday, and today this is what I'm thankful for: 

When one person sits down to practice the piano, and others come running to join in!  A little piece of heaven....