Friday, September 30, 2011

Sunshine Through The Rain

     Today completes week 3 of our 2011/2012 homeschool year.  It has been THE most hectic week so far and I quipped earlier this week it felt like we were running through Molasses in January.  Everything took more effort and we saw fewer results for our work it seemed. 

      Today is a rainy day and it's a good day for reflection.  Largely because I am tired and don't have the energy to get up and do anything that needs doing like vacuum the floor, start the apple pie, put laundry away, or even yet to activate the children to do the above chores.  I'm sipping hot chocolate, filled with sugar and I'll pay for that later, feeling warm and content.

     There have been so many activities and so much running around that the week feels like a blur. I'd have to refer to my calendar to remember what all we did.  Every once in a while having a week packed like this week is a good thing because it helps me remember how much I loathe being this busy and remind me that while I'd like to be super mom, I'm not.  I'm Sara. I'm the one who needs margin in the day to stay cheerful and margin in the week to refresh so I don't burn out.

     Everything we did this week was GOOD. Some of it was very good and we enjoyed it.  The girls and I are loving baking for the soup kitchen and are looking forward to sticking around next week to take the treats around.  The people who are blessed by the soup kitchen have expressed an interest in getting to know us and we are looking forward to time to do the same.  I've already booked Wednesday of next week as a non book school day.  What kind of education do children gain from baking for people, serving them and then visiting with those same people?  The kind you don't get in a classroom setting or even in a home if you just stay there! 

     The weather forecast was iffy for this week. In fact it called for rain but we decided it was still a good week for a food drive.  God used this opportunity to show the girls a very vivid answer to prayer.  The meteorologists called for rain.  God held it back.  Today when we picked up he held it back to the very minute we delivered the last of the food. WOW!! Awesome God!  The girls broke into song singing that very one on our way to the food bank and haven't stopped talking all day about how cool it is that God held back the rain. 

     Swimming lessons are going well. They are fish. Hee hee.  My oldest is so excited to be working towards her life guard license.  It won't happen until she is 16 but she is loving the classes now.  I can't imagine going to a two hour class for swimming but she is thriving with it.  She can't wait to volunteer with swimming lessons.  We do need to locate a swimsuit for dd2.  I'm searching online for that.

     This week was supposed to be a shorter week for me work wise but life happened and I worked an extra shift.  I'm glad I was available to help out.  I'm also glad today is a day off!  The second one in a row although yesterday sure didn't feel like a day off! 

     OH! Our Science Co-Op! It went really well.  The younger kids just played this time and the highlight of the day wasn't science but was the nerf gun fight after class.  Kids! LOL  The Science discussion with the kids was good and the experiment was interesting.  I am looking forward to this group setting for learning and can't wait to see where God takes this.

  That's about all for now.  It's raining again, but there was sunshine when we needed it and I'm thankful for it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Long Time No Blog

     Hey, it's been awhile.  How are you?  Things are quickly getting into routine around our house.  But as soon as a routine is established you know what happens. Something comes up to mess it up.  Just to see if I can relax and go with the flow. 

     We started school last week. A bit late for what I like but life happens and this year that's what worked.  We eased into it and I have to admit it was the best start we've ever had!  Monday we had a girls day shopping in the city and eating lunch out. This was at my girls request, that's new. Tuesday we began school work and started the day with singing, prayer and Bible reading.  We are working on memorizing Psalm 1.  Wednesday was a regular day. Thursday was pretty normal too. Somewhere in there we baked banana bread.   YUM!  And Friday was a field trip. 

     The field trip was fantastic!  There were people in costume and in character who do this all summer long and they were amazing.  So much fun to see tents, watch them bake and cook, practice drills, fire canons and even fire muskets.  The girls loved making candles by dipping the wicks into pots of melted wax.  They also loved the homemade caramel and the sweet corn dipped in butter. YUM!  Spending the day with friends made it just perfect.

     This week started smoothly and then today we hit a few glitches.  Things keep going wrong.  But we're pushing through and we'll make it.  I'm not sure what I will do about the computer discs that aren't working. Perhaps Tim can fix them.  We do need Spanish and Typing in their schedules!  Dd2 forgot to put the water on to boil so lunch is late.  I'm having no success finding the Sonlight resources I want to use for their reading this year.  Just little things that are adding up but so far everyone is dealing with them and keeping a good attitude.

     The biggest success so far, and it's early days, is the adding of one chore to their morning routine.  Their day begins like this:  wake up, get breakfast, get dressed and put your jammies away.  Go brush your teeth and hair.  Make your bed.  Do your job.  The oldests job is to wash any pots in the sink from the night before (she hasn't figured out yet if she does it the night before there aren't any the next morning.) and to start a load of laundry.  Considering she now owns about 1/3 of our laundry I think that's fair. The middle one is responsible for the upstairs bathroom.  That includes the floor, the sink, the counter, the toilet on the outside (I use the chemicals on the inside for now.)  and the mirrors.  The littlest one is responsible for feeding and watering the dog and making sure the entryway is tidy.

     Last night the little one scolded her daddy for nearly putting his coat on the railing instead of hanging it up.  It's amazing the ownsership they have taken with these jobs.  Suddenly it matters that shoes aren't returned to their room, or dishes aren't in the dishwasher or clothes are on the bathroom floor. SUCCESS!! The very best part besides them learning to care for a home is that it has lightened my load significantly.  Considering last year one of my biggest struggles and frustrations was the state of our home and my exhaustion in trying to keep it clean this is a major bonus!

     I should tell you it's not spotless.  It's cluttered with books in every room. Yes. Every room.  There is still too much stuff and in some rooms it is over flowing.  But, the floors are getting swept and mopped. Things are getting put away and my kitchen isn't a disaster. I do hope to keep this up and then to slowly add more chores in after school work is done to also work together in keeping our home a nice place to be.  Tomorrow we have people coming and that is usually an excellent motivator for cleaning. 

   My goal for this year in homeschooling is to focus on character. There are some specific character issues with each child and I am choosing to find opportunities to develop positive character traits.  I can say the same of myself.  Discipline, diligence, a positive attitude, and a sense of gratitude for what we have are all on the list.  One of the ways we will be working on this is to serve more.  Our first opportunity starts tomorrow!  We will be baking treats to take to a local soup kitchen.  Once a month or so we will stay to help serve.  I am so excited about doing this I keep talking about it.  I'm not very good at doing things in secret.  Hopefully that doesn't come across as pride. Hmm, I will have to ponder that. 

    Our second opportunity I have some work to do first.  I want our family to get involved with the seniors who are residence bound.  I'd like us to adopt a few that we will visit on a regular basis and develop a relationship with in order to serve them and bring them joy.  That one is going to take more effort, thought and care than the former.  Baking is easy! Building relationships is worth while but more challenging in the long run.

     I think that's a long enough post for now.  I've missed blogging and have started different entries many times over the past few weeks but haven't taken the time to sit down and write.  Perhaps I'll make that part of my weekly diligence challenge.  Have a great week!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

See You Later!

     I refuse to say, "Goodbye" to a friend like the one whose family officially left our town today.  Memories play in my head like the best movie I've ever seen.  Smiles, laughter, tears and even pain mingled together to become a friendship worth having, holding and working to keep.  I admit that I am worried I will fail to keep in touch and will lose something precious. But that worries lasts just for a moment because then it dawns on me that even if I didn't speak to her for a year, due to my own lack of communication skills, I could walk up to her front door ring the door bell and know I would be welcomed inside.  And I would feel the same about her ringing my door bell at any moment.

     Because of where God has placed our family I have experienced friends who are closer than a brother, literally.  I love my family and treasure them, don't misunderstand me.  But I don't get to live life with my family nearby.  I have been gifted with friends who have become family.  Friends who have become my community and who I experience church with when we are together. 

     Today a chapter in my friends life ended, and mine with it, along with many many other people.  But our story isn't done.  Her story is continuing in another place and they will bless those people who don't even know they are coming!  Here in my town new women have come into my life and I look forward to the relationships that will develop over this next year. 

     I'm tempted to list all I will miss, but I haven't cried yet today. I've come close a couple of times.  I really don't want to cry.  So I'm just going to let this post for now be my, "See you later!" and go find something to keep my mind and hands busy until it's time to go to sleep. 

     If you have a friend in your life that you treasure, TELL HER! If you've been too busy to get together, make it a priority.  Pick up a card and write her a note.  Pick up the phone and call.  Send her an e-mail.  Invite her for coffee.  Have the family over for dinner.  Treasure the time you have because despite it feeling like this is the way it is and will be forever life happens, things change and you never know when time is up until it's nearly time!  It's worth it and  you won't regret it. f